Friday, January 31, 2014

Valentine's Day Ideas for Spanish Learners

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Here are some ideas for teaching about Valentine's Day to your Spanish students...

There aren't a ton of children's books in Spanish out there for Valentine's Day, but here is a short list of possibilities.  My personal favorite is El Primer Beso de Froggy, but as of this posting it is out of print.  If you can get a hold of of the book, it is great for middle to upper elementary students.

El Primer Beso de Froggy
Un beso en mi mano
El Conejito Andarin
Adivina Cuanto Te Quiero

I also create vocabulary games for Valentine's Day...either Bingo, Memory, or Go Fish work well.  Here is the list of vocabulary I normally use...

los besos
el corazón
los caramelos
el chocolate
el regalo
las flores
el cupido
la tarjeta
la flecha
el abrazo

I search for images for these items and create a file that has two copies of each image and then one copy of the word printed out.  I then put these on half index cards.  I then laminate them so that they will last. So for every word I have two image cards and one word card.  This set of cards gives you a lot of leeway on which game to use and what level to do depending on the age of your students.  For example, you can play Memory two ways by matching the same two pictures together for younger students or by matching the picture and the word for older students.  All you need to do is pull the cards you want to use.  For Go Fish, I tend to use just the picture cards.  You may need to make more than one deck of cards depending on how many students you have at once.  I now only do small group lessons so one deck of cards suffices.

Also, you can make bingo cards with the images (I do six images per card) and use the word cards as your calling cards.  This is a bit more work as you need to make enough cards for the number of students you have. And, of course, you will need to print more images for the bingo cards.  But I made a set when I taught in the public school system that I used year after year.  We used conversation hearts as markers for their bingo cards.  The students LOVED it.  Basically, to win, a student had to cover all six images on the card as I called them out in Spanish.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Bingo with Numbers and Colors

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Two of the first concepts I teach kids in Spanish are the colors and numbers. Bingo is a great way to practice working with this type of vocabulary.  Over the years I have taught preschoolers all the way up to the different age levels present challenges on keeping the activities interesting. Last year I taught a children's Spanish class that had a variety of ages in it (from ages four to eleven).  To make my color and number bingo game more interesting I made different levels of cards {see above}.  There were cards with just counting pictures, the regular cards with the number and color, and then cards in which the child had to do some math to figure out the number for that space.

When I play color and number bingo with my students they have to have the right number in the right color to cover their spots.  I normally make cards with six spaces so the game doesn't run too long and kids lose interest. They must cover all the spots to win. But before I make the cards for the kids, I put together the "calling cards" {see below} so that I know which numbers and colors to call out. Half index cards are great for these.  I also normally limit the range of numbers we are going to play with.  This particular set you see here is for numbers 1-20.  I then make the students' cards on large index cards.  I used stamps {here is a similar set} to create the pictures and number stamps to create the cards with just the digits.

This type of bingo really makes the students think because they have to deal with two sets of vocabulary.  Students quickly learn to figure out the color first and then narrow down the numbers. It is a great review activity!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Como Atrapar una Estrella {+ An Activity and Some Art}

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Cómo atrapar una estrella is a precious story by Oliver Jeffers about a boy who desperately wants to have a star for a friend.  In the end, he gets what he wants.  A real, live star!  You will just have to read the book to see how it turns out! I have to say that this story just warms my heart! 

Here is some vocabulary that is used in the book.  You can use this vocab in games like Go Fish, Memory, and Pictionary in a classroom.  See this post for some ideas.

la estrella
la noche
la ventana
jugar a las escondidas
dar paseos
el sol
el salvavidas
el nave especial
la luna
la gaviota
el cielo
la arena

If you are teaching younger kids this is such a cute activity!  It has the potential to get you wet, but what a way to reenact the book.  While the kids are doing the activity you can be talking in Spanish about what happened in the book while reinforcing vocabulary.  Check out this post from Small Potatoes! This activity would be great to reinforce the concept of counting for younger kids as they "catch" stars.

Here is a link to some star crafts to go with the book.

Here are my other reviews of Oliver Jeffers' books in Spanish.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Homeschool Share Resources {Teaching Hispanic Culture and Geography}

If you are a homeschool teacher or Spanish teacher there are some great resources on Homeschool Share for teaching Hispanic culture.  Here is an overview of what they offer...

South America unit studies based on children's books
Lapbook printables for some South American countries
Lapbook printables for North American countries that speak Spanish

You will need to scroll down through these pages as there is a lot to choose from! Take some time to meander through their materials to see what you can use to help you teach your kids/students more about Hispanic culture.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Teaching Emotions with Ping Pong Balls

So here is a quick hands-on idea for teaching and reviewing emotions.  Get some Ping Pong Balls and a black sharpie.  Look online for facial expressions like these...

There are a plethora of examples when you google "How are you feeling today faces".  Then using someone who has artistic talent {Which would NOT be me.  My husband made the ping pong balls you see at the top of the post.}, draw a face on each ball.

I use these ping pong balls to review emotions by putting all of them in a sack or bag.  One student asks another...
¿Cómo estás?  The second student pulls out a ping pong ball from the bag and answers according to what they see on the ball. He or she can then toss the ball into a bowl.  You continue doing this until the emotions run out.

Another game {a little more wild} is to place the balls in the center of a circle of students.  Call out an emotion and see who can retrieve the correct one first.  Note: Set some serious parameters on how to play so that no one gets hurt!!

Anytime you can add variety to your with these ping pong balls, you increase the motivation to learn! Have fun!

Here are a few children's books in Spanish to go along with teaching emotions...

Quiero Mas Fideos!
¿Cómo me siento?- Very simple board book
Así me siento yo

And look at this great set for young kids...Lego Education Build Me Emotions.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Perdido y Encontrado by Oliver Jeffers {Book Review and Teaching Ideas}

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Perdido y encontrado by Oliver Jeffers focuses on the relationship between a little boy and a penguin.  Jeffers  has written another book, Arriba y Abajo, with the same two characters. In Perdido y Encontrado, the little boy finds a penguin that he believes is lost so the boy decides to return him to the place the penguin belongs.  When he does, the boy soon realizes that the penguin isn't lost.  He is just lonely.

You can use the below vocabulary list to do games like Memory, Go Fish or Pictionary. See an example, here, with another one of Jeffers' books.

Here is the vocabulary that you can emphasize from the book:

el pingüino
los pájaros
el patito
el barco
el Polo Sur
el bote
el mar
las olas

To learn about some of Jeffers' other books in Spanish, click here.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Atrapados by Oliver Jeffers {Activity Idea Included}

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Atrapados is one of my favorite Oliver Jeffers' because of its humor and the ability to teach a ton of vocabulary with the book.  The story surrounds a little boy who gets his kite caught in a tree.  In order to get the kite out he throws one of his shoes up in the tree to dislodge the kite.  Well, that doesn't work, and the craziness begins.  By the end, the tree looks like this:

Here is the LONG list of what gets stuck in the tree...

Dos zapatos
Lata de pintura
Camión de bomberos

This list can be used to do the following activity.  You will need to create a tree and then have pictures of all the above items.  You then call out an item and the students put it on the tree.  You can either do this with individual trees or a bigger one for the whole classroom. Here's an example from Mama Von Teacher:.