Thursday, October 23, 2014

Using Mystery Pictures to Teach Numbers in Spanish

Numbers are tricky in another language. They are especially hard for elementary students who are still learning numbers in their native tongue. Recently, I started using hundreds chart mystery pictures to help my younger students review numbers 1-100.  It has worked out really well!

Here is how I go about it...

First, you need to find some mystery pictures already set up for you. Look at the bottom of this post for a list of resources.

I then take my mystery picture and cut off the list of colors and numbers at the bottom so the student doesn't have access to them.

With colored pencils in hand, the student listens as I call off in Spanish the color and the number. I don't go in the order listed on the page, but rather I jump around between the colors and the numbers. I use the strip with the numbers printed on it to mark off what numbers I have called. By skipping around like this it keeps it interesting for the student and keeps them guessing as to the picture. Eventually though it becomes obvious that there is a pattern emerging. When this happens I then have the student start speaking in Spanish. I will point to a box and they have to guess the color and say the number of the box in Spanish. More often than not they are right on their guesses. 

For younger students you may have to really breakdown the numbers in order for them to find them. Normally, I say the number {like 45} then I use the chart to have them count by tens to find the first part of the number. Once they find the forty we go down to the next row to look for the other number (in the ones column). The students may have to count to get there, but that is ok.  Just more practice for them!

Here are the charts I use. The first resource has the most options and includes different themes. For example the pictures in this post are of the pumpkin chart. I used this as I was doing a pumpkin unit in Spanish with my students.

And if you want to go a bit higher here are charts up to 120!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Teaching Emotions in Spanish {Free Printable}

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Over the past few weeks I have been teaching a pumpkin unit to my students. One of the activities that I stumbled upon as we worked through the material is to teach emotions.  Having blank pumpkins to put faces on just naturally works with reviewing the vocabulary for different feelings.

By far, the BEST Spanish children's book that I have encountered to deal with a variety of emotion vocabulary is Así Me Siento Yo. (You can read my review here.) Not only does this book incorporate rhyming words, the illustrations really drive home what emotion is being talked about on each page. 

First, I read the book to my students. We then use the following printable. I call out the type of pumpkin (for example: la calabaza triste, la calabaza enojada) and they have to draw the appropriate face on one of the pumpkins on the page. It is amazing to see the creativity in my students...for example, I had a few students not draw a face on their "shy pumpkin" because in their view a shy person tends to turn away from others and you can't see his or her face. Brilliant!

This short lesson has really helped to cement some of the vocabulary on emotions that I have been struggling to teach to my students. Fall would be a great time to review once again feelings with your students! After all, every pumpkin needs a face filled with emotion.

Pumpkin Faces Printable

If you work with young kids this set from Lego Education looks awesome!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Polar Animals Unit in Spanish

I live in Alaska so I am very familiar with the cold, snow, and the animals of this region.  We  have had moose walk down our street. One year a caribou herd entered town in the depth of the cold. So since my students are somewhat familiar with the arctic (We actually live in a boreal forest area than the arctic.), I decided to do a polar unit with my students. I have lived in Argentina {love that country!} and been to the southernmost city in the world (Ushuaia) so I have a little familiarity with the other side of the world. So why not add the antarctic to our studies since South America at least comes somewhat close to it and hosts penguins and other animals from that region.  Here is a list of resources if you would like to teach about the two poles and the animals that live there...

I start out this unit by teaching the continents and then talking about which continents are in or near the arctic and antarctic. We then move onto animal names.  Here is the list we work with including the regions that they are located in. "Los Dos" indicates that they are both arctic and antarctic animals. {Note: A moose is not an arctic animal...more sub-arctic, but many people include them in the list.}

Foca-seal   los dos 
Morsa-walrus   ártico
Zorro-fox   ártico
Alce-moose   ártico
Oso polar-polar bear   ártico
Pingüino-penguin   antártida
Orca-killer whale   los dos
Ballena-whale   los dos
Caribú-caribou   ártico
Buey almizclero-musk ox   ártico

Please see all the resources below that I use to teach this unit...

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Books to Read

Mi primer Atlas -I love using this children's atlas all in Spanish. For this unit, I use it to show and discuss the polar regions.

El Habitat Del Artico

El Habitat De La Antartida

Arriba y Abajo-A sweet book with a penguin as one of the main characters. Read my review of it here.

Perdido y Encontrado -Another great book by the same author as Arriba y Abajo . Here is my review with teaching ideas for the book.

El Invierno-A book to discuss more about winter.

Copos y Cristales: Un Libro Sobre la Nieve

Adivina Que Esta Creciendo Dentro de Este Huevo -While this book is all about animals that come from eggs it does have great information on penguins (antarctic) and octopi (both arctic and antarctic).  There are several other animals in the book, however, that would not pertain to a polar animal unit.

Teachers Pay Teachers Units

I use a lot of the available resources at Teachers Pay Teachers so that I don't have to reinvent the wheel!  It saves me so much time!

Penguin Prepositions-Posters that teach prepositions using penguins and ice.

Polar Bears and Penguins-Great little booklets and fact sheets all in Spanish about these two "polar opposite" animals.

Penguin Preposition Practice

Los Continentes-I teach the continents in Spanish with this unit and we discuss what continents are involved in the arctic and antarctic and which ones are close to those two regions.

Find and Tally Arctic and Antarctic Animals

Polar Vocabulary in Spanish

Foca, Foca Reader


This science activity to show how animals survive the cold.

Roll and Draw a Penguin-How about a game in which all you need is a die, this printable and a pencil? An excellent way to incorporate some more words into your students' vocabulary. This is a competitive game. Roll the die and draw in the penguin part. The first person to complete his or her penguin with all five parts wins.