Saturday, April 30, 2016

Spanish in the Summer

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Summer is rapidly approaching. There is a plethora of ideas, books, and resources out there to teach Spanish. Here is a list of all the ideas that would work well with summer to help your students/kids learn more Spanish.


Here is the unit I developed on Oceans. {Free printables available.}


Si Quieres Ver Una Ballena is such a sweet and funny book about how to spot a whale. I have developed some activities for it here.


Here is a post with a list of Ocean-themed books in Spanish for kids.








For the younger set, here is an activity to go along with La Oruga Muy Hambrienta.

Enjoy teaching Spanish this summer!!!

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Silly Sentences in Spanish

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I love using flashcards to help kids review vocabulary, but let's face it, review with flashcards is rather boring. So when I can, I use flashcards as a basis for creating crazy sentences. Most of my flashcards are stored in categories. For example, all modes of transportation are together or all items in a house are in another pile. {NOTE: I make flashcards with the pictures from these books: Basic Vocabulary Builder and Practical Vocabulary Builder.}


I pick about three categories of vocabulary cards and lay the piles face down. For example, I could use professions, places in a city, and modes of transportation. A student picks up the top card of each pile and then says a sentence based on the three pictures. For example...

El mecánico va al cine en la moto.

The next student then turns over the next set of cards to create a new sentence. Many of the sentences will be "crazy"...like "The doctors go to the supermarket in a helicopter."

There are tons of card combinations you can use to create sentences. Here are just a few ideas with the cards you would use and an example sentence:

  • Subject pronouns~Verb~Place  {Yo bailo en el banco.}
  • Family Members~Food~Colors {La hermana come las fresas verdes.}
  • Household Items~Rooms in a House {La cama está en la sala.}
  • Clothing~Colors~Seasons  {Uso la camisa blanca en el verano.}
  • Animals~Preposition~Items in a House {El mono está a la derecha de la mesa.}

Don't want to make your own cards? Here are cards that would go well with this activity...


Photo Cards {Already separated into 16 categories}

Photo action cards











Noun Cards {Things Around the Home}


Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Toys for Language Learning


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For young kids (and even some older ones), there is incredible value in having items that they can manipulate as they learn. My students eyes light up when I bring out any type of item that is toy-like to help them acquire Spanish. That's why this list of building sets could be incredibly valuable when you are teaching another language to kids.

These LEGO® sets would work really well if you are teaching young kids a foreign language...

The first one that caught my eye was the Build Me Emotions set. For years I have struggled to come up with ideas for teaching emotions so I am always on the lookout for new ideas. I see so much potential for this set like...




  • Telling students "Edifica triste" or "Edifica contento" then having kids build a character with that emotion.
  • Calling out an action in the target language and having them make a person with an appropriate emotion on its face. For example, the teacher says "Yo como el chocolate" and a happy person is built.
  • Describing a person (what they are wearing) and what they are doing then having kids make that person with the correct colored clothing and a facial expression for the action.



The Animal Bingo set is a like a bingo game in which kids pick a building card that allows them to create an animal as they collect the pieces for it. With this game, there is the opportunity to learn animal names, colors, and shapes.




The World People Set are great props for physical description of people and clothing. The vocabulary for family members would work well with these also. I would use this set by displaying all the figures and then describing in Spanish one of the people to see if my students can guess who I am talking about. Students can also describe the people in the target language. Another idea is to categorize the people into groups by calling out a characteristic like "pelo moreno" or "lleva azul" and have your students separate out those that fit into that category.



Community Minifigures - a great set for discussing occupations and descriptions of people.



Time Teacher with Constructible Clock- A clock that kids can build and that you can use with them to teach them to tell time!



Family and House Kit- Build this house and then there are opportunities to talk about the rooms of the house and what they contain. This set would be great to work with prepositions. Students could describe where things are located in the target language or the teacher could tell students where to put certain items.



This Food Set has a plethora of pieces so that kids can "build" different foods. This is definitely on my wish list as I know my younger students would adore it! There are opportunities to discuss the colors of the foods, learn new food words, and even do categories of foods (like fruits, veggies, meats, etc.)

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Thursday, April 7, 2016

¡Caramba! Game

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I am closing out the school year with my Spanish lessons and wanted a way to review the vocabulary we have been working on. I came across on Pinterest a post about Kaboom! It was created for elementary classrooms, but I thought it would be perfect for language learners also! So here is how you go about it:

First of all you will need...

Jumbo Craft Sticks
Sharpie Markers
Cups (Not see through)

Since I work with a lot of different levels of students I had several categories of vocabulary I wanted to use like house items, the alphabet, clothes, opposites, etc. I decided to color-code the sticks  on one end. This helps with two things. Kids will know how to put them in the cup with the colored part sticking out. This allows me to  select which sets of vocabulary to use with certain sets of students. For example, I know that the orange sticks are emotions and the pink sticks are foods. {See the final set of pictures for the list I made for myself.}


After you color the tips, you write one word towards the other end of the stick. I tend to use about 15 sticks for a vocabulary-themed set. Three of those sticks will have the word "Caramba" written on them. The rest will have vocabulary words you want kids to review.


To play the game you put one set (or maybe two or three if you have more advanced students) in a cup with the colored tips up. Students take turns pulling a stick out of the cup and giving the translation of the word. They keep the stick if they can say what it means in English. Otherwise, they put it back in the cup if they don't know. If they pull a "Caramba" stick they have to put back ALL their sticks! I time the game for about three minutes. The student with the most sticks at the end wins!

This is a fun way to review vocabulary which at times can be tedious!