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Come visit our shop this Wednesday, Feb 25 for 20% off all our products!! Stock up on great printable resources for teaching Spanish to children, including printable MINIBOOKS, ACTIVITY PACKS, INTERACTIVE NOTEBOOKS, GAMES, AND MORE! Go to our store here


Authentic tangible culture for young students

Recently I saw this infographic depicting an iceberg as a metaphor for culture- most of the culture is 'underwater' or rather, more in depth. It is a great graphic! However, at the elementary level, where young children are first being introduced to and learning about the concept of language and culture (often for the first time!) finding tangible, concrete aspects of culture to include in the classroom are key, in my opinion, and typically fall under the 'surface culture' part of the iceberg. As they gain experience and the mental ability to comprehend deeper culture as more than a fact about a group of people they have never met  (such as concepts of self, attitudes, and such) these can be added into Spanish class.

One of the most tangible and authentic ways I have brought culture into my elementary classroom, which I believe hits both surface and deep culture at the same time, is the tradition of Ratoncito Pérez, the Tooth Mouse. It is a celebration of sorts, that wonderful and magical experience of losing a tooth, and a coming of age moment for little kiddos. Recognizing and celebrating it in Spanish class via an adorable mouse (not a fairy!) has always been the most remembered, understood and delightful aspects of culture my students interact with. And, because kiddos always have loose teeth or one has fallen out, Ratoncito Pérez is part of EVERY class! Talk about keeping something fresh in their minds!

Here are ways I integrate Ratoncito Pérez in my classes:
*Right from Kindergarten kiddos learn how to say 'Tengo un diente flojo' and 'Se me cayó un diente'... they are encouraged to share their 'tooth news' with me anytime
*I have tooth chart posters featuring Ratoncito Pérez where I record each kiddo's name when he/she loses a tooth (they have to tell me in Spanish or their name doesn't go on the poster :) )
*I teach an entire theme about Ratoncito Pérez in Second Grade, where we read our book 'El diente de Javi' (see the link to our store at the end of this post) and then imagine what Ratoncito Pérez looks like (color and size) and what mode of transportation he uses to get around. After they have practiced this, they then write and illustrate three sentences describing him with this vocab. Super cute!
*I hand out certificates celebrating the lost tooth
*I read books I have collected over the years of various authors imagining adventures with Ratoncito Pérez-go to Amazon and type in 'Ratoncito Pérez' or 'Ratón Pérez'...a whole load of books will come up. My favorite is 'Cartas al Ratón Pérez'! (Note: most of these are in Spanish and with vocabulary far too advanced for my students to understand so I translate in my head and read it out loud in English)
*I have printed out lots of illustrations from Google images over the years which I put around my classroom...he is always present!
There are also two full length movies about Ratón Pérez made in Spain- if you are able to get ahold of a copy and can play it, what fun that is!

If you are interested in integrating Ratoncito Pérez into your classroom and don't want to start from scratch, please check out our Activity Pack in our store on TpT! It is full of printable activities, posters, 'El diente de Javi' minibook, props for retelling the story, and more! Ratoncito Pérez Printable Minibook & Activity Pack

You can also watch me introducing a comparison of the Tooth Fairy and el Ratoncito Pérez here:



Super cute Valentine's Day Lunch Box Messages!

Print out these adorable lunch box messages, one for each day this week! Perfect to show your little one (or your sweetheart) how much you love them!  (And a great way to practice these wonderful phrases in Spanish!) Find the printable here. You might want to glue each to a piece of scrapbooking paper or other stiff paper if you can only print on regular copy paper.
And don't forget, you can find our cute printable Valentine's Day cards in our TpT store!