A Unit Plan on La Ropa - Your Clothing!

By Kena Sosa

Learning about "la ropa" is as essential to communicating in Spanish as it is in everyday life. A unit plan on "la ropa" should include not only information on vocabulary words referring to clothing but also Spanish word usage with fun ideas for practice and perfection.

A Timeline for the Unit on Clothing in Spanish

When creating a unit plan on "la ropa," it is important to incorporate the new vocabulary terms into several fun activities for a variety Clothing of subjects in order for students to really understand and be able to apply it in a realistic way.

Here is an overview and timeline of activities for each day.

  • Day 1: The teacher should distribute a list of basic "la ropa" vocabulary. Students should match the vocabulary word to the illustration or manipulative. They can extend the activity by using role play to practice. One person will be the cashier at a clothing store and the other the customer. They will need to practice conversation about buying clothes.
  • Day 3: Have students do a collage activity – Students cut out pictures from magazines and describe the clothing. Focus on outerwear (bafunda, chaqueta, etc.). Students should describe someone based on what they are wearing.
  • Day 4: Students will conduct a class fashion show. Some will be models, some will be designers, and some will be members of the press describing what the other students are wearing. If the students are at a school that normally uses uniforms, maybe special permission can be granted for their regular clothes that day. If not, the teacher should provide items to be worn over uniforms. Focus on accessories (bolsa, collar, etc.).
  • Day 5: Students will write a group story. They will write sentences using their new vocabulary. Focus on verbs associated with getting dressed,(i.e., poner – to put on, vestirse – to get dressed, usar – to use. Students should also use vocabulary that describe the clothing such as the material used or the design.

Designs

Describing the clothing without knowledge of design vocabulary might be difficult.

Materials/Telas for Clothing:

algodon – cotton

seda – silk

pantalones de mezclilla – jeans

pelaje –fur

encaje – lace

Designs/Diseños and Textures/Texturas:

patron – pattern

rayado – striped

de puntitas – polka-dotted

solido – solid

manga corta – short sleeves

manga larga – long sleeves

con collar – collared

doblado – folded/pleated

flojo – loose-fitting

apretado – tight-fitting

suave – smooth/soft

aspero – rough

duro – hard

Integration into Subjects

Language Arts:

Students can use their new "la ropa" vocabulary to write short essays describing their own personal style and what it says about them. Why do they enjoy wearing bright or dark colors? Who are their fashion inspirations and why are they so influenced by those people? The essays should be personal and expressive. The students should be given the chance to share them with the class.

Science:

Using students' knowledge of color vocabulary and clothing vocabulary, students can experiment with dyes to create their own tie-dye shirt design, combining dyes and colors to create new shades.

Students should be provided with primary-colored clothing dyes that are safe for children, bowls of water, aprons and scraps of different types of cloth. Students should make predictions on how well the different types of cloth will absorb the dyes and what will happen when they combine different colors and lengths of time the cloth stays in the dye. Then they can create their designs noting the results and how well each cloth absorbed the dye. Their final designs can be combined into a class quilt to be discussed in art (see art section).

Art:

In art class, students should use their now dried and finished dyed cloths in order to design and create a class quilt. They will practice design skills by experimenting with how the different colors and textures look combined with other designs and textures.

Social Studies:

Students should read books from the library about the traditional clothing worn by people in other countries and compare them to those they themselves wear using their "la ropa" vocabulary. They should discuss what they like and don't like about these traditional garments. Students should discuss how the way they dress would be different if they grew up in another country.

Math:

Using the same tags on clothing, students should practice math problems with percentages. Students and teachers can create word problems in Spanish using the information on the tags. If a shirt is made of 35 percent polyester, what percent would be made of other materials? Which piece of clothing has more silk — the one with 20 percent silk or 40 percent silk?

Seasonal Clothes

Naturally, wardrobes change by season, thus, so will the vocabulary used for clothing. To practice this, have the students cut pictures from magazines that depict people wearing different clothing based on the weather. Have them sort these pictures into seasonal categories and use vocabulary for that season to justify their answers.

Summer:

traje de baño – bathing suit

pantalones cortos – shorts

anteojos de sol/lentes para el sol – sunglasses

sombrero – hat

playera – T-shirt

Winter:

abrigo – coat

gorra – hat

guantes – gloves

mitones – mittens

bufanda – scarf

botas para la nieve – snow boots

Spring:

impermeable – raincoat

paraguas – umbrella

parasol – parasol

botas para la lluvia – rainboots

Fall:

sueter – sweater

Accessories

Accessories, in Spanish, accesorios, are also an important part of the wardrobe.

Vocabulary:

collar – necklace

pulsera – bracelet

anillo – ring

aretes – earrings

diadema – headband

liga – rubber band, hair band

cinturon – belt

sandalias/chanclas – sandals

pantuflas – slippers

bata – robe

cartera – wallet

bolsa – purse

Students can pretend to be fashion designers and accessorize a plainly illustrated picture and discuss what they have added and why, using the accessory vocabulary to describe what they have done.

Students can also do these activities using vocabulary that describes certain type of clothes such as professional wear.

pantalones de vestir – dress pants/slacks

saco – suit jacket

traje – suit

esmoquin – tuxedo

corbata – tie

moño – bow

Extensions

Students should be able to continue to practice their "la ropa" vocabulary with role playing scenarios such as taking your clothes to the tintoreria or dry cleaners, to the tailor or the sastreria, or taking an item back to the store to describe what is wrong with it. Any of these unit plan activities will give students the vocabulary they need to be able to use this language in their every day Spanish conversations.

The class fashion show can be extended to be an actual runway show in order for students to show off their vocabulary and skills to other Spanish classes.

Encourage students to use these new clothing descriptions in their everyday conversations. Mastering clothing vocabulary in Spanish through this unit plan will get them one step closer to becoming fluent Spanish speakers.