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!


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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!
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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
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BE SURE TO CHECK OUT OUR POST ON MAKING TINY BOOKS FOR EL DÍA DEL LIBRO HERE!
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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!


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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!
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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!




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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!

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