Tuesday, November 29, 2016

How to Introduce la Navidad & el Día de los Reyes Magos in a 90% TL Classroom

TEACHING OUR ELEMENTARY STUDENTS CULTURE in the target language can sometimes sound daunting, but it doesn't have to be so, especially if we are very intentional about what we teach, we seek out concrete, tangible aspects which our students can more easily connect with, and we give ourselves permission to teach key elements, rather than the whole kit and kaboodle (remember, you can always spiral back in subsequent months or years to add to what you have taught your students- it's not a one and done situation).

COMPARING AND CONTRASTING LA NAVIDAD Y EL DÍA DE LOS REYES MAGOS presents a wonderful opportunity to teach about culture concretely, particularly because you can harness the power of graphic organizers such as a T Chart or a Venn Diagram to assist in your lesson. Here's how I present a simple comparison of these two holidays to my Kindergartners speaking 100% in Spanish with a teacher script and student responses in quotes and lesson actions in parenthesis- CHANGE 'MAINE' TO YOUR STATE. The primary goal of this lesson is to acquaint students with the key aspects of each holiday; essentially a fact building activity. The lesson lasts approximately 15-20 minutes.

compare and contrast culture in the target language holidays


PREP: I found a world map online in Spanish to project on my Smartboard, visuals of the various components of each holiday (Santa, Rudolph, Three Kings, camels, hay, etc), a visual of a famous character such as Peppa Pig or Mickey Mouse, a photo of me, and a photo of a friend from Spain (you could use a photo of someone from any country you chose, or download one off the internet using Google Images if you don't have a current photo of a friend), and 'Feliz navidad' by José Feliciano cued up for playing.

*THE LESSON: (I have the map projected on the Smartboard behind me)

HERE IS A VIDEO OF ME TEACHING THE LESSON TO KINDERGARTEN:


TEACHER-"Ok niños, vamos a hablar sobre la navidad." (Hit play and play the first chorus of Feliz navidad, the portion in Spanish). -This establishes the topic of Christmas as many students are familiar with this song and know it in the context of Christmas.

TEACHER: "Celebramos la navidad aquí en Maine (point to your state on the map)...¿sí o no?"

STUDENTS: "¡Sí!"

TEACHER: "Y, aquí en Maine, ¿quién trae los regalos? ¿Papá Noel o Peppa Pig? (hold up a visual of wrapped presents to establish meaning for 'regalos' and then visuals of Papá Noel and Peppa Pig for the either/or question)

STUDENTS: "Papá Noel" (some will definitely respond in English with 'Santa Claus'- you can say "Sí, Papá Noel" to foster use of the Spanish name) Stick the visual of Papá Noel on the map near your state.

TEACHER: "Ahhh, y ¿con quién viene Papá Noel? ¿Con Mickey Mouse o Rodolfo?"

STUDENTS: "Rodolfo" (again, you may need to reinforce the Spanish as replacement for the English, that's ok!) Stick the visual of Rodolfo next to Papá Noel on the board.

TEACHER: "Hmmm, y ¿dónde pone Papá Noel los regalos? Debajo del árbol, ¿sí o no?"

STUDENTS: "Sí" (stick visual of Christmas tree on board with a present under it)

TEACHER: "¿Y en unos calcetines? ¿sí o no?"

STUDENTS: "Sí" (stick visual of stocking with present in it on board)

TEACHER: "Papá Noel tiene hambre" (make a circular motion over your stomach) ¿Le dejamos pizza? ¿sí o no?

STUDENTS: "NO"

TEACHER: "¿Le dejamos unos tacos?"

STUDENTS: "No"

TEACHER: "¿Le dejamos unas galletas? ¿sí o no?"

STUDENTS: "¡Sí!" (stick picture of cookies on board

TEACHER: "y qué tal un vaso de leche? ¿sí o no?"

STUDENTS: "Sí" (stick picture of milk on board- you could go through this process for what we leave for reindeer also, such as carrots and/or reindeer food)

TEACHER: "Ok, así celebramos la navidad aquí en Maine. Papá Noel nos trae los regalos y Rodolfo le acompaña. Papá Noel pone los regalos en los calcetines y debajo del árbol. Le dejamos a Papá Noel unas galletas y un vaso de leche. ¿Sí o no?"

STUDENTS: "Sí"

TEACHER: "Hmmm...pero en España no celebran así...Esta es mi amiga, Maite, en España (show photo of friend and point to Spain on the map, stick her photo next to Spain). Maite no está en Maine, está en España y Papá Noel no viene a la casa de mi amiga Maite. Rodolfo no viene a la casa de mi amiga Maite tampoco. (point to the visuals of Papá Noel and Rodolfo, say 'no' and shake your finger no to further establish meaning). En lugar de Papá Noel, vienen los Tres Reyes Magos. (put up visual of Three Kings next to photo). Y, los Tres Reyes Magos no son acompañados por Rodolfo, no. Hay tres camellos (point to the camels/put up a picture of camels). Los Tres Reyes Magos ponen los regalos en y alrededor de unos zapatos (put up a picture of a pair of kids shoes and presents in/next to them- you can mime the Three Kings putting the presents in the shoes). Y, los camellos tienen hambre, ¿no? (make the circular motion over your tummy)- para los camellos, los niños ponen paja o hierba y un poco de agua. (put up pictures of hay/grass and water next to the camels and mime them eating and drinking the water). Y ta-chán, así se celebra el Día de los Tres Reyes Magos en España."

I HOPE THIS GIVES YOU SOME IDEAS for presenting this cultural theme in the target language- Spanish!

GRAB OUR HOLIDAY COMPARISON PACK in our shop and make preparing for this lesson easy for yourself! You can get it here!

holiday comparison la navidad el día de los tres reyes magos



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Friday, November 4, 2016

Hand signals & gestures for behavior management-stay in the target language!

I HAVE GIVEN MANY PRESENTATIONS on how I keep my behavior and classroom management in my elementary Spanish classes in Spanish, and one thing I share each time is how I use hand signals and gestures to provide redirects and reminders. Borrowed from ASL, Responsive Classroom, and other sources, the following simple signals are, in fact, quite powerful and allow you to stay in the target language once you've established them as part of your routine management style. Also check out my list of 13 verbal redirects in Spanish here!

hand signals for classroom management in the elementary Spanish classroom


*¡ATENCIÓN!: Most likely you use this one, too. Eyes on me is one of the most important things I need my kiddos to do in order to see all the visually supports I give them (see my post on a 90% partnership for more on this). I often accompany this gesture with the verbal redirect '¡Atención!, but not always.

hand signals for behavior management in the elementary Spanish classroom


*¡SIÉNTATE BIEN!: This is the ASL sign for sitting and comes in extremely handy for those squirmy, wriggly kids who are all over the floor, up on their knees, or lying about instead of sitting on their bum.

hand signals for classroom managment elementary spanish class

*MOMENTICO: I was inspired to use this gesture by watching a previous principal who used it frequently at staff meetings. I use it all the time; when a kiddo has a raised hand but I can't call on him/her right at that moment; when a kiddo needs something but I can't grab it right at that moment; any time I need my kiddos to wait for a minute for my attention, help, etc. It is way more powerful than I could've imagined! Kids feel ACKNOWLEDGED, that I see them and will get to them as soon as I can, which also cuts down on the "Señora, Señora, Señora....". I do typically say 'momentico' when I make the gesture; many of my students have picked it up and use it, too! NOTE: a key component of this is that you do indeed get back to the kid you've said 'momentico' to- this builds trust and shows your students you will follow through.

hand signals for classroom management in elementary Spanish class

*SNAPPING YOUR FINGERS: Need to get a kiddo's attention without saying anything? I find snapping my fingers often does the trick, and I can then give a second hand signal to redirect the behavior that is heading off course or a verbal redirect if necessary.

I hope these help out and/or give you inspiration! Have some gestures of your own? Share in the comments below!

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Wednesday, October 12, 2016

La Castañada- a Fall Celebration for Elementary Spanish Class

AUTUMN HAS ARRIVED and though in Spanish class we often look to Days of the Dead to fill our plan books, another celebration takes place at the same time- la Castañada! This holiday, celebrated in Spain and Portugal, rings in the fall harvest of nuts and fruits, centering around las castañas (chestnuts), and takes place on November 1, All Saint's Day. Images associated with this holiday include a woman in peasant dress selling chestnuts on the street, nuts, fall leaves, hedgehogs, squirrels, birds and the forest. In doing a search on Pinterest, I came across a slew of activities for elementary age students- this holiday seems a great one for craftivities in schools in Spain. Couple this with autumnal vocabulary and you've got a great theme for October/ November that features culture- a win win!

HERE IS A ROUND UP OF SOME IDEAS I find particularly fun and engaging for our elementary Spanish classrooms (and that I would like to do in my classroom!):

*FIRSTLY, A BIT MORE INFO ABOUT LA CASTAÑADA: this site gives background information and history, as well as an interesting perspective about which to celebrate, Halloween or Castañada.

*THIS SWEET AND SIMPLE SONG is perfect to learn along with fall vocabulary and la Castañada. I found it at AliciaInfantil (click here for more of her printables)



*MAKE THESE CUTE CHESTNUT FACES- a great way to practice and reinforce emotions- kids can make a talking bubble to go along with the chestnut to include emotions vocabulary. I tried to source this picture but was unable to; it is not mine.


*SHARE THIS ADORABLE MINIBOOK with your students, highlighting la Castañada and fall.


*MAKE PANELLETS, traditional treats for All Saint's Day, Castañada, and the fall. Here is an incredibly well photographed recipe, step by step.


*A SIMPLE POEM ABOUT LA CASTAÑERA (the peasant lady who sells castañas on the street):
"Cuando es el tiempo de las castañas,
la castañera, la castañera,
baja y vende castañas,
en la cuidad,
la camisa le va pequeña,
la faldita le hace campana,
los zapatos le hacen clon-clon.."

Enjoy!



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Sunday, October 2, 2016

Managing Multiple Grade Levels with Rotating Themes

A BIG CHALLENGE FOR ELEMENTARY LANGUAGE TEACHERS is teaching multiple grade levels- many of you out there teach upwards of 5 or 6 grade levels- even 9 if you are a K-8 teacher! Along with that type of span typically comes a large number of students, so prep and planning can be a bear, especially with the limited prep time often provided. One way to tackle this (and save your sanity!) is to create a yearly rotation of themes, teaching one theme to multiple grade levels in a given year, then another the following year, and so on. With embedded differentiation to take into account age appropriate activities, this allows you to plan ONE theme across many levels (obviously you will have a variety of themes across that one year, but this is a way to attack having different themes for all grade levels all through the year).

managingmultiplegradelevelsforelementaryspanish


ONE WAY TO GO ABOUT DOING THIS is to look at the ACTFL standards and choose one that lends itself particularly well to differentiation while still keeping to the same basic theme. Here's an example of how that can be done highlighting a set of activity packs we have available, tapping into ACTFL'S cultural competence standards:

Under 'CULTURES' ACTFL has the following standard:
-Relating cultural practices to perspectives: Learners use the language to investigate, explain, and reflect on the relationship between the practices and perspectives of the cultures studied

Under 'CONNECTIONS' is the following standard:
-Acquiring information and diverse perspectives: Learners access and evaluate information and diverse perspectives that are available through the language and its cultures.

THESE TWO STANDARDS could be achieved in a variety of ways- a popular way to do this is to focus on a particular country, highlighting various aspects of culture from that country focus. With young kiddos, who have little knowledge of other countries in general, it is also a great way to widen their horizons and instill curiosity and interest. To achieve the standards, you could have a different country focus at each grade level; for example, for Kindergarten, México, for 1st grade, Spain, for 2nd grade, Perú. (or even regions). The alternative could be to set up a rotation over the course of a few years, like this:

YEAR 1- México- all three grade levels (or a span of your choice) study México
YEAR 2- Perú- all three grade levels (or a span of your choice) study Perú
YEAR 3- Venezuela- all three grade levels (or a span of your choice) study Venezuela

In YEAR 4, you start over again with México, and so on for another three year rotation. You could also have more years in the rotation, adding countries to the list. Or have a different set of countries for upper grade levels, with it's own rotation. The key here is you are prepping ONE THEME for multiple grade levels, rather than several themes, which eases your workload.

WE HAVE A SERIES (EVER GROWING!) OF COUNTRY FOCUSED ACTIVITY PACKS which are just perfect for this idea of rotating over the course of a few years. Each activity pack highlights simple cultural aspects of the country, including the flag, foods, animals, a special landmark or feature, and geography, using basic language to convey the information in Spanish, making them ideal for little learners. Each can also be supplemented with additional activities for upper elementary and/or middle school, such as videos, projects, songs, etc. Each also meets the above ACTFL standards through the window provided via the activities in the pack. Here are the three we currently have (keep checking back as new ones are in the pipeline!):

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Pepita-va-a-Mexico-Culture-Activity-Pack-Spanish-Resources-2770656
Pepita va a México Activity Pack

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Pepita-va-a-Peru-Culture-Activity-Pack-Printable-Minibook-Spanish-Resources-1707740
Pepita va a Perú Activity Pack

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Pepita-va-a-Venezuela-Printable-Minibook-Activity-Pack-Spanish-Culture-2112541
'Pepita va a Venezuela' Activity Pack





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Saturday, September 17, 2016

Open House Activities for Elementary Spanish Class

THIS WEEK WE HAD OPEN HOUSE AT SCHOOL, and I wanted to make it more meaningful this year...our principal had referenced parents 'learning something' as they traveled through the many classrooms in our school, which inspired me to go beyond the typical 'meet and greet' I had always done. After searching on Pinterest for far too long, I came up with the following:

THREE THINGS TO DO WHEN YOU COME TO THE SPANISH ROOM: I created a printout of three things kiddos could do while visiting me:

1) Greet me with 'Hola'

2) Introduce their parents to Pepita and friends (they are such a part of our class I thought it would be fun to have parents introduced to them)

3) Do an estimation activity with a jar of Guatemalan worry dolls (which also gave practice for numbers) You can download my estimation activity for FREE here!

The kids had a lot of fun, especially with the estimation jar, and it was a great opportunity to showcase how well kids comprehend Spanish- many parents witnessed me speaking and prompting kiddos with the estimation slip, demonstrating how I teach in the target language while kids completed the task. I would love to hear how you do Open House!




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Sunday, September 11, 2016

Hispanic Heritage Month- Making Cultural Connections by Comparing a Taco

HISPANIC HERITAGE MONTH is a wonderful opportunity for our elementary Spanish students to learn more about how the influence of Hispanic culture has contributed to their own. Since we are talking elementary, I particularly like to provide concrete, tangible examples of how, in our everyday lives, we experience the many contributions we enjoy and which have become a part of the culture here in the US. I could get very sentimental and say that, after all, we are a melting pot, and our culture is an amazing amalgam of traditions, values, and customs from the world over... it truly brings tears to my eyes!

BUT, BACK TO HISPANIC HERITAGE MONTH! So, if you ask yourself the question, what does a 5, 6, 7 year old experience in his/her daily life that has come directly or in part from a Spanish speaking country, for the majority, the answer is mostly likely tacos and nachos and salsa! (Or, at least in my neck of the woods here in Maine...) And, most likely they have no idea that these yummy foods came originally from México AND most likely do not know or have ever had an authentic representation of either.

SO, WHY NOT TAKE THIS CONCRETE EXAMPLE OF MEXICAN CULTURE and share with your students the real deal? If you aren't able to bring in food, or have too many students to make it feasible, you can still show your students via videos and pictures more traditional representations. Here are some resources to compare and contrast Mexican tacos and those often eaten in the US:


THOUGH THE SPANISH in the video is most likely above your students' language level, the visual representation of a step by step recipe is a great way for kids to SEE the difference in tacos we frequently eat here (Ortega, anyone?). After viewing the video, and talking about the differences (both in how they are made and the ingredients) between a taco in México and the US, have your students do a Venn diagram with visual representations of the differences- here is a FREE downloadable Venn diagram activity page! This is also a great activity to meet ACTFL Standard 4.2 (Students develop understanding of the concept of culture through comparisons of the cultures studied and their own)

HOW ABOUT PICO DE GALLO? Check out our post here on making salsa tipo pico de gallo! And don't miss our 'Olivia hace chocolate caliente' Activity Pack- two great additional opportunities for cultural comparisons!


olivia hace chocolate caliente culture comparison


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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!)
*'Soy yo' by Bomba Estéreo
*'Bailando' by Enrique Iglesias
*'Yo voy ganao' by Systema Solar
*'Salsa y choke' by ChocoQuibTown featuring Nejo
*'Baila conmigo' by Juan Magan featuring Luciana (in both English and Spanish)
*'Bailamos' by Enrique Iglesias (this is primarily in English but does have some Spanish)

Happy dancing!




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