How can learning to give thanks to others in different languages help you, your family, children, and your outlook in general?
We used the fun Thanksgiving Spanish Bingo in our Game Day at the end of October and it struck me how frequently the students stopped to think about it, when someone used their sentence starter:
“Yo doy gracias por…” I give thanks for…
…and then they would agree or disagree. So! How can giving thanks in a second language really improve your life? Read on!
1) Create intentionality.
When you stop and think of a noun in Spanish – any noun, you’ll decide, “Am I actually thankful for that?” I mean why not. Back to the Spanish bingo game, we had una hojas verdes, hojas cafés, even una cesta de hojas. (green leaves, brown leaves, a basket of leaves) as vocabulary words. And the kids all decided YES, they ARE grateful for those things, because it means the weather is cooler, holidays are coming, and it’s feeding the soil for the spring! WOW!
An attitude of gratitude is GROWING in every one of the two dozen students who attended, just get a BINGO game!
2) Open synapses.
I know I preach on this all the time, but we barely use a brain. I mean it. There are so many options we could access, and instead we let our brain off he hook, and just spoon feed it mindless, mushy entertainment.
When we stop and TRY to think in Spanish – meaning listening to someone else use a new word, and then give agreement or disgreement, we create an emotion wiht that new word, and BOOM! NEW SYNAPSES occur, creating more movement, ability to memorize, more RAM space, more ability for wit, relationship, compassion, etc.
So… try it. I’ll bet you know at least one Spanish noun. Can you put it at the end of this sentence?
Yo doy gracias por….
Say it aloud, and add your vocabulary word. The chance of you “losing” that word in the future just decreased by a LOT! And you’ve also increased your ability and efficiency for learning the NEXT new Spanish words!
3) Unconscious grammar comparison.
This is super cool too. When you learn a second langauge, you can’t help but compare it to your native language; it’s just the process your brain does. When you think in Spanish, or listen to a Spanish speaker, your brain accesses the information and tries to fit it within the grammar and syntax you’re familiar with already.
So, I GIVE THANKS FOR… matches our grammar exactly. The only issue is there’s another word for “for” – which is PARA. Para has a directional sense – like giving a gift, or moving toward a location. POR, however is used for “in exchange for.” So, when you give thanks, you are exchange that sweet attitude, that small emotion of gratitude for whatever it is – a gift, an item, a feeling, a weather pattern, a relationship, a human!
As you think about giving thanks in English, are you exchanging an attitude or heartfelt emotion? Or just manners, just a word?
As you move through the month of November, as it’s quite trendy, I highly recommend that you make a things to be thankful for list each day… and take it a step further and translate to Spanish. You’ll be shocked at all the good repercussions!
Here’s a fun craft combined with the Game day video from Thanksgiving Bingo, PLUS a few homework sheets to pull you out of your same-o – same-o November traditions. Let’s give thanks in TWO languages, EVERY day this year!
You can get the Thanksgiving Spanish Bingo + Workpages by leaving your name & email. We’ll zip it on over to your inbox.
I think some of the best tips may be over on our Youtube Channel,
See you over there!
For 22 years now, Suzanne Gose has been teaching Spanish and public speaking to homeschool students weekly in a classroom setting, most recently at the Community Homeschool Center in Bryan, Texas. She’s a happily married mother of five children, small business owner of Flip Flop Spanish, as well as a founder & board member of the Community Homeschool Center. Her family loves living on a small 15 acre hobby farm in Central Texas with their dairy goats, chickens, ducks, and turkeys. She thoroughly enjoys teaching weekly Spanish classes, supporting homeschool endeavors of the community in any way possible, and striving to keep a happy, well-organized home.
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