Christmas traditions in Spain

Los reyes magos en un centro comercial Foto: Fernando Estel
Los reyes magos en un centro comercial Foto: Fernando Estel

This week I have been teaching about Christmas traditions in my level 1B classes.

I began by teaching two songs: El burrito de Belén (aka El Burrito Sabanero) – the Juanes version as well as Noche de Paz – The La Oreja de Van Gogh version.

Here are some documents associated with these songs:

burrito de belen w noche de paz

burrito de belen w noche de pazCLOZE

We listened to these songs for a couple of days, then today they began class by doing the cloze activity.

Yesterday, in addition to listening to the 2 songs, we watched this video:

Afterward, we discussed it and circled it TPRS style.  I put words on the board such as pata, le duele, pide, regalos, trineo.  We did a really nice discussion and the kids even figured out that the commercial was related to the economic crisis in Spain.  After lots of circling of the storyline, the kids did a partner retell.

Today, after doing the cloze with the two songs, we discussed what we know about Papá Noel (in Spanish of course!) already.  I had some of yesterday’s words on the board too.

I wrote on the board:

  • regalo
  • rey
  • viene(n)
  • diciembre
  • enero
  • trineo
  • camello

I showed them this video and asked them to watch and try to pick out at least 5 words they could understand (it is a real tough one!):

Then, they shared out the words they understood (they did amazing!).

We discussed again, referring back to our Papá Noel discussion.  How many men are there?  Are they Santa?  No, they are kings.  How many kings are there?  What are these kings called in English (wise men).  Do the wise men ride a sleigh?  No they ride camels.  Are they all white?  No, one is black.

Then I tell them (in Spanish) that in Spain, there are two days when kids receive gifts!  When does Papá Noel come?  When do the 3 kings come?  (I had to tell them)  It was a really good discussion!

We finished up with this video:

Finally, I had them write a little comparison of Christmas in the USA versus Christmas in Spain.  I had my weaker class do a Venn diagram in groups first.

I am hoping to do a little fun follow-up after break and maybe have them put out shoes for a little treat!





  1. Thanks so much for sharing your ideas! I LOVE the last video. I think it could be a good one for a MovieTalk, too!

  2. Great idea. I have the kids put shoes in my office and then we learn about los Reyes…at the end i ask if they heard kid always plays along that he heard the Reyes and they get their shoes with treats. I will use these to beef up my lesson. Thanks

    1. I am using the same resources in upper levels but it is easier because the discussion doesn’t require as much pre-teaching of vocab or circling. Much trickier at lower levels!

  3. We are doing something similar in level one (finishing with the little paper shoe pattern from Pinterest when we return from break) and in level 3 we are studying the Rosca de Reyes… I have yet to decide if I am going to buy one from the Mexican store again, make one at home, or take them to the home-ec room to make one in class…. Yeast bread and kids??? I better make it at home! Whichever we do, we’re going to watch this video tp:// and discuss the steps she took in making the bread. A lot like your TPRS style discussion of the kings! ht

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