Thursday, November 24, 2016
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
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
Wednesday, November 9, 2016
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
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
Wednesday, October 19, 2016
Halloween is an exciting time in elementary school. There is always so much vocabulary that could be explored around it: colors, shapes, likes, costumes and so on. You don't have to go anywhere else to find great songs for your class. Below I am sharing five of my favorite ones!
Happy Halloween! ¡Feliz Día de las Brujas!
Monday, October 17, 2016
One of the most unique celebrations takes place in the Sumpango, Sacatepéquez where a giant kite festival is held. It's believed that the kites will fly to communicate with the spirits of their loved ones. Preparations for this celebration start months before the celebration. Take a look at these two clips to learn about this beautiful tradition!
Have your students decorate barriletes to celebrate El Día de los Muertos in your class. Download the printables here.
Tuesday, September 6, 2016
I partnered with Mundo de Pepita to share resources and activities for the new school. It was a week filled with a lot of excitement and free resources for you all! Make sure to click on every picture and read all the different activities.
Have a wonderful school year!
Wednesday, July 27, 2016
iFLT (The International Forum on Language Teaching) was a mind changing conference for me. I have always been interested in the use of CI (Comprehensible Input) and TPRS in Spanish class. I had actually never attended a formal training on this topic before. I had even heard from other teachers that going to iFTL was a waste of money and time and that it was best to look for free videos and train myself that way. In fact, that's what I have been doing all this time, but after attending iFLT I realized that I still had a long way to go and was far from perfection.
At the conference, I got to see the use of CI and TPRS firsthand in a live demo in an elementary classroom and even sneak a photo op with Dr. Stephen Krashen during "selfie time."
Since I am a visual learner, it was best for me to spend time in the language labs. I visited Annabelle Allen and spent a lot of time watching Jason Fritze in action. After seeing both of them in action, I felt inspired and got so many ideas to put into practice in the new school year.
Jason Fritze in action during iFLT 2016
I used the word "challenge" in the title of this post because being able to use TPRS and CI in the classroom is not that an easy task. It requires a lot of planning, willingness to fail, humor, patience, stand up comedy skills and a lot of physical activity. Nothing that a teacher with passion lacks, but something that still requires repetition and practice to get closer to perfection.
My question for your now is: Are you willing to join the CI and TPRS challenge? If your answer is yes and you are feeling ready to start the journey, then I recommend that you visit the links below:
How to Implement TPRS in an elementary classroom?
Comprensible Input is the Key
Five Ways to Incorporate Comprehensible Input
CI & TPRS in Action
Enjoy your journey!
Wednesday, June 22, 2016
Running a summer program in Spanish? Don't worry! Mundo de Pepita and I have you covered. Here we're sharing some activities that can help you enrich your summer program.
Everyone loves playing this game in summer camps. This link has some activities and a song to use during parachute time.
This post includes 10 cultural games that will add a lot of fun to your camp.
Host a carnival at your camp! This activity will get everyone dancing and excited about the summer!
Need more activities? Hope over to Mundo de Pepita's blog!
Enjoy the summer!
Sunday, June 19, 2016
Yes! Another school year has ended, and now it's time to reflect upon on it. I have always been good about writing a list OF reflections at the end of the school year, thinking about what worked or what didn't, what I need to continue working on, and what I will keep doing in the new school year. However, since it's essentially a note to myself, I rarely benefit from anyone else's experiences (something I value highly!) and I often lose the list during the relaxation and shuffle / travel of the summer. This year I decided to use my blog as an open forum to reflect on my school year. I know it will always be here (unless Blogger shuts down!) so I can come to back to it when I need it. I have also saved a copy in Google Drive, something I suggest you can use to safely store your reflections too! This document can also be used as a reference to set your goals for the new school year.
As a native speaker, I find it an easy task staying in the target language (TL) and keeping my instruction at the proficiency level of my students. I come from teaching in a FLES programs where we were required to stay 100% in the TL, to the point that my students thought that I couldn't speak English. Yes, the children were trying harder to communicate with me in the TL, but there was more to it than that. Once I moved to a different school, the policies about teaching 100% in the TL changed. That was when I realized that I had been missing an opportunity to connect with my students and get to know a little bit more about them. It was okay for them to use their L1 to communicate with me during recess time. I feel that because I am a native speaker, they need to know that I am bilingual and that I also have interest in their language and culture. Keeping my class at 90 to 95 % TL in my classroom continues to be my goal.
Teaching in the Target Language
Whole Brain TeachingThis was my first full year using WBT. As a result I feel that my students were more engaged, and I spent less time focusing on discipline issues in my class. Due to the limited amount of time I have with my students I only use level 1 in WBT, which involves these steps:
1. Five Classroom Rules
2. Teach OK
3. Attention Getters
5. Hands and Eyes
I will need to be more consistent in using the steps and definitely need a wider variety of "Attention Getters" in Spanish. If you use WBT, please share your Attention Getters with me! Also if you would like to try WBT next year, here is a link to the visuals in Spanish.
Reward SystemI use the WBT Scoreboard system for the whole group. I use the "pesos system" for individual participation. If a student challenges himself/herself to stay in the target language, they would get a copy of a printed peso to keep in their billeteras (a paper craft made at the beginning of the year). There were three opportunities for the children to use their play pesos to buy from my "tienda". The tienda was filled with pesos, stickers and erasers. We got to practice sentences such as "¿Cuánto cuesta?," "yo quiero un lápiz," or "deme un lápiz, por favor."
The "pesos system" got a little bit messy by the middle of the school year when students started to lose their pesos and billeteras, and, as a result, a lot of feelings of frustration were in the air. I have to find a better way to keep track of their points which translate into participation using the TL during
When using Interactive Notebooks, it needs to be clear that if you let your elementary students do this alone, they will take a lot time on it! This is my third year using Interactive Notebooks, and I sometimes forget about this. It is also necessary to put the samples together in advanced to have a visual to show to your students so they know what the final outcome will be. It is also important to be sure that the activity is at the level of your students. Something that has worked for me is to do activities with my students at the same time, making sure that they don't get behind and always leave coloring for the end. Don't use liquid glue - don't even have it in the classroom because I learned the hard way this year when one of my students spilled glue all over his notebook. Glue sticks are the best! What I really love about Interactive Notebooks is that at the end of the school year students have a resource to take home to practice during the summer. I didn't use them a lot this year, which I regret a lot because the excitement about this in past years has been great!
I started my school year strong on this, making videos for my students and sending communication with families about it. I teach at the elementary level, and the success of this really depends on how involved and available parents are to be able to sit with their kids. I might give it one more try in the new school year, but not keeping it as my priority goal.
I have to confess that one of my biggest fears is passing down stereotypes of other cultures to my students. Remember that I have reserved 5 to 10% of the L1 to use in the classroom when needed. On the issue of culture is where I give myself permission to use the L1 in class, especially to clarify any messages that can come across as stereotypes. I know some teachers have an strong opinion about doing this completely in the TL, but I do have to confess that I feel better if I allow room for using the L1 to clarify and maybe have deeper conversations about other cultures. That's what has worked for me so far!
I incorporated some "light" use of the culture into my daily routine comparing the weather and temperature in different Spanish countries and sometimes even calling my mom in Colombia to allow my students to have basic conversations with her, and they loved it! I still have to work on stepping out of my comfort zone to share with my students more about cultures other than Colombia and Mexico.
Communication with Parents
I used a website hosted on Haiku, but because it was password protected it made it hard for some parents to access it during their busy routines. My goal was to get rid of paper newsletters, and I did, but the password protected site wasn't helpful this year. I have heard of other teachers using Instagram and other social media outlets to share with parents while still protecting the privacy of their students. I might look into it and decide on what to use next year. I am open to any suggestions you might have, so please share them with me in the comment box!
What Am I excited About?
After 15 years of being in Boston (which is also the total of years I have been in the US) and 7 years of teaching at the same school, my family and I will be relocating to Austin, TX this summer. I will be teaching in grades K-5 at an elementary school, so I am excited to be working with a wider range of groups. I was the only PreK-3 Spanish teacher in the school I was teaching at in Boston, and now I will be part of a team of two more teachers teaching the same grades! How sweet is that?! I am excited to have more companeras.
This summer I will be attending the iFLT conference in Tennessee for the first time, and although I already use TPR I can't wait to take it further and start with TPRS!
How did your school year go? What are you plans for the summer? Any goal for the new school year yet?
How did your school year go? What are you plans for the summer? Any goal for the new school year yet?
Have a restful summer! You deserve it!