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All About Penguins Resources for FLES Spanish

MY ELEMENTARY SPANISH STUDENTS LOVE PENGUINS! I could probably do penguins all year long and they would be happy lol and given we are always looking for themes and activities that motivate our students, harnessing the love of penguins is definitely a win-win! And, penguins can either be the focus of an entire theme, part of a larger one, or even randomly in the year (I have found I can insert penguins whenever and they go bonkers lol). Here are some resources, links, and ideas to make them part of class, center stage or as a supplement:

Penguin Activities for FLES Elementary Spanish for Kids


*KANSAS CITY ZOO PENGUIN WEBCAM: I frequently have this live webcam of penguins from the Kansas City Zoo up on my whiteboard when kids come in- I am continually amazed by the conversation generated by this simple cam, from counting penguins, to noting what they are doing, to their emotions, temperature, and so on, it never gets old. You can see more webcam links on my blog post here. For the penguins, you can start by asking simple questions such as "What color are the penguins?" or "How many are there?" or "Is this penguin (point to one) swimming or standing?" etc. Feel free to exclaim over what the penguins are doing (this really fosters reactions from kids, and gives them the vocabulary to do the same)- "Look, that penguin is jumping into the water!" or "Wow, how cute!", etc.

*PINGÜINOS, LISTOS, ¡A BAILAR!: This song from Pinkfong is one of my Kindergarteners' favorites-we get up and dance to it and they just can't get enough!


*1 A 10 PINGÜINOS: Another fun song, this one with numbers to 10:


*MOVE LIKE A PENGUIN: A simple but fun activity is to have kids move like a penguin, such as "walk, slide, swim, dive, etc'. As with all movement activities, it's a good idea to establish/review appropriate behaviors in the classroom prior to kids moving to avoid unsafe action. You can find a set of photos to go along with actions in our Penguin Activity Pack mentioned below!

*EL PINGÜINO EMPERADOR: This video ties in really well with the above activity, as it features a series of movements along with simple facts.


*CAMINANDES: This video is great as a VideoWalk-featuring a guanaco and penguins, it is both hilarious and endearing! Stop strategically throughout the video to ask questions about the action and what is seen in the video to practice and reinforce vocabulary and structures you are working on in class. I also do a second run through when showing videos without pausing; this helps with "crowd control" lol

*PEPITA Y LOS PINGÜINOS DE CHILE ACTIVITY PACK: For your youngest learners, don't miss our super fun mini book & activity pack featuring the penguins of Chile! Simple activities geared for littles, this is a great motivating theme-Click here to grab it!

Penguins of Chile Spanish Activity Pack
Click here
*LAS PARTES DEL CUERPO: I have frequently seen activities where students learn the parts of a penguin's body (or any animal for that matter), which can be a fun way to incorporate some science in a lesson. Consider, however, focusing on the verb and the quantity rather than the body parts themselves, which may not be high frequency vocabulary. Focusing on having kids provide the verb and other high frequency vocabulary, for me at least, is an easy way to shift an activity like this. You can find this activity, plus others in our Penguin Activity Pages resource here!

Penguin Activity Pack for Spanish Class
Click here
https://photos.google.com/photo/AF1QipMk0RMH8MFmOB_yJMuvVMH7xBx_qfLl8oqOQXbA

Caga Tió A Catalan Christmas Tradition

YOU MAY HAVE HEARD OF CAGA TIÓ (ALSO KNOWN AS TIÓ DE NADAL), THE POOPING CHRISTMAS LOG, PART OF CHRISTMAS IN CATALUÑA.... after being inspired by a number of wonderful teacher colleagues, I decided to make my own for my classroom. Years ago I used to talk about this tradition, but have gotten away from it for a long time, so am excited to bring him back-and this time as a real log! Below is the process of how I made mine, along with a bunch of resources so you can include him in your classes, too!

Tió de Nadal or Caga Tió A Cataluña Christmas Tradition

SO, THE LOG... we were lucky enough to have an awesome True Value right by our house which we patronize all the time, and, like at so many small town businesses, we are friendly with the owners, so we stopped by and got a birch log off their pile out back for free- thank you Vic! Any log will do, I am sure-ours is about a foot long, and maybe 8 inches in diameter. I used a smaller branch to saw two legs on a diagonal (yes, I did the sawing!), which my husband then screwed into the bigger log. I cut a wine cork in half and painted it red, then glued it to the face along with drawing on eyes, a smile, and rosy cheeks. The hat I made out of felt, using glue to affix the black portion to the red- super simple DIY!

FOR SOME BACKGROUND INFO:


OF COURSE, YOU MUST FEED HIM...I love that he is often fed healthy foods, like mandarin oranges, nuts, and other snacks. Here is a pretty funny rendition of a Tió eating:


THIS VIDEO IS QUITE CUTE AND COULD SERVE TO SHOW HOW TO HIT TIÓ  WITH STICKS... and then delivers presents via his posterior! (I like how gently they hit him...I think we seem to get the idea that you whale away at him when described as "beating the sh** out of him" rather than this much sweeter demonstration-after all, it is a kid's tradition, right?


AND HERE'S ANOTHER:


TO HELP YOU MAKE AN INTRODUCTION OF TIÓ DE NADAL IN THE TARGET LANGUAGE, you can download our set of visuals FREE in our shop-click here.


and for even more fun, don't miss our Caga Tió mug! You can find it by clicking here


Have fun!
https://photos.google.com/photo/AF1QipMk0RMH8MFmOB_yJMuvVMH7xBx_qfLl8oqOQXbA

Holiday Multilingual E Cards to Celebrate the Season 2018

THEY'RE HERE! THIS YEAR'S HOLIDAY E CARDS IN MULTIPLE LANGUAGES are ready for you to spread some festive cheer this season! A few (the ornaments hanging from fir boughs) were inspired by a fir tree in our front yard, and all I illustrated using a new app I discovered, Procreate, which I just LOVE! To download each card, just click on the link below the image-you can then send them virtually, post on Twitter or Facebook, or print out to share!

Find our 2017 collection here and 2016 set here!

Feliz navidad llama E Card in Spanish
Click here to download
Frohe Weihnacten E Card
Click here to download
С новым годом Russian New Year's E Card
Click here to download
Joyeux Noël French E Card for Christmas
Click here to download
Feliz Janucá Hanukkah E Card in Spanish
Click here to download
Wishing you a beautiful season of light! :)

https://photos.google.com/photo/AF1QipMk0RMH8MFmOB_yJMuvVMH7xBx_qfLl8oqOQXbA

Resources for Hanukkah in Spanish Class

I CURRENTLY HAVE A STUDENT WHO REGULARLY SHARES HIS JEWISH HERITAGE WITH ME, which is so wonderful, and I make every effort to honor and celebrate him, as I have with many Jewish students over the years. Though we may frequently focus on Christmas and Three King's Day during the month of December, it's also really nice to find ways to bring in Hanukkah as well. Below are some resources and links you might find helpful for your classes!

Resources for Teaching Hanukkah in Spanish Class

*As many of you know, I start every class with a greeting activity. During the month of December, I typically do a 'around the circle' greeting where students greet the person next to them with a wave (no handshakes this time of year due to germs!) and say either '¡Feliz navidad!' or '¡Feliz Janucá!' depending on which is celebrated by the student receiving the greeting. (You can expand this to include other holidays that are celebrated by your students, or a simple Buenos días/Buenas tardes if a student doesn't celebrate a particular holiday in December.)

*Juana la Iguana is a cute video series, including this set of Janucá songs:


*The dreidel song (el sevivón) in Hebrew with Spanish subtitles:


*Ocho kandelikas- song from Putumayo (lyrics are below the video on Youtube):


and a second version, sung by children:


*If you are teaching a class of heritage speakers, this video of the history of the Dreidel might be a great resource!


*Want to play the Dreidel game in Spanish class? We've got a printable Dreidel, in both Hebrew & Spanish...click here to grab it!

Dreidel template in Spanish and Hebrew
Click here

https://photos.google.com/photo/AF1QipMk0RMH8MFmOB_yJMuvVMH7xBx_qfLl8oqOQXbA

Orange and Clove Pomanders-A Holiday Tradition

THE SCENT OF ORANGES, CLOVES AND CINNAMON easily transport many of us back to our childhood, invoking holiday memories of December, Christmas and more. In many countries, oranges studded with cloves, and often dusted with spices like cinnamon, are a common part of the holiday tradition, and are an easy craft to make with little kids.

Orange and clove pomanders for world language class

HERE'S WHAT YOU NEED:
*clementines or small oranges
*whole cloves (sometimes you can find these really inexpensively at dollar stores, Walmart, Ocean State Job Lot, etc)
*paper towels
*toothpicks (optional but recommended)
*cinnamon powder (optional)
*ribbon (optional)

TO MAKE:
Hand out one orange to each student/child along with bowls of whole cloves; also give each kiddo a paper towel- this will keep the juices from getting all over the table! Instruct students to poke the cloves into the oranges, either in a pattern, or just randomly if they are preschool or Kinders :) You can also use a sharpie to dot a pattern beforehand-this is really only feasible if you don't have tons of students like I do! To make piercing the rind easier, you can hand out toothpicks which kids can use to poke a hole prior to inserting each clove. Once kids have inserted cloves to their liking, you can dust it with cinnamon if you would like (this is a little messy so definitely optional and not necessary) and then they are done! You can add a piece of ribbon around the orange to make it more festive and allow it to be hung on a tree or window. ¡Ta-chán! A simple holiday craft for little hands with a cultural background :)

Naranjas y clavos de olor Instrucciones para confeccionar

YOU CAN ALSO PUT THESE ORANGES AWAY TO DRY OUT somewhat so they are more of a 'dried fruit' decoration.....but, funny story, I tried doing this once with a Third Grade class many years ago-we put the decorated oranges in paper bags, one for each student, and I put them all on a shelf in my office space. I left them there for a few weeks, as I had read you should...when I went to return them to my students, I discovered they had all molded and were just horrible! Needless to say, apparently my office space was not a dry location (subsequently we found significant mold all through the building-though not from my oranges lol)...and I couldn't return them to my kiddos-bummer!

La pomme d'ambre craft for French class

HERE ARE A FEW LINKS TO INFORMATION IN SPANISH, FRENCH, GERMAN & RUSSIAN about pomanders!
*Les pommes d'ambre (has a series of photos of great designs!)
*Confectionner une pomme d'ambre
*Olor a Navidad, Naranjas y clavos de olor
*Decora tu mesa de Navidad con naranjas
*Super simple video in Spanish showing how to make them
and...


*NelkenOrange (in German) video on Youtube
*"Duft" Orange video on Youtube
AND FOR NEW YEARS:
*Натуральный ароматизатор Video in Russian

https://photos.google.com/photo/AF1QipMk0RMH8MFmOB_yJMuvVMH7xBx_qfLl8oqOQXbA

Creating a Calm Classroom- Supporting Our Students

ENERGETIC BRAIN BREAKS AND MOVEMENT have long been popular in class, following the belief that kids, especially ones with attention issues, need high energy movement in order to re focus and pay attention, in essence to get the 'wiggles out'. Over the course of my career, I have often integrated these types of activities in my elementary Spanish classes, but during the last several years I have begun to notice a trend that has had me integrating alternatives, ones that focus on being calm, with more purposeful movement and action, and take into account the amount of stimulus a child experiences throughout their day. During my Keynote address at the NNELL Summer Instititute in July, 2018, I talked about ‘Being the calm classroom’, finding ways to balance those energetic activities with quieter ones, as well as building a more tranquil classroom environment overall.

Creating a Calm Classroom to support Students

HOW TO INCORPORATE CALM MOVEMENT IN CLASS: I am finding that, more and more, my students get really ramped up during high energy activities, and then can't come back down, or take a long time to do so- having the opposite effect of what I am trying to achieve! Instead, consider activities that require purposeful movement such as Brain Gym, Yoga, or Tai Chi, which still have kids up and moving but foster self control (another skill I notice kids are lacking!). You may have noticed that mindfulness has gained traction in the last few years, and for good reason; children, like adults, crave the balance that these disciplines provide, even though they are unable to articulate it. For links and other resources visit my Pinterest board here!

RELAXATION AND NATURE SOUNDS as an alternative to popular music. I love a great upbeat, fast paced song just like the next person, and often use them in class. Balancing them with quieter sounds has become a particularly helpful component, however. Perhaps you've listened to one of those cds of a babbling brook, or ocean waves...they are intrinsically soothing and work in the classroom just like at home. Youtube has a ton of videos of this kind, many of which feature beautiful images to go along with the sounds. A particular favorite of mine is this Youtube channel, Nature Relaxation Films, featuring videos from a variety of locations around the world, making it a win-win in terms of also providing visual content of the target language countries. I often play these in the background when kids are doing an activity in small groups or individually, or have one playing as they enter the room to set the tone for class.

LULLABIES are in the same vein as the above, with the additional component of being directly part of the target culture, thereby providing a cultural experience in addition to providing a calm moment. These can be particularly great as a bridge from a higher energy activity to one with greater focus... I like to have our voices get softer and softer as we sing, bringing the energy down gently. Lullabies have been one of the MOST effective classroom management tools in the past few years for me! And, why not turn the lights off, hand out stuffies, and "take a nap"? Kids love the novelty of this imaginary play and there is lots you can incorporate language wise- "goodnight", "sleep tight", "I'm sleepy", "I'm tired", "stars", "moon", "night time", "I'm going to bed/sleep", "Wake up", "dreaming" and so on.

BALANCE IN ALL THINGS, RIGHT? This is what I am advocating, not jettisoning high energy activities altogether-they most definitely have their place- just replacing some of them with calmer, more peaceful ones to allow kids a quiet moment in their day.

CREATING THESE PEACEFUL MOMENTS is also truly a gift for our anxious kiddos, those with trauma, those with ADHD, shy kiddos, and our "regular" kids... when you stop to visualize a typical day, it is fast paced and highly stimulating from sun up to bedtime..providing a quiet island amidst the swirl often is just what they need, so consider being the CALM CLASSROOM.



https://photos.google.com/photo/AF1QipMk0RMH8MFmOB_yJMuvVMH7xBx_qfLl8oqOQXbA

Simple Low Prep Colors Activity with Children's Books for World Language Classes

ONE OF MY GOALS THIS YEAR HAS BEEN TO REDUCE SOME OF THE PREP I DO, and this COLORS activity, and variations on it, are a new favorite of mine! Simple to set up, simple to break down, and my kiddos LOVE IT! And the bonus- they are using authentic children's books from a variety of countries at the same time-win win!

Low Prep Colors Activity with Children's Books for Spanish French Class for Kids

THE SET UP: Gather together a bunch of children's books that have lots of different types of illustrations, like the ones shown in the above photo- counting books, alphabet books, animales, etc. You can also use picture dictionaries, many of which are created for native speakers.

THE ACTIVITY: Hand out one book to each kid in class. Start by instructing them to look for something ____ (blue, for ex). Everyone starts searching in their book, then pointing to it while you circulate, commenting on what they are pointing to (in the target language- yes, the car is blue! or you're right, the water is blue!, etc). Once you have checked everyone's, start a new round with a new color. After a few rounds, I like to have kids switch books, even just passing to the left/right so they are engaged in a new book. And since they have a new book, you can even do the same color over again because they are looking at different pictures-great to extend the lesson :) And ta-chán! it's as easy as that!

VARIATIONS: Have kids search for a word that starts with a particular letter (great for when working with the alphabet), category words: fruits, veggies, animals, pets, things that fly, things that live in the forest, family members, things that are cold.... you get the idea! This simple activity has loads of variations, which makes it a great one for bringing back throughout the year.

NEED SOME SOURCES OF AUTHENTIC BOOKS? Here's a list of some sources I particularly like:

SPANISH:
Books del sur
Syncretic Press
Lil' libros
Libros en español
Cinco Books
Booklandia Box

FRENCH:
French Books Online
Lectures de France

RUSSIAN
Ваша книга
Colibri
Kids Russian Books

and of course Amazon and, if you're lucky, your local bookstore!

Introduce COLORS in context with our Spanish Theme Pack, Arturo y la bota:

Colors in Spanish Theme Activity Pack for Kids
Click here


https://photos.google.com/photo/AF1QipMk0RMH8MFmOB_yJMuvVMH7xBx_qfLl8oqOQXbA

FIVE Songs for Days of the Dead for Elementary Spanish Classes

El DÍA DE LOS MUERTOS IS AN INTEGRAL PART OF MOST SPANISH CLASSES- I love the opportunity to talk about this holiday with my students! One way to bring in the cultural themes of this holiday is through songs. Here are FIVE that are particularly little kid friendly and feature aspects and images of the holiday without being too scary for young children.

Five Kid Friendly Songs for Days of the Dead

*El Día de los Muertos Gran Celebración


*Las Calaveras Salen de la Tumba


*Mr Mister: Tumbalakatumba-it's a classic!


and another version:


*Tumbas Por Aquí, Tumbas Por Allá


AND FOR MORE RESOURCES, LINKS, IDEAS AND MORE FOR EL DÍA DE LOS MUERTOS, VISIT MY PINTEREST BOARD BY CLICKING HERE! :)

https://photos.google.com/photo/AF1QipMk0RMH8MFmOB_yJMuvVMH7xBx_qfLl8oqOQXbA

Not Just Monarch Butterflies- Animal Migrations You can Incorporate in World Language Class

AS MANY OF YOU KNOW, I AM FASCINATED BY THE MONARCH BUTTERFLY MIGRATION TO MÉXICO each fall, it is a wondrous thing! Along with this amazing natural event, there are many other migrations which take place each year in / through various countries which are also great to incorporate in your world language class, and provide opportunities to connect science, geography, and culture in our Spanish or French lessons. Use a large map, laminated if possible, to track a migration over the course of several classes, using a dry erase marker and/or a small icon of the animal you are tracking. This is a great way to start class with "news" that kids are really interested in and motivated to find out where the animal is now. During this conversation, you can also incorporate seasons, geography, weather and more to reinforce vocabulary in context. Here are some ideas and resources:

Animal Migrations for World Language Classes Science in Spanish & French

*RUBY THROATED HUMMINGBIRD: Here at my house in Maine we have a pair of hummingbirds that visit our garden all through the summer, a joy to behold! These tiny birds make their nests here in the north, and then, when fall comes, just like the monarch butterflies, they head south- but they fly all the way to Central America to over winter. You can track the migration at Journey North here! Don't forget to teach Sun sun ba ba e as part of any lesson on hummingbirds- a great authentic song! Here is Celia Cruz on Sesame Street:


and for French class, here's a beautiful rendition of Do, re, mi, which incorporates a hummingbird:


*GRAY WHALES (Las ballenas grises): Gray whales spend the summer in the arctic waters off of Alaska and Canada, but come fall, they head down to the warmer waters off the Pacific coast of México. Journey North provides information on their migration, too (getting a sense that I love Journey North?!) Click here for JN. As well, here is a lovely video about the sanctuary in México


Para información sobre la ballena gris en español, se puede ver esta página!

Here's the link to all of Journey North's maps on one page- click here.

*MOVEBANK is a new app that allows you to track animals on your phone! If you are able to hook into an Apple TV to show the maps to students-great! If not, you can take screen shots and project them once you've emailed them to yourself.

*SMITHSONIAN MIGRATORY CONNECTIVITY PROJECT- live tracking maps of a few bird species which visit Central America, including the Black Crowned Night Heron

For more migration tracking:
*Cuckoo Migration to Africa
*World Wildlife Fund Animal Tracker- features animals such as turtles, polar bears, narwhals, jaguars, and more!
*Smartmine Whale Tracker- tracking whales near Hawaii
*National Geographic Tracker- various species can be tracked here
*Monarch Butterfly Migration at Journey North

To see how I track Monarchs in my 2nd grade classes, visit this post!

https://photos.google.com/photo/AF1QipMk0RMH8MFmOB_yJMuvVMH7xBx_qfLl8oqOQXbA

Two Simple Activities to Foster Peace & Kindness Inspired by Picasso

SEPTEMBER 21 IS WORLD PEACE DAY, EL DÍA INTERNACIONAL DE LA PAZ, a day when we can all reflect on how we can contribute to the efforts to make peace around the world a reality. In a question posed in my Facebook group, Teaching Spanish to Children, I was inspired to come up with some ideas on how to connect Picasso's paintings with this day, ones that are accessible to young children and celebrate peace. I want to thank Miriam C. for posting the original question which led me to the two following ideas, both of which can be done any time of year, but are particularly meaningful on September 21!

Two Peace & Kindness Activities for Kids in Spanish Class Inspired by Picasso

BOTH ACTIVITIES INVOLVE MAKING TISSUE PAPER FLOWERS, a traditional craft which just adds yet another layer of culture to the activity! Read my post here on how to make them with kids.

WHEN THINKING ABOUT HOW I COULD BRING PICASSO TOGETHER WITH WORLD PEACE DAY, my first thought was his painting "Dove of Peace". My second inspiration was the two hands and a bouquet of flowers, which was originally done as a tribute to peace! Each lends themselves perfectly to a bulletin board situation, so I decided to go in that direction. Here's how I put each together:

World Peace Activity Inspired by Picasso

*DRAW (OR TRACE USING A PROJECTOR OR SMARTBOARD) a dove on a large sheet of paper. Print out a photo of Pablo Picasso's painting "Dove of Peace" along with a photo of the artist- I chose a very kid friendly one that also features his daschund, Lump. I also created simple signs celebrating the day '¡Feliz Día Internacional de la Paz!' and 'Happy International Day of Peace!'. The flowers can either be made by you or by your students-since I have so many students in each grade level, the additional ones will form a border around the outside of the bulletin board. What a simple yet lovely display for the holiday!

Kindness Activity Inspired by Picasso

*BE KIND BULLETIN BOARD: One of my goals this year at school is to practice intentional acts of kindness throughout the year; to that end, I thought it would be fun to take the idea of Picasso's painting 'Bouquet of Peace', and use it to inspire me and my school community to be kind with one another. I drew the hands (but you can trace them just like for the dove above) and cut them out. I made four flowers patterned as best I could with tissue paper after the flowers in the painting and used extra pipe cleaners for all the stems. Underneath, I started (but haven't finished yet-will post photos when it's done!) creating a space for a basket or container where we can put flowers that we make which can then be taken or given to others as an act of kindness. I am asking students to be volunteers to make the flowers since we have already started themes and will (hopefully) need an ongoing supply. This is still a work in progress, so I will come back and add more to this post as it evolves.

*I'VE PUT BOTH BULLETIN BOARDS IN THE HALLWAY NEAR MY CLASSROOM so as kids arrive I can point them out to kids and comment on them, including giving some information about Picasso and each of the paintings. My hope is they will inspire kids and even just put a smile on their faces :)

WANT TO TEACH MORE ABOUT PICASSO? Grab my mini book and theme pack, Pepita lee sobre Pablo Picasso here!

Pablo Picasso in Spanish for KIDS


https://photos.google.com/photo/AF1QipMk0RMH8MFmOB_yJMuvVMH7xBx_qfLl8oqOQXbA

French Songs & Videos with an Autumn Theme for Kids

I LOVE AUTUMN AND I FIND MY STUDENTS DO, TOO! The leaves, harvest time, and the crisp air  and change in weather make for great topics in the foreign language classroom, and are natural themes to bring into class. They also lend themselves well to vocabulary sets like colors, numbers, preferences, animals and fruits and veggies, perfect for beginning students as well as older kids. Here are some cute songs and videos featuring autumn themes for the FRENCH CLASSROOM:

French Songs & Videos for Kids with an Autumn Theme

*MUSTI L'AUTOMNE: Musti is originally a Dutch cartoon for kids, but has been translated into a number of languages, including French. This video is perfect for a video walk for novice students, and/or as an activity to listen for key vocabulary. (and who can resist a hedgehog with an apple stuck to him? A perfect cultural touch!)


*LES SAISONS AVEC PINPIN ET LILI- L'AUTOMNE: I think Pinpin and Lili are just sooo cute! Here's a short video introducing autumn vocabulary-I love how it has an interactive piece at the end-pause so students can answer before it's shown!


*GATHERING APPLES OR DOING AN APPLE THEME? Don't miss Pomme de reinette et pomme d'api, a traditional, simple song perfect for elementary school. Add even more fun with our printable song props to go along with this! Click here


*LE VENT D' AUTOMNE : I am convinced Peppa Pig has an episode for every theme! Like above, you can use this as a video walk and/or to practice key vocabulary. You can also use this as a springboard for talking about favorite fall activities.


*CHANSONS D'AUTOMNE: This is a cute song for autumn!


Not sure what a VIDEO WALK IS? Here's the link to a post I wrote about how to use a video clip in class :) Click here!

https://photos.google.com/photo/AF1QipMk0RMH8MFmOB_yJMuvVMH7xBx_qfLl8oqOQXbA

Celebrate el Día de la Patria en Chile 18 of September!

THE 18 OF SEPTEMBER IS EL DÍA DE LA PATRIA IN CHILE, a perfect time to learn more about this wonderful country and bring culture to your Spanish classes. Below you will find a bunch of links and resources to help you bring this day to life with your students!

Día de la Patria el 18 de septiembre Chile

*FIESTAS PATRIAS: ¿Qué celebra Chile el 18 de septiembre?: This is a short video from Chile- consider doing a 'video walk' if the Spanish is too high a level for your students-stop at various points and narrate the events yourself in more comprehensible Spanish.


*CHILE EN IMAGENES: This is a great video to take a visual tour of the country. You can also compare and contrast with where you live-Here are mountains in Chile...in ___, do we have mountains? Are they big or small? The mountains in Chile are very big/ tall., etc.


*PASOS DE LA CUECA, LA DANZA NACIONAL: Click here for a great infographic that shows the steps to la cueca

*NATALIA UNA NIÑA MAPUCHE: Part of an AMAZING series on indigenous peoples in Chile. Again, these are great videos to do a video walk with, or to listen for certain vocabulary, or to extend an existing lesson.


*ILLUSTRATED RECIPE FOR EL COMPLETO: a most delicious Chilean hot dog! Click here for the pin!

*DECORACIONES IMPRIMIBLES: This site features a bunch of ways you can decorate for el 18, including some printables...click here!

*PEPITA VA A CHILE Minibook & Theme Pack: Introduce your students to cultural aspects of Chile in Spanish with our activity pack-Click here to grab it!

Pepita va a Chile Theme Pack in Spanish for kids

¡Viva Chile!

CURIOUS ABOUT VIDEO WALKS and not sure what I mean? I wrote a post walking through a short video to give you a sense of how you can use an authentic video, even if the language is too complex for the proficiency level of your students. Click here to read!

https://photos.google.com/photo/AF1QipMk0RMH8MFmOB_yJMuvVMH7xBx_qfLl8oqOQXbA

Interpreting ACTFL'S Standards for Novice Proficiency Level From an Elementary Spanish Teacher's Perspective

WHEN I STARTED THE ELEMENTARY SPANISH PROGRAM I CONTINUE TO TEACH IN 1998 one of the first places I consulted for building curriculum was the ACTFL Standards; these, along with the Maine Learning Results (based on the ACTFL Standards) informed me on what skills are typically presented by learners at various levels, just as they have informed all of us as we go through our journey as foreign language teachers, and have been integral in that process.  Over the years, I have wanted phrasing used to describe what NOVICE LEARNERS can do, where my Kindergarten through 4th Grade students live, to more closely match an elementary perspective, kind of a parallel set of descriptors if you will.

Novice Proficiency Level Descriptors for Elementary World Language

FOR THOSE OF US WHO TEACH ELEMENTARY, WE KNOW a novice Kindergartner is very different than a novice 9th grader (or even Middle school student)- they enter school without many developmental concepts intact, or only very vaguely understood, and their interests, motivations and what is relevant and age appropriate for them is distinct. Tasks that might be typical for a 15 year old aren't always appropriate for a 5 year old- take writing a text for example, or arranging a social engagement (Mommy usually does this :) ). Additionally, how we teach at the elementary level often reflects themes, topics and vocabulary that are of high interest to little kids, which don't always tie into a "typical novice task"... my kids happily can describe a sloth or what Jupiter looks like, but ordering at a restaurant in the target language feels a better fit for Middle or High School language class because it is a more relevant task- talking about school lunch, on the other hand, would be a perfect activity for the littles. Don't get me wrong, the skills we teach within elementary themes build up proficiency just the same as those that one sees at upper school levels, they just appear in different contexts.

IN THIS VEIN, I DECIDED TO WRITE INDICATORS FOR NOVICE LOW, MID, AND HIGH from an elementary teacher's perspective, for my own reference, based on what I have seen teaching children languages for 25+ years. This is MY interpretation, and I share them merely to spark ideas and reflections amongst other elementary teachers who may also be searching for an "elementary fit". I took into consideration early literacy skills as they are seen amongst young children, who most frequently come to school as non readers (though not all of them!) and are building these skills throughout the time they are with us, both in their homerooms and with us. I also looked at the developmental progression of children as students, as they gain understanding and awareness of the world around them, and as they grow as students. It is also common, as with older students, that an individual may be in different proficiency levels for the four modes, most especially if your program focuses on certain modes over others. I continue to reflect on these, and may add to them over time.  You may find that you would use different descriptors or phrasing, or that you would add or take away certain things- these are, as I said above, a starting point for you to think about your own students and program, a resource for provoking reflection. You can DOWNLOAD THE DOCUMENT HERE :) 

PLEASE DO NOT TAKE THIS AS A CRITICISM OF THE ACTFL STANDARDS- it isn't! The standards have greatly informed and guided me over the course of my career, and I am deeply indebted to all those who have worked on them through the years to make them a strong set of indicators for measuring student proficiency. I do hope that my interpretation is helpful, and provides some clarity for teaching the littles! Please let me know your thoughts in the comments- I would love to hear them!

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Book Review of Turning Pages/ Pasando páginas by Sonia Sotomayor

BOOKS HAVE PLAYED A HUGE ROLE IN MY LIFE-when I was a kid, the likeliest place you would find me would be curled up somewhere with a book in hand and a bag of pretzels by my side. As an adult, I continue to read as much as I am able, and find myself reading many children's books as I search out ones my students will enjoy and learn from.  When Penguin Books kindly asked me if I would take part in the blog tour for Sonia Sotomayor's newest book, 'Turning Pages', I immediately said a very grateful 'YES!'.  Not only is the Supreme Court Justice an inspiration in her own right, but having the opportunity to learn more about her life in her own words, written for children like my students, is wonderful!

Turning Pages by Sonia Sotomayor Blog Tour and Book Review

'TURNING PAGES, MY LIFE STORY' is both the autobiography of the first Hispanic Justice on the Supreme Court of the United States, and memoir of a life filled with books that both inspired and comforted Sotomayor. At various points while reading it I was struck by how much her story reminded me of that of Frida Kahlo, who sought solace in art as she dealt with the many challenges of her childhood. Whether books or art, each found a way to persevere in the face of tragedy and sadness, a lesson I often talk about in my Spanish classes during my theme on the artist. Sotomayor shares her diagnosis of diabetes in elementary school, and shortly thereafter the death of her father, and how reading got her through these extremely difficult periods. She goes on to tell how books influenced her perspective and ultimately her career choice; this truly is a book about the power of books as much as Sonia's life!

Turning Pages by Sonia Sotomayor Book Review

I ALSO LOVE LULU DELACRE'S ILLUSTRATIONS- they set the tone and bring to life the many stages in Sonia's life with joyful colors and beautiful renderings. Together, Sonia's story and Delacre's illustrations convey a powerful message to young children and their families reading this book- each of us has the potential to be anything, to do anything, to achieve anything! Don't miss adding this book to your home or school library- and is also available in Spanish (Pasando páginas)-you can find both on Amazon.


Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor tells her own story for young readers for the very first time!
As the first Latina Supreme Court Justice, Sonia Sotomayor has inspired young people around the world to reach for their dreams. But what inspired her? For young Sonia, the answer was books! They were her mirrors, her maps, her friends, and her teachers. They helped her to connect with her family in New York and in Puerto Rico, to deal with her diabetes diagnosis, to cope with her father's death, to uncover the secrets of the world, and to dream of a future for herself in which anything was possible.

In Turning Pages, Justice Sotomayor shares that love of books with a new generation of readers, and inspires them to read and puzzle and dream for themselves. Accompanied by Lulu Delacre's vibrant art, this story of the Justice's life shows readers that the world is full of promise and possibility--all they need to do is turn the page.


AUTHOR BIO:
Sonia Sotomayor was born in the Bronx, New York. She earned a BA from Princeton University and a JD from Yale Law School. She served as Assistant District Attorney in New York County, and then as a litigator at Pavia & Harcourt. In 1991, when President George H.W. Bush nominated her to the US District Court, Southern District of New York. In 1997, President William Jefferson Clinton nominated her to the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. President Barack Obama nominated her as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court on May 26, 2009, and she assumed this role August 8, 2009, becoming the first Latina to ever hold such a high position. She is the author of My Beloved World and The Beloved World of Sonia Sotomayor.


ILLUSTRATOR BIO:
Lulu Delacre (www.luludelacre.com) has been writing and illustrating children's books since 1980. Born and raised in Puerto Rico to Argentinean parents, Delacre is a three-time Pura Belpré Award honoree. Her thirty-eight titles include Arroz con Leche: Popular Songs and Rhymes from Latin AmericaUs, in Progress: Short Stories About Young Latinos; and ¡Olinguito, de la A a la Z! Descubriendo el bosque nublado/Olinguito, from A to Z! Unveiling the Cloud Forest.Delacre has lectured internationally, served as a juror for the National Book Awards, and exhibited her work at The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art, among other venues.

BRINGING CULTURE TO LIFE IN MY SPANISH CLASSES is a priority of mine, especially in the target language. As well, I believe strongly in English learners having an opportunity to read about topics from their heritage countries. To that end, I created TWO Theme Packs about Sonia Sotomayor, one in Spanish and one in English. As part of this book review, I am raffling off a digital download of each theme pack, to be sent via email once the winner is announced. To enter for a chance to win, click on one (or both!) of the following links:



Winner will be chosen at random and announced on Thursday-be sure to follow us on Twitter for the announcement @mundodepepita

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Resources to Teach About Famous Hispanics to Children- Perfect for Hispanic Heritage Month!

HISPANIC HERITAGE MONTH, celebrated from September 15 to October 15 in the United States, is a great opportunity for teachers and families to share about FAMOUS HISPANICS who have had an influence on our culture and country. (Of course, any time of year is the right time of year to teach about these amazing people!) Below are links and resources that are particularly accessible for young learners:

Resources to Teach about Famous Hispanics to Children- Hispanic Heritage Month

*SONIA SOTOMAYOR: the first Hispanic Supreme Court Justice of the United States and only the third woman to hold this position, Sotomayor is an inspirational figure for us all! Sotomayor's parents were from Puerto Rico. There are a number of wonderful children's books about Sonia, here's a link to a quick search I did on Amazon-click here.

This video in Spanish tells Sotomayor's biography:


This Sesame Street video incorporates both English and Spanish:


*ELLEN OCHOA: Astronaut and Engineer, Ellen was the first Hispanic woman in space.

A video in Spanish about her life:


and another in English from Nick Jr-click here.

*TITO PUENTE: Mambo King, Tito Puente played with Celia Cruz and is considered one of the greats in Latin Music.

Monica Brown wrote a terrific bilingual book about him, Tito Puente, Mambo King, and shares about creating the book in this video:


Tito visits Sesame Street:


Nick Jr created a video in English about Puente here.

*CELIA CRUZ: Queen of Salsa, Celia moved to the US from Puerto Rico when she was a child. Be sure to visit my post on resources for teaching about Celia (click here), but additionally, don't miss this video of Celia on Sesame Street!


CÉSAR CHAVEZ: Activist for equal rights for migrant workers. There are a number of picture books about his life, including 'Harvesting Hope' by Kathleen Krull, 'César' by Carmen T. Bernier-Grand, and 'A Picture Book of Cesar Chavez' by David A. Adler

A biography of Chavez in Spanish:


*Don't miss this great set of quotes by famous Hispanics!

Hispanic Heritage Month


INTERESTED IN INTRODUCING MORE FAMOUS HISPANICS in Spanish class? Be sure to check out our growing set of biographies for young learners, including Sonia Sotomayor,  Celia Cruz, José Feliciano, Frida Kahlo and Pablo Picasso. (just click on the names!)

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Mini Greeting Necklaces in Spanish & French

BUILD A FUN SCHOOL TO HOME CONNECTION WITH THESE MINI GREETING NECKLACES in Spanish and French! I created these while brainstorming ways to spread intentional acts of kindness (my #1 goal this year) at school, and most specifically something I could do on the first day with my Kindergartners. Originally I was just going to give each of them a bead as they left my room, but I realized that they will be transitioning to another Specials class (Music or Phys Ed) and many do not have pockets to tuck things into. Since the first word we learn in my Spanish classes is ¡Hola! , it occurred to me to make little necklaces - nothing to put in a pocket, and serves as a visual reminder as they head home of what we learned... and of course, they are a little present from me on the first day, a day that can be a tough one for littles!

Mini Greeting Necklaces for Spanish and French Class

YOU CAN DOWNLOAD THESE FREE BY CLICKING HERE! Please tell me in the comments how they work for you! :) And don't mis our Spanish Theme Pack 'Buenos días', perfect for teaching greetings to little learners! Click here to grab it!

Make Mini Greeting Tags in Spanish and French


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