Friday, June 23, 2017

Spanish Camp for Kids {Day 5}


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The final day of camp! Time for review and fun and games! We will review all previous vocabulary through different activities. We may even go back to some of the earlier activities in the week. {To see all the posts for my Spanish camps, click here.} We will finish off the week with making personal piñatas. You can find the instructions here.


We will also play some extra games today...

Minute-To-Win-It games- We will do several of these games...especially the ones with pompoms.

Mano Nerviosa- A simple game that uses regular decks of cards to review numbers. My students LOVE this game!

Cerdos- We will have played this earlier in the week, but for today I have set up this game to review more of the vocabulary we have learned.



To finish off, I will read La Piñata Vacía to my students and hand out these little packages of bilingual cookies to them as they go! They are available here.



To see all the ideas for each day of my Spanish camps, click HERE! And I would love to hear from you! If you have done Spanish camps before, what activities have you done? What has worked well?


Thursday, June 22, 2017

Spanish Camp for Kids {Day 4}

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I had the privilege of living in Buenos Aires, Argentina for awhile to improve my Spanish. One of the interesting places I visited was the neighborhood of La Boca with its brightly painted houses. So for the fourth day of my Spanish camp we are going to focus on houses and the vocabulary surrounding them (door, window, up, down, outside, inside) and then recreate some of the typical houses in La Boca.


Today I have decided to rely heavily on die cuts. I made six houses each in a different color. I also made die cuts of different weather symbols. So to review weather, house, and color vocabulary I will give students instructions in Spanish and see if they can create the scene I describe. For example...

Llueve sobre la casa roja.
Nieva sobre la casa verde.


I am also going to take this opportunity to review animals with the die cut houses. I found some animals that were smaller than the houses. I will lay out all the different colored houses and then hide one of the animals underneath one of the houses. Students will need to ask me in the target language if the animal is behind the blue house or the yellow house, etc. 


Another activity we will do is to draw in the details of houses following my instructions in Spanish. See this post for more information. And this post for the printable of houses you can use.

One of our active games today will be using the colored cups I bought for the week. With them we will play "Arriba/Abajo". Take several cups (maybe twice as many cups as you have students) and place half of them right side up (arriba) and half of them upside down (abajo) on the lawn or large play area. Divide your group into two teams one that is "arriba" and one that is "abajo". Tell them to start...the object of the game is to change the cups to fit what team you are on. If you are on the "arriba" team then you need to run around putting all the cups right side up. If you are on the "abajo" team then you want them all upside down. Give them one minute to play. The team with the most cups in their position wins.

Our craft will be to re-create the houses of La Boca, Argentina. Here are the instructions for the project with a little background information on La Boca. 


You will need a paper crimper for this project to give the right look to the sides of the buildings. Here is a link to get an idea of what to look for...




For our reading today we will dive into the following books:



Harold y el Lapiz Color Morado
Ruidos en la Casa- Cute book of a puppy who is scared being home alone
La Casa Adormecida
El Pastel Esta Tan Arriba
Oso en Casa

To see the rest of my plans for the other days of camp, click HERE!!


Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Spanish Camp for Kids {Day 3}



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If you have been following along, you know that I am hosting Spanish camps this summer. You can read about the other days by clicking this link. For day three, we will be focusing on animals. Here's a look at our activities...

I selected a list of about ten animals to focus on for the day and made flashcards in order to teach the vocabulary. You can find some great animal flashcards in Spanish HERE.

We will do several games today like Color, Colorcito. Here are the instructions.

We will do an animal hunt game. I have several die cuts of animals that I have laminated that I can hide in the lawn. I will call out an animal and the students will race to find it. Whoever does can then call out an animal. Just a simple way to review the vocabulary.

I made an Animal Tally Game by taking scrapbook paper of animal skins or pictures (see below) and punching out squares. Each student will receive a page (I made about five different pages so that not every single one is the same combinations of animals, but it is still the same number of animals to find.) Then I have a set of cards with the same scrapbook paper punched out, backed with cardstock and laminated. These will be laid face down. Students take turns picking up a card and telling us in the target language the name of the animal represented. If they need that animal they place it over the square on their sheet. If not, they return it to the pile. The first student to get all the cards on his or her sheet wins.



For our craft for the day, we will be making paper molas (See the top photo in the post). Molas come from the Kuna tribe in Panama. They are normally made out of cloth and worn by the women.  Here are some examples. And here are the instructions for making paper molas.

And finally, here are the books I will be sharing with the students:




Yo Tenia un Hipopotamo
De La Cabeza a Los Pies
Sali de Paseo- A good way to review colors also.



Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Spanish Camp for Kids {Day 2}

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This summer I am hosting some summer mini-camps to teach kids Spanish. Today we will take a look at what I plan to do for day two. {Here is day one if you missed it.} For the second day of camp, we will focus on teaching numbers (1-10) and weather vocabulary. Here's a look at our activities:

We will start out by me teaching the vocabulary. Normally, I find that many young kids already know the numbers 1-10 so I always modify my lesson to fit the ability levels in the group. After we work with the vocabulary we will do a round of "Zapatito Blanco, Zapatito Azul". {Here's a video on how it works.} In the past, I have used just the first two lines of the rhyme and had the students call out their actual age, or you can use the whole rhyme as is.

Zapatito blanco, zapatito azul. 
Dime, ¿cuántos años tienes tú? 
¡Cinco! 1, 2, 3, 4, 5*
Y sales tú con la letra doble-u.


On to a more active game...I have filled several little baggies with random items. Some bags have two items, some five, some ten. You get the idea. The baggies will be placed around the lawn. I will call out a number in Spanish, and my students will run to find a baggie with that number of items in it. It's helpful to have a few bags that have the same number of items. If you do that, then a few students will get a bag for each number. Students aren't allowed to open the bags...they simply need to count the items to see if the bag is what they want. The student with the most bags at the end wins.

We will play "Cerdos" with the numbers and colors today. You can read all about this game HERE.


Our craft for the day will be rainsticks since we focused on weather earlier. Here are the complete instructions on how to make them. Before we dive in, I will show them where Chile is and talk about the desert there.

We will also do Weather Bingo and play this number and color game, if time allows.

And finally, here is a list of books we will be reading...




Un Dia de Lluvia
Los Animales No Se Visten- This book is incredibly funny!
Oso Bajo el Sol
Un Alce, Veinte Ratones- This will be a great review of numbers and will extend our counting a bit. There are also tons of animals in the book which will lead into tomorrow's theme!

To see all the posts on my Spanish Camp plans, click here, to read them as they become available. There will be five days total.


Sunday, June 18, 2017

Spanish Camp for Kids {Day 1}


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For the first time ever, I am going to be doing summer camps for Spanish! I am really excited about it as I will have time to do some of the extras (like crafts) that I can never seem to get to. So here's a look at what I have plan for Day One (two to three hours worth of activities)...

Today we will be doing introductions and then really focusing on learning the vocabulary for colors and some clothes. I tend to teach vocabulary to young kids with flashcards and then ask them questions/give commands about the flashcards in the target language like "Where is yellow?" or "Touch the pink card." After we have worked with the words a bit we are going to do the following activities:


Discuss where Guatemala is and the idea behind Worry Dolls. We will create our own worry dolls. I bought embroidery floss and these round doll pins for us to use. You can find the instructions for making these dolls here. This is a great time to reinforce the vocabulary you taught your students by talking to them about the colors and clothes their dolls are wearing.

We will do this color wheel activity and speak in the target language to talk about how the primary colors make the secondary colors (Rojo y amarillo hacen anaranjado.).

We will play Camino de Colores from Spanish Playground...a quick and active game.



I have purchased this set of plastic cups to play different games with during the week. Today we are going to play the color cup game. I will divide my students into two teams. One team will be azul and the verde. On the lawn there will be stacks of cups (two cups each). Some of the stacks have the blue cup on top; others have the green one on top. Each team runs around for one minute trying to change the stacks so that their color of cup is on top. Time the game. At the end of one minute, the team with the most stacks for their color wins. Try to use the target language for instructions as much as possible. 

For my older group, we will do battleship with colors and clothes at the end of the day.

Interspersed throughout the few hours today we will read stories. Here is our list for Day One:



Colores (Very cool book with some clear pages in it that change what is happening on the paper pages. See this English example.)

You can go to this link as I add more days and ideas for camp! Day two will be posted soon!


Saturday, June 17, 2017

Spanish Camp Ideas

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This summer I am branching out and doing mini-camps to teach kids Spanish. The camps will be for elementary-age kids relatively new to the language and last one week. Mine will be two hours a day (although my ideas could totally be stretched to three hours a day).  Over the next week or so I will share with you my ideas...what I will teach each day, the games we will play, and the cultural crafts we will do. I have to admit that I have relied heavily on Pinterest for great ideas for games and crafts. The bulk of the work has been setting up the structure of what I am going to teach. So join me over the next week or so as I give you details of what you can do if you decide to teach a Spanish camp yourself. We'll talk supplies, activities, games, culture, and crafts. {Like these great bilingual cookies to hand out during the week.}

So join me! And I would love to hear your ideas, too! You can eventually find all the posts HERE.

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Fun Treat for Spanish Students


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This summer I will be doing a few mini-camps filled with opportunities to be exposed to the Spanish language through games, stories, and arts and crafts. (Stay tuned for more information on what to do in a Spanish camp.) So imagine my surprise when I came across these super cute bilingual cookies?! I thought they would be a wonderful treat for my students during the week! 



The cookies can come in individual bags (See here) and in boxes (See here). They are nut-free and there is a mixture of vocabulary words (50 different words and the numbers 1-10). They are not overly sweet and similar to a shortbread cookie.



I have bought a case for my students this summer! If you are looking for a special treat IN SPANISH for your students this fits the bill!





Monday, April 24, 2017

Instant Lesson Plans for Your Language Classroom


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Let's face it. While teaching can be incredibly rewarding, it is also draining emotionally and physically (especially when you are sick). There are times when I really struggle to get through a teaching day. While I don't teach in a regular classroom (I give private and small group lessons), I still struggle from time to time to get through a lesson. Recently, I decided that I needed a master list of easy activities I could do with students when...
  • I'm not feeling well.
  • They have a make-up lesson.
  • We have a game day at the end of the semester.
I prefer not to waste precious time with my students with activities that don't further their language learning, and yet there are days when we need to step back and do something different. I was also realizing that coming up with ideas when I'm pressed for time or feeling ill wasn't working for me. I needed a ready-to-go list I could just pull out. So on a quiet afternoon, I did some brainstorming of all the activities my students have been exposed to that we could do on a game day or a day when I'm sick. (Or if you are teaching in a regular school...a day when you need a sub). I created a file and then printed out several copies to have on hand. I teach a big age range (age five through high school) and a myriad of ability levels. So it is easier for me to have a master list and circle the activities we are going to do based on the ages of the students and their abilities. It becomes my instant lesson plan.



If you are teaching larger groups, you may need to break students into groups and have "stations" where they move from activity to activity during the class. That way no one gets bored and all the teacher has to do is monitor the groups.


Here's some of what is on my list with links to see how it's all done. However, since every teacher is different it would be ideal for you to come up with your own list of activities that work in your classroom.




So pull out a piece of paper or open up a file and start brainstorming ideas for the days when teaching is tough!! I welcome any other ideas in the comments!!

Monday, April 17, 2017

Family Trees in Spanish


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I love using "garage sale dots" (You know... those little round stickers you see used every summer as people endeavor to sell their excess possessions. 😏) These dots have become valuable teaching tools when it comes to my language lessons! One of the ways I used them this past year is to create family trees with my students.



I had my students choose a different color for each generation. They then could create their families (or a pretend family) with each dot representing a different person. Then finally, they drew arrows between people and wrote in Spanish how they were related.


This simple exercise not only helped them retain the vocabulary, but also understand the relationships better. For example, they get to see how cousins are connected because their parents are siblings or how a person can be a sister, niece, cousin, and daughter all at the same time. Such a simple exercise that only takes dot stickers, a blank piece of paper, and a pen or pencil! Give it a try with your students the next time you work with family vocabulary! (NOTE: For younger kids, it is helpful to first show them examples of family trees with pictures of people and then create the one with dots.)

Here are a few more resources while working with family member vocabulary:



This file folder guessing game uses house and family vocabulary.



A sweet story about a boy who gives away his animal crackers to different family members.

Here's another activity with colored dots that my students love!!! Check it out!

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Seasons Activities in Spanish {Free Printable}


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Seasons are hard words to remember in another language. Over the twenty years I have been teaching I find that even though it is only four vocabulary words they can be forgotten quickly. So I was really pleased to come across a book in Spanish that beautifully illustrates the changing of the seasons...



Las 4 Estaciones Desde el Gran Arbol shows the progression of the seasons with a tree in the forest. The animals around it come and go as the year passes. The weather changes. The plants grow and become dormant or die. And during the whole time there is an owl in the tree watching the events around him. The book has cut outs that allows you to see the animals in the tree. There are several activities that you can do as you read the book and then afterwards. Let's take a look...


For my students that can write I have them re-create the four seasons with pictures and words in Spanish. (You can download this page here.)  They can draw in the way a tree would look for each season and then label the squares with the correct word. I also have them add color and weather words related to each season in the appropriate square. Another set of vocabulary that could be added are the months in the appropriate season, but be careful with this! What if you are in the southern hemisphere? This would be a great time to discuss how summer happens in December, January, and February in South America (like in Argentina and Chile).

During the reading of the book you can point out all the animals that are throughout the story. One of the reasons that I love this book is because there are so many animals and they reoccur several times on the different pages. For younger kids, I call out the name of an animal and they can count them. For older kids this is a great time to play Spot It! (the animal version) to review the names of animals. (See here how I use Spot It! as a teaching tool AND game at the same time.)

For more advanced students that know their prepositions, you can do a drawing activity with them. Students start out with a blank piece of paper and you describe a scene with a tree in Spanish that they have to draw. Here's a sample description that could be drawn:

Hay un árbol grande con un sol brillante en el cielo. En el árbol hay dos búhos y tres ardillas. Debajo del árbol, hay una familia de zorros. Un zorro persigue una mariposa. El árbol tiene manzanas en las ramas y un nido lleno de huevos.

Finally, here are some resources that are great for working with the seasons...



Y De Pronto Es Primavera-A sweet story about waiting for spring to come.

Froggy Se Viste- Frogs are not supposed to go out in the snow and play! A story filled with winter words (especially clothing).

Un Recorrido Por Las Estaciones- Scenes from all the seasons with an emphasis on each month.

A simple puzzle for younger kids.  Actually, this concept for be great for kids if you make flashcards. Can they put the objects in the right season?

Finally, I use this vocabulary sorting activity with older students. It's a great way to familiarize them with more words that they need to put into one of the four seasons.


Saturday, March 18, 2017

Numbers and Math in a Foreign Language

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Let's face it numbers in another language are hard! I find that while they are taught early on when a person is learning another language, they are one of the last sets of vocabulary to really be mastered. There are so many things you can do to get your student more comfortable with numbers in the target language...

One way to review numbers is to play games. Here is a list of ideas that you can do at home or in the classroom...



One of the biggest issues with numbers in another language is just knowing what a number is without having to count up to it. This simple card game from Spanish Mama called "Mano Nerviosa" will solve that problem! And the beauty of this game? Everyone is engaged and paying attention!






I always have dice within dice on hand. They can be used in a variety of ways in a foreign language classroom. (See this post.) When it comes to math you can do simple problems. Have your students roll one of the die (which is really two of them) and then say a math problem out loud with the numbers on the dice. They can use addition, subtraction, or multiplication.





Sequence is a great game for all ages and there are several different versions out there (from different versions for kids all the way to the grown-up version of the game). Sequence Num6ers uses addition and subtraction problems. As students take turns, they say the equation out loud in the target language and then can place their chips on the board.






Lately, I have been playing Multiplication War with some of my students. In order to incorporate Spanish, I have my students say the answer out loud before they decide whose number is bigger. There is also Addition and Subtraction War.




This simple game called I Sea 10! can be played in the target language. The object of the game is to collect chips that equal up to ten. As chips are turned over, have your students call out the numbers in the target language. When they see two chips that equal ten they can also say so in the target language (i.e. in Spanish..."Veo diez").







If you have a group of kids or students you can get them into a big circle and have them pass/toss a beach ball to each other. The first person to have the ball starts counting in the target language (For example, they say "uno".) Then the next person to receive the ball says the next number (dos). Continue until they have counted up to a predetermined number. This can also be done with skip counting.


Another way to practice with numbers is through literature. For example, here are some simple rhymes that can be used with younger kids. Also, children's books are another great way to work with numbers. Here are some of my favorites:




There are a series of books called "Know Your Numbers" that have been translated into Spanish. They focus on skip counting...

Huevos y Patas (Counting by 2's)
Montones de Mariquitas (Counting by 5's)
Correle, Correle Ciempiés (Counting by 10's)






I have also used this book and a bag of candy to review numbers and colors. The exercises in this book have students do grouping (the beginning of multiplication) and shapes.


And finally, when my students have a basic grasp of numbers 1-100 I use mystery pictures with them. Here is my post explaining how I do it.