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

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Activities with Play Food in the Foreign Language Classroom

FOOD IS ONE OF THOSE TOPICS IN FOREIGN LANGUAGE CLASSES that gives a lot of bang for the buck.. we all like to talk about food, and there are so many ways to make it part of our lessons. Since I am a huge advocate of hands on learning, I use both plastic and paper play food whenever I am doing activities related to food- not only do they give little hands something to engage in, but it also provides visual support for my students. And this applies to all age groups, not just the littles- when I was teaching Russian to adults, I frequently incorporated manipulatives to support learning. Here are some ideas for using play food in your class:

Activities with Play Food in the Foreign Language Classroom


*CATEGORIZE ACCORDING TO PREFERENCE: This is a simple way to practice expressions of preference, even if your students don't know the words for all the food items. For my younger students, I make up ziploc baggies with approximately 10 foods in them along with a set of cards indicating 'I like', 'I really like', 'I don't like', and 'I don't know' (for those foods they've never tried) and divide the class into pairs. Each pair gets a baggie and takes turns categorizing the foods based on their preferences. After a few minutes, I have them leave the foods in a pile, and they move to the next set (each baggie has different foods in it) so they can categorize again. I encourage them to say how they feel about each food in Spanish as they place it under a preference card. For older kids, you could have them add reasons why they like or don't like a particular food- It's too spicy, It's sweet, It's gross, etc.

*PLAY RESTAURANT OR MARKET: Play food lends itself really well to activities involving restaurant or market vocabulary and provide a hands on component to the action. Students can "order" food which is then delivered to them (put the play food on a plate!), or the play food can be displayed as part of a market stand where students can "buy" what they need to make a dish or to get items on a shopping list.

Activities to Use Play Food in Foreign Language Classes

*"ILLUSTRATE A RECIPE":  Provide students with an authentic recipe and a basket or bin of printable food. Have them read the recipe and line up the ingredients below the recipe. This is a great center/ station activity! ALTERNATIVE: Have multiple sets of play food available, pair students up and have one student tell his/her partner which foods are needed for a particular recipe or dish.

Activities to Use Play Food in Foreign Language Classes


*PLAY 20 QUESTIONS: Have student go out into the hall and choose a food from a basket or bag. Upon re-entering the classroom, the rest of the class tries to guess the mystery food by asking a series of questions that can be answered with yes/no. Is it a fruit? Is it round? Is it an orange? etc. Once guessed, or the 20 questions are spent and the food revealed, choose another student and play again!

*PLAY 'I'M GOING ON A PICNIC AND I'M BRINGING...': I love this old favorite, but I find it is easier for students to engage in when we have the food visuals in front of them. It helps with recall, and provides some structure and limits to what they can choose from. I put out a bunch of play food that they know the names of and as one is named by a student, they put it in front of them so we can all reference it. This also helps keep the game moving, as the task focuses on remembering the Spanish vocabulary, rather than what someone said on down the circle.

*CATEGORIZE INTO...: There are so many ways students can categorize food- healthy vs unhealthy foods, groups based on the food pyramid, meals (breakfast, lunch, dinner), foods they've tried vs foods they haven't, types of food (fruits, veggies, drinks, desserts, etc), and so on. Provide a graphic organizer for students to use as a template, placing food in categories they write at the top (or have the categories pre-written).

Activities to Use Play Food in Foreign Language Classes


NEED PLAY FOOD FOR YOUR CLASS? Look no further! We have an ever growing set of play food in Spanish, as well as the same set unlabeled, and sets in German, French, Russian, and English on the way! Visit our shop and grab it now- click here!
https://photos.google.com/photo/AF1QipMk0RMH8MFmOB_yJMuvVMH7xBx_qfLl8oqOQXbA

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Play Gato (Tic Tac Toe) With the Whole Class- Great Listening Comprehension Activity!

A FRIEND OF MINE FROM COLOMBIA INTRODUCED ME to this version of the traditional game 'Gato' many years ago and I continue to love it! Perfect for my older students (3rd & 4th grade) as well as Middle or Highschool, and a great way to incorporate listening comprehension. Here's how to play:

Gato game for Spanish Class


THE PREP:
*Designate a vocabulary word for each square on the Gato board. In the above picture, you can see I have colors, but you could have numbers, fruits, clothes, whatever is familiar to your students.  *Choose a set of vocabulary (different than what you have on the Gato board) that you have been working on or that you want to practice/ review. Write a clue in the target language describing each vocabulary word to correspond to each square on the Gato board. I like to have the vocabulary set we are focusing on displayed as a support for kids-in this version we are practicing vocabulary from our minibook 'Mateo y el mapa del tesoro'.

Gato Tic Tac Toe in Spanish Class A game for older students

Gato Tic Tac Toe Game for Spanish Class


*Have markers for x and o ready to place on the board. I put magnets on the back so they are easy to move and place in the squares.

TO PLAY:
*Project a Gato board on your smartboard or draw one on the whiteboard or even on a large sheet of paper.
*Divide the class into two teams, one being X's and one being O's.
*Choose one team to go first and call on a student on that team to choose a square on the Gato board by naming the vocabulary word pictured in that square. So, if he/she wanted the center square, he would say 'rojo' for my board pictured above.
*Read the clue out loud and provide the team with adequate time to name the word being described. If the team gets it right, they get to put their X or O in the square. If they don't get it right, the other team has an opportunity to guess. If neither team gets it right, we move on to another square; we can come back to that square for another try later in the game if necessary. (I call on kids randomly within the team, rather than have a 'team spokesperson'; this makes it more likely that everyone on the team will get a turn to speak, rather than a couple dominating the action).
*Continue until either one team has 'Gato' or there is a tie. (un empate)

Have fun!

Want to play the game with your class but don't have time to make the boards and pieces? Grab ours in our shop!




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

Sunday, March 19, 2017

6 Tips for Making Craft Projects in the FL Classroom More Language Rich

I ADMIT IT, I LOVE A GOOD CRAFT PROJECT IN CLASS, and over the years I have done all kinds... but, also, I will admit that at one point, they were not always so language rich. The kids had fun, made something cute or culturally connected, and my artistic, creative kiddos in particular had an outlet in Spanish class. But, too much time was spent on creating, cutting, or pasting and not enough target language was woven into the project to make it justifiable linguistically... sound familiar?

6 Tips for Making Craft Projects in the FL Classroom More Language Rich

HERE'S THE GOOD NEWS! This doesn't mean you have to ditch craft projects altogether- although some may need to go if they don't meet the grade- I have dumped many through the years, or altered them to include more language use. Following are some tips that work for me to provide more language input and output during craft projects while still providing a hands on experience:

*MULTISTEP CRAFT PROJECTS are a great way to provide language input as you and the whole class do the project step by step. With little kiddos, giving instructions for each step, waiting until everyone has finished that step, then moving on to the next, provides lots of support and helps kids who have a hard time with multi step instructions- and keeps the activity all in the target language with listening comprehension. A cultural project that lends itself really well to this category is tissue paper flowers- see our post on how to make them here!

*KEEP CRAFT SMALL: There is no rule that says a craft or illustrating project has to be large, especially when a smaller one will do. Consider shrinking the size of drawings, collages, weavings, etc so they don't take as long to complete. This shortens the crafting time while still providing an opportunity for students to engage in these fun activities.

*HAVE STUDENTS SELECT MATERIALS: Reinforce manners and making requests vocabulary in the target language by  giving students the chance to choose some of the materials they will use for the project such as the color of paper or yarn, etc.

*CIRCULATE AROUND THE ROOM WHILE STUDENTS ARE CRAFTING: If your students are doing a craft independently, such as a Huichol yarn painting or making a paper arpillera, circulate around and ask kids about their work as they are engaged in the activity. Questions like 'What color is ___?' and 'What size is ____?' or 'Do you like the color ____?', and so on provide language usage while kids are crafting and connects language to their project. Here is an example of me asking questions of one of my 1st graders while he works on his paper arpillera:


*PREP STEPS AHEAD OF TIME: Some crafts involve a fair amount of steps, or steps that are harder for little hands to do, so if, as a teacher, I still want to do them, I prep some of those steps ahead of time so my students don't have to do them. For example, I make the first fold of tissue paper when we are making paper flowers, and I attach their name tags to the stems prior to class. Having these two steps already done before class also makes finishing the flowers in one 30 minute period less hectic, and means the steps we do do in class can be done in the target language.

6 Tips for Making Craft Projects in the FL Classroom More Language Rich


*PARTNER WITH ART OR GEN ED TEACHERS: There are some crafts that are just too involved to do in class and still get enough language exposure to make it worth it.. and that's where teaming up with another teacher is a fantastic way to ensure your students have an opportunity to do a meaningful cultural craft without you losing valuable class time.

THE CRAFT PROJECTS THAT I STILL DO IN MY CLASSES are all cultural ones at this point, such as making tissue paper flowers, paper arpilleras and 3-D figures, paper shoes for Three King's Day and so on. Every project goes through a litmus test- how can I incorporate more language into the activity? If there is still too much "down time" where they are crafting but not using Spanish then I either modify the activity or ditch it. I don't want to get rid of crafts altogether because, especially at the elementary school, they are some of the most memorable things we do (or, at least that's what the kids tell me!) and... sometimes you've just gotta make a paper & yarn llama! :)

Happy crafting!

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

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Track the Monarch Butterfly migration in Spanish class!

THERE ARE FEW THINGS AS MAGICAL AS THE MONARCH MIGRATION, at least to me! Living in Maine, it blows my mind that these tiny creatures can fly all the way from the Northeast to central México, making it to their destination before winter renders it impossible to continue. As part of my Second Grade curriculum, we follow the monarch migration each fall, and then again each spring, eagerly awaiting their arrival to our playground and back yards!

SINCE MY CLASSES ARE ONLY 30 MINUTES LONG, I integrate our 'monarch map' into our greeting activities, getting a 'two for one as it were' to maximize class time. We do a quicker greeting, using one from Responsive Classroom called the 'Butterfly greeting'- students say 'Hola' or 'Buenos días' to their neighbor next to them in the circle, interlocking their thumbs and waving their other fingers so it looks like their two hands form a butterfly flying. We then move on to the map, taking a look at weekly updates on Journey North's site (click here to visit) which gives us the information we need to be able to mark our class maps as to where the monarchs are.

Tracking the monarch butterfly migration in Spanish class

WHOMEVER IS THE HELPER OF THE DAY has the privilege of adding to our map, using an orange marker to create a dotted line indicating the path of the butterflies, and moving our little butterfly icon up as well. It only takes two minutes or so, but my students eagerly await our updates each week!

AT THE BEGINNING OF SPRING, WE ALSO MAKE PREDICTIONS as to when the monarchs will arrive back in Maine- I use small clothespins with class names on them and clip them to the month on our calendar each class votes on. We all then keep our eyes peeled and see whether our predictions were on mark or not!

Tracking the Monarch butterfly migration in Spanish class

WANT TO TEACH ABOUT BUTTERFLIES AND THE MIGRATION and need resources? Grab our Theme Pack, which includes the butterfly icons seen in the photo above with the map! Your students will love learning about the life cycle of a butterfly with our printable minibook and theme activities- a great way to incorporate cross-content lessons! Add cultural perspectives with the migration to México and an authentic poem along with video links to authentic resources! Click here!

Mariposas Butterfly Theme Pack for Spanish Class

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

Thursday, February 16, 2017

How to Build & Maintain Relationships With Your Students in a 90% Classroom

SO, YOU'VE MADE THE COMMITMENT TO TEACH 90% IN THE TARGET LANGUAGE IN YOUR CLASSROOM- great! There's just one thing (ok, a lot of things, but let's focus on this one :) )... how are you going to develop and maintain positive relationships with your students if you aren't speaking very much English? This was my greatest concern when I switched over to 90% (and then 100%)... but it was a fear I most definitely did NOT have to worry about! Of course, it took some time to figure that out, so to save you, my dear teacher reader, some of that time, here are some things that work for me with my students!

How to Build Relationships in a 90% Target Language Classroom

*NON VERBAL COMMUNICATION IS KEY: Often overlooked or forgotten as a factor in creating and maintaining relationships is how we interact with our students- the tone of my voice, my facial gestures/ expressions, my body language- regardless of the language I am speaking, my students can tell how I feel about them based on how I look and sound to them. If I am smiling at them, hugging them or patting them on the back, using a friendly, caring tone, being patient with them, this goes a LONG way toward building relationships with my students. We do this unconsciously- the good news here is that you are ALREADY doing things to build a relationship with your students that don't involve language- keep doing them!

*POSITIVE ENCOURAGEMENT AND CLASS CELEBRATION: It is part of my job to create a safe and encouraging environment for my students to learn in. Celebrating success is vital to this, especially as, in a 90% classroom, students often feel challenged or unsure. Being very vigilant as a teacher to students who need a little extra "you can do it!" and "look, you HAVE done it!" is crucial, without overlooking the rest of the students who also need a morale boost on a regular basis. Whether it's a class applause, a high five, a thumbs up, however you choose to celebrate in class, do it consistently and often. Students will feel cared about and on your radar- who doesn't feel good about someone who is looking out for us?

*STRATEGIC USE OF ENGLISH: In a 90% TL classroom, it becomes really important to strategically plan when you are going to use English (this is a real shift in planning, in my opinion). Purposely use some of that 10% English time to reach out to a kiddo or the whole class, strengthening bonds and forging new ones.

READ OUR POST ABOUT TEACHING 90% IN THE TARGET LANGUAGE AS A PARTNERSHIP HERE!


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

Saturday, February 4, 2017

How to Teach a Lesson in Elementary Spanish Class Using a Video Clip- Step by Step

I LOVE USING VIDEO CLIPS IN MY ELEMENTARY SPANISH CLASSES-they are a great authentic source of input, and can generate lots of communication and interaction in the target language. And, of course, my students LOVE watching videos, so I am always happy to tap into that interest to increase motivation.

how to teach a lesson in Spanish class using a video clip

SO, HOW TO TEACH A LESSON USING A VIDEO CLIP? Here's my break down of a short Pocoyó video for Valentine's Day. My goal is to practice vocabulary in context by stopping the clip at intervals and asking a series of questions my students can answer. You will note I make lots of use of the 'either/or' question- these are great for novice learners as the answer is embedded in the question, providing linguistic support for your varied learners, and helps the entire class stay in the target language. I also do a lot of pointing to parts of the video, especially if it is vocabulary that they may not know, but is obvious if I point to it on the screen- 'balsa' (raft) for example. Typically when I am using a clip/ video for a lesson, I will first show the clip, stopping at intervals and asking questions, and then show the clip a second time without stopping so my students can just watch it. Since we've already gone through and asked questions and elicited reactions, that has primed the mental pump and I often have kids calling out vocabulary we've just used during the first run through. Modify the questions to suit your students!

POCOYÓ- Paisajes Románticos:


0:01: ¿Cuál es la fecha?
0:05: ¿Toca la música Pocoyó, sí o no?
0:12: ¿Toca el piano Ely o Pato? (alternate: ¿Toca el piano Pato, sí o no?)
0:12: ¿Es Ely una bailarina o dentista?
0:12: ¿Está llevando Ely un tutu o un sombrero?
0:12: ¿De qué color es el sombrero de Pato?
0:24: ¿Hace frío o hace calor?
0:24: ¿Cuántos icebergs (témpanos) hay?
0:24: ¿Toca el violín Pato o Pocoyó?
0:24: ¿De qué color es la balsa?
0:24: ¿De qué color es el sombrero de Pulpo?
0:30: ¿Tienen Ely y Pato hambre o sed?
0:30: ¿Qué comen Ely y Pato, espaguetis o la pizza?
0:40: ¿Van Pato y Ely en carro o en avión?
0:40: ¿De qué color es la bufanda de Ely?
0:40: ¿De qué color es el avión?
0:40: ¿Es Pato dentista o piloto?
0:51: ¿Qué forma se aparece en el cielo?
1:00: ¿Qué hacen Ely y Pato, bailan o cantan?
1:09: ¿Toca el piano o la guitarra Pocoyó?

¿Te gustó el video?

WANT TO SEE A LESSON IN ACTION? Here is one of my Second Grade classes with the trailer to a movie about Ratoncito Pérez:


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