Wednesday, March 26, 2014

De la A a la Z {Country Books in Spanish}

Teaching about the different cultures and countries of Latin America can be tricky. While most of them speak Spanish that doesn't mean they have the same culture. What is normal and acceptable in Columbia maybe totally different in Bolivia. What is well known in Chile may never have been heard of in Mexico. Like my friend from Argentina who one day visited Mexico and ordered a tortilla and was shocked to find out that it was a type of bread.  To her a tortilla is a potato omelette.

I recently came across a series of books for different Spanish-speaking countries. The series is called "De la A a la Z" (From A to Z). I decided to order the one about Argentina since I've lived there and am most familiar with their culture. I have to say I was really impressed with the book! There was a wealth of information in there to teach Argentine culture.

Each page takes a letter of the alphabet and connects it to an item in that culture. For example, the A is for Aconcagua in Argentina. The E is for empanada.  The M is for mate. Each page has a poem or rhyme in Spanish about the item and more information (also in Spanish) down at the bottom.  I was impressed to notice that even the correct Argentine vocabulary is used for simple items. For example, they use the word pollera instead of falda for skirt.  Most Argentines would use the first word instead of the second.
Here is a list of books in the series:

De La A a la Z Puerto Rico
De la A a la Z Peru
Argentina (De La a a La Z) 
De la A a la Z República Dominicana
De la A a la Z Guatemala 
De la A la Z Por Mexico
de La A a la Z Cuba
De la A a la Z Chile
De la A a la Z Colombia

Because these books are written totally in Spanish, they are better suited to older kids and those that are more advanced in the language. These would also be excellent books for native speakers to learn more about the countries they are less familiar with. They would be a great addition to a Spanish classroom! 

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Shape Monsters

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 Learning the names of shapes in another language is a great activity for preschool age kids or those in the lower elementary levels.  These are the shapes that I tend to teach my students...

El círculo-circle

El triángulo-triangle

El cuadrado-square

El rectángulo- rectangle

La estrella-star

La medialuna-crescent, half moon

El corazón-heart

El óvalo-oval

El diamante-diamond

I create little packets of colored shapes that I hand out to my students.  Their job is to create a shape monster or two with the shapes by gluing them together or onto a piece of paper.  I then have my students present their creations to me by telling me in Spanish what each body part is made of.  For example, "Los ojos son circulos."  or "El cuerpo es un diamante."  You can also have them tell you the colors of the body parts.

To create the shapes I used the following items:

Fiskars 196920-1001 Portable Paper Trimmer, 12-Inch (Good for creating the larger shapes with straight edges.  You will need a couple of  big shapes in each packet that can be used as bodies.)
Fiskars Circle Cutter (Good for bigger circles for the bodies)
Fiskars Shape Template, Ovals (Bigger ovals for the bodies)
Circle Punches
Square Punches
Paper Punch Set, Mini, Heart and Star

Triangles are easily made by cutting squares in half. Crescents can be made with by punching out circles and then hand cutting the curve out of one side of the circle.

I use astrobright paper to cut everything out, and then I pack Ziploc sandwich bags with a variety of shapes. Not every packet is the same and they aren't required to use all the shapes.  I just want them to be creative and come up with some kind of monster.  Such a fun and cute activity!