Students can learn a lot about the different cultures around the Spanish-speaking world by visiting the restaurants in your community where Spanish is spoken. At the beginning of each school year, I challenged my students to find and visit these restaurants. Of course, I offered extra credit if the students brought in a receipt and wrote one paragraph essays detailing their experience, but my students were happy to learn about the culture, so they did it for their personal enjoyment and not the extra credit (at least that’s what I like to think).
Now that I look back at the extra credit I gave out, I realized the kids mostly went to Mexican restaurants. Yes, Mexican food is delicious and yes, it is a Spanish-speaking country, but we want our students to look beyond Mexico and gain some experiences from other Spanish-speaking countries. And we want to remind students that food is a great way to incorporate cultures from the Spanish-speaking world into our everyday lives.
So I think I’d like to issue another CHALLENGE:
- Ask students to visit one restaurant from different Spanish-speaking countries.
- Download the attached Worksheet.
- As a student visits a restaurant from a country, mark off the corresponding country, and add a picture of the flag from that country.
- Encourage your students to try and visit a restaurant from a country that has not been visited. This way you can give your students the opportunity to learn about different cultures to report back to the class.
- Ask them to write a report about their experience. Their report should include:
- Physical description of the restaurant, including the exterior and interior walls,
- Description of the people and their accents,
- A description of the food,
- And anything memorable from the experience.
You may or may not want to issue extra credit, but you can use a chart like the one below to post in your classroom to direct students as to where they can go and which countries have already been taken. See what kind of response you get. You never know, students may come back excited about a place and inspire you and other students to try food from a Spanish-speaking county you’ve never been.
Click here to Download: Restaurant-Visit-Worksheet