It is worth noting that the word "tortilla" does not mean the same thing in every Spanish-speaking country! For a family program, this would be a great discussion topic and a way to play around with geography and vocabulary as you introduce the theme in the beginning of the program. In Mexico and Central America, a tortilla is a flat bread, generally made of wheat or corn, used for scooping or wrapping vegetables, meats and beans. In Spain and South America, a tortilla is an egg dish, very similar to an omelet! For older kids, particularly in a classroom setting, this could be a great topic to explore. You could ask the students to brainstorm why a word may mean one thing in one country, yet mean something else in another country. Can they find any examples of this in the English language?
Opening Book: Round is a Tortilla - Roseanne Greenfield Thong
This English language story told in rhyme uses Latino imagery to introduce shapes. Options for extending the story abound - you could have shapes hidden in the room and have a scavenger hunt, you could go on a shape walk around the neighborhood, or you could have a shape sort activity for parents and children to work on together. There is no Spanish only version of this story, so monolingual Spanish language programs will need to replace this book with another title.
"Tortillitas" is a very well-known children's rhyme. I believe that it originates from Mexico, but is also widely known in Central America. If I am mistaken, please leave a comment and let me know! Also, I'm curious if anyone who is from or grew up in the Caribbean or South America can let me know if this rhyme (or a variant of it) is something that you remember from your childhood, or if it is new to you. I know there is a similar version about papas/potatoes. I'd love to hear from you on this topic! There are several versions of the "Tortillitas" rhyme; here are two that I like to use:
Tortillitas de manteca / pa'mamá que está contenta. / Tortillitas de salvado / pa'papá que está enojado.
Here is an English translation that I came up with. The literal meaning has changed in order to maintain rhythm and rhyme:
Little tortillas made of wheat / for my mom who is so sweet. / Little tortillas made of corn / for my dad who I adore!
Book/Flannelboard Story: La tortilla corredora - Laura Herrera
A cumulative story based on the Gingerbread Man that follows a runaway tortilla. Unfortunately no English version of this story is available, so you may want to replace it with one of the titles below in an English language storytime. Alternatively, you can tell this story using the flannelboard.
Ending Activity - Painting Tortillas
Time to get creative! Use tortillas as a canvas and have a paint party! You could encourage children to paint the various shapes or pick a favorite shape to paint in lots of different ways. Another blogger I found suggests keeping the whole activity edible by adding food coloring to water for paint (you could maybe try yogurt as well for different textures) and using lettuce leaves (or corn husks) as brushes!
Other Suggested Books:
- Magda's Tortillas / Las tortillas de Magda - Becky Chavarría-Cháirez
- Tortillas and Lullabies / Tortillas y cancioncitas - Lynn Reiser
- The Tortilla Factory - Gary Paulsen (also available in Spanish as La tortilleria)
- The Dog Who Loved Tortillas / La perrita que le encantaban las tortillas - Benjamin Alire Sáenz
- The First Tortilla: A Bilingual Story - Rudolfo A. Anaya