You read that right: Elf on the Shelf in the World Language Classroom.
This idea was a year in the making. I remember suggesting the activity during a #langchat session, but suggesting to try it out with a symbol from the culture – like a stuffed bull or something. However, on a recent trip to my in-laws I revisited the idea when my mother-in-law got out her elf. I began thinking about all of the cool, Spanishy, CULTURE things my elf would do and I liked that students would be familiar with the notion if I used an actual Elf on the Shelf. As a matter of fact, my mother-in-law almost had an accident in Hallmark as I was having all of these amazing ideas come to me. I kept gasping out loud, trying to say the ideas out loud so I wouldn’t forget them. Here’s a couple of those ideas I jotted down:
The elf on the shelf could:
- read a Spanish Christmas book. Preferably a children’s book so novices can focus on images if text is too complicated because I would definitely read it with them! Did you know they make a Spanish Elf on the Shelf now!? Aaaand it comes with a Spanish book???? Check it out as a boy or girl!
- play a musical instrument to introduce a traditional Christmas carol. I found the cutest, perfect sized guitar at Hallmark that plays Feliz Navidad. I think I will begin with an all-Spanish version, then move onto some more traditional carols.
- eat popcorn while watching a Spanish movie. I personally would then have students watch that movie. Movie is yet to be determined, but the new Lotería commercial would be great. Martina Bex created some free activities for it and Kara Jacobs shared some readings here.
- be holding a ticket for the lotería. I would most definitely use the aforementioned resources.
- introduce Santa to the three kings. We would then learn about the three kings. I would probably study the three kings and their physical descriptions.
- be in the middle of writing a letter to the three kings. My students would then write one to the three kings, too. I’ve found these adorable templates (template 1 and template 2), but would love to find an audio/video resource to go along with it. Even better, an email service that will email the kids back or a service that would send a personalized video like I’ve seen of Santa!
- be in the middle of a Posadas or Pastorelas reenactment. Of course, my students will then learn about them. I would love to reenact one! Martina Bex has a great mini-unit for this!
- put money inside a shoe for good luck.
- be in the middle of Rosca de reyes bread. I would love to use this video that explains Rosca de reyes, use this news clip that talks about it, and this infographic to further explore this further. Lastly, we would eat one bought from the local Mexican store. I would also love to team up with the FCS teacher and actually make Rosca de reyes.
- eat a radish, which would lead into learning about Noche de rabanas. Study Spanish has some information here. I’ve also saved a video here. Students could also explore the different informations of radishes.
- be next to a poinsettia. I found this video about poinsettias, but I’ve also seen several children’s books about them. I just need to buy one!
Of course, I would start with basic Elf on the Shelf ideas in order to help teach and practice vocabulary students would need to talk about their own holiday celebrations. For example, the elf on the shelf could:
- have a snowball fight.
- build a snowman.
- eat cookies and drink milk.
- be sitting on a reindeer. I happened to buy the reindeer Elf Pet last year for my niece after everything went on sale. Fortunately, I had this idea just before her birthday so I was able to swap out gifts.
- hang off the windows or some other place to revisit prior vocabulary.
- be putting tiny gifts under the tree I put up on a shelf.
- have different outfits on to practice clothing.
- be amongst a whole slew of Spanish items laying on the floor, a la I Spy (like this Christmas one here, but in real life).
- making a green chain loop in order to inspire students to create their own green loop to make this árbol de Navidad door decoration.
So here’s the best part – I’m actually doing Elf on the Shelf this year! Today was day 3. I’m looking forward to sharing my Duende en el estante (Elf on the Shelf) adventure with you in the upcoming weeks. Stay tuned!