Feed the Monster in Spanish Class

Thursday, January 31, 2013



I love teaching this unit in my classes. I especially love teaching names of fruits that are endemic to Latin America, mostly from Colombia, the country where I am from.


In preparation for this activity you will need to create a monster prop, similar to the one in the picture below, which is very simple to make  - with no sewing involved. I used felt fabric of different colors, glue, staples and wiggly eyes. Make sure to put a space in the mouth so the children can feed the monster. The monster I made is big, and my students enjoy its visit to class. I use a hanger to carry it from classroom to classroom. You will also need plastic fruits or pictures of different fruits, depending on the ones you would like to introduce.






Once the monsters and fruits are ready I like to introduce them using Total Physical Response (TPR).  I often use American Sign Language (ASL) because I don't think it makes sense to spend time creating my own gestures when I can use the beautiful ASL that children may already be familiar with or encounter later in life. Plus, ASL is a language in and of itself, so my use of it just provides another advantage for my children and their multilingual brains! My favorite resource on the Internet is Signing Savvy. On this site, you just have to type a word, and then you get a video showing the corresponding sign.

I use a magic box or bag and introduce the name of each fruit with the sign. I review each fruit by asking the children to show me the sign while saying the name in Spanish. Then we go over each fruit and describe it by colors and sizes. I will also ask my students questions like "¿te gusta comer manzana?" and then have them respond back to me by saying "sí, me gusta", "no, no me gusta", or "me encanta."Since my students are young and many don't have experience in the language, I ask questions in a way that models the answers so they feel confident about it:
Me: ¿Qué es?
       Es una manzana.
       ¿Qué es?
Student: Es una manzana.


 After students have learned the vocabulary, I use other activities to complement and assess the topic. Here are some examples:
  • Place a fruit into a bag or box. Ask a student to follow commands: Encuentra la manzana, pásale la manzana a Peter.                        
  • Give a fruit (picture or plastic) to every student. You need to have a flash card or picture of each fruit. Ask "¿dónde está la manzana?" The student who has the fruit must answer "¡Aquí está la manzana!" (Don't forget to model the question and the answer). 
  • Check for TPR gestures for each fruit showing the sign you taught for each fruit.
  • Ask students to draw pictures of the fruit you name. Erasable white boards are great for this activity!
  • Charades: A student makes a TPR gesture and the rest of the class has to guess it.


Tell a Story: El Monstruo Comelón

This is where the monster you made comes alive. Tell the story while feeding the monster.

El monstruo se come un banano.El monstruo se come una piña.El monstruo se come una pera.(Do the same for each fruit you have decided to include in your unit)¡El monstruo se engordó!
Ask questions after telling the story:¿El monstruo come piña o pan?

¿Qué come el monstruo?
¿Te gusta comer piña?
¿El monstruo se engordó o se durmió?
¿Qué le pasó al monstruo?


Act it out!

Play with the story before you let students act the story out. Pick some students to retell the story.
You will need a narrator, and to make it more fun and interactive, you can give a play microphone to the narrator.
Choose other students to put the fruits inside the monster's mouth. They should say the word aloud and make the appropriate TPR gesture.







Happy teaching!
Carolina




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