Monday, March 18, 2019

Las Banderas Volteadas (Flag Game)

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This summer I will be hosting a Spanish camp where we will focus a bit more on geography and the flags of the Spanish-speaking countries. I have been coming up with activities (games and crafts) to focus on the flags. (You can see more ideas here.)  I recently came across a game called Flipping Flags in which you flip over cards with three flags on them. Those playing keep turning over cards on the table until they see a match. As soon as they do, they call out the name of the country. It is fast-paced and looked fun. The only problem was that it contained all the flags from around the world. I only wanted to focus on the 21 Spanish-speaking countries. 

I had recently bought a thematic unit on Spanish-speaking countries from The Enlightened Elephant (You can see it here.). I printed out the flags at a reduced size. They needed to be small enough to fit three of them on one 4 inch by 3 inch card.  I printed out about 10 copies of each flag so that I could make a ton of cards. I then put three different flags on each card and then laminated them. You don't have to worry about which three to put on a card just make sure that they are different. I ended up with about 60 cards give or take which will allow me to split up the cards and have two games going with two different small groups (2-5 players would work).

Here's how you play:

  • Give each player an equal amount of cards.
  • Players don't look at the cards. Instead, they place the stack face down in front of them.
  • One player announces "Volteemos" and everyone flips over a card from their stack.
  • If there is a match, then the first player to call out the country with matching flags gets those two cards.
  • If there is no match then leave the flipped cards on the table and keep playing by calling out "Volteemos" and flipping over cards until a match is seen. It can then be called out, but remember, the player can only pick up the two cards that he/she calls and that match. All the rest of the cards are left on the table. 
  • You can set a timer and the player with the most cards at the end wins.
This is a great way to get kids looking at the flags which in turn will help them recognize the flags later on.  Have fun!

Saturday, March 16, 2019

Flag Relay Game

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This summer will be the third year I have done Spanish camps. I am so looking forward to it! My more advanced students will be working with a bit more geography and with the flags of Spanish-speaking countries. I was trying to come up with ideas on to get them more familiar with the flags. We will paint some of the flags on rocks (see the end of this post for more information). We will also be making the flags out of Legos (See Mundo de Pepita's post about this activity HERE.) But I also wanted a game we could do that would get them moving.

So I decided to make a relay game out of the flags...

I picked out ten of the 21 flags. I limit my camps to ten kids at a time so with this game they can either work by themselves or in pairs. Basically, they will line up at the start line, and I will give each student or pair a country. Out in the field in front of them will be all the flag pieces. They will have to race to collect the correct pieces of their flag and put it together at the start line. Because my students are not going to know the flags at the beginning I will be providing them a paper with all the flags on them for reference.

I started by cutting the appropriate color cardstock into pieces to make the ten flags I chose (see above). I then when and printed off any coats of arms or stars that were needed. All of the pieces are laminated for durability. While the game won't be completely fair (some flags will have a few more pieces than others), I think it will be a fun way to work with them.

See below for a few more activities related to flags!

Other ideas for flags?

Collect some rocks and get painting! We will be using acrylic paint (like this set) to paint several of the flags. You can seal the paint afterward with this sealer.

I bought a lot of sidewalk chalk (Here's a big pack of it.) in order for my students to draw flags. They really enjoyed this activity!

Any other ideas for flags? I would love to hear them!

Monday, March 11, 2019

Spanish Camp - Discoverers

Join me in June for four days to learn some Spanish through cultural crafts, games, stories, and fun! This camp is for kids who have had a year or less exposure to the language and who have NOT done a previous camp or ¡Explora Español! class with me. Each day will be spent learning some basics of Spanish through games and stories and focusing on one of the Spanish-speaking countries through a craft.

Below are three of the four crafts we will be doing...

{La Boca Neighborhood, Buenos Aires, Argentina}

{Molas from Panama}

{Personal Piñatas}

The Details...

K-3rd Graders     June 3-6 (Monday-Thursday)  2-4pm
4th-8th Graders   June 10-13  (Monday-Thursday)  2-4pm

The cost is $80 (non-refundable) and must be paid in advance to secure your child(ren)'s spot.

Contact Debbie through her Facebook page at Debbie's Spanish Learning for more information and sign-up instructions.


Debbie has been teaching Spanish for over 25 years. She has a passion for teaching kids the language and sharing with them the cultures and places where it is spoken. It is her hope through teaching the language to instill a love in her students for exploring the world around them.

Spanish Camp - Explorers

Join me in June for four days to further extend your child(ren)'s knowledge of  Spanish through cultural crafts, games, stories, and fun! This camp is for kids who have some exposure to the language or who have done a previous camp or ¡Explora Español! class with me. This year we will explore the countries of Costa Rica, Peru, and Guatemala plus explore the geography and flags of all the Spanish-speaking countries.

Below are two of the four crafts we will be doing...

{The Nazca Lines of Peru}

{The Quetzal bird of Guatemala}

The Details...

K-3rd Graders    June 24-27 (Monday-Thursday)  2-4pm
4th-8th Graders  June 17-20 (Monday-Thursday)  2-4pm

The cost is $80 (non-refundable) and must be paid in advance to secure your child(ren)'s spot.

Contact Debbie through her Facebook page at Debbie's Spanish Learning for more information and sign-up instructions.


Debbie has been teaching Spanish for over 25 years. She has a passion for teaching kids the language and sharing with them the cultures and places where it is spoken. It is her hope through teaching the language to instill a love in her students for exploring the world around them.

Saturday, February 2, 2019

A Simple Weather Craft for Language Learners

I have been teaching a six-session class called ¡Explora Español! this year. It combines language learning with simple crafts. Thus far, I had not found an easy idea to do with weather that I really like until I came across this photo.

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My goal is to first teach the vocabulary and then do the craft completely in the target language by giving step-by-step instructions.

Here are the items you need:

Have fun creating and using the language!

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Culture, Crafts, and Language Learning

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It's been SEVERAL months since I posted. Life has been much busier than I ever imagined. This past summer I did Spanish camps and loved teaching more kids the language and introducing them to the cultures where Spanish is spoken. At some point, I hope to do some posts on those adventures and share my teaching ideas.

This fall I decided to offer a new type of class... ¡Explora Español!, a six-week class that gives kids a taste of Spanish through culture and crafts. I have really enjoyed this class more than I would have imagined. With each week, I teach a bit of Spanish and then connect it to a cultural component which leads into a craft. Let's take a look at one of the classes I did to see how it all works together...

One week I taught the kids body parts. Since I tend to use Mr. Potato Head in my regular classes when teaching body parts I figured I would do the same in my exploratory class also. Then it hit me. Potatoes are originally from South America. There was a tie-in. So after teaching body parts, we talked about the potato and where it came from. I mentioned the many varieties out there...many more than my students had ever seen. We then reviewed the body parts using Mr. Potato Head. I then gave each student a potato and we got to work. This craft was done mostly in Spanish. We started with the "ojos" and did the complete face. The sombrero and zapatos were next. We finished by placing cut pipe cleaners on the sides for brazos. 

The paper parts I cut out ahead of time to save time. {Also, it is a good idea to wash and dry the potatoes ahead of time so the glue will stick.} You can find several templates online like here. Make sure to resize them so they will fit on the potatoes you are using.  We would review the name of the body part in Spanish and then students would put glue {We used this one, and it works well.} on the piece. Because the potatoes are round it helped to hold the pieces in place for a few seconds. I had the students count to twenty in Spanish before taking their fingers off one of the pieces. With the shoes, it was helpful to use these glue dots instead of the liquid glue. Aren't they so cute?

Here are some other ideas for connecting language, culture, and crafts into your lessons {You can click on the link for each craft to get ideas}:

Names of animals-- Talk about the importance of llamas in South America-- Paint a llama 
Clothing vocabulary-- Talk about Guatemala and worry dolls-- Make a worry doll

House Vocabulary-- Talk about the neighborhood of La Boca, Buenos Aires, Argentina-- Make "La Boca Houses"
Weather Vocabulary-- Talk about the Atacama Desert in Chile-- Make a Chilean rainstick
Fruit and Veggie vocabulary-- Talk about Chile and Peru and arpilleras-- Make an arpillera
Telling time-- Talk about the artist Salvador Dalí-- Make melting clocks

Do you have any other connections for teaching language, culture and then adding a craft? I would love to hear them!!

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Easter Island {Cultural Craft for Spanish Students}

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I am gearing up for another summer of Spanish camps and so looking forward to it. My camps are composed of language practice, cultural crafts, games, geography, and stories. It is a great introduction for kids in the language. You can find all my posts about summer camp if you click here.

Last year we made personal piñatas, molas, Chilean rainsticks, and a few other cultural crafts. For the kids that will be returning this year, I needed to have some new material to teach them and some new crafts. One of the days we will focus on body parts and the country of Chile so I thought it would be a great opportunity to make Moai, the famous Easter Island statues. 

I wanted an easy, quick way for students to make the statues without us taking too much time. I happened to find this ice cube mold and thought it would be perfect! (You can find it here.) Next I wanted a no-mess, easy clean-up clay that would air dry. This air dry clay is perfect, and I bought several packages in gray to make the heads with. To add to the educational value of the craft we are going to model the actual island (which is triangular) and  add a little bit of the ocean around it. I am thinking that I will make the clay for the island and the water to save on money. You can find a recipe here.

Along with making the islands, we will be spending sometime learning/reviewing body parts. I have made some extra statues in order to play a game that I saw online a few months back. Here's how it is done: You create two lines of students and have them face each other so that each kid has a partner. They need to be seated on the floor/ground. Place between each set of kids a Moai statue. Then begin to call out body parts in Spanish. Whatever body part is called the students have to place their hands on that part of themselves. So for example, if I say "cabeza" they will put their hands on their head. Call out several body parts. Then at some point say "Vayan" (or even "estatua") which means the pairs have to grab the little statue that is between them. Whoever grabs it first between the two kids wins and gets to stay in the game. Have the remaining that are still playing pair up with a new partner and do another round. Continue until you have only one student remaining. You can modify this game to make it a little less competitive for younger kids who sometimes struggle with winning and losing. Don't have anyone exit the game. Let everyone continue playing no matter who got the statue first.

I am also planning on doing a scavenger hunt with the statues by hiding them in an outdoor area and having the students search for them. I will probably do directions in the target language for older kids.

Here are some other resources to use in conjunction with this craft...

For my summer camps I limit the number of students so that kids get to practice in the language. So I will probably be buying several sets of these excavation kits for kids to work on in pairs. They get to dig up some Moai! (You can find them here.)

Also, have you been to Mundo de Pepita? It is an awesome blog with tons of resources and ideas for teaching Spanish to children. She also has a Teachers pay Teachers store which you can find HERE. She recently came out with a bulletin board set for the country of Chile! I will be using it during my camps as I like to have visual representations of the different countries we study. The set includes Moai, guanacos, the Chilean flag, some of the flora of the country, and a few other items.

Finally, here is a game to use, especially if you are breaking your students into groups to do center work. They can call out the numbers in Spanish as they play. The game is called Sneaky Statues and can be ordered HERE.

If you have any other ideas to go along with the Moai I would love to hear them!!