Celebrate Stories of Cervantes with Talking Tiles

On 23 April it is 400 years since the death of our greatest playwright Shakespeare and it is also 400 years since the death of Spain's greatest writer Miguel de Cervantes. Last year I visited Vallodolid in Castilla y Leon, Spain. Above is a photograph I took of the statue commemorating his life and work. Here is the link to the Museo Casa de Cervantes in Vallodolid. Across the road from the stautue in the photograph is part of the original University of Vallodolid and as we walked in to the reception area I was struck by the tiles on the walls .The tiles depicted scenes from the story of Don Quijote. The tiles and the famous Cervantes story depicted on the tiles were so evocative of Spain and Spanish culture.Take a look here.

Each tile depicts one of the adventures of the character Don Quijote - riding ,sailing,talking, falling in love,fighting with giants or windmills etc.The tiles ran around the room. (If you are a member of Primary Languages Network then there are more of these tiles and photos in the Treasure Chest area of the VLE)


You can find clips online of the story of Don Quijote,Cervantes' most famous character plus paintings showing Don Quixote with his faithful manservant Sancha and the adventures they had together. I love the story of how Don Quijote thought he had to fight with the windmills. 

So my simple celebration sequence of activities are as follows:

  • Show the picture of the statue of Cervantes.Find a similar picture of Shakespeare and compare costumes and stance.Explain the coincidence in dates between Shakespeare,Cervantes and 23 April 1616. Explain the similarities between Cervantes and Shakespeare in the history of Spain and England's literary history 
  • Introduce the children to the character of Don Quijote and briefly explain some of the adventures of this character.You can read a quick summary of the story here (Don Quijote)
  • Play the windmill clip and ask the children just to listen and enjoy the story.Take feedback in English about the events and the characters of Don Quijote and Sancha
  • Share the picture of the tile (or tiles) with the children and explain where these can be found and what the pictures on the tiles represent.Can the children look at the tile you have shared with them and think of phrases in Spanish that the characters might be saying to each other (e.g.I love riding/Can you see the windmills? /How are you feeling?I am feeling excited etc)?
  • Ask the children to pick their favourite phrase and create a quick rough sketch of a tile of their own linked to the clip you showed them about the windmills.Ask the children to add their selected favourite phrase in a speech bubble.
  • You could ask them to add more speech bubbles and their own target language phrases and build a short dialogue.
  • Ask the class now to create a "Talking Tile".This is a carefully drawn tile , coloured in the traditional colours they have seen on the tile you have shown them - so blue, gold and white with the speech bubbles hidden under flaps of paper which blend in to the picture.
  • Alternatively these are carefully drawn tiles , coloured in the traditional colours they have seen on the tile you have shown them - so blue and white with the speech bubbles.This time however using Chatterpix or Yakit4Kids  the children can record the speech bubbles and bring the tiles to life as "talking tiles".