One of my goals this year is to try to incorporate more in-class cultural experiences for students. I’ve realized that talking about something isn’t nearly as fun as actually doing it! Most of us teachers have had opportunities to use the target language in an authentic settings. (Example: Ordering foods in a REAL restaurant, shopping in a ACTUAL market, asking for directions when we’re TRULY lost).

How can we provide more opportunities for students to have a language/culture experience?

Here are a few experiences that I’ve tried this year that got my students living out the lessons…


I wanted my students to recognize Hispanic artists and their work. I actually wanted them to appreciate the hard work and skill in these paintings. Now, a few kids are art lovers but the majority of my student were not. So as a part of this unit students got to choose a painting by one of the Hispanic artists we studied. I found a sale, used a coupon, and bought 5″x 7″ canvases for everyone. Then I invited my amazingly artistic friend into class and she taught my kids how to paint.




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They had amazing results! They actually had a reason to learn specific vocab like canvas and paintbrush as they presented their painting to the class. Most of them made a comment like “Wow! This is so much harder than I thought. How did he/she paint this?!?”



We were learning about Cuba and spent a few days talking about Celia Cruz and salsa. Students weren’t really impressed with the “reina de salsa” and I need I needed them to get into the music a little to appreciate her contribution to the music!

First, we learned about the main instruments in a salsa band and I downloaded a few apps so that students could actually see what the instruments look like and recognize how they sound.

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Fun, but not real enough. So I ran to the band room during my plan. It was the first time I had ever been in there actually. Come to find out, the band director had 2 big conga drums, claves, guiros, maracas…

Then we found “how to play salsa rythmn on ______” videos (in Spanish, of course!) and tried to learn!





So you get the idea!

Experiences make our units memorable and give us something to talk about.

Let’s bring our lessons to LIFE one at a time!

Share an idea for the rest of us…

What kind of experiences have you created for your students?