Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Oso Books for Vocabulary Building

{Affiliate links used.}

The Oso books by "Barefoot en Espanol" are awesome for vocabulary building!  These simple books work well with younger kids to introduce them to a variety of topics like days of the week, places, profession,etc. Here is a list of the books available and the topics they cover.

Bear in Sunshine/Oso Bajo El Sol  (Weather, Seasons, Favorite Activities)
Oso en la Ciudad (Places, Days of the Week)
Oso En Bicicleta (Places, Transportation)
Oso En Un Cuadrado (Shapes, Colors, Counting)
Oso en el Trabajo (Professions, Places)
Bear at Home/Oso En Casa (Rooms and Items in a House)
Bear's Busy Family/ La familia ocupada de Oso (Family, The Five Senses)

Many of the books at the end have a picture review of the vocabulary and/or a list of key words.  Like for example in Oso en Casa there is a floor plan of the house.

Or a review of shapes and colors in Oso en el Cuadrado...

Great little books for language learning!

Monday, October 28, 2013

Este Alce es Mio {Teaching Mio, Tuyo, Suyo, Nuestro}

{This post contains affiliate links.  Thanks for supporting this blog.}

 Using children's books is a great way to teach another language. {See my extensive list of children's books for teaching Spanish}  Recently, I came across Este alce es mío, a sweet story of a little boy who has a pet moose named Marcel.  The plot combines humor, drama, and emotion to capture a child's attention. But I also love the book because I can teach the concept of mio, tuyo, suyo, and nuestro with it.  Before reading the book I pass out plastic animals to my students.  We go over the names of the animals.  Here are some ideas for animals to use...

Squishy Farm Critters

Zoo Animal Squeeze Stress Balls

I then go over the words mio, tuyo, suyo, and nuestro by talking about who has which animals.  I start by talking about which animal is mine.  Then the students have to say which one is theirs. From there, we talk about which one is yours, his, and hers.  Finally, we talk about how the animals are ours.  For example,

"El elefante es mio."
"La vaca es tuya."
"El pato es suyo."
"Los animales son nuestros."

This is also a good time to review noun/adjective agreement.  Finally, we read the book.  In the book are a series of rules that the little boy gives to his moose.  The rules are numbered.  When we get to the numbers I have one of the students read the number so that we are reviewing that vocabulary also.

I plan to get more of Oliver Jeffers' books in Spanish in the near future and will share how I use them to teach Spanish.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Monster Stickers {Reviewing Body Parts}

{This post contains affiliate links.}

I love these Monsters Stickers for review body parts and colors!  I use them when reviewing other vocabulary words.  For example, I give my students a picture page {like the one below} from Basic Vocabulary Builder: Blackline Masters.  I then give them instructions in Spanish like "Pon el monstruo azul con dos cabezas en la primavera."  The kids have fun picking out the correct monster to put on the right picture.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Copy Cats {Reviewing Colors in Spanish}

Just found Copy Cats® at a local store and decided that it is a great game to review colors with.  I have been using this game with my youngest of students. There are three different ways to play...either by copying an established pattern with the colors,  collecting all of the same color, collecting one of each color, or a simple matching game.  While we play I have the kids say the colors outloud in Spanish that they pick up.  Fun for little ones!

Monday, October 21, 2013

Colored Dots {Review Activity}

Simple stickers can add to the fun of reviewing! I tend to use these handy items to review body parts. I ask the students to take a certain color and put it on their body part. The more they are covered in dots the more they enjoy it!  For example:

"Ponte azul en la oreja." Put blue on your ear.

"Ponte rosado en el hombro." Put pink on your shoulder.

These stickers can be used for picture pages also. I will take pages with pictures or clip art of items we are studying and give them to the students.  I will tell them to put a certain color on an item on the paper to review the vocabulary.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Love Mr. Potato Head! {Teaching Body Parts in Spanish}

{This post contains affiliate links.  Thanks for supporting this blog.}

Some of the simplest items can be great teaching tools.  Take Mr. Potato Head, for example!  I have been using him for a couple of years now to review body parts, clothing, and colors.  I have several Potato Heads which adds to the fun!  This activity has been successful with young children all the way up to teens!  You would think teens would consider this childish, but I have found that it brings humor to the lesson which motivates learning.

Normally, I start the review by grouping the body parts.  All the arms in one pile.  All the tongues in another.  You get the idea. Then I model for the students the language by giving them commands:
"Ponle dos brazos."
"Ponle unos zapatos negros."

After that it is the student's turn.  I take Mr. Potato head and they tell me how to build him.  One year I had a class of thirteen, and the building of Mr. Potato Head became a struggle between the boy and girls in the class.  When I called on a girl she inevitably would ask me to put something red or pink on him.  When I called on a boy they picked the Darth Vader parts.  This is what we ended up with...

He was affectionately named by one of the girls in the class! 
{Heart Vader}

There are several sets out there of Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head. It is mind-boggling!  There are even mini-potato heads these days.

With each set you can add more vocabulary.  For example, Darth Tater has a helmet (el casco).  Spud Bunny has slippers (las pantuflas). Spud Claus has a beard (la barba).

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Days of the Week Game

{This post contains affiliate links.  Thanks for supporting this blog.}

When it comes to young children and teaching them concepts of time it can be difficult.  Not because kids aren't smart, but because they live out of the concept of time early on (A wonderful place to be!).  So I always find it a challenge to teach kids the days of the week, the months and the clock. This past week I came up with a new game to get kids started on memorizing the days.

I used file folders, candy stickers, Library Pockets, and Monster bulletin board accents.  In each file folder I attached seven pockets with one day of the week written on each one.  The days were then placed in order in the folder. On the monster accents I wrote a day of the week on each one.  I made this game so that three students could I made three set of monsters, each with a day of the week on them (lunes through domingo).  I then made a few extra monsters with candy in their bellies. These are wild cards.

To play each student gets a file folder.  We place all the monsters face down on the table.  The object of the game is to fill each of your pockets with the correct day of the week.  But here's the have to fill the pockets in order! So if you don't pick up "lunes" on your first try you have to put the card back.  As you play have the kids say the days they have filled and then the one they are looking for before picking up a card.  This helps with rote memorization.  If they pick up a candy monster he can just go in their next pocket.

Lots of fun!  This concept can be used for other numbers, ordinal numbers, months, etc....basically, any concept that has an "order" to it.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Teaching the Days of the Week

 {This post contains affiliate links.  Thanks for supporting this blog.}

Learning concepts of time (months, days of the week, time) can be challenging for younger students.  I recently did a simple activity with some of my students using La oruga muy hambrienta.

I read through the book once with my students.  Then I gave them a chart with the days of the week on it.  La Oruga Muy Hambrienta works well for the days of the week because the book starts with Monday (instead of Sunday), which is considered the first day in the week in Spanish.  I then gave the students little pieces of clip art of the different foods that the caterpillar ate in the book.  As I re-read the book to them they glued the different foods onto the correct days that the caterpillar ate them. Throughout the activity numbers, the names of the foods and the days of the week can be reviewed.  As you can see from the picture, Saturday gets a bit ridiculous!  I didn't have room for all the foods, but then again maybe that drives home the point...that that very hungry caterpillar overate!

So how do you teach the days of the week?  In a couple of days I will have another post for a Days of the Week game.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Teaching Spanish Literature {Short Stories}

{Affiliate links used.}

One of my favorite parts of teaching Spanish is reading real literature (not just stories written  for language learners) with my students.  Recently, I started reading literature with my high school son.  I was amazed at how much he enjoyed the stories and how much more engaged he was than when working on grammar or vocabulary.

Here are some of my favorite literature pieces to teach.  I have used these selections time and again for about twenty years.  Most of these stories would be upper level high school or intermediate college level Spanish.

These first two selections are normally what I start out with if students have never read Spanish literature before. (NOTE: Many, but not all, of these selections can be found in Album.)

Signos de Puntuacion by Luis C. Infante - The story of how Sr. Alvarez's last will and testament gets interpreted.  His will is written without punctuation.  Each of his relatives or acquaintances punctuate his will to benefit themselves.  Humorous.  Great starter story because the bulk of the story is repeated (the will portion).

Una Carta a Dios by Gregorio Lopez y Fuentes - The humorous story of what happens when a Mexican farmer has complete faith in God and writes Him a letter.  There are a lot of resources on the internet to supplement teaching this story as it is incredibly popular with Spanish teachers.

No Oyes Ladrar Los Perros by Juan Rulfo - A man tries to save his wayward son after he has been injured.  Poignant and sad.

El Tiempo Borra by Javier de Viana - A short story from Uruguay about a gaucho who was imprisioned for 15 years.  He is released.  What will he find when he returns to his wife and child?

Continuidad de Los Parques by Julio Cortazar - A man reading a novel becomes a part of the story.  As with many of Cortazar's stories the line between reality and fantasy are blurred.

La Nocha Boca Arriba by Julio Cortazar - Another great story with a surprise ending. Two realities are presented: a human sacrifice and a motorcycle accident.  The level of reading on this one is a little more advanced.  I would save Julio Cortazar's work after students have had some experience in reading in Spanish.  Other titles by Cortazar: Casa Tomada, Axolotl.

Un dia de estos by Gabriel Garcia Marquez - While I am really not a fan of Garcia Marquez's longer works (i.e. One Hundred Years of Solitude).  This short story of a dentist and a mayor is worth the read.

La Pared by Vicente Blasco Ibanez - A touching story of two families in Spain that overcome a feud when a fire breaks out in one of their homes.  How tragedy can bring together enemies.

El Crimen Perfecto by Enrique Anderson Imbert - A story from an Argentine author about a man who believes that he has committed the perfect crime.  Very humorous with a touch of fantasy.

Horacio Quiroga's short stories, A La Deriva and Las Medias de los Flamencos will give your students a taste of  "The Poe of Latin America". Las Medias de los Flamencos is a more lighthearted story whereas A La Deriva is similar to some of the stories Edgar Allan Poe wrote. Teachers pay Teachers has a unit on Las Medias.  Here is my packet on A La Deriva.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Resources for Teaching Spanish

Last year I taught a class of thirteen young students beginning Spanish.  I have spent tons of hours looking for ideas, activities, songs, and the like to teach the class.  If you teach Spanish to young children  or if you homeschool and want to add some Spanish into your day here are some ideas:

Jose Luis Orozco has a song book and CD out that are wonderful for learning traditional Spanish children's songs.

Diez Deditos and Other Play Rhymes and Action Songs from Latin America (Spanish Edition) and Diez Deditos/ Ten Little Fingers are well worth checking into to expose your kids to more Spanish.  If you have limited ability in Spanish this is the way to go as the book has the Spanish and English translation and the CD has perfect pronunciation because Jose Luis is a native speaker.

Luis Pescetti (an Argentine musician) has a great website with tons of songs and games. Here is one of my favorites:

Here are some other ideas for teaching...

Body Parts

Unfortunately, Go Away, Big Green Monster! the Spanish version is out of print, but I use the English version and just translate it as I read.  So for those that do have a good command of the language this book is an excellent way to teach the parts of the face.  Here is a link to some printable cards to use with the book:
Sequence cards for Big Green Monster

How about using Mr. Potato Head for teaching body parts?

Another link with ideas for teaching body parts.

 I love this idea for reviewing opposites!  This game can be used with a group or one on one.

Good Night and Good Morning

A game like Duck, Duck, Goose


 Here is an idea to practice verb conjugations.  Create sentences for each person (I, you, he,etc.) and put them in their appropriate personal pronoun page.

The game Battleship is great for practicing verbs.

Various Vocabulary

There are several popular games that can be adapted for reviewing vocabulary.  Memory/Memoria (as long as you are saying the words as you pick up the cards) and Go Fish/Pesca work well.  With Go Fish I have sets of cards with a picture (four cards with the same picture are a set) on it of a vocabulary word we need to review.  Students will then ask each other, "Do you have______________?" in Spanish to collect the cards they need to create sets.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Teaching Numbers 1-20

(Affiliate links used)

Teaching numbers can be hard for the younger set.  Once they master up to twenty it gets easier. I recently used Un Alce, Veinte Ratones to review numbers 1-20 with one of my young Spanish students.  It worked out better than I had hoped!  Here's what I did:

First I read the story to her.  She was already familiar with the numbers and could count easily from one to twenty, but she is still working on identifying numbers that are out of order and just recognizing which numbers are what.  It's one thing to be able to count out loud.  It is another thing to be able to see a number and recognize what it is. So after reading the story to her I pulled out some number cards, put them in order and had her count 1 through 20 with the cards.

I then randomly picked a page and had her count the animals on that page.  She then had to look at the number on the page and find that same number on one of the number cards and hand it to me.

We did every page randomly until I had collected all the number cards from her.  I was amazed that she didn't get bored yet in the process she was counting over and over again and also working on recognizing the way numbers are written.

This book is also available in English under the title One Moose, Twenty Mice.  So if you home school your kids or your child is in school this would be a great book to work with them on recognizing their numbers and practicing counting!