Friday, May 19, 2017

A Tip to Motivate Your Students to Stay in the Target Language

ONE OF THE MOST CHALLENGING PARTS OF TEACHING 90% IN THE TARGET LANGUAGE is keeping your students in the target language, too. What are some strategies we can implement to encourage and support our students? Here is an idea that works really well in my classroom for my elementary Spanish students, and is applicable for all levels:

Teaching in the target language

INCORPORATE ACTIVITIES THAT STUDENTS don't want to "lose"...in other words, activities that act like privileges that continue in the classroom as long as the target language is spoken. For example, this spring my 4th graders followed an Iberian Lynx breeding center in Spain via a live cam on the net (link here!). As long as their reactions and comments were in Spanish, the live cam stayed on the whiteboard. If English became the mode of talking about the lynxes, the cam went off. Since it was of such high interest for my students, they stayed in Spanish the vast majority of the time because they didn't want the cam turned off.

THE SAME DYNAMIC can be created with other live cams, videos, games, and more that are high interest and motivating. If speaking in English means the game is now over, for example, most students will strive to use what they know rather than have the game end. As the teacher, in order to support this output, you have to be sure to choose activities that are accessible to students in terms of what they know and can do in the language; if they don't have enough vocabulary to interact, it's not going to work for them, and they will revert to English.

Happy teaching!


https://photos.google.com/photo/AF1QipMk0RMH8MFmOB_yJMuvVMH7xBx_qfLl8oqOQXbA

Saturday, May 13, 2017

How I Made a Take a Break Space for my Elementary Spanish Classroom

IN THE FALL, I SET ABOUT ESTABLISHING ROUTINES & PROCEDURES IN MY ELEMENTARY SPANISH CLASSES, with an eye to classroom management being the glue that keeps us all together and moving forward smoothly. I am a Responsive Classroom teacher, which means I work hard at proactively modeling and practicing our expectations and building community in my room. A tenet of Responsive Classroom is the 'Take a break' space where students can go when they need to get themselves back in focus. Over the years, I have included a variety of things at the Take a Break space to help kids with this, rather than just have them sit there. I am continually refining what these are; two years ago our entire staff made glitter jars during a staff meeting, which I then included and has been very successful! (Want to know how to make your own glitter jar? Click here)

How to Make a Take a Break Space in an Elementary Spanish Classroom

ALONG WITH THE GLITTER JAR, I have a stuffed polar bear to snuggle, and copies of some of our mini books for mental engagement. Some years I've included crayons to go along with the mini books, but since a Take a Break space isn't intended for a long term hang out, I decided to do away with them and just encourage kids to read (or "read" if they are really young) the books and look at the illustrations (they are all old familiar favorites or new adventures they can read on their own).

How to Make a Take a Break Space in an Elementary Spanish Classroom

THIS SPRING I DECIDED I NEEDED TO INCLUDE some sort of activity that would help really active bodies slow their motors down; we have a number of ADHD kids who struggle mightily to keep their impulsivity under control. This unfortunately results in a lot of distracting behaviors and classmates becoming frustrated with them, so finding ways to help them helps everybody. Although I do not practice yoga myself, I have heard and read so many good things about how it can be incorporated in the classroom, I thought I would give it try at the Take a Break space. I created a set of yoga poses cards kids can choose from when at the space (each is a pose which young kiddos can handle without toppling over!) plus a little timer so they know how long to hold the pose. Like all routines and procedures, I needed to introduce how to use the cards and the timer so that it would be effective and kids would know what to do. So far so good! I have only been using them for a short time, so will report back as to how it is going. I definitely think introducing it at the beginning of the year will be even more beneficial!

How to Make a Take A Break Space in your Elementary Spanish Classroom

INTERESTED IN OUR YOGA POSES CARDS? We have them in Spanish, French, German, Russian, and English!

Yoga Poses 12 Cards for Spanish Class
Click here to grab this resource!

https://photos.google.com/photo/AF1QipMk0RMH8MFmOB_yJMuvVMH7xBx_qfLl8oqOQXbA

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Reloj A Fun Card Game from Spain for Spanish Classes of all Levels

AS THE END OF THE SCHOOL YEAR APPROACHES, and my elementary Spanish students are getting a bit squirrelly, I like to incorporate authentic games in class, whether that be going outside or playing games in the classroom. Many years ago I was introduced to RELOJ, a card game from Spain that is perfect for most levels of students, from upper elementary to high school. (I wish I could remember the teacher's name! It was during a presentation here in Maine about 15 years ago, if my memory is jogged I will give her credit) The object of the game is to go out first, to get rid of all your cards. Students can play in small groups, or as a whole class, which is how I do it with my 4th graders when introducing the game. Once they are familiar with it, I break them into groups of 4-5 to play.

Reloj A Card Game from Spain


PREPARATION
I purchased several decks of cards at the Dollar Store; I particularly like the oversized ones as they are easier to see and manipulate for my students. Remove the jokers and queens- Spanish decks do not have queens, and the jokers are not used in this game.

TO PLAY
Shuffle all the cards- if you are playing with the whole class, combine 4-5 decks, shuffling as best you can.
Deal out the deck(s), just as you would when playing War; all cards are dealt out face down. Students cannot look at their cards, they keep them in front of them in a pile. When playing with the entire class, I usually only deal out 8-10 cards per student, especially while they are still learning how to play.
Going clockwise, first student flips over the top card on his/her pile, puts it in the middle (discard pile) and says 'Reloj' (this card has no penalty for saying it- you will see what I mean!)
Next student flips over top card and says 'Uno', next student does the same saying 'Dos', and so on "around the clock" until you get to 'rey' whereupon you start again with 'reloj'. NOTE: a ten is called 'caballo', the jack is 'sota', and of course the king is 'rey'.

If a student flips over a card and says the same number as is the card he/she flips, he must take the entire discard pile! And since in order to win, you must go out, grabbing the discard pile is not what you want! You can see now why having 'Reloj' be the penalty free card is great- since there is no corresponding card, it's like a safety card. Game continues until one player goes out.

*I usually write the numerals and their corresponding names on the board for my 3rd & 4th graders as an additional support. For older students, this might not be necessary.

Have fun!

AND, TO HELP YOUR STUDENTS STAY IN THE TARGET LANGUAGE while playing, check out our Games Vocabulary Posters! You can find them here.

Games Vocabulary Posters for Spanish Class





https://photos.google.com/photo/AF1QipMk0RMH8MFmOB_yJMuvVMH7xBx_qfLl8oqOQXbA

Friday, April 28, 2017

Summer Reading List with a Spanish Flavor for Children and Families 2017

AS WE WAVE GOODBYE TO OUR LITTLE TREASURES heading off to summer vacation, I can't help but want them to keep some Spanish and/ or Hispanic culture in their lives, even as they are enjoying the sun and fun of being away from school. One way I do this is to give a list of book recommendations to families, books in English they can readily find at our local library or bookstore, all with a Spanish connection, whether it be non fiction or a fun read at bedtime. Here is this year's list- see our list from 2015 here.

Summer Reading List with a Spanish Flavor for Children and Families 2017

PICTURE BOOKS

*THE STORY OF FERDINAND: This classic by Munro Leaf continues to be a favorite of mine, and with the animated movie coming out in December, all the better to have kiddos read it before seeing it!

*A MANGO IN THE HAND: I love the incorporation of authentic proverbs in this story, a great way to keep that Spanish going through the summer! Interested in getting it yourself? Here's the link to Amazon.

Summer Reading List with a Spanish Flavor for Children and Families 2017

*THE PRINCESS AND THE WARRIOR A TALE OF TWO VOLCANOES by Duncan Tonatiuh is the retelling of the Aztec legend of the two volcanoes, Izta and Popo. A wonderful way to introduce ancient culture and a great read both kids and parents will enjoy!

*WAITING FOR BIBLIOBURRO ESPERANDO A BIBLIOBURRO by Monica Brown is the endearing story of Luis Soriano Bohórquez, bringing books to children in Colombia via his burro. A must read!

CHAPTER BOOKS FOR UPPER ELEMENTARY AND MIDDLE SCHOOL

*WHO WAS CESAR CHAVEZ? continues the series of biographies of famous people for kids.

Summer Reading List with a Spanish flavor for Children and Families 2017

*UGLY CAT AND PABLO by Isabel Quintero is a fun little treasure I found at our Scholastic Book Fair this year. A silly read, there is lots of Spanish sprinkled through the book, and is great for emerging readers who don't want too long a book.

*STEF SOTO, TACO QUEEN by Jennifer Torres is one of those books I happened upon in Barnes and Noble while trying to search out more books with Hispanic protagonists (not an easy feat!). I haven't read it yet, but it looks fun and is on MY summer reading list!

*GHOSTS by Raina Telgemeier was all the rage this past fall with my 3rd and 4th graders! A graphic novel, it highlights Days of the Dead, making it a great connection with our curriculum.

Summer Reading List with a Spanish Flavor for Children and Families 2017

*MOVING TARGET by Christina Diaz Gonzalez is the first in an adventurous mystery series that is a great read! One of my Fourth Grade students and I read this almost simultaneously, making for awesome conversations at bus time! Set in Rome, Cassie Arroyo finds herself in the middle of an ancient tug of war, and must find a missing scepter in order to save her father. Gonzalez also wrote 'The Red Umbrella' which I recommended in my 2015 post and which I loved!

Happy reading!


https://photos.google.com/photo/AF1QipMk0RMH8MFmOB_yJMuvVMH7xBx_qfLl8oqOQXbA

SaveSave

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Make Tiny Books in Spanish Class for el Día del Libro

AS SOME OF YOU KNOW, I ABSOLUTELY LOVE EL DÍA DEL LIBRO and find every excuse to celebrate it. Something about it just captures my imagination and heart! Over the years, I have had my 4th graders make simple books for our Kindergartners as part of learning about, and celebrating this holiday, but one challenge always is the time it takes to make even the easiest of books... until now! I take NO CREDIT for this idea- I stumbled across it while surfing Pinterest the other night and was enthralled! Here is the link to the original post from Manualidades Infantiles. Their tiny little books are just too cute! In thinking about the idea for my own classroom, (upper elementary, my primary grades just can't write this small!) or for middle or highschool, I wanted to adapt it to suit language learning goals, and ensure we didn't spend oodles of time on the creation. So, here is my rendition:

Make Tiny Books in Spanish Class for el Día del Libro

THE KEY TO EACH BOOK IS ITS SIZE which limits the amount of content one can include, yet makes for good practice of sentence structure and meaning. With only 8 total pages (4 sheets of paper folded), the "story" is a very short one- in fact, just one sentence long. Depending on the language level of your students, you choose the verb tense (or leave it open for upper level students) and instruct them to create a sentence that can be broken down into several parts, each of which goes on a separate page. Tiny illustrations can be added to each page, providing a comprehension check for you as you peruse the stories and pictures.

Make Tiny Books in Spanish Class for el Día del Libro

FOR EXAMPLE: Había una vez   Pepita   que descubrió   una llave misteriosa   al lado   de un árbol. (breaks indicate the text for each page) Again, because they are so small, they don't take long to actually create, but are a meaningful way to integrate this holiday, and therefore more culture, into class. You can follow it up by having students give their book to someone else, and/or have an additional writing activity where they continue the story found in the book.

SO, HOW TO ACTUALLY MAKE THE TINY BOOKS? You will note in my photos I got a little over the top and used hemp cord, punching holes in the "spines" of each book and using the cord to tie the book together. Super cute, I know! For classroom purposes, I would suggest using a stapler as it is much quicker. I would also suggest either having the books already put together (especially if you are doing this with upper elementary), or at least having the covers and pages already cut to size to save time. Dimensions of mine pictured: 3 inches x 1 1/2 unfolded, 1 1/2 x 1 1/2 folded. I used brown card stock for the covers and drawing paper for the pages- you could use construction paper, scrapbooking paper, copy paper- whatever you have handy! Fold all sheets in half and staple spine. ¡Ta-chán!

Make Tiny Books in Spanish Class for el Día del Libro

THESE MINI LIBRITOS are also perfect for an after school program, summer camp, or culture class! Enjoy and have fun!

AND DON'T MISS OUR POST ON MAKING TISSUE PAPER ROSES for el Día de la rosa- click here!
https://photos.google.com/photo/AF1QipMk0RMH8MFmOB_yJMuvVMH7xBx_qfLl8oqOQXbA

SaveSaveSaveSave

Thursday, April 13, 2017

How to Make Tissue Paper Roses for el Día de la Rosa & Sant Jordi

APRIL 23 CELEBRATES EL DIA DEL LIBRO Y DE LA ROSA, commemorating Miguel de Cervantes and also the legend of Sant Jordi (San Jorge), the knight who saved Montblanc, España from a terrible dragon. In many parts of Spain men give women a rose on this day as a symbol of affection and love.

How to Make Tissue Paper Roses for el Día de la Rosa & Sant Jordi

WHY NOT MAKE TISSUE PAPER ROSES in your Spanish class as part of a cultural theme on the holiday? Here are step by step instructions- NOTE: projects like this are great to do in the target language, especially if you do them step by step with your students, waiting until everyone has finished one step before moving onto the next:

How to Make Tissue Paper Roses for Sant Jordi


AND DON'T MISS OUR VERSION OF LA LEYENDA DE SANT JORDI! You can grab it by clicking here.

La leyenda de Sant Jordi Printable Minibook Libro Imprimible
Add caption
BE SURE TO CHECK OUT OUR POST ON MAKING TINY BOOKS FOR EL DÍA DEL LIBRO HERE!
https://photos.google.com/photo/AF1QipMk0RMH8MFmOB_yJMuvVMH7xBx_qfLl8oqOQXbA

SaveSave

Sunday, April 9, 2017

A Three Step Tutorial for Making Cascarones for Easter

CASCARONES ARE A WONDERFUL WAY TO BRING CULTURE into an after school Spanish program or club, preschool class, or even longer Spanish classes than I have in my school (30 minutes twice a week K-4th). We make them at home, though, and I share how to make them with my students and their families so they can, too. Breaking them over the head of your friends and family is loads of fun, and is said to bring good luck! Although best known as being made in México, they are also made in a number of Central American countries as well, and often to coincide with Carnaval. According to Wikipedia, blown eggshells filled with powder were first made in China, and eventually made their way to México, where the powder was switched out for confetti. (Note an interesting connection with the piñata, which also originated in China and made it's way to México!)

Making Cascarones A Step by Step Tutorial


HERE'S A SIMPLE STEP BY STEP TUTORIAL to making cascarones for Easter this year!

1) BLOWING THE EGGS: Use a knife or pin to create a hole on either end of the egg; the hole doesn't have to be tiny, especially since you will need one of them to be large enough to put the confetti in. I usually do this over a span of time, starting sometime in February or early March, depending on when Easter is, since I use the eggs themselves for baking or scrambled eggs/ quiche.. no waste here! :) Blow the egg out through one hole, blowing on the other. Once blown, rinse them gently and let them dry.

Making Cascarones a Step by Step Tutorial

2) STUFF WITH CONFETTI: I like to just cut up a bunch of odds and ends of scrapbook paper that I've been saving for just this purpose, or you can use a hole punch and punch out a load of any colored paper you like. Put a couple of pinchfuls in each egg.

Making Cascarones A Step by Step Tutorial

3) COVER WITH TISSUE PAPER: Since we have almost exclusively brown eggs here in Maine, dying eggs is a bit of a challenge, so I like to use Mod Podge or Elmer's Glue and tissue paper to cover my eggs for cascarones, but if you have white eggs, feel free to dye them instead. (NOTE: if you are dying eggs, do that BEFORE stuffing them with confetti! You will still need to cover the holes, however, with tissue paper so the confetti doesn't fall out prior to heading outside) Brush Mod Podge onto egg, then lay on strips of the tissue paper and brush over each with a bit more Mod Podge. Keep doing this until egg is covered, being sure to cover both holes as well. This can be a sticky proposition, and with lighter colored tissue paper, you will need to put a couple of layers on for good coverage. I really like the Mod Podge because when it dries it is slightly shiny, which looks really nice!

Making Cascarones A Step by Step Tutorial

Making Cascarones A Step by Step Tutorial

ONCE FINISHED, SAVE THEM TO HEAD OUTSIDE ON EASTER! Have fun!


https://photos.google.com/photo/AF1QipMk0RMH8MFmOB_yJMuvVMH7xBx_qfLl8oqOQXbA

SaveSave