Friday, April 24, 2015

Using Hidden Pictures in Language Teaching

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There are times when as a teacher that you need to do a low-key activity to finish off a lesson, or you need to just spend some time review easier material after covering tough concepts. For the past few weeks I have been pulling out these pictures and using them to review vocabulary. I basically cut off the bottom where the words are {see above picture} then I call out a color and the item they need to look for. My students then color in the appropriate item. There are several resources from which you can pull pictures to use in this fashion. Here are a few:

Hidden Pictures in Spanish: Vocabulary Review for Beginners. {Pictured above}-This is the book that I have been using. The artwork is well done and the searching out of the items is challenging. My students have LOVED these. However, I have one complaint about it...There are a few pictures that I would not use with younger children because the have pictures of Dracula, Frankenstein, etc. They aren't overly scary and would be fine for older kids, but I am uncomfortable using them with young ones in case there is a sensitivity to images like that. What I do have to say about these pictures is that they are thematic, and I LOVE that. So, I can pull out the picture page on food and we can find all the hidden foods or if we are reviewing house vocabulary I can pull out the one that reviews those words.

Highlights Hidden Picture Books are another option. I recently bought one of them and will be using it soon. From what I can tell these aren't very thematic...more random things to find.

I love this picture {not a hidden picture activity, but more of an "I Spy" activity}-This picture actually works really well with young children after I have taught them all the rhyming words in Spanish. To see what I did for my rhyming words unit, click here.

Here is another set of "I Spy" type activities. They are set up in French but can be used for any language.

 If you know of other resources for hidden pictures or I Spy pictures please comment below as I am always on the lookout for more resources.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Plant Unit in Spanish {With Free Printables}

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I am gearing up to do a plant unit this summer with some of my students. This unit is really going to focus on the parts of a plant and which parts we eat. We will touch on the life cycle of a plant and their needs (sun, water, soil, etc.). So here is a list of resources if you want to do a plant unit with your own students.

I love reading children's books in Spanish for each unit I do with my students. Some of the books I read can be informational, but I love reading stories that incorporate the theme we are studying. Here is a list of what we will be reading...

Como crece una semilla- A "Let's Read and Find Out" book on how seeds grow.

Arriba, Abajo y Alrededor  - This is a great book to teach/review the names of some vegetables and learn the three prepositions from the title. One of my favorites for younger kids.

La Gallinita Roja y la Espiga Trigo- A traditional story about how wheat grows to eventually be made into bread and how important it is to help others.



El Nabo Gigante-A hilarious story about a gigantic turnip.

El Flamboyan Amarillo-The story of a boy who grows a tree and gets a surprise!

La Semilla de Zanahoria-A classic story for younger kids about a carrot that takes forever to sprout.



El Ratoncito, La Fresa Roja Y Madura y El Gran Oso Hambriento-A little mouse tries to save a strawberry from a hungry bear.

Here is a list of other resources and activities I will be doing with my students...



One of the activities we will be doing is playing a "Collect It" game. I made the above labels with the different parts of a plant to display during the game. I then made little cards with different types of fruits and veggies on them. {You can find the pictures here.} Here is how you play...Make sure you have made enough cards so that each student that is playing can collect each part of the plant. For example: Radishes are roots, peas are seeds, etc. The goal is for each student to end up with six items each one representing the six parts of a plant. You can make a few extra cards if you like. You start playing by laying all the cards face down. Each student takes a turn picking up a card. If they need that card they lay it face up in front of them. If it is a duplicate part then they return the card and lose their turn. The first to collect the six parts wins.  NOTE: Some of the veggies can be tricky. For example, did you know that potatoes are actually part of the stem? And onions are actually leaves not roots even though we call them root vegetables? So make sure you know what is what before playing with the kids.

Pumpkin Life Cycle War Card Game-Anytime I teach a life cycle {like the life cycle of a plant} I teach/review the ordinal numbers. This game is great for this! I know it is in English, but I will use it to review Spanish vocabulary. When kids lay down their cards they will have to say the stage in Spanish or the ordinal number in Spanish {depending on how we decide to play that round.}

Fold and Learn Plant Parts {in Spanish or English}

Plant Unit in Spanish

Roll and Build a Flower Game-To review the parts of a flower

Finally, here is a printable that I give to my parents on what their children are learning. It is the basic vocabulary for the unit.



Also, here is a file for the parts of a plant labels for the Collect It game...



Enjoy exploring plants with your students!

Friday, April 10, 2015

Spanish Books for Spring {for Kids}

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I love spring and the promise of warmer weather and growing green things out in the garden! When you live in Alaska spring holds a special place in your heart! So here is a collection of spring books to read to your kids/students in Spanish.  You can do all kinds of exploring with these books. Gardens, butterflies, and rain await you!


La Oruga Muy Hambrienta- A classic great for teaching the days of the week and food vocabulary.

El pollito que no quería salir del huevo- A cute book about a chick that doesn't want to hatch from his egg.

La Semilla de Zanahoria -Another simple classic about waiting for a carrot to pop up from the ground.

Como crece una semilla- A "Let's Read and Find Out" science book about how seeds grow.

Adivina Cuanto Te Quiero-A baby bunny wants to know how much he is loved.

Froggy al Bate- My Spanish students love Froggy books! Here is his adventure at bat.

¡Montones de mariquitas!- A counting book that teaches kids how to count by fives. You can use the story to practice counting by ones and fives.

Atrapados-We love Oliver Jeffers' books in Spanish around here! This is a comical story about a boy that gets his kite caught in a tree. What happens next is unbelievable!

Habia una vez una gota de lluvia and Habia una vez una semilla are two books I am going to be ordering soon to use during the spring months.

To see more spring activities for Spanish students check out these posts:

Insect unit
Ladybug unit
La Oruga Muy Hambrienta activities

Here is a plant unit that goes great with spring and/or summer!

Looking for other seasonal books?

Winter Books
Summer Books
Fall Books

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Solar System Unit in Spanish {Resources, Ideas, and Free Printable}

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This fall I will be teaching my younger students a solar system unit in Spanish. I LOVE doing these units as it gives them extra vocabulary that we wouldn't fit in otherwise. It also lets us explore a theme in depth. I am still in the process of putting the finishing touches on this unit, but here are the basics: vocabulary, resources, and ideas. 

Vocabulary and Grammatical Concepts:

Here is a free printable to use with all the vocabulary for this unit:



Teaching the Solar System is a great way to incorporate the ordinal numbers {first, second, third, etc.} when you teach/review the order of the planets. You can also teach vocabulary related to size {small, big} and distance {close to, far from, in between}. During this unit I plan to also review the verb "estar" because it relates to location.

Here are several children's books that we will be reading:


De vuelta a casa -A cute story of a little boy and a martian that he meets on the moon. Written and illustrated by Oliver Jeffers.

Cómo atrapar una estrella -Another adorable book by Oliver Jeffers on how to catch a star.

El Universo (Mi Pequeno Enciclopedia)-A simple informational book on the universe. I LOVE this series of books!

Llevé a la Luna A Pasear-A story about taking the moon for a walk.



Other resources:

Giant Magnetic Solar System- This set can be used throughout the unit for various activities. One idea? Use it to teach the ordinal numbers in Spanish while putting the planets in order.

Show relative distance between the planets- This is great to reinforce words like cerca, lejos, entre.

Galaxy Game

Simple Exercise to label the planets in Spanish

Idiomatic Expressions to teach with the word "LUNA"

El Sistem Solar Unit-on Teachers pay Teachers

Yo Tengo...Quien Tiene Solar System Game

Planets Lapbook in Spanish and English

El Sistema Solar posters

Enjoy teaching about the Solar System! If you have any other ideas I would love to hear them!