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!

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