Symbols of Rebirth and Hope the Latin American Way
Language demands to be taught in a cultural context, and Middle School Spanish exposes seventh and eighth graders to a myriad of rich traditions and cultural practices. This week, students in eighth grade Spanish hung up their vocabulary and reflexive verbs for a day to delve into a springtime Latin American tradition - making cascarones. Cascarones are hollowed-out eggs that are decorated and filled with confetti. According to people in pueblos throughout Latin America, the person who has an egg cracked over his or her head will be the recipient of good luck. Cascarones, as students learned through watching an El Salvadoran woman describe the tradition in a Spanish news broadcast, symbolize the rebirth and the hope of the spring. They are crafted during Lent (cuaresma), for birthday parties (cumpleaños), or to mark any auspicious occasion.
Language demands to be taught in a cultural context
Engaging in the springtime tradition of their peers in Latin American countries, eighth graders flexed their creative muscles, whether drawing fine lines on their eggs or glueing on confetti. They chose Spanish pop songs to listen to as they fashioned multi-colored designs and put their own unique personal stamp on their eggs. This activity provided not only a glimpse into the cultural landscape of Latin America, but a break from grammar and vocabulary before final projects. Of course, the most pressing question was, "When do we get to crack these over each other's heads?" Creativity, culture, and caprice collide. . .
~ Kathleen McLean
LS & MS Spanish Teacher