Monday, June 27, 2016

Se Venden Gorras

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Se Venden Gorras is a classic book that you can use to reinforce colors, actions, and prepositions in Spanish. Let's take a quick look at what you can do with this book when teaching Spanish...

A fun activity to do with this book is TPR (Total Physical Response). There are several actions within the story that you can ask your students to perform through giving commands in Spanish. Here is a list of the actions you can use...

Dormirse, despertarse, tocarse la cabeza, buscar a la derecha (a la izquierda), buscar a espaldas, levantar la vista, señalar con el dedo, apretar los puños, dar puntapiés, quitarse la gorra, tirarla al suelo, arrodillarse

With these actions, you can also play Simon says.



Remember the old game, Barrel of Monkeys? This would be a great time to play that game and practice counting in Spanish. 

This is a great printable you can do with your students. Give them instructions in Spanish on how many blue caps, red caps, etc. they need. Then also tell them in Spanish the order of the caps (you can make up a new order that's different from the book) that go on the peddler's head. Here are some more printables that are similar in which you can do a sequencing activity in Spanish.

Here are some free printables for the book. Yes, they are in English, but be creative and think of ways you could use them in Spanish. 

Here's such a cool idea...have your students recreate the story with actual manipulatives! This idea comes from Magical Movement Company. You can find it here.

CLICK HERE for more book activities.




Monday, June 20, 2016

De la Cabeza a Los Pies

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Animals and movement. What could be better for young children? I adore many of Eric Carle's books and have used them over the years in teaching Spanish. De la Cabeza a los Pies offers a wonderful opportunity to get kids moving and learning.

As far as vocabulary goes there are animal names to learn and body parts. Each page of the book features an animal like a penguin, seal or camel doing a certain action. The text is simple and somewhat repetitive to help kids absorb the language better. Here is a look at some learning activities you can do with this book:

Play Simon says in Spanish. Since there are a plethora of actions in the book you can use them to play this simple childhood game. Here is a list of possibilities...

Girar la cabeza, doblar el cuello, alzar los hombros, saludar con los brazos, aplaudir con las manos, golpearse el pecho, arquear la espalda, menear las caderas, doblar las rodillas, dar patadas, pisar muy fuerte, mover el dedo del pie

Another option with these actions is to call out the animal in Spanish and see if your students can do the action the animal did in the book. This requires a bit of memory so it might be a better activity after you have read the book a couple times to them. Along the same lines, you can call out a body part and see if they can point to it on themselves. 

Another activity I like to do along with this book is to use songs related to body parts. Diez Deditos is filled with wonderful songs and rhymes in Spanish for kids. It contains two to three songs that would be a great go-along for De la Cabeza a los Pies. Here is the song book for the CD which is incredibly helpful because not only do you get the words, but there are suggested actions for the songs.

Check comprehension by saying a sentence outloud about one of the animals...for example, "El mono saluda con los brazos." or "El cocodrilo gira la cabeza." If the statement is correct, then the students say, “Claro que sí” (a repeated line from the book). If the statement isn't correct, they say, "Claro que no".

If you are looking for graphics to go along with the book to make cards with, here is a link from Teach Beside Me. These are in English, but you could cut that part out or leave it. If you make cards, you can then have students select a card and say what the animal and action is in Spanish and then have them act it out.



Monday, June 13, 2016

El Nabo Gigante {Book Activities}

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Whenever I can use a story or a children's book to help my students learn it is so much more enjoyable. There is something about a story that sucks kids in and once you have their attention you can teach them more than through straight memorization or lecture. Let's take a look at a great book about a farming couple who grow a giant turnip. How will they ever be able to get the huge veggie out of the ground? El Nabo Gigante is a delightful tale of problem-solving and a group of farm animals.

First of all, there is a plethora of vocabulary to teach your students...lists of animals and veggies. Some of the colors are touched on in the story which can be a springboard for reviewing the colors with beginners. Also, three of the four seasons are mentioned which means you can review and/or teach those words.

Another opportunity with this book is to teach the parts of plants. Please see my post on the plant unit I use with my students.

Another great aspect of this book is that there are tons of words with the letters c and g. I take time to focus on these two sounds with my students that are learning to read Spanish. You can do this one of two ways...First, of all I create cards with some of the words from the book. {See the list below if you would like to make your own cards.}



Then I either teach my students the phonetic rules for c and g or I read off the cards and see if they can come up with the rules. In case you need a refresher, here are the rules.


  • The letter "c" makes the "s" sound when it is followed by "e" or "i". It makes the "k" sound when it is followed by "a", "o", or "u".
  • The letter "g" make an "h" sound when followed by "e" or "i". It makes the hard "g" sound (like in the word "gorilla") when followed by the other vowels.


Here is a list of words from the book you can put on cards for your students to practice reading:

"C" words: cama, crecer, arrancar, cintura, campesino, torcida, canarios, cocina, encima, cinco, ratoncito, cuello, cerditos, vaca, cabeza

"G" words: jugosa, gansos, agujero, gigante, gallinas, gatos, guisantes

Here is a drawing activity: At the beginning of the story you will notice that there are several animals that are described. For example: seis canarios amarillos, cinco gansos blancos, cuatro gallinas pintas, tres gatos negros, dos cerditos barrigudos, and una enorme vaca

Using this vocabulary, give your students instructions on what to draw, but mix up the vocabulary. So for example, say "tres cerditos amarillos" or "cinco vacas pintas" and see if they can draw them correctly.

You can also work with ordinal numbers with this story. On this page (just below) you can discuss in Spanish who is first, second, and so on.


Here is a great story sequencing activity (you would just need to write the cards in Spanish instead.) to go along with ordinal numbers.

And finally, you can always do a cooking project after reading this book. Make a stew with the vegetables mentioned in the book!

If you would like to read about more book activities in Spanish, visit here.


Thursday, June 9, 2016

Learning through Spanish Children's Books

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I absolutely love using stories as a teaching tool! I have used them with my own sons when they were little, and then eventually, started using them with my Spanish students. Over the next several Mondays in June and July I will be posting about children's books in Spanish along with learning activities to go with them. When you read a story to a child you not only can develop their vocabulary in the language, but you can also teach them about the world around them. 

Here is a list of the books I will be looking at. The link in parentheses will take you to the actual post filled with learning activities for each book. Please be aware that those links won't work until the posts are live.


I also have on the blog several others books I have highlighted and compiled activities for. Here is a list:


I am hoping through some of these posts you can pick up one of these books, read it to kids, and then do some great learning activities with them!