Friday, April 5, 2019

Groceries Around the World - Food Unit for Spanish Class

I recently sat in a presentation by ACTFL Past President Jacque Van Houten on the Can Do Statements for Intercultural Competence. One of the things I really like about the new Can Do statements are the inclusion of the phrase "in my own and other cultures." It really facilitates students looking at their own culture - even realizing that they have a culture. It puts culture as global instead of "other."

I also went to a great session by Matt Coss at SCOLT on teaching authentic culture. One of my main take aways from this session was that instead of making blanket stereotypical statements like, "People eat tacos in Mexico" we should turn it into questions like "Do people in Mexico eat tacos?" From there you can ask more and more probing questions. "Where and when do people eat tacos?" "What do people put on tacos?" "Where can I find the best tacos?"

All of this great PD has been bouncing around in my brain and I'm starting to make adjustments to units I am already teaching. One of those is the my supermarket unit in kindergarten. Read that post here. It was one of my favorite units last year but there is definitely some room for improvement in terms of interculturality.

For this particular unit that means asking "Where do people buy food?"  Al restaurante, al mercado, y al supermercado. Like last year we'll make a list together of the places my students buy their food. Then we'll look at some places around the world. That fits perfectly with the Can Do statement of Investigate - In my own and other cultures I can identify where people buy food."*

We'll also read Peppa Va al Supermercado and make our lists like last year but it also means asking "What do people like to eat?" and "What food do people buy?" I made mercado, supermercado, and restaurante posters as well as ¿Qué te gusta comer? posters that include some photos from my local Mexican grocery Aguascalientes. You can get your free set here.

These are pictures I took at our local Mexican grocery store

But more than just showing WHERE people buy food, I want to show students WHAT foods people buy. This is where photographer Peter Menzel comes in with his awesome What the World Eats photos. His photo series is a treasure trove! You can click on different galleries by continent and then by country.

Each country has the groceries for a week image but then even more - where they bought the food, their kitchens, tables set for dinner, etc. I plan on showing these different images and we can compare and contrast where we buy our own food. This site is seriously amazing! You can also get his book What the World Eats on Amazon here.

I printed a few pictures and made a bulletin board. The white cards are our food vocabulary that students can look for in the photos. I've already seen and heard some very interested students in the hallway!

Like last year at the end of the unit, if there's time, we will play el mercado. Students will write their own grocery lists and go shopping for those items. This activity was one of their favorites last year. One kid told me he was, "so excited I can't sleep!" and it fits perfectly with the Interact Can Do, "I can act appropriately when  grocery shopping."* You can get worksheets, food cards, extension activities, and grocery role play activity set here. 

So those are my updates to my food unit. How do you teach food in your classroom? Have you used How the World Eats with your students? Share in the comments below!

*Both of these are pulled from the ACTFL Can Do statements and simplified for kindergarten. 

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