Señora Velazquez’s classes create unique piñatas


Issac Villarreal, Photographer

Señora Velazquez ended the year with the annual piñata project, given
to her Pre-AP Spanish 3 classes. The project consists of making
a piñata that corresponds with a children’s storybook. The rationale
for this project is to give students an opportunity to create something concrete, which is part of the culture studied during Spanish 3. The students are supposed to review the concepts taught during the course and produce a visually appealing, creative story in Spanish based on their piñata.

They then share these stories with the class, teaching their friends new vocabulary and entertaining them. This also gives them practice in presenting to a group, and practice in pronunciation and delivery in another language. Señora Velazquez began doing this class assignment for her students three years ago.

“This project was shared by a former Spanish teacher, Lydia Wharton. I visited her classroom and saw the piñatas and how students were enjoying making them. Also how the students not only created the piñatas but how they wrote stories based on their piñatas.” Señora Velazquez said.

Along with making a  piñata, the students are required to write a children’s story centered on the piñata. The students were given a little over a month to do this final project of the 2014-2015 year. This project was the highlight of the year for many Spanish classes, according to many of her students.

“Overall I think the majority of the students enjoyed this project. At the beginning they think it’s easy but then they realize it is not. It takes time and practice.” Señora Velazquez said.

The process of making the piñata takes some time. There are many ways to make a piñata but most students prefer to go with the traditional way, which is paper mache. The process of paper macheing involves cutting up a newspaper and blowing up a balloon to the desired size then, using a mixture of flour and water, dip the pieces of newspaper in the concoction and wrap them around the balloon. It’s recommended to put three layers of newspaper strips so that when the piñata dries it will be sturdy and not fragile and fall apart. You then allow the paper mache to dry for a day or two then all that’s left to do is decorate it any way desirable.

“Making the piñata was so fun because the piñata wasn’t an average everyday assignment.” Christina Larrosa said. “My piñata looks like it was created by a fourth grader, but I’m still proud of it because I actually put effort into it and tried to be creative.”

Señora Velazquez left some tips for her future students saying “I think what I could tell my future students is to go to YouTube and watch some videos on how to create piñatas, I would also advise them to have fun making them. Another tip would be to not start making the piñata the week before because that could make them stressed or frustrated and anything could go wrong.