If you are a Spanish teacher that wants to teach their students about Semana Santa, I’ve got the tools you need to make it happen in the target language.
My Semana Santa bundle includes four sets of materials that will allow you to teach about Semana Santa in all of your Spanish classes (Levels 1+), in Spanish, with confidence. While each set of materials includes its own step-by-step lesson plans, I’ve recently received a few questions from teachers that would like advice on how to sequence a lesson that includes combined materials from all material packs in the bundle.
In this post, I will lay out for you two possible lesson plans for teaching about Semana Santa– but don’t delay, cause Semana Santa is happening THIS WEEK!
Am I allowed to teach about Semana Santa?
You will need to consider how you want to approach the conversation about the religious nature of Semana Santa, whether or not you teach in a public school. In public schools, it is a common misconception that teachers are not allowed to teach about religion in class. This is simply not true!
“[…] students have been studying religion’s role in the historical, cultural, literary and social development of the U.S. and the world for decades. And in today’s divisive world, increasing understanding about world religions has never been more important.”David Fulton, “Teaching about religion”
As you teach your students about Semana Santa, it is impossible to ignore its religious elements. Take great care in remaining objective and providing the facts so that the students understand the reason behind these celebrations. Also take great care in not alienating any student in your class that does not have a Christian worldview and/or that does not celebrate Easter. Make connections and allow students the opportunity to talk about their beliefs whenever possible!
All the things or all the levels?
First, you’ll need to decide how you want to use the materials from the bundle: Do you want to use “all the things” in a single course? Go to the heading “All the things“.
Do you teach multiple levels of Spanish, and you’d prefer to split up the materials between courses? Skip to the heading “All the levels“!
¡Manos a la obra!
ALL THE THINGS
Here is one possible sequence to work through ALL of the materials in the Semana Santa bundle in a single course.
These plans are broken down into four days of instruction based on what you can reasonably expect to tackle in a 50 minute class period. Adjust accordingly based on your own schedule!
Day 1: Introduction to Semana Santa
This activity won’t take a full class period, so plan to do it in the second half of the last day of lessons before you want to jump into full-on Semana Santa mode.
Pique your students’ interest in learning about Semana Santa by connecting it to their background knowledge and personal experiences. Use the first set of discussion questions from the Multi-Day pack! Be particularly sensitive to those students that don’t celebrate Easter. As you discuss these questions, look for opportunities for all of your students to talk about their springtime celebrations or the events that they look forward to in March and April. In our family, for example, we celebrate Passover and First Fruits, and we look forward to the return of all our favorite creatures to our pond and field (my blue heron came back this morning!)!
Have students read the one-page introduction to Semana Santa reading. The quick fill-in-the-blank reading summary can be their exit ticket! Both of these resources are included in the Basic pack.
Day 2: An overview of how Semana Santa is celebrated
Read together the “Semana Santa: La celebración” text using the projectable slides from the Multi-Day pack. (Save the printable worksheet and comprehension questions page for absent students.) As you do, personalize the reading using the discussion questions included in the lesson plans from the Multi-Day pack. (Depending on the proficiency level of your students, you might choose to instead read together the extended version of the reading (“Semana Santa: Las tradiciones”). Do one or the other!)
Continue with the writing practice, using words from the word cloud as inspiration. Here are three ways that you could do this writing practice:
- Individually: Each students writes 8 descriptive sentences about Semana Santa.
- With a partner: Students work in pairs to write 8 descriptive sentences about Semana Santa.
- Collaboratively: Each student writes one sentence, then passes their paper clockwise. A new student writes the next sentence; being sure to not repeat information that was already added and also trying to create a flow between sentences. Keep writing and passing until all 8 lines are filled, then pass back to the original owner of the paper.
Collect the writing pieces and use them as a formative writing assessment (don’t put it in the gradebook if you don’t have to!). Save them to read aloud, fixing errors as you do, to the class at the beginning or end of class periods for the next few days– see if students can identify their pieces!
Day 3: Learn about Semana Santa in Spain with Stations
Instead of walking through this slideshow with your students as a whole-class reading, turn it into a stations activity.
How to set up the stations
Set up 8 stations, each with one of the printed or iPad displayed slides from the presentation. Alternatively, you could set up 4 stations that each have 2 printed or iPad displayed slides.
At each station, you will need at least one–maybe several–printed or iPad displayed copies of the slide(s). At each station, also lay out a big piece of butcher paper or chart paper. If one of those things is difficult to procure, then just lay out a sheet of computer paper, or if you are 1:1 you could create a Google Document for each station that anyone can contribute to.
Finally, you will want to print out one copy per student of the Semana Santa en España 20 sentences page (Page 5 of the plans).
What to do at each Semana Santa station
As students visit each station, they should complete three tasks:
- Examine the image. Each slide consists of a reading and a short paragraph of text. Students should look at the picture and write a description of it in Spanish (words, phrases, sentences) on the butcher paper that you placed at the station. They should to think of something that no one else has yet written on the paper! If they agree with anything that someone else has written, they can put a star by it.
- Summarize the text. After they’ve examined the picture, students should dig into the text that is also on each slide. First, they should read it on their own. Then, have them write a summary of the text in English (1-2 sentences). The summary can be written on their own paper (perhaps on the back of the 20 questions paper) or in a private document on their device.
- Fill in 20 sentences. As students move from station to station, they should have the 20 sentences page with them. At each station, students should scan the list of sentences and complete any of them that match the slides from that station.
All in all, students should need no more than 6 minutes at each station (look at the picture (2 minutes); read the text & summarize (3 minutes); fill in sentences (1 minute).
Students will fill the time that you give them, so it is on YOU to keep the pace up and to make sure that they are working quickly and moving from station to station on time.
For general tips on how to run stations successfully in your language classes, read this post!
Day 3: Other Semana Santa celebrations
Today, focus on some of the less-religious ways that Semana Santa is celebrated.
Start by reading together and discussing the Alfombras de Serrín slides, which are included in the Multi-Day pack.
Then, have your students read about Cascarones on their own and create the corresponding Glyph (materials in the Cascarones pack). There is a news article about Cascarones included in this pack as well; because it focuses on Carnaval, I am not choosing to include it in this sequence.
With any time that remains, use students’ completed Glyphs to do whole-class discussion using the Card Talk format, which you can learn about here.
Day 4: ¡No es justo!
Wrap up the Semana Santa unit with The Unfair Game; the game that every student loves to hate! If you use the questions as written (included in the Semana Santa en España pack), they will focus on the content from Days 1-2 of these lessons. You might consider switching out a couple of the questions to include information about the Alfombras de serrín or Cascarones. Your call!
Got time left over? Have students work independently to analyze the infograph highlighting the wardrobes of different hermandades (Multi-Day Pack).
ALL THE LEVELS
If you, like Spanish teachers everywhere, are teaching multiple levels of Spanish this year, consider breaking up the resources from the bundle and using a few things in each class. There are more than enough materials to cover ALL of your classes!
In these plans, I include suggestions for some crafts. In any given year, however, you might not be interested in tackling any craft with your students around Semana Santa. Totally fine–if so, skip the make-cascarones or make-alfombras-de-serrín craft. If you want to do a craft but two is too much, try this: do the crafts on alternating years. One year, everyone reads about Cascarones and makes cascarones. The next year, everyone reads about Alfombras de serrín and makes sawdust carpets.
Now, let’s fill your plan book!
Semana Santa lessons – Spanish Level 1
Semana Santa Day 1, Spanish 1
Distribute the the one-page introduction to Semana Santa reading to each student and have them read it and complete the fill-in-the-blank reading summary on their own (both resources from the Basic pack).
Do the writing activity–also from the Basic pack–using one of the three methods outlined in the Day 1 plans above!
Semana Santa Day 2, Spanish 1
Follow the instructions from the Cascarones lesson plans to read about Cascarones, Color the glyph, and watch and discuss this video:
Break cascarones that you have purchased (there are several options on Amazon), or wait until tomorrow to make your own!
Semana Santa lessons – Spanish Level 2
Semana Santa Day 1, Spanish 2
To open the lesson, discuss the first set questions from the Multi-Day pack.
Next, distribute the “Semana Santa: La celebración” reading and comprehension questions to students to read on their own. This reading is also included in the Multi-Day pack.
Use the Write and Discuss technique to discuss the reading, generating a class-created summary of the text.
Semana Santa Day 2, Spanish 2
Ask students to answer the questions “Who?” “What” “Where?” “When?” and “Why?” about Semana Santa as a Do-Now or Campanada, then ask several students to share their answers as a short summary.
Show students this captivating video featuring scenes from Semana Santa in Málaga. As they do (or afterward), have them complete this reflection form to help them visualize what it would be like to be one of the participants in a Semana Santa procession!
Discuss initial impressions of the video, then show it again using Modified MovieTalk to describe what is happening in each scene.
After you’ve sufficiently discussed the video, have students analyze the infograph with the questions included in the Multi-Day pack.
Semana Santa Day 3, Spanish 2
Now, show your students a totally different kind of Semana Santa celebration–Alfombras de Serrín! Read together the slideshow version of the reading from the Multi-Day pack.
This video is a great follow-up to the reading because it captures the LONG process of making an Alfombra de serrín in a very SHORT video!
If you are feeling ambitious, have some fun making alfombras de serrín! Click here to learn how. Instead of sawdust, you could use salt!
Semana Santa lessons – Spanish Level 3+
For upper level classes, use the Semana Santa en España activity pack. If you teach more than one level of Spanish 3+, split up these two days and spend just one day on Semana Santa in each of those levels.
Semana Santa Day 1, Spanish 3+
Run the stations as described in Day 3 of the “All the things” plans above!
Semana Santa Day 2, Spanish 3+
Have students read the extended version “Semana Santa: Las tradiciones” reading from the Multi-Day pack and respond to the comprehension questions.
Just in case you want more…
While I can’t imagine that you’ll need anything else when you have the bundle, there is certainly plenty more out there that you can work into your lessons. There are tons of Semana Santa authentic resources that you can scaffold and leverage for high-interest, comprehensible input.
Check out my Semana Santa Pinterest Board for more ideas!
[pinterest url=https://www.pinterest.com/comprehensibleclassroom/celebrations-semana-santa// width=600]