Friday, 7 March 2014

La Tomatina

On Wednesday morning I visited Becky, a friend of mine I hadn't seen for ages. We were chatting and having a cup of coffee when she casually mentioned that she had been to the Tomatina last August. My pulse  immediately went up, I  got very excited and invited her to my Spanish lessons to talk about this great festival. She said "All right, and when?", I said "TOMORROW!!!" Becky is off to Spain next week for a long time so there was no time to waste... Becky said she could come to both of my morning classes, a Year 5 and a Year 6. They are my longest sessions, 60 minutes each with lots of possibilities:-)
The right atmosphere
Early in the morning I went to Tesco to get some soap and a packet of ham to create our own "palo jabón". Finally these ugly posts in the classrooms gained a real purpose (we keep bumping into them when we play the lighting house directions game). The looks on the children's faces were priceless while I was sticking my ham up on the post before the lesson.Then Becky and me covered the post in soap, a very strong coconut one, the only kind they had in stock in the supermarket that morning:-)

I had asked the men in my family to make me a Lego truck and I filled it with tomatoes. I put the truck, diving goggles and swimming goggles in the middle of the classroom before the lesson started.
At the beginning of the lesson I asked the pupils whether they had noticed anything strange about the classroom, they mentioned the ham, the truck, the tomatoes and the "GIRL"(Becky:-). In year 5 we had never mentioned La Tomatina, in year 6 we had, so they could name the festival based on the clues.
Tomate, tomate, quiero tomate...
Becky gave her presentation, it was fantastic! We saw photos of her with her friends getting soaking wet, sticky and red! My favourite picture was Becky's hair after the Tomatina, she needed 4 washes to get all the bits off! She taught a chant: "Tomate, tomate, quiero tomate.....", this is what everybody shouts while waiting for the tomatoes to arrive. She reminded the children of the "ñ" in Buñol, taught us words like " los mozos", "el camión"  and "el cohete" and answered all the questions we had.
Me gusta la Tomatina PORQUE....
After the presentation we asked the children "Te gusta la Tomatina?" and they answered "Me encanta/Me gusta/ No me gusta la Tomatina." Then I said that now we are going to learn to give reasons with our opinions ("Es una fiesta estupenda/divertida/aburrida/sucia"). Those who could say their opinions with a reason were given a tissue tomato or paper tomato and could participate in the tomato fight at the end of the lesson. Obviously everybody's hands were up to express their feelings so we listened to about ten and then just listened to the rest while the children were doing pair work later. The tomatoes have to be squashed before throwing, so it was all right for me to prepare them quickly with tissue paper and not worry about the looks:-)

YO!!! We are rapping!

The day before the lessons I came across my friend Emilie's rap song on twitter and really  loved it, I downloaded  the app AutoRap and was desperate to try it with the pupils asap. We created a song with our opinion sentences and we found the rapping hilarious.

Mini books/Posters
We had about 10-15 minutes left and the pupils were given a choice: make a tomato shaped mini book or design a Tomatina poster for this year's tomato throwing festival in Burscough!!! In Spanish of course, because we will send the posters to Buñol:-) They are not finished yet, we will spend about 15 minutes on them next week and will put more images up then.
La Tomatina in the classroom
Our last activity was to actually throw the tomatoes at each other! I gave them a whole minute to go totally crazy and they loved it! I will have to use 1 minute of "Tomatina time" as a reward in my lessons in the future:-)

(And I am inviting you to a REAL tomato fight if you  think that Intercultural Understanding doesn't bring progress....:-)


  1. ¡Madre mia Erzsi! La clase tuvo que ser la bomba, entre tus ideas y la información de primera mano gracias a tu amiga....¡Qué pena no pudiera estar yo alli! :-( Gracias por compartirla.

  2. pues un día tendras que venir y las dos subiremos al palo jabón para entretener a los alumnos:-)

  3. ¡Menuda clase! Los alumnos se lo pasarían pipa. Lo que no he entendido es lo del jabón y el jamón... :-(