Friday, August 26, 2016

Hispanic Heritage Month- 16 Pop Songs for Elementary Spanish Class

HISPANIC HERITAGE MONTH BEGINS SEPTEMBER 15, and is a wonderful opportunity for elementary Spanish teachers to highlight the many ways Hispanic culture is part of our students' daily life. One tangible aspect is music- our students hear quite a bit of music sung and created by Latin artists, but don't always think about the connection between the artist and the country they, or their families,  are from. Whether you teach your students salsa while playing Celia Cruz, or play 'Freeze dance' with 'La Bamba', bringing music into class and highlighting the connections make a significant contribution towards your students being more aware of Hispanic culture and the contributions it has made to our own. Here are 12 songs I like to play with my elementary students, some of which are very familiar to them, while others are new but lots of fun:

Hispanic Heritage Month Songs for Elementary Spanish Class

*'Ven a bailar' by Pitbull and J Lo
*'La Bamba' by Los Lobos
*'Echa Pa'lla (Manos Pa'arriba)' by Pitbull
*'Oye como va' by Santana
*'Rie y llora' by Celia Cruz
*'La vida es un Carnaval' by Celia Cruz
*'A Dios le pido' by Juanes
*'La bicicleta' by Shakira and Carlos Vives
*'Dímelo' by Marc Antony
*'La Copa de la Vida' by Ricky Martin
*'Volaré' by Gypsy Kings
*'Noche y de Día' by Enrique Iglesias featuring Yandel and Juan Magan
*'Qué viva la vida' by Wisin
*'La Gozadera' by Gente de Zona featuring Marc Antony
*'Canción del Mariachi' by Antonio Banderas and Los Lobos (yes, Antonio Banderas!)
*'Bailamos' by Enrique Iglesias (this is primarily in English but does have some Spanish)

Happy dancing!


Sunday, August 21, 2016

Activities for the First Days of School in Elementary Spanish Classes

WE'VE TEAMED UP WITH Fun for Early and Elementary Spanish Teachers for a fun week on Facebook, sharing activities for the first days of school in Elementary Spanish Classes. Be sure to follow both of us on Facebook (click here to go to our page!) so you don't miss out- this week, and every week!

I AM ALSO POSTING ALL OF OUR ACTIVITIES here on our blog! Here we go! (I'll add each activity here as we progress through the week)

Activities for the First Days of School in Elementary Spanish Classes

Activities for the First Days of School in Elementary Spanish Class

Activities for the First Days of School in Elementary Spanish Class

Activities for the First Days of School in Elementary Spanish Classes Back to School

*Here is a great Youtube video with two little girls demonstrating 'Por aquí pasó un caballo'

Activities for Back to School in Elementary Spanish Classes

Activities for Back to School in Elementary Spanish Classes

Activities for Back to School in Elementary Spanish Classes


Monday, August 15, 2016

Routines for the End of Spanish Class- Cleaning Up and Saying Goodbye

I CONFESS, I'VE DONE A FAIR SHARE OF POSTS highlighting greeting activities, but have yet to write a post starring END OF THE CLASS ACTIVITIES! ¡Qué locura! Well, I am here to remedy that with a round- up of closing activities you can do when cleaning up and saying goodbye to your class, which are just as important as greetings in that they bring your class closure in an orderly and meaningful way, and send them to the next teacher ready to transition.

Routines for the End of Spanish Class-Cleaning Up and Saying Goodbye

*CLEANING UP is one of those times when having a routine is super helpful; whether it is simply putting away pencils and activities, or cleaning up a big mess made from a project, my goal is always to do this as efficiently and quickly as possible. Several years ago I stumbled upon an authentic song 'A guardar' which has become my staple for signaling it is time to clean up and get ready to go. Although only about 30 seconds in length, you would be amazed how much can be accomplished in that time frame- if you MODEL and PRACTICE what kiddos need to do as soon as they hear the song start playing! You can download the song on ITunes: 'A guardar' by Sari Cucien

*SIDE NOTE ON COLLECTING FOLDERS: This is a two-parter- if you use a seating chart AND you hand out folders containing activities, at clean up time, collect those folders in the order in which your kiddos sit, following your seating chart. This will, in turn, make it much easier and quicker to hand them out again the next time you use them! I have also added to this routine that they need to hold their folders upright (rather than on their head like a graduation cap, in their hand like a pizza box, or as high as they can possibly get it- all of which frequently end up in folders falling and activities scattered all over the place).

*REFERENCE A WELL KNOWN REFRAN with this quick chant I modified, which is perfect as a call and response to signal the end of class! You can download it for free here on our drive!

*SAYING GOODBYE: Sadly, we have to say goodbye to our little critters as they have places to go and people to see...but it's always nice to do so with a smile on our faces! Here are two songs that are perfect to sing as they are lining up, on their way out the door, or as a closing circle activity.

I also videoed myself demonstrating how I instruct my students to clean up, all in Spanish, to give you a sense of how that can be done in a 90% CI classroom.

Hope I've given you some good ideas for ending class!


Monday, August 8, 2016

Fast Finisher Activities for Elementary Spanish Class

I'M DONE, WHAT DO I DO NOW, SEÑORA? Yes, we've all heard that question! Those kiddos who finish early and need something to do... here is a round up of the activities I provide for my FAST FINISHERS... please add yours in the comments! We would love to hear them!

*COLORING & PARTNER READ WITH OUR MINIBOOKS: This is the first go to in my classes- since every theme begins with one of our minibooks, every kiddo has his/her minibook tucked in their folder, easy to grab and color and/ or partner read with a friend.

Pepita lee sobre Frida Kahlo
*BOOK BASKET: I always have two baskets of books for kiddos to look at and read in my classroom. One has chapter books, while the other has a variety of picture books, non fiction books about countries, animals, geography, etc, and simple picture dictionaries. Many of the books in the second basket are in Spanish, but not all. Consider putting cookbooks in there, too! The pictures are beautiful and show authentic food, always a popular topic!

*MEMORAMA: Memory is always a favorite! Easy to play with 2-3 friends, I create Memory cards that require matching a word with a picture, increasing the challenge somewhat, rather than simply picture to picture. I always have a few sets in our fast finisher bin!

*PUZZLES: I have 3-4 puzzles of maps that are great for kiddos who love to do puzzles and/or are interested in geography. Since my room is small, I let students take the puzzles out into the hall to do them. Can't find good ones, or don't have access? Take a picture from a magazine or print out a page from a book, affix to stiff paper, laminate, then cut apart in wonky shapes to create your own paper "puzzles". Tuck the pieces in a ziploc baggie and have them ready to go!

*STORY TREASURE BASKETS: As I stated above, all of my themes revolve around my minibooks so I sometimes create story treasure baskets filled with props from the story, along with some extras to fuel their imagination. You can see my post here for some fun examples!

*SORTING ACTIVITIES, much like Memorama, are great opportunities for youngsters to practice vocabulary, and muffin tins are perfect for sorting little items like pompoms, beads, counters, and more. Label each muffin cup with a different category word, (colors, numbers, size, etc) provide a set of objects to sort, and away they go! To increase the challenge for older kids, have a mix of objects and word cards to sort.

*COOTIE CATCHERS: Older learners can make their own cootie catchers in the target language, then play them with classmates. Have vocabulary prompts available in writing so kids have direction when creating them. Here is a pattern for making them (not mine):

*WORD SEARCHES, COLOR BY NUMBER, CROSSWORDS, ETC are always a great activity to have on hand for fast finishers, tailored for age level. I like to have ones out that are related to the theme we are currently engaged in, or ones that review vocabulary from previous themes.

*GAMES OF ALL KINDS can be adapted for fast finisher activities- I love Dominos for little learners and, since it is popular in a number of Spanish speaking countries, it is authentic yet familiar. Provide a map of the Caribbean with Cuba, Puerto Rico, and Dominican Republic highlighted to give them context! Another fun game I started with my students I call 'Tapatodo', where students try to be the first to cover their board, a great review of vocabulary. You can find our set of 16 gameboards here!


Saturday, August 6, 2016

Snapchat Cortos for the Olympics- How to Integrate them in your Classroom

EL EQUIPO "MUNDO DE PEPITA" ESTÁ LISTO PARA LOS JUEGOS- ¿Y TÚ? Yes, you read that right, Pepita and the gang have headed off to compete in the Olympics...well, Mundo style! Hop onto Snapchat, and check out their adventures as they take part in a variety of sporting events. Here are some ways you can incorporate the photos and videos we are posting in your classroom (I've put a variety of activities for different levels):

*HAVE YOUR STUDENTS FOLLOW US ON SNAPCHAT and do a quick writing activity around what happens in the day's videos or describe the pictures posted.

*HAVE APPLETV? Show the day's cortos or fotos on your screen and ask kiddos questions about them. ¿Qué hace Olivia? ¿De qué color es el traje de baño de Olivia? Nada rápido Javi, ¿sí o no? ¿En qué deporte va a competir Arturo? etc Your questions can be tailored to your students' level.

*HAVE YOUR STUDENTS SELECT ONE CHARACTER to follow specifically, and write a Facebook or Twitter post for that character, describing what their day is like while competing.

*FOLLOW THE MEDAL COUNT! We'll be posting our very own "medal count" on Snapchat, which will provide numbers practice in a very simple context for novice or elementary school learners.

OH, AND IN CASE YOU HAVEN'T MET PEPITA & THE GANG YET, here they are! From left to right, Olivia, Arturo, Mateo, Julieta, Pepita, and Javi :)

Saturday, July 30, 2016

My Back to School Checklist for Elementary Spanish Class

IT'S THE END OF JULY and though I still have much of the month of August left before I go back to school, my teacher self can't help thinking about those first days and weeks. With almost 400 elementary school students in 21 classes (that I see twice a week each) organization is what keeps me sane (and the chocolate!). At the end of last school year, I threw into a large pocket folder resources and materials I use at the beginning of the year so they are handy as I prep my room and myself. In spare moments (seriously, there were some?) I printed out stuff I knew I would need, such as name tags, Ratoncito Pérez tooth coins, birthday cards, etc and shoved them in the pocket, getting some things out of the way before August hit and I become a bit, shall we say, crazed?

I ALSO HAVE A CHECKLIST of things I need to prep every year, which I've turned into an infographic so you can see it for yourself. It's not exhaustive, but it covers the biggies! What do you do to get ready?

Need name tags for your students? How about ours? Find them here!

And don't forget about Ratoncito Pérez, the Tooth Mouse! He is, by far, the most memorable and tangible aspect of culture I share with my students- here's our Activity Pack with lost tooth posters, certificates, coins, and more!

Sunday, July 24, 2016

How to Help & Support Your Students in a 90% TL Classroom

A FEW WEEKS AGO I SHARED MY REFLECTIONS ON TEACHING 90% IN MY ELEMENTARY SPANISH CLASSES, and one of the things I mentioned was my desire to teach learning strategies to my students right from the beginning of the year which would help and support them. The key to these strategies, in my opinion, is that they constitute a collaboration between my students and me- we each have our responsibilities in order for the strategies to be truly effective. I created an infographic to highlight these two sides, with my students' responsibilities on the left, and mine on the right. I've expanded on the infographic below.

*EYES AND EARS ON ME: We all have those little squirrels who play with their shoelaces, braid the girl's hair next to her, roll about on the carpet, etc. Keeping tabs on those kiddos and redirecting them when they aren't focused is crucial to ensuring kids don't miss what is going on- I frequently remind my students that seeing what I am showing and doing is as important as hearing what I am saying for them to understand what is going on. TIP: Do a visual scan to be sure students are paying attention before you start talking, especially when giving instructions or other important communications. This makes a huge difference!

*UTILIZING OUR RESOURCES: I make sure there are tons of supports for my students to access at all times, whether that be our contextualized bulletin boards, word banks in their folders, songs that we sing to help us remember vocabulary, etc. It is my responsibility to remind them those supports are available, and explicitly teach how to use them. Little kiddos do not all intuitively utilize these types of supports so regularly reminding them they are available is a huge help!

*MAKING THE EFFORT: We as teachers are very used to telling our students that putting forth their best effort is an integral part of their learning. I liken it to being a member on a sports team- you wouldn't just sit out on the sidelines and expect to get better at soccer, would you? Of course not! You need to be in the game to improve, and the same goes for school. For my part, I need to support and celebrate my students' efforts, making it part of "business as usual" in terms of how I interact with my students.

At the beginning of the school year, I have the above conversation with my students, and then we come back to it regularly. Letting students know that you are part of a team with them, that you have responsibilities, too, builds community in your classes and tightens the bond you have with your students, and shows them it is a two way street- working together as a partnership makes for a great year of learning!