Thursday, October 22, 2015

Ocean Unit Study in Spanish

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This coming spring I will be teaching an ocean unit to some of my Spanish students {ages 4-12}. Here's a look at the materials I have prepared and the resources I will be using...

I LOVE reading children's books to my younger kids. Here are some options:

Cómo atrapar una estrella - A boy tries to catch a star, but in the end finds that a starfish is his friend.

Perdido y encontrado  - A boy tries to help a penguin find his home.

Una Isla Bajo el Sol - This is a sweet story of a boy visiting an island. The language is simple and repetitive. As of this posting it is out of print and is expensive. You might want to see if the local library has it. The price may change if they print it again.

Un Día Una Señora Se Tragó Una Caracola - Modeled after "I Know an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly", this book has a fun ending!

Océanos: Mundos submarinos - For older kids with more language experience. This is more of a science book about the oceans.

Estela, la estrella del mar - I have been loving the Estela books in Spanish lately! Estela has such cute conversations with her little brother, Samuel. This one is all about the sea.

Si quieres ver una ballena - If you want to see a whale there are certain things you must do. I have paired this book with a drawing and listening activity that you can read about here.

Another item that I picked up for this unit is a game,Spot it! Splash Card Game . My students love Spot It! games because they are fun and competitive. I love them because when you use them in another language vocabulary learning happens fast!  Here is how I use Spot it! in my lessons.

To teach the different sea life animals (see the vocabulary list below) I will be using these cards from Teachers pay Teachers. If you make two sets of cards you can play memory and Go Fish with them.

Sea life Cards

For my younger students I will be using two games from Mrs. Home Economist...the Build-a-Crab game (a good way to review body parts in Spanish) and the Ocean Animal Race. You can find both of them here. Also, for students that are just starting to write I am going to use Peces Plurales to have them practice how to make words plural in Spanish.

For older kids you can have them create "Sea Life Riddles" in Spanish. Have them write a description of an animal that lives in the ocean in Spanish. See if your other students can guess which animal the description is about. I also have my more advanced student either write or describe an ocean scene like this one.

Here are some other activities that can be done in Spanish...

Ocean I Spy- A great way to review animal names

Pearls in a Seashell- Counting review for younger kids

Flota y Hunde - Do an experiment on items that float and sink

Ocean Zones- Great activity for slightly older kids. Here's more information on ocean zones in Spanish.

And finally, here is an activity to review the names of the oceans in Spanish along with the continents so that you can teach a bit of geography.

And my list of vocabulary for the students and parents...

I am looking forward to all these fun activities and learning possibilities with my students soon! If you have any more ideas that I could incorporate please don't hesitate to share.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

El Monstruo de Los Monstruos

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I love a great children's book. Using literature is one of the ways I teach Spanish to my students. Last night I came home late to find a package...a book that would be great to use in the month of October and that teaches the value of gratitude and kindness. On so many levels this book delivers. The illustrations are cute. The story is fun and comical. The underlying message has great value.

El Monstruo de los Monstruos starts out with three little monsters who are constantly fighting about who is the biggest and most evil among them. They finally decide to create a monster that will trump them all. The only problem? This new and improved monster doesn't know how to act like one! He says "Thank you" and is kind to others. He finds joy and pleasure in the simple things of life. He eventually becomes a role model for his creators, the three little monsters, when they finally decide that maybe being a monster isn't all that it is cracked up to be.

One of the wonderful aspects of this book is the vocabulary that you can point out and teach your kids. There are a ton of nature words (sea, breeze, grasses, lightning,  etc.) as well as place names (town, bakery, beach). There are a plethora of words related to feelings like grumbling, hugging, smiling, being thankful. {See this post with an activity and free printable that would go well in the month of October and teaching emotions}. There is even some onomatopoeia!

This is definitely a book not to be missed!

Need some more ideas for the month of October? Check out these posts...

Teaching Seasons in Spanish
Bats in the Library
Spanish books for Fall
Chumba La Cachumba
Pumpkin Unit in Spanish
Shape Monsters

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Color Theory in Spanish

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I love doing hands-on activities with my students when I can. We speak in Spanish as we go through whatever task we are doing. I recently had one of the moms of some of my students loan me a book that goes really well with reviewing colors and even getting into color theory a bit. Como Nacio El Arco Iris by Alma Flor Ada is a fable about how the rainbow came to be. In the story Azul, Rojo, and Amarillo get together to paint the world (which is only black, white, and gray). In the process they begin to mix their colors to get new ones. What I like about this story is that it is more involved and can be used with older kids. In the past I have used Pinta ratones when doing color mixing activities, but really that book is for the younger crowd.

I use this free printable from Mama Jenn to do our color mixing. We start out with the simple color wheel that has only the primary and secondary colors and then move onto the more advanced one. Here is some vocabulary you can use with your students as you do the activity...

First check out this color wheel in Spanish that gives all the color names even the tertiary ones. Here is another color wheel with vocabulary that is slightly different.

Mezclar – to mix
Primario – primary
Secundario – secondary
Terciario – tertiary
Las gotas – water drops (part of the color mixing activity)
Colores fríos – cool colors
Colores cálidos – warm colors

My students loved doing the color mixing after reading the book! 

And finally, here is another one of my posts on color activities for younger students in case you work more with early elementary kids. 

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Teaching Seasons in Spanish

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There are only four, but at times they are really hard to remember. The seasons can be a challenge to learn especially for younger kids. Here are a few teaching ideas for the seasons...

When I teach the seasons and if the students are old enough {junior high and up} I try to give them tips on how to memorize the names. Here are the ideas I use...

El otoño - It sounds similar to the word "autumn".

El invierno - This word actually comes from the word "to hibernate". I also teach my students that it is the "inverse" (opposite of summer). "Invierno" kind of sounds a little like "inverse" so sometimes that helps students remember.

La primavera - Spring comes from two words "prima" (We have words in English like "prime" and "premiere" which refer to "one" or "first") and "vera" (This is similar to the word "green", verde). So basically this word means "first green" which totally fits for spring!

El verano - Summer starts out with "ver" similar to "verde" the season that is all green.

One of the activities we do after I have introduced the seasons and months is to categorize the months into the four seasons. I do this with cards...I have four different pictures of trees to represent the seasons and twelve cards with the months on them. We do it for the northern hemisphere and then talk about the southern hemisphere since there are many Spanish-speaking countries in which the seasons are flipped like Argentina and Chile. Another version of this activity is for my students to categorize clothing and/or weather into the appropriate season.

For older students I have them do this page which lets them work with other vocabulary related to each season.

If you are exploring the seasons with younger kids then children's books are the way to go. Un recorrido por las estaciones covers all the seasons and months. It also has some cool information on the days of the week in the back.

Also, I have several posts on books for each season of the year...

Just recently I came across a cute book about waiting for spring called Y de pronto la primavera . Well worth the read to young kids!

So how do you teach the seasons? I would love to hear your ideas!