Saturday, March 11, 2017

Let's Celebrate Biblioburro's 20th Anniversary Together!

This is one of the most inspirational stories I have ever heard, so I'll try my best to tell it! Someone with amazing creativity and desire to help saw a problem, that many children in the remote parts of Colombia had no access to books. Of course this not only happens in Colombia, it happens in different corners of the world, but I am sure that if Luis Soriano had the power to get to every single part of the world where a book was needed, he would be there putting a book in the hands of many children.  

This dedicated librarian was a third grade teacher when he started to use his two "burros" (donkeys) Alfa and Beto to bring his mobile library to the children of La Gloria, Magdalena.  This region of Colombia has been forgotten and neglected for years, and it has a high rate of poverty and minimal access to education for young people. Many of the children here travel long miles to reach their schools. Luis and his two burros (donkeys) "Alfa" and "Beto" ("alphabet") travel to see them every week, fording rivers, and walking for miles along unpaved and dusty roads, carrying books for the children.

His work has been widely covered by the media, including a documentary made by PBS. Luis has gained significant fame around the word due to his creativity and desire to make change, but unfortunately his organization still needs money to survive and  to continue giving access to books where children need them. 

This year marks the 20th anniversary of "El Biblioburro." To celebrate and honor all of the work by Luis, Alfa, Beto, and countless communities, the Bibliburro organization is asking for cash donations. They tend to receive books as donations but are now most in need of money for infrastructure - to purchase furniture to keep the books accessible and safe, tables and chairs for the physical library they are currently building, and to be able to celebrate with the children of La Gloria via a modest but emotional event where Luis plans to use theater and other forms of art to bring the stories alive and celebrate what they have built together.  See below a special message from Luis for this campaign!

Bring the love of "El Biblioburro" to your classes! I created a set of free resources for you to use with your students. These resources are for anybody to use in their classrooms, but if you are familiar with TPRS, you will love this story!

Just click on the picture to download the story, teaching tips, worksheets and more!

Last but not least! Please, consider donating to the campaign on GoFund Me and help spread the love for El Biblioburro with others. Share the link to the campaign on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and all the social media venues you can! ¡Mil gracias!

¡Para que El Biblioburro siga compartiendo el amor por los libros!

Sunday, March 5, 2017

My Top Five Activities for Interactive Notebooks

I have been in love with the Interactive Notebooks since day one! It's a fun way to keep your students engaged with hands on activities that will help them feel a sense of pride. You will hear them asking when they can take the notebook home to share with their families or teach Spanish to their siblings. Interactive Notebooks are a great tool for teaching for Spanish if used correctly. Given that I emphasize oral aspects of language learning, I normally wait to use Interactive Notebooks until the end of a unit or story. They are a way for students to keep track of what we do during the school year and for me to gather qualitative data in an authentic, developmental format.

Here are my top 5 activities for Interactive Notebooks:

1. Así soy yo: In this activity students can describe themselves and write about their likes and dislikes in Spanish.

2. Los colores: This activity goes beyond helping students identify colors in Spanish. It turns into a fun memory game!

3. El Calendario: This definitely is an interactive way to help students remember months, days of the week and seasons in Spanish. Students can also use it anytime when they need to talk about the date.

4. La Familia: Students enjoy learning names for family members with the flower activity. This has room for them to describe their own families. This set includes a variety of activities for different levels. 

5. Mi Armario: Students have a lot of fun putting this activity together! They get to customize it and talk about what the doll should wear according to the weather. There is also space for them to write about what they have in their closets. 

Also, visit my post "5 Reasons to Use Interactive Notebooks" in Spanish class.  Find many more resources for Interactive Notebooks in my TpT store!

Have fun!

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Teaching Spanish to Preschoolers

(Affiliate links included in this post)

Although teaching preschoolers could be one of the most rewarding activities in the whole world, it's is also tiring if you are not ready for their energy and to keep them engaged. A great thing about this age group is how honest they could be. They immediately will let you know if something dislike them or makes them feel bored. They also get excited with simple things too! And yes, their memories are photographic! There have been a few times when I rely on them to help me remember songs or games we have played in class.

They all want to get a turn in the same class, so be ready to keep track of who has gotten turns because they will complain if give turns to the same people. Get used to see them moving a lot on the rug, because the tiny chairs don't work for them! We are better off to have our classes sitting in a circle on a rug.

They really benefit of knowing the rules of the class and what you expect from them. Constant reminder of what you expect from them is important! You also have to make you extra plan for them because their attention spam is short that they will need a rich variety of activities. I say plan a little extra because you never know what will caught their attention. You need to be able to read how engaged and excited they are with certain activity.

And yes, let's talk about germs! When one of the gets a cold, everyone else gets it. If you are using props that you will need to pass around  cleaning after using them will help you stay healthy and stop spreading the germs.Those cute little voices singing will fill your heart. Be ready to love them and to feel loved!

Props They Love!

This is a list of props I know my students really enjoy! Please feel free to add more in the comments! I would love to hear yours!

Puppets: They enjoy having  puppet friends in class, but make sure they are not spooky. Some of them are really afraid of clowns! Here you can find some tips for using puppets in your class! 

Parachute: Parachute time is one of the activities where everyone can participate at the same time. They love it, and they can fairly easily get out of control, so make sure you talk about the rules every single time you use it in class. My rules are simple: don't get on it or under it, wait for me to shake it, and the let go of the handles when I sing our clean up song.  We use the parachute to count, placing a ball on it and counting for how long they can keep it going. I also use the parachute to review vocabulary; for example, I can ask them, what do you want on the parachute? A fish or a dolphin? I have them chant their choice. You can find more ideas and a song to use the parachute in this post.

Magic Box/Bag: I have never seen a preschooler not get excited about what could be inside the magic box I bring to class. This is a wonderful way to get everyone engaged. I hide flash cards, plastic animals, pieces of felt of different colors, whatever can support what we have been learning.

Small White Boards: I recently discovered that my kindergarteners love using dry erase boards with markers and tiny erasers in class. We mostly use them to write numbers.

I once had a dream of being a singer for children, but I gave up and left the job for Rockalingua and other talented singers out there. 
I recorded a few songs and decided to put them in a playlist to share them with you. I have used them with my students because they don't really care how I sound. I know for sure that they have fun with them! Enjoy and let me know how it goes!

Have fun!

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Valentine's Day Songs for Elementary Spanish

El Día de San Valentín, also known as "El Día del Amor y la Amistad" or  "El Día de los Enamorados" is celebrated in the United States, Argentina, Chile, Ecuador, Cuba, Spain, Panamá, Paraguay, Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic on February 14th.
With posts like this one I only hope I am saving some teachers time on the internet. I teach at the elementary level, so the songs I choose are basic and sometimes with little vocabulary. Here are my top choices:

El Día del Amor y la Amistad by Music with Sara (Bilingual)

Un amigo me enseño by Baby Radio

Los Corazones Amigos by César García

Corazón de melón by "Valentina y los valientes"

Nuestra Amistad by Plim Plim

Te Quiero by Barney

Te Quiero by Spanish Together

Here is a free resource to help you celebrate in your class.  Please stop by my store to grab it!

Have fun!

Monday, January 2, 2017

Actividad "rompe-hielo" para el regreso a la escuela

¡Feliz Año Nuevo! ¡El tiempo pasa muy rápido! En estos momentos muchos profesores han regresado a la escuela y el año escolar ha arrancado de nuevo.

Aquí les propongo una actividad rompe-hielo para el primer día de regreso a la escuela después de este período corto de vacaciones. Esta actividad invitará a sus estudiantes a moverse un poco por salón de clases y hacer uso del español. Para ponerle un poco más de ánimo a la actividad, les recomiendo hacer una competencia.

La actividad es simple, consiste en que los estudiantes se entrevisten y conversen sobre las actividades realizadas durante las vacaciones. En las hojas de actividades he recomendado un período de cinco minutos para recoger las firmas, pero obviamente esta actividad se puede adaptar a las necesidades de la clase. He incluido una página con instrucciones en español y otra página con instrucciones en inglés. De esta manera he dado la opción para elegir la que se adapte más a su metodología de enseñanza.

¡Feliz regreso a la escuela!

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

El Año Viejo: A Latino American End of Year Tradition

El Año Viejo is a common year-end tradition in Colombia and other countries in Latin America. On December 31st, everyone gets excited about the New Year and its obligatory resolutions for change. Años Viejos are used in many places to symbolically leave behind bad things from the previous year. Traditionally, this involved burning effigies full of firecrackers or pockets of gunpowder, but for safety reasons, the practice has evolved into something less spectacular but no less important. Below you can find a video of how intense and exciting this celebration can be.

The Año Viejo is now crafted as a small doll in a tin. People take small pieces of paper and write all the bad things that have happened during the year. They then burn them and the doll in the tin as a symbol of renewal.

Some towns in Colombia and Ecuador host daylight parades on December 31st to show the effort and artistic talent that has been put into making the doll before it gets burned in the middle of the night.

There is a song about not forgetting the "Año Viejo" and being grateful for the great things in life. This song was composed by Cresencio Salcedo, a Colombian songwriter and made famous by Mexican singer Tony Camargo. The song is played all over Latin America during the December celebrations and and has been danced to for over 60 years! Below is a video of the original singer who never got to meet the writer of the song.

Yo no olvido al año viejo
Porque me ha dejado cosas muy buenas:
Me dejó una chiva,
Una burra negra,
Una yegua blanca
Y una buena suegra.

This is one of those traditions you can easily share with your students. Have them decorate their Año Viejo and have them think about what they would like to do in the future. I have a simple and fun activity where students put together their own paper "Año Viejo" and write about their goals for the new year. This resource is available on Teachers Pay Teachers.

¡Feliz Año!

Thursday, November 24, 2016

La Noche de las Velitas (Part 2)

La Noche de las Velitas is one of the most exciting celebrations in Colombia since it marks the beginning of the Christmas season.  What a great opportunity to share this with your students and make it part of your class! I have written some blog posts in the past that provide more background and introduce you to some activities you may use to bring this celebration into your classroom.

Last, but not least, I just added a PowerPoint that's ready for you to use anytime! Click on the picture below to download it.

¡Feliz Noche de las Velitas!

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Christmas Songs in Spanish

Yes! I can't believe! It's that time of the year again! Smells like Christmas, one of my favorite times in the year. I am excited about all the new videos that came out on YouTube, and the best parts is that many of then include the lyrics which makes it perfect for a sing along. Some of the songs could be a little bit fast, so I recommend that you change the speed of the video on YouTube. You have to make sure you open the video on YouTube, once you are there, click on the settings icon, then click on speed and change from "normal" to "0.5". You are now with a perfect speed and the song still sounds great!  

Here are some of my favorite songs! If you have one that you would like me to add to the list, please share it with me in the comments. 

Mi Burrito Sabanero

Campana Sobre Campana

Polo Norte, Navidad y Rudolph el Venadito


Los Peces en el Río


Arre Burriquito y la Marimorena

Happy singing!

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Thanksgiving Songs in Spanish

Here is a collection of four fun songs that can be used with different ages at the elementary level.

El Día de Acción de Gracias by Music with Sara

Al Pavo Pavito 

Yo soy un pavo

Hola Señor Pavo

Here is a short video which is perfect for "Movie Talk."

¡Feliz Día de Acción de Gracias!

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Day of The Dead Songs and Videos for Elementary Students

It's always great to have all these videos in one place! Hopefully this will save you some time. I recommend you take the time to watch the videos before presenting them to your students to make sure they are appropriate not only for their developmental age and level of Spanish, but also to ensure they fit your school culture. Watching the video will also give you time to think of important questions of points you would like to discuss with your students. 

Videos to introduce  or talk about this celebration in class

Global Wonder Series - I stop the video after second 35, you will see why!

El Día de los Muertos vs Halloween
Click here to find version in Spanish


La Calaverita de Azúcar


Las Calaveras

Have fun sharing with your students about this important celebration!

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