Monday, January 29, 2018

Teaching Young Kids Spanish Numbers 11-20

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When it comes to counting in Spanish, once kids have 1-20 memorized the numbers up to 100 become easier. Most kids in the US already know 1-10 in Spanish or at least most of those numbers. Eleven through twenty tend to be more challenging. Last week I did a simple activity with some of my young students to get them counting and help them memorize their numbers. The key ingredient? STICKERS!

There is something motivating about stickers for kids. While there isn't much prep to this activity it does require stickers in bulk. I also prefer to have different colored stickers so that we can practice the colors. Just a word of warning...we found that stickers shaped like stars or other intricate cutouts are harder for young hands. The rounder ones worked better. Here are some resources:

Colored Smiley Faces
Colorful Paw Print Stickers
Star Stickers (these are actually round stickers)
Multi-Colored Stickers
Multi-Colored Stickers II
Furry Friends

I cut sheets in half to hand out to students making sure I cut them so they have a variety of colors. Each students will need several (about four) half sheets. I also provide each student with a piece of paper with the numbers 11-20 written down the side (see above picture). I then call out a number and color (the color is optional) and the students have to find that number on their paper and put the correct number of stickers in a line by that number. They are required to count in Spanish while they do this.

So here are some tips for this activity:

  • Make sure you have already spent some time working with the numbers. Don't do this activity right after introducing 11-20.

  • The stickers are highly motivating. I tell my students that as I walk around and listen if I can hear them counting in Spanish they will get extra stickers at the end to take home.

  • Be prepared for some students to lose track as they count and get a little frustrated. Some students can count and not lose track; others struggle because they are hearing their classmates around them counting and then they lose track. To deal with this it is best to separate students so they aren't so close together. I also help those that lose track by counting with them from time to time. It can be a struggle, but in the end they learn the numbers really well.

  • I don't do all the numbers 11-20 with stickers. The activity would be way too long for young kids. So I do about seven of the numbers and the rest are left blank or they can do them at home. I make sure I call out the number 20 so that they get practice going through all the teen numbers.

  • Walk around and listen to them count! Help if they get stuck. Recount with them if need be. 

Soon they will be counting to twenty with ease!

Monday, January 15, 2018

Online Listening Activities {Free Printable}

There are so many more opportunities for students these days to listen to Spanish as the internet and podcasts have opened up a whole new world. When I was learning Spanish (oh, so long ago!), your options were to go to a language lab or use tapes! So I would like to share with you two options (among the many) that I use with my students and a free printable to use with them.

Veinte Mundos is an online magazine for language learners. There are a plethora of articles (close to 200) categorized for students by intermediate and advanced levels. These articles include audio, the transcript of what was being said, comprehension questions, defined words, and other videos related to the article. I love that culture is taught through the articles. Students can learn about dulce de leche, biblioburro, tapas, and so much more!

Duolingo has just introduced a new podcast! These stories are for intermediate students and are bilingual. My understanding is that they are real life stories. The Spanish is a bit slower and English is injected throughout the story. These podcasts are definitely for high schoolers and up who are still struggling in their listening skills. My favorite podcast so far has been Memorias y Milanesas which touches on a compelling story of the Falklands War in 1982.

If you would like a follow-up activity, see the printable below. It can be used with the podcasts from Duolingo or with the Veinte Mundos articles. Students need to identify the places that are mentioned on the world map, make a list of vocabulary they don't know, and write a summary of what they listened to in Spanish.

You can download the free printable HERE.

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Valentine's Day Ideas for Spanish Class

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El Día de San Valentin can be called by many different names depending on which country you are in. It's El Día de los Enamorados (Argentina and Chile), El Día del Amor y La Amistad (Mexico, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador) or El Día del Cariño (Guatemala). Regardless of its name, it's a great time to do some activities surrounding the ideas of love and friendship.

Need some ideas for Valentine's Day to use in your lessons in February? Here's a list of books, games, and ideas!


Adivina Cuánto Te Quiero-A sweet book between a father and son and their love for each other.

El Primer Beso de Froggy-My students love Froggy books! This one is about the gifts and the kiss he receives from Froguilina.

Mi Amor Por Ti-Cute book that uses numbers 1-10 and comparisons like "taller than" and "bigger than".

Oso Cariñoso y La Tarjeta del Día de San Valentin-Story of a bear that has a hard time expressing his feelings.

El Primer San Valentin De Clifford


Have your students been learning prepositions? This ¿Dónde está el Cupido? drawing activity will help them review. I even modify this and make it into a listening activity instead of a reading one.

These charts allow your students to practice creating whole sentences with guidance. You will need some dice for the activity. The vocabulary is related to the holiday.

I am planning on using this silly sentence game this year with my students. It is based on the idea of "media naranja", the Spanish phrase for "soulmate".

A printable and ideas to go with it.

Using the photo given in this post you can have a question and answer session with your students. I like the fact that the photo is from a Valentine's Day fair in Chile.

You could play bingo using Spanish vocabulary instead of English.

Valentine's Day Glyphs
I love these glyphs! Students answer the questions in Spanish by coloring each section of the picture with the color assigned to their answer. These would be great to do and then hang up to display!

Valentine Podcast Activities
These activities are for upper level students (Third year of Spanish in high school and above). All of it is in Spanish!


I love these lists that Spanish Mama has come up with...terms of endearment for kids and for couples. A great way to add more vocabulary and culture into your lesson!

Conversation Hearts in Spanish