The last two years I’ve done a lesson about turrón because Ivonne, my teacher friend, introduced me to this delicious tradition from her Cuban family. Her memories about it were so precious! Here is a holiday lesson (including authentic resources, activities and a quick formative check) that gives them an unique experience while learning language and culture.
First I went to World Market to get a few different kinds of turrón to bring into class (or go to a local store for your target culture and pick out an assortment of goodies).
I gave the entire class a list TL authres like articles, commercials/videos, websites, the packages and some photos all about turrón for them to look at and discover more. I asked them to identify as many Aspects of Culture as they could.
Suchard España has a bunch of commercials on their YouTube channel. Plus their website has endless possibilities… their “unique” types of turrón with descriptions, videos, their story as a timeline, a song, etc. And then there’s twitter… their account and many other people are talking about turrón!
Now for the station with me, and oh yeah, the turrón!
I called small groups over to do the tastings while the others were looking at the resources. At this station I threw down a colorful tablecloth and a few festive decorations. I precut the turrón into small pieces and arranged four different types on plates with the package next to it. I also posted an allergy warning in English since there are peanuts.
Each student had an Opinion Card (above) and they jotted their own notes on the back. We started with one type of turrón and most students filled out their cards while we chatted. No translating needed! We discussed the type (I showed them that on the package). Then we talked about what they could see (colors, shapes). Next we talked about how it felt (hard, soft). Now the best part, we tried it and talked about how it tasted (sweet, bland, like chocolate, like nuts). Finally they gave their opinion (gross, delicious, love it). I used lots of “this or that” questions while we went through each one. Is it soft or hard? Sweet or bland? Then after they tried all of them, I asked a few recap questions like which one is the sweetest? The hardest? Which one is the best? Why? (Superlatives in context, no grammar lesson needed!)
I focused on reusing the function phrases (is, it is like, tastes, feels, try it) and let the detail vocabulary (brown, tan, white, hard, soft, gooey, sweet, bland, delicious, gross, ok) be based on the turrón. It was interesting to me how they quickly picked up on the words “this” and “that” while we were chatting. (Demonstrative adjectives in context, no grammar lesson needed!)
The formative assessment was for them to make some connections to everything they had learned about turrón that day based on the AuthRes and the tasting station. Here are some examples that can be adapted for different proficiency levels:
- Where and why is it a popular holiday tradition?
- Compare it to a traditional dessert or candy you know.
- What unique dish would you make using turrón as an inspiration?
- How do the commercials, websites and other marketing tools represent and connect to the targeted consumers?
We’ve used these stations and cards before for Day of the Dead goodies like spicy hot chocolate, mole, bread and crickets (that was a blast!) and trying a Costa Rican breakfast of gallo pinto, fruits and coffee. Same function phrases, different set of detail vocabulary. This is how they expanded their vocabulary by revisiting these similar tasks with a different product and experience. Megan did a blind taste testing with tropical fruits once. Yum…
These opinion cards can be adapted to just about ANY topic where they are describing and giving their opinion. For example I’ve used them when they were looking at activities to do in Costa Rica where they rated which ones were the best. This is another go-to type of activity that I can quickly modify after I’ve found some great authres.
Featured image from http://www.directoalpaladar.com/ingredientes-y-alimentos/turron-el-rey-de-la-navidad-conoces-todas-sus-variedades – Good article too!