For this month's Culture Corner, try these classroom activities for French, German, Chinese, and Italian!
Hispanic Heritage Month provides a wonderful opportunity to weave the Communities ACTFL Standard into your world languages curriculum—in any language! We know that whether we teach French, German, Chinese, or Italian, the target culture exists as an interconnected part of the global community. In fact, many of your students might have Hispanic or Latinx heritage, and any time that your students can make a personal connection to their language learning is time well spent.
Try these activities with your students to help them appreciate learning how their target language and culture have influenced the Spanish-speaking world.
For French language learners:
Eat crêpes or crepas while discussing French influences in Mexico.
When France invaded Mexico in the 1860s, they left an influence that you can taste. For example, the French crêpe became crepas, which Mexican chef Pati Jinich describes as a cousin of the enchilada. He also explains that he used to have crepas con cajeta—one of the most traditional Mexican desserts—for his birthday every year in Mexican restaurants. “And crepes are like a thousand times French," he adds.
Have your students research, present, and discuss French-Mexican relations with the class while you all enjoy crepas!
For Italian language learners:
Research and present on how Italian immigrants influenced Argentina.
In Buenos Aires, Argentina, you might hear someone refer to friends as “los pibes,” not “los amigos,” if you catch them speaking in lunfardo. This popular slang dialect evolved from Italian in the late 1900s, when four million Europeans, mostly Italians and Spaniards, immigrated to Argentina. “Pibes,” for example, comes from the Italian word pivello, meaning “youngster” or “novice.”
Have your students explore how Italian culture also impacted Argentinian cuisine, architecture, and more!
For German language learners:
Take a virtual tour of La Cumbrecita.
In Argentina, you’ll find a quaint German town called La Cumbrecita, where the street signs are in German, you can eat goulash and schnitzel, and you can hike to a waterfall in a thick, green pine forest.
Have your students explore the history of how this idyllic town came to be and take a virtual tour!
For Chinese language learners:
Research and cook Chinese-Latin cuisine.
Chinese culture has left an indelible mark on many Hispanic cultures around the world, and it’s fun—and delicious—to explore its influence in cuisine. For instance, chifa blends Chinese and Peruvian foods and techniques, and then there’s Chinese-Mexican food found only in Mexicali, along the border of the U.S. and Mexico.
Have your students try Chinese-Latin recipes and even come up with their own fusion dishes that combine Chinese traditional food with another culture’s.
No matter how you decide to celebrate and honor Hispanic heritage in the U.S., we’d love to hear about it in our Language is Limitless community of fellow world languages educators who inspire and support each other.
Mike taught Spanish and French for 16 years before joining Carnegie Learning. He's from Philadelphia and taught at the elementary, middle, and high school levels and in both public and private school settings. He loves to travel and was fortunate to be able to take students abroad for many years. He also worked as a scoring leader for the Praxis French exam as an AP Spanish Language reader. As a Content Specialist, he is able to work with teachers and also help develop educational content materials for Carnegie Learning world language programs. He has presented at many regional and national conferences, including NECTFL, CSCTFL, and ACTFL.Explore more related to this author