Carnival in the Spanish Classroom

Carnival in the Spanish Classroom

This is my first full year teaching high school Spanish. The last time I taught Spanish, it was the fall semester. We did the celebrations for La Tomatina and Día de los Muertos. Because I’ve never taught Spanish in the spring, I’m learning new celebrations that we can add to our culture studies. This year, I’m going to work with my students to learn more about Carnival (or Carnaval). To do so, I’ve researched resources and ideas for celebrating in the classroom.


To start, I want my students to understand the background of Carnival.

Then, we’re going to look closer at one of the most famous celebrations in Latin America: Barranquilla, Colombia:


I think it’s important for my students to also hear the music from the cultures we’re studying, so I plan to show them the 2019 official Carnival video, “Pura Alegría:”


And what is a culture celebration without crafts? High schoolers love crafts more than folks give them credit for! Every time I pull out crayons or scissors, they have the most fun.

I found this awesome site with a template for making a mask. I ran to the dollar store and found some glitter gems, feathers, and popsicle sticks for the students to make them really fancy:

Kids Activities Blog Printable Mardi Gras Mask Craft

I hope my students enjoy the celebration as much as I’ve enjoyed understanding more about Carnaval and how it connects to what our US culture knows about Mardi Gras and lent. Much of Spanish I and II require that students make comparisons between their own understanding of their culture and the target language’s culture.

Do you know about Carnival?

This month, I’ve grouped up with my bloggy friends with the theme of Mardi Gras. I took som liberty with the topic. Go check out what my fellow bloggers have created!

Nutella King Cake, a fun and easy interpretation of the classic Mardi Gras treat from Karen at Baking in a Tornado

Let the Good Times Roll! from Kia at The Ground Beneath my Feet

Jazz it Up! from Melissa at My Heartfelt Sentiments

Masks and beads and food and drinks OH MY! from P.J. at A ‘lil HooHaa

Find the Baby from Jules at The Bergham Chronicles

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5 thoughts on “Carnival in the Spanish Classroom”

  1. I don’t know about your students, but I learned a lot today. I didn’t know how Carnival began, that there was an official video, and I would have guessed that the mot famous celebration in Latin America would be in Rio.

  2. It’s interesting how students seem to go in cycles. I work in a couple of schools and it always seems that they have their heads buried into electronics. But put them into spots where they can be creative or go outside the box and they tend to show a lot of that side. This is the kind of thing that is really cool to see in the classroom.

  3. Wow, now I really want to get up and dance and I want to be in your Spanish class! Me encanta el video de Baranquilla, me hiso acordar que yo fui a carnival alli hace veinte cinco anos! Me novio de aquel epoca de mi vida es de alli. Ahora estoy esperando a ver que hacen aquí en Espana!

  4. This is a great way to teach a class.. bring them into everything to experience what it’s about. And working in a school, it is pretty interesting to watch kids of all ages get into crafts. That’s a good thing, I think .. as it gets them off the electronics even for a little bit.

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