Thanksgiving Lotería- A guest post by Rita Barrett

Before we begin, I am super excited about today’s guest post. You know Rita Barrett from her novela Libertad, I know her because we became almas gemelas during our Master’s program in Guanajuato, Mexico. Rita is full of amazing ideas, and this is one that I’ve been using for the past few years. It’s so brilliantly simple and I was just delighted that she agreed to share it here with you! Take it away, Rita:

Thanksgiving Lotería

Once you have talked about traditional Thanksgiving food with Señora Chase´s Thanksgiving Picture Talk slides, here is a way to get more repetition and comprehensible input with the same vocabulary, plus sneak in some point of view changes.

I created a Thanksgiving “lotería” (bingo) that gives students a chance to talk about their own family traditions in a low stress way. The sneaky part is that I am actually giving them tons of reps of the “we” form of the verbs. My version is in Spanish, but I bet some of Señora Chase´s readers will translate it to other languages. If you translate it, please share!

Here’s the German Version, Danke to Katie Reimers!

Here’s the French Version, Merci to Inger Moran!

The prep:

Before class, choose nine of the ten slides to use for the game (slides 7-16). There is one extra in case something does not resonate with you or your students. Three sentences for each slide (always, sometimes, never) are written at the end of the slideshow, on slides 20-21 . Print them out and cut them apart, removing the sentences from that extra topic. That’s it! You are ready for class!

In class:

Students Set up their Bingo Boards:

  • Students make a 9-cell bingo card on a blank sheet of paper. I have a stack of scratch paper in class, so they don’t even need to bring any supplies besides a pencil.
  • Read each slide to your students, being sure they have 100% comprehension. Students write the sentence that is true for their family on the bingo sheet, including “always”, “sometimes” or “never”. For example, on one square, they will write “Siempre comemos pavo” OR “A veces comemos pavo” OR “Nunca comemos pavo”. Give them time to copy the full sentence onto their bingo board. Remember, this is about language acquisition! We are not in a hurry! Be sure they write in RANDOM places on their papers, or everyone will have the same order. Do a quick check of their papers after the first slide. Some students will fill boxes from left to right, top to bottom, even if you tell them in L1 not to. Guaranteed.

To play:

  • The teacher chooses sentence strips in random order to read aloud, in the target language. I like to show the corresponding slide as I read.
  • Students mark squares on their bingo sheets that match the sentence. Because each slide has three options (always, sometimes or never), there are actually 27 different options scattered over the 9 squares. My husband is an engineer and could tell you what the mathematical odds are for any one sentence to be in any given square, but he´s out taking a walk. The point is, this will be a very random bingo game.
  • For each game, instruct your students to use a different symbol on their board. For the first game, everyone draws a little circle, then on the next game draw a star, etc. Play for 3-in-a-row, 4 corners, and blackout, in order to use all of the sentences.
  • Chat with the class as you play the game: “You never eat apple pie… Really? Do you eat it another time other than Thanksgiving?” “Who is your favorite football team? Does everyone in your family like the same team?” etc. You can get a lot of mileage from this activity.
  • Prizes are always a good idea! Check out Señora Chase’s ideas about stamp sheets and the prize wheel. I just started using the prize wheel after reading her blog post and it is a fun way to end a game! 

When you return from vacation, you can re-ignite the language you used with this Pear Deck activity. You will be able to talk again about the food and activities they enjoyed over vacation, but in a way that will feel fresh and new. More reps! Past tense! 

Bonus Story:

Here is a bonus teacher fail story, because it is always so refreshing to laugh at another teacher’s mistakes:

The whole unit, from Señora Chase´s Thanksgiving Picture Talk to the Flipgrid finale, was awesome for our COVID distance learning last year. Some parts we did synchronously and some parts were perfect for asynchronous work. I shared the assignment for students to access after break via Google Classroom, using the “Schedule” feature, so that I could just kick back and relax and enjoy Thanksgiving with my family.

Except… when I hit “Schedule,” I forgot to change the default due date chosen by Google Classroom, which just happened to be… Thanksgiving Day! I got a couple emails from confused students, but worse, my principal got an angry email from a parent wondering what on earth the Spanish teacher was thinking to make a homework assignment due on Thanksgiving Day and didn’t we know that during a pandemic, of all times, students needed a break from school? Um, oops! Fortunately, the principal forwarded the email to me (and I happened to check my school email on Thanksgiving Day, which shows that my lack of appropriate work/life balance does sometimes work in my favor) and I was able to make things right. I quickly changed the date on the assignment, before dozens of pandemic weary students and parents torched my house. Valuable lesson learned: double check assignments before posting. (Well, mostly learned. I still mess up sometimes on that due date thing, but never on a major holiday!)

I hope you find the materials helpful, but most of all, I hope that you have many things to give thanks for during this Thanksgiving season. I, for one, give God thanks for inspiration gleaned from this blogcito. ¡Gracias, alma gemela!

Thanks a million, Rita! Estoy tan agradecida por ti también, mi querida amiga! For more great ideas from Rita, check out her Teacher’s Pay Teacher’s Store, Siempre Positivo.

Hang in there, dear friends! Almost to Thanksgiving Break! I hope you have something fun planned!


  1. Me reí a carcajadas al leer el comentario about your husband the engineer who was out for a walk!!😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂🕺🏻😂 so much for that! I would’ve been interested in his statistical analysis 🧐 jajajaja blessings for Thanksgiving and mil besitos.


  2. Hola. Muchísimas gracias por este plan de acción de gracias. Complementa perfectamente lo que ya tengo. Por cierto, he intentado abrir el enlace de la lotería y no lo permite. Con los otros enlaces no tengo problema.
    Gracias por las ideas tan buenas que siempre compartes con los demás.


    • Si me quiere escribir un email, le puedo compartir el slideshow. No sé porque no funciona este enlace. Puede mandarme un email por mi blog, donde dice “contact”


  3. Hello,

    Last year I tried open up the Loteria you sent for Christmas and it has privacy restrictions. Is there any way you could make the link public?

    Thank you,



    • I double checked and it looks like you should be able to open it. When you click the link it will say “make a copy” and go ahead and do that. Was it a different language one you’re having trouble with?


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