Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Poetry in Language Learning

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Poetry is a great way to teach kids vocabulary and the flow and rhythm of a language. Over the years I have had students memorize poems (from elementary to the high school level) and have found it to be worth the effort.  The key is to pick poetry that is accessible to language learners (especially if they are elementary school age) and that has a decent vocabulary base so that they can increase the number of words they know.  Memorizing poetry also embeds in a language learner the structure or grammar of the language. 

Here is how I go about teaching a poem...

First I use half index cards and write one to two words on each card of the poem.  Depending on the length of the poem it may take quite a few cards.  If you are teaching a large group I would use full-sized cards so that they can be taped up on a wall (See activities below).


I store these cards in order according to their stanzas. I use an index card holder with dividers to keep them all in order.


There are a myriad of ways to use these cards:

*Lay out the poem cards (or maybe just a stanza or two if the poem is longer). Have the students read the poem. Then take away a couple of cards and have them read it again filling in the words that are missing. Keep taking cards away and having them say the poem until there are no more cards left. This works extremely well to help with memorizing!

*Put the poem in order. Give the students the cards all mixed up. Can they put them in the correct order?

*Lay out in order only a few of the cards from the poem. They don't need to be consecutive words. See if the cards give them enough cues to say the whole poem.

Here are some other ways I work with poetry with my students...

*Test their vocabulary knowledge of the poem. Call out one of the words in the poem and see if they can draw what you just said.

*For a homework assignment have them create a drawing that represents the poem.

*For older kids and highschoolers use the poem as a jumping off point to work with grammar points.

*Once a poem is memorized you can do a drawing activity with the poem. I say aloud one line in the poem and then see if the student can draw or make a representation of what is happening in that one line. The poem Mi Dragon {see below} works well with this activity.

Here are some poems and places to find poems to use in your classroom:

Juan Guinea Diaz- My favorite is Mi Dragon. (Scroll down to find it.)  I have used it with tons of my students with great success. Boys in particular love it.

Douglas Wright- Mr. Wright is from Buenos Aires and he has some great poems on his site for kids. This is one that I really like, but you should check out his whole site.

This poem for colors...



A big selection of poems for younger kids.


¡Pío Peep!: Traditional Spanish Nursery Rhymes are great for younger kids!






Sunday, November 16, 2014

Spanish Verb Charts {The Irregular Indicative}



Have you seen my other free printable of Spanish verbs? Sometimes it is helpful to have charts of the different tenses condensed for students. It can get confusing to keep it all straight as a student is trying to master the language.  Last time I posted all the regular verbs.  This time you can print off these charts of the irregular verbs in the indicative.

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I have been using Spanish Grammar in Review with my most advanced students to help them review all the grammar points they have learned. These charts pretty much follow how the verbs are introduced in the book: first the regular indicative and then the irregulars. Subjunctive comes later in the book. When I get to that section I will post charts. 

So here are all the irregulars.  These pages can be put behind each regular tense page...


Thursday, November 13, 2014

Spanish Verb Charts {Regular Indicative}

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Verbs can be tricky in Spanish especially for advanced students that have been introduced to all the tenses and moods. It is easy when you are working with one tense at a time, but put them together and things get muddled. A verb conjugation book like 501 Spanish Verbs is great as a reference, but sometimes students need the basics condensed for quick reference. I recently made this simple chart of the indicative verbs for my most advanced student.  Each page focuses on one tense and how to do the regular verbs.  My goal is eventually to make charts for the irregulars for each tense so that those pages can be added behind these charts. I also want to create charts for the subjunctive. So check back for more charts in the future!


Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Books for Winter in Spanish

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Reading a picture book is a great way to have younger students learn another language. They get the opportunity to hear the language and match it with the pictures. This allows them to make sense of words or concepts they might not otherwise understand.  Since the cold weather is upon us and the holidays will soon arrive, here is a list of great books to read to kids during the cold months:

Una Senora Con Frio Se Trago Un Poco De Nieve!- Follows the plot idea of the old lady who swallowed a fly.

La Mejor Navidad De Froggy - Froggy books are a favorite among my students. This book is no longer in print, but can be found cheaply on the used market. Hibernation is touched on as this is the first Christmas that Froggy has experienced because he is normally sleeping.

Un Dia de Nieve- A classic on the wonders of snow in childhood.

Copos y Cristales: Un Libro Sobre la Nieve - A science book for older elementary kids.

El Invierno -All about winter. More of an informational book.

El Mitón- A classic, but out of print.

¡ Cómo el Grinch robó la Navidad ! -Christmas...Grinch-style.

Estela, Reina de la Nieve- My students and I are loving Estela books! She and her little brother explore the world together. Cute conversations happen between the two of them.



Tren de Invierno - Beautiful book on how the animals escape winter.

Perdido y Encontrado- A penguin gets lost, but is ultimately found.



Oso No Para De Roncar - Bear keeps on snoring.

El Primer Beso de Froggy- Set in late winter (February), this story is for Valentine's Day.

Froggy Se Viste - An extremely humorous book about getting dressed to go out in the snow. This book is great for teaching clothing related to cold weather.




Also, if you are interested in a winter theme I have a post on a polar animals unit here.

Do you have favorite books that you share with your kids during the winter season? I would love to hear your ideas!

Also, here are some books for every season!

Spring Books
Summer Books
Fall Books