Saturday, October 31, 2015

Incorporate the Spirit of Giving in your Spanish Classes


LOOKING FOR FUN WAYS TO INCORPORATE the spirit of giving into your classes and still provide opportunities to use Spanish? Here are a few ideas:


*MAKE CHRISTMAS CARDS for local immigrant or migrant groups. Many of these people are far from home for the holidays- receiving a card in their native language will most certainly bring a smile to their face! Depending on the language level of your students, the messages can be as simple as '¡Feliz navidad!' or more involved. TIP: Brainstorm a list of potential greetings with your students and then post them on the board or on chart paper for students to choose from. This avoids spelling errors and gives more support to those students who may have difficulty coming up with ideas themselves. The objective is to create something someone else would want to receive; a sloppy copy won't cut it!

*GO CAROLING AT A LOCAL RETIREMENT HOME. If taking your students on the road is an option, this is a wonderful way to share student learning with your community. Teach your students traditional Christmas or seasonal carols such as 'Campana sobre campana' and 'Noche de Paz' (depending on their age, I would suggest 3-4 maximum) and team up with the music teacher or general ed teacher to "bulk up" the song repertoire for a bilingual music program...then hit the local retirement home and knock their socks off! Residents will love hearing your little ones singing away and will be amazed by the beauty of the songs in Spanish!

*ORGANIZE A FUNDRAISER and give the donations to a charitable organization that either targets a Spanish speaking country or incorporates culture. There are a myriad ways you can raise funds: from a bottle drive to making ornaments with an Hispanic theme to sell, any money earned will be greatly appreciated by the organization of your choice. Here are some little kiddo friendly organizations I particularly like (and stay tuned for some ornament craftivity ideas from us coming soon!):

-THE HEIFER PROJECT Heifer International uses money donated to them to provide resources to needy families and communities around the world, allowing them to be self sustainable. For example, you can help Heifer International purchase a llama (or a share of a llama, which is great if you haven't been able to raise a lot of money) to be given to a family in Bolivia. They also have a 'Read to Feed' program with materials to help you organize this really neat fundraising method. You could have your students read books that have to do with Hispanic culture- talk to your school librarian about what is already in your school library!

-WORLD WILDLIFE FUND seeks to protect endangered animals around the world by supporting conservation efforts in a variety of countries. You can "adopt" an animal, earmarking your donation for that particular species. They have a number of animals in Spanish speaking countries, such as the Galapagos Tortoise, llama, three toed sloth, jaguar and many more. Little kids LOVE animals, so symbolically adopting one, or more, of these creatures is a huge motivator! And, if you adopt at the "higher" level, you will receive a stuffy of the animal adopted, which can become a great mascot for your classroom! Go straight to the symbolic animal adoption page here!

-MONARCH BUTTERFLY FUND supports educational & conservation efforts to create sustainable ecosystems for the Monarch Butterfly, both in México and the US. If you already do a theme on the annual monarch migration (or would like to), this is a great way to tie in the theme with a real world connection and make a difference kids can comprehend.

WISHING YOU A WONDERFUL HOLIDAY SEASON!


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Sunday, October 25, 2015

More fun with pompoms! Two fun activities to practice colors

LAST YEAR I SHARED TWO ACTIVITIES using pom pons, a counting activity and one with colors. Fall is back and my Kindergartners are knee deep in our color theme once again. Since my classes had such fun last year, I naturally brought back the pom pons again this October, but some new ideas. UPDATED ACTIVITY FOR 2016! See below!


*'LISTEN & GRAB' is an easy listening activity which could work with any vocabulary set, provided you have enough manipulatives/objects/pictures to grab. Enter the pom pons, perfect for practicing color vocabulary! Having a large amount of them makes for quite an impact when you dump them all over your floor!  Materials & set up: a large bin of pom pons, a set of bowls or containers, and a label for each bowl or container.  As you can see in the above picture, I also put down an outdoor tablecloth- this makes for easier pickup with the pom pons and reduces the dirt and fuzz they collect if you dump them on your rug or bare floor.  Dump the pom pons in the middle of the space, and place the bowls strategically around the room as "stations". Assign 3-4 kiddos to each bowl and review each color word. I started with only 4 bowls so that groups would get turns every 30 seconds or so- antsy kindergarteners do not make your life much fun lol

NOW FOR THE FUN! Call out a color word and instruct kiddos whose station is labeled that color to come to the center and grab 1 pom pon of that color and put it in their bowl. So, if there are 4 kiddos at a station, there will be 4 pom pons in the bowl. Call out another color, and so on. Start predictably, going in order around then the stations, then mix it up, keeping them on their toes as they need to listen carefully to which color is being called. I love to call the same color twice in a row every now and again as they find that hilarious. Keep the pace moving to be sure kids are engaged and not sitting around- I have to remind kiddos to grab quickly, no searching endlessly for that one 'perfect' pom pon! I usually set a time limit for this activity- 10 minutes is just about right.

VARIATIONS:
*Once kiddos have gotten the hang of the game, after a few rounds, switch the groups, moving them to another station and start again. This keeps them listening and practicing multiple color words!
*Have a tally sheet next to the bowl. Before you end the activity, have each group count (in Spanish, of course!) how many pom pons are in the bowl, write the number down, and then report out to the class.


*GRAB & SORT: This is an easy and fun activity to practice reading and speaking skills with a partner. Materials & setup: empty tissue boxes stuffed with pompons (they don't have to be full), color sorting page- you can download ours for free here. Hand out a box and a sorting page to each partner group (or groups of 3-4) and instruct them to take turns pulling a pompon (without peeking!) out of the tissue box and placing it on the correct star that matches the color. As they place the pompon, they need to say the color word out loud. Kids love the surprise element and the whole class is engaged at once! You can set a time limit at the end of which kids can report out how many of each color they have, or simply count together in their groups.

*PUT THOSE POMS IN YOUR CUP! NEW in 2016, spread out the pom poms (I recommend a tablecloth to corral them), hand out a plastic cup to each student, and instruct them to grab one green pom pom and put it in the cup- or two red ones, or five purple ones! Check the cups before starting another round for comprehension and have fun! Here is a short video of me giving instructions for this activity


HAVE FUN WITH THOSE POMS!

 And, if you liked the fishy color cards shown in the first picture collage, you can get them along with our printable minibook & activity pack 'Arturo y la bota', perfect for teaching colors in context. You can get it in our store here. 



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Sunday, October 4, 2015

Una Persona Misteriosa- Incorporate Writing into this Fun Game

WE ARE ALL FAMILIAR with the game 'Mystery Person' or 'Guess Who I Am'... students choose a person from a list (or one is chosen for them) and the rest of the class has to guess who they are... or alternatively the kiddo has to guess who he/she is by asking questions of the class, much like 20 Questions. My Fourth Graders start the year learning the sentence starter 'Yo soy' along with a set of adjectives to describe oneself (artistic, adventurous, musical, athletic, etc) and I love to give them fun ways to practice this in a contextual manner.



ENTER 'LA PERSONA MISTERIOSA', played, of course, by having students (or partners/teams) choose a person to describe with the intent of having the rest of the class try to guess who he/she is. Since I am also looking to give ample opportunities for my students to practice their writing skills, before they can present their description, they need to write it down. I have my Fourth Grade classes organized into teams, and I have them choose two people to describe from a list I put on the board- I have famous people from Spanish speaking countries that they are familiar with (this year it has been Frida Kahlo, Lionel Messi, Pocoyó, José Feliciano, Ratoncito Pérez) along with other Specials Teachers in the building (our Art, Music & Phys Ed teachers- which is hilarious all on it's own!). Using 'Yo soy...' plus our adjectives, each team needs to create a simple description of their two chosen people- I'm a big fan of the talking bubble so the activity page features two big talking bubbles for my students to write in and a space at the top of each bubble to write who "they" are. While students are writing, it gives me an opportunity to circulate around the room checking to be sure they have a full sentence and that they have matched the gender appropriately. This is a great reminder for kiddos to pay attention to adjectival endings, something we have been working on in various ways since Kindergarten.

LET THE GAME COMMENCE! Taking turns, students read the description to the rest of the class who then try to guess who it is. I will confess, winners receive gummy bears- I rarely give out candy in class, but the wild enthusiasm that ensues is just too priceless to pass up! Want a copy of the activity page? Download it free here!
https://photos.google.com/photo/AF1QipMk0RMH8MFmOB_yJMuvVMH7xBx_qfLl8oqOQXbA