I am so happy to be able to share a resource for teaching language through cultural content to upper elementary and middle school students. With materials from Editorial Miraflores, kids learn Spanish language and culture as they explore the geography, art and history of Spain and Latin American countries.
Editorial Miraflores offers their books to teach Spanish language and culture in both print and digital editions. They also offer many of their thematic units as digital downloads. You can find their print and digital books on the Miraflores website or find digital downloads on the Miraflores TPT store. Be sure to explore this excellent resource!
Spanish teachers know that cultural content is essential. Many of us create units on different countries to introduce students to basic information. However, creating materials that incorporate our language focus and also teach culture is time-consuming and difficult.
I am excited about Primer paso a la cultura: Unidades culturales interdisciplinarias and Abrir paso, Libro 1: El mundo hispano by Editorial Miraflores. Both books are organized by theme and present grammar and vocabulary to beginning learners through cultural content. They are an excellent resource for teaching Spanish language and culture.
Also see our list of resources with Spanish lesson plans and elementary Spanish curriculum reviews.
Spanish Language and Culture: Primer paso a la cultura
Primer paso a la cultura includes content for themes such as geography, Maya and Aztec culture, painting, music and architecture. Each theme has a variety activities that build vocabulary, reading, speaking and writing skills.
The activities in Primer paso a la cultura may look like traditional language exercises at first, but don’t let a quick look mislead you. The activities are creative, content-based and require engagement, yet give students the support they need to learn language.
To do the activities, students do not depend on memorization or simply copying information. Rather, they have to engage with the material. They read to determine what is being asked and how to answer. They get a taste of learning language as the fun puzzle it is!
Here are some the clever ways Primer paso a la cultura uses cultural content to teach language:
- Family vocabulary with the family of Carlos V
- Family vocabulary and clothing vocabulary with Goya’s painting La familia de Carlos IV
- Animal vocabulary with the Nazca lines and the Aztec calendar
- Days of the week and months through a comparison with the Aztec calendar
- Musical instrument vocabulary with music of Latin America
- House vocabulary with the floor plan and photos of the home of Simón Bolivar
I also love the way Primer paso a la cultura makes use of internet search as a learning activity. The themes incorporate internet activities that give students terms to search in order to be able to complete a task. For example: En las Américas hablan muchas lenguas. Escribe el nombre del país en la línea y en el mapa. Students are given indigenous languages to search (nahuatl, guaraní, etc.), an answer blank and a map of Latin America with country outlines.
You can get a much better idea of what the book is like by checking out the online preview: Primer paso a la cultura. There are buttons for previewing both the student and teacher editions on the right side of the page.
Spanish Language and Culture: Abrir Paso Libro 1
Abrir Paso, Libro 1: El mundo hispano also uses cultural content to teach language. The material is at a slightly higher level than Primer paso a la cultura, so much of the content is presented in short readings.
The chapters are structured for student success with pre-reading questions that introduce the content and link it to student experience. These are followed by reading, reading comprehension, vocabulary, speaking and writing activities related to the theme and to student experiences.
Click on the free preview button on this page: Abrir Paso Libro 1: El mundo hispano.
Editorial Miraflores offers their content in both print and digital editions. They also offer many of their thematic units as digital downloads. Be sure to explore this excellent resource for teaching Spanish language and culture!
Disclosure: The company sent me a copy of this product to be able to write the article. I may have been compensated for my time. All of the ideas and opinions are my own.