Free "Zona Libre de Nueces" Signs

Sunday, August 19, 2012
I recently discovered that my almost two year-old son is allergic to nuts. With the start of the school year approaching and him being new to preschool, I have become more aware about how big this issue is. I am very lucky that his preschool is a nut-free place, but it is still hard to avoid being worried. I know that not every school enforces a nut-free rule, but I am still encouraging teachers to post this in their rooms and let their school principals and nurses know how important and what a big issue this is!



Grab these free signs HERE

Have fun having a safe and health classroom!
Carolina



A Music CD Filled With A Lot of Fun Songs For The Fall!

Friday, August 17, 2012

CD includes lyrics and translations!

Fall will be here soon and our music CD "Jump into Spanish" can bring a lot of fun to your Spanish classes! 
  1. Yo soy un pavo / I am a turkey*** (click on this song to listen)
  2. Cinco calabazas / Five pumpkins *** (click on this song to listen)
  3. La ardilla Lola / Lola the squirrel
  4. Mi cara redonda / My round face
  5. La caja mágica / The magic box
  6. El oso / The bear
  7. El semáforo / The traffic light
  8. Ya llegó la música / The music is here
  9. Vamos todos a bailar / Let’s all dance
  10. Yo tengo una casa / I have a house
  11. La canción del movimiento / The movement song
  12. El dinosaurio Pablo / Pablo the dinosaur
  13. Es hora del desayuno / It’s time for breakfast
  14. Me gusta leer / I like to read
  15. Hojas, hojas / Leaves, leaves
  16. El conejito blanco / The white bunny
  17. ¿Cuántas manzanas hay? / How many apples are there?
  18. Las palabras mágicas / Magic words*** (click on this song to listen)
  19. ¿Qué ves ahí? / What do you see?
  20. Adiós amigos / Good-bye friends
Have fun singing in Spanish!
Carolina

17 Fun Games to Play in Spanish Class!

Thursday, August 16, 2012


Over the years, teaching Spanish to different age levels, I have learned many games from my students and other colleagues. Here is a list of some of the favorites my students and I enjoy playing in class.


1. ARROZ CON PAN: Game of elimination played in a circle where the students chant “Arroz con pan (3x) y sal” then a number is called out and counted around the circle. 

 2. CIERTO - FALSO: A person (often the teacher) stands between the stands of the trees and calls out phrases related to the class's latest vocabulary. If the statement is true about the student, they must try to run to the other side without being tagged. (Example phrases: “Si te gusta comer helado. Si tienes hermanos, etc.)

3. BINGO: Sometimes students make their own boards and fill in the latest vocabulary we have been learning in class. We also have bingo boards for different topics.

4. ROBA LA VACA: This game is really simple. One student stands guard by a small animal but is blindfolded. The students chant “Roba la vaca” while someone (usually chosen by the teacher) steals the cow and hides it. The blindfolded person may ask three questions about who stole it (in Spanish) and then must guess by saying “Maria tiene la vaca.” If the student guesses correctly, a new guardian is chosen.

5. DRAW IT: A stack of cards with various words, (usually actions, adjectives and nouns) is set out next to a large dry erase board. Students come up and choose a card. They can not say the word, but they must try to draw out the ideas, and the group (or their team) must try to guess the word (this can be done with phrases too.) Alternatively, students may also act out words on the cards while the others guess.

6. CHARADES: A student makes a TPR movement, and the rest of the class has to guess it. Variation: Pick a student, show a flashcard to the class, and hide it from the student, then the class makes the TPR movement and the child has to guess it.

7. ¿QUÉ ES? Ask a student to hide an object (manipulative, picture card, etc.). The rest of the class has to guess it by asking, for example, “¿Es la manzana?” And the student answers “no, no es la manzana” or “si es la manzana”. The student who guesses the right answer takes the new turn. Variation: Tape a flashcard on the back of a student. Show it to the class, then have the student ask the class, “¿Es la manzana?” and  have the class answer back “no, no es la manzana” or “si es la manzana”.

8. FRIO, TIBIO, CALIENTEAsk a student to leave the classroom. While the student is outside, the rest of the class hides an object. The student comes back to the classroom to try to find the object. Other students help by saying “frio” (when the student is far away from the object), tibio (when student is getting close to the object) or caliente (when the student is really close to the object). If the student is taking a long time to find the object, the class will start counting from 1 to 10. If the student finds the object, he/she will have to say its name.

9. MANO A MANO: Divide the class into pairs. The teacher calls out two body parts and the student pairs have to put these parts together. 
For example:
Mano a mano –they put together their hands.
Make it more fun by calling different body parts
For example:
Codo a rodilla-they put together their elbow and knee.
Variation: You can also use flash cards for this game.

10. MEMORY GAME: In this game students have to find the matching pictures.
A student uncovers two cards. If the pictures match, the student gets to go on and uncover two more pictures. If the pictures don't match, the student puts the two non-matching pictures back to cover them up and another student gets a turn.

11. GO FISHING: Place pictures of fish of different colors in basket . Each fish has a magnet pasted on the back. Give a student a fake fishing pole and have him/ her fish while the class chants:
“Pesca, pesca, pescador,
Pesca un pez,
¿De qué color?”
The student who is fishing must say the color.
Variation:
Write questions on the fish, and instead of saying the color, the student will have to answer the question.

12. SIMÓN DICE: This is a great TPR game. To play this game you need to have a group of three or more students. Pick a student to be “Simón”. The rest of the class must do what Simón tells them to do. If Simón says, “touch your eyes”, the other students touch their eyes (the student who doesn’t do the right action is out of the game). However if Simón says jump without first saying “Simón dice” and a student does the action, the student is out of the game too.

13. PASA LA BOLA: Place the class in a circle. Give a ball to pass around the circle (they will have to pass the ball to the person sitting next to them and the ball goes in one direction only). While the ball is coming around, the
class chants: “¡Pasa la bola, pasa la bola, pasa la bola, para!.” The student who gets the ball must answer a question or pick an object from a magic hat/box placed in the middle of the circle. If the student doesn’t know the answer, the class can help and start passing the ball again.
Variation: Have the students quietly listen to traditional music from Latin America or Spain while passing a ball around. When the music stops, the class should ask “¿Qué es?,” and the student who has the ball must pick an object from a magic hat/box and give the answer to the class.

14.A LINE OF NUMBERS:Using masking tape, make a line on the floor and place numbers from 1 to 5 in a line. Have two students stand on either side of number 1 facing each other. Show a flashcard. If both students identify it at the same time they both get to move to the next number. If only one of the students gives the answer only he/she will move to the next number. The student who gets to number 5 first wins the game.


15. FUTBOL (SOCCER): Make a fútbol chart out of construction paper and print out 12 fútbol balls. Divide the class into two teams (to make it more fun you could name the groups by using names of Spanish speaking countries). Each group will get the score on the opposite side of the field. Show a picture card or ask a question and the team that gets to answer first gets a point (place one of the fútbol balls on the opposite side –remember that in fútbol you score on the other side of the field). If both teams answer the questions at the same time they both get points. When the teacher is placing points (balls) on the field, the whole class chants “gol, gooooooooool!” Whoever gets the most points wins.


16. LA RANITA
Have the class sit in a circle. Place pictures or objects of the unit of study around the circle. Have a student be “La Ranita” (while wearing a frog mask) and jump around naming the vocabulary.
 Variation:
Another student can tell “La Ranita” where he/she should jump.

17. LA FILA (THE LINE)
Have the class be in a circle. Place a line of picture cards or objects in the middle. Pick two students from the class and  have them face to face on either side of a particular card. The teacher or another student calls out some of the vocabulary placed on the line. The two students have to jump to find the card.
 Non-Competitive variation:
Have one student jumping around the line. When you or a student calls out the name of an object, they find their place on the line.


Have fun playing in Spanish!
Carolina


Planning for Spanish Class

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

I am really happy to welcome all the new teachers! Thank you for spreading the love of learning a new language in your school community and to your students!

Planning is one of the most important aspects to ensuring a successful class over the course of a school year. Of course, getting to know your school community and the needs of your students are intimately tied to this part of the teaching process. You also need to be clear regarding what kind of language program your school wants to develop or has in place so that you tailor it to the demand and expectations appropriately. In many cases, we language teachers are in charge of planning our class 100% while building a curriculum from scratch, especially since textbooks at the elementary level have limited applicability for a natural approach to language teaching and learning.

In over fifteen years of teaching languages to children, I have found that planning a week in advance for the following week works perfectly and gives me time to assess the material, reflect on the way I am teaching, and to adapt for my students as needed. Although there are fancy higher tech ways to do this, I'm old school when it comes to planning, choosing to keep it simple. I plan for every day on a single sheet of paper, and by the end of the school year, I have about two big binders with all my lesson plans collected in one place. I re-use these lesson plans the following year, but I create a new binder with changes as I adapt activities year by year.

How to write a lesson plan for a 20-30 minute lesson

Prepare a routine: Make sure you develop a clear routine for your class. A routine doesn’t equate to boredom and doesn’t mean that the activities are always presented in the same way. Creating a routine means creating a space for learners to feel safe about their knowledge and to be ready to switch gears. Prepare two to three elements that are always in your routine, but make sure they can be presented with plenty of variation.

Objective:
This objective is one objective or piece of an objective drawn from the objectives planned for the entire unit. Remember that a spiral curriculum plan will allow you to come back to your other objectives later. This singular focus helps ensure that your entire lesson is well-targeted and clear. It’s the foundation for all that you do with your students.
            
Warm up:     
Includes your routine (calendar, weather, birthdays, etc). Singing or  playing a game related to the routine or theme of study helps students warm up for your lesson and creates a positive environment.
                        
Activity/Procedures
The activity is the core of your lesson. In this stage of the planning, students will get engage with your theme for the unit.  Different strategies are stated here to allow students to accomplish the lesson’s objective. It is important to determine the steps of the activities and to be clear about them to create a confident learning environment. An unclear set of activities will create confusion between students.
 
Wrap up:
This allows you and students to know clearly when a class is over and feel a sense of accomplishment. This ending can be done through a simple game or by reviewing some elements that were explored in the lesson.
 
Evaluation/Assessment:
In a FLES class, the assessment is mainly done during the progress of the lesson.  Try to focus on a few students per lesson, and observe them closely during the development of the lesson.           



Materials:
List all kinds of resources you will need to teach your lesson effectively. This will also help you to prepare in advance and avoid trips to your office during class. 

Grab your freebie HERE!




Have an awesome school year!
Carolina




        
                          

6 Tips for Using Puppets to Teach Spanish to Children - advice from an Expert Puppeteer and Actor in Colombia

Monday, August 6, 2012
I have been extremely lucky this summer during my trip to Colombia to have had the opportunity to find amazing people who can continue contributing to my professional development and to become better at what I do, teaching language to children. This time I had the opportunity to learn from Jaime Andres Castaño of Corpoteatro. Corpoteatro is a small organization that provides workshops for teachers to learn more about how to incorporate theatrical techniques into their teaching. It also offers workshops for children and anyone who is interested in learning how to use theatrical techniques in their daily life. Reminds me a bit of all the ads I've seen on the subway (T) cars in Boston for Improv Asylum and their ads that say "No More Group Hugs with Brad From Accounting," targeting corporate team building, as well as all the amazing ways theater is used in social cause grassroots organizations. Theater is essential - it really enriches the theater of our lives and is fantastic for teaching people of all ages.

 One form of theatrical art involves puppets. With my visit to Corpoteatro, I wanted to learn more about basic techniques to use with simple puppets. With their help, I learned that mouth puppets work great because they are very simple to handle and give me one free hand to point at other materials. I have always loved puppets and use them frequently into my teaching (I am a PreK to 3rd grade Spanish teacher in a FLES program) because puppets give me excuses to create silly and joyful situations that open the children to learning and make a dynamic conversational environment based on play and make-believe. Puppets are a great teaching tool that allow children to forget they are listening to a language they are just learning and gives space for a playful and natural-feeling environment. In many cases, my puppet friends show up in class to teach something new, or to ask my students about something we recently learned. Their appearances in my classes are usually very short, which makes my students ask for their puppet friend in the next class. Each of my puppet friends has a  name, and I usually use a name that is tied to a cultural connection or refers to a word in Spanish. For example, I have a puppet girl that I have named Cumbia (traditional Colombian dance) and another one I named Rana (frog).

Tips to Keep in Mind! 

Andres gracefully shared his basic tips that can help educators when using puppets in their classes


1. Treat your puppet like any other class member. Give it a name, a voice, and a space in your class. This puppet cannot be used by your students. They need to show respect to the puppet too!               

2. Make sure you always use the same voice for this puppet, and don't confuse it with any other puppet. Limit yourself to one or two characters for the school year. This will make the children feel confidence and know that it creates a safe environment for everyone.    
                                                                    
3. Use syllables when your puppet talks. You want this puppet to look very natural.


4. Always look at your puppet when he or she talks. 

5. Make sure to greet your puppet when he joins the class and also say 
adiós  when he leaves the class. Put it away very carefully. Have a box or bag where you always place it.

6. Most importantly as with all teaching, smile and have fun!

I do have to admit that at the beginning it is not comfortable when using puppets, but once you see your students' faces, you will see how rewarding it is to have puppet guests in class! 

Have fun teaching with puppets!
Carolina

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