Resources for Teaching Languages to Children


Preschool Spanish Activity for Valentine's Day Using the Song 'Peekaboo'

I STUMBLED ACROSS THIS VIDEO / SONG FROM SUPER SIMPLE SPANISH & IMMEDIATELY THOUGHT HOW PERFECT IT IS FOR PRESCHOOL SPANISH CLASSES! The song itself is super easy to learn (I do wish it used 'cu- cú' instead of peekaboo, but I'll roll with it lol) and the video lends itself to a fun interactive activity to do alongside learning the song... & fits in well with Valentine's Day!

Preschool Spanish Activity For Valentine's Day


1) BEFORE viewing the song video, establish the vocabulary 'te amo' and 'el gato'- I like to use "heart hands" for 'te amo'-most kids readily understand this. You can pair this with a heart visual, and of course, be sure to indicate the 'te' by pointing from yourself to a kiddo and saying 'te amo'. For 'el gato', a simple visual and the sound 'miau miau' are perfect for establishing meaning of the word :) You can also have a gesture for the cat, such as stroking whiskers, and for peekaboo, an obvious gesture is the peekaboo motion with your hands over your eyes :)

2) START THE VIDEO (click here for video on Youtube): Play and sing along, using the heart hands gesture for 'te amo' until :24 seconds-stop video. At this point in the video, the cats pop out of various places in the video, which makes it perfect for an interactive component with the video itself-by stopping the video as the cat appears, you can then ask the question ¿dónde está el gato? and calling up a kiddo to point it out. ¡Aquí está! Do this each time the cat appears so that multiple students get a turn! When the song resumes, everyone can sing along, then stop again when the cat starts popping out. You can play the song sufficient times for every kid to get a turn "finding" the cat. FUN & EASY ACTIVITY FOR CLASS!


*SING! This is so catchy, you can play it over and over again for the littles; you don't have to do the above activity again, though sometimes that's a fun thing to do after a few classes have gone by (I find my kids are not hugely keen on repeating an activity like this in subsequent lessons UNLESS not everyone got a turn during the first round. The element of surprise is lost, so they tend to want to move on... might just be my kiddos lol)

*WHERE'S THE CAT? GAME: A fun extension is to play one of my favorite games with littles- Where's the ____? (it has endless variations). Using cards with familiar vocabulary on them, such as colors, numbers, whatever you might also be focusing on or want to spiral back for practice, set them up in a pocket chart or on the board using magnets, then have your students close their eyes while you hide a cat image behind one of the cards. Have them open their eyes and take turns trying to guess where the cat is by naming a vocabulary word. Guesses continue until the cat is found, then start a new round. Don't have time to make this game yourself? Here's one I made to go along with the song that focuses on colors! Click here

Where's the Cat game Colors for Preschool Spanish French Russian German

*LABEL SCREENSHOTS: Even pre-literate kids can interact with the written word! For this extension, make a series of screenshots with the cat in each, print them out, and have them placed around the room. Also make a series of small word cards, each with 'gato' on them. Hand a card to each student and have them "search" for el gato and put their label on him/her (on a screenshot). Since you have given the word orally, they are not "reading" per se, but you ARE developing literacy skills by connecting the sound of the word to it's written form. You can go even further if they know colors, parts of the house, or other vocabulary in the video by making word cards of them and having kids "label" the screenshots with color words, etc.

Labeling Activity for Preschool Spanish French

THIS VIDEO IS A PERFECT COMPANION to our Te amo, familia Theme Pack! You can find it by clicking here :)

Te amo familia Spanish Theme Pack for Valentine's Day preschool

Have fun and let me know how it goes!

Annotating for Greater Text Comprehension- A Reading Strategy

FACILITATING READING COMPREHENSION FOR MY ELEMENTARY STUDENTS IS A CONTINUAL GOAL for me in my Spanish classes, with several in place right from the start, including high text to illustration correspondence, repetition of text (and/or pattern sentences), and lots of visual props to accompany my teaching when I introduce a new mini book. Always on the look out for additional strategies, I’ve begun using a new one I adapted from a strategy incorporated by home room teachers: ANNOTATING THE TEXT, or as I like to call it, coding the story.

Annotating For Greater Text Comprehension in World Language Classes

THE CONCEPT IS SIMPLE: Use a series of annotations to create a visual mechanism which conveys the meaning of the words within the text, so that, as students are reading, the meaning jumps out at them immediately (or at least, more quickly). With my 3rd & 4th graders, who are ready to decode simple texts independently, this strategy becomes a way for them to access the story in a different format (rather than me providing all the input & scaffolding verbally in the initial introduction). ***This doesn’t mean it replaces me telling the story, just adds another layer for comprehension purposes.

HOW TO ANNOTATE: Each text being different, the annotating is unique to each story, but here are the MAIN STEPS:

1: Go through the text yourself prior to introducing the story & identify key vocabulary that can be highlighted in some fashion- color coded, circled, small icons or pictographs put under/over, underline, label the illustrations, etc. Concentrate on those concrete words which the coding can help to bring meaning into view quickly. In the above example, you can see a variety of annotations: verde is colored green, queso is colored yellow, Mateo is circled in brown (because he is brown), the spaceship is labeled, a heart is put under ‘favorito’, the planets are labeled. Make a list for your own reference. (This mini book comes from our Theme Pack, Mateo el astronauta, which you can find by clicking here)

2: In class- before reading the story together, hand out the mini book or other text, and begin the process of annotating. Do one annotation at a time so all kids can keep up and don’t get confused during the process. Once the annotating is finished, you can then read through the story using storytelling techniques. As kids follow along, their comprehension is now enhanced by the annotations; this also facilitates future re-readings of the story, and supports your Special Ed kids with concrete connections between text & meaning. I would add that I think kids doing this annotating themselves is more beneficial than you doing it yourself in the text-they are connecting meaning while they are annotating, much like writing has been shown to facilitate learning, as opposed to using a digital device.

Note: this strategy also reduces the need for translating, allowing you to stay in the target language more often :)

A Reading Comprehension Strategy for World Language Classes