Sunday, November 15, 2015

La Noche de las Velitas {Farolito Tutorial}

December 7th is an exciting day in Colombia! It's the day when many people celebrate "La Noche de las Velitas" also known as "El Día delas Velitas." Although the origins of this celebration are religious (as the night when many families welcome and celebrate "The Immaculate Conception"),  it's also seen as a way for families to welcome the end of year festivities in which many people, but not all, celebrate Navidad. Farolitos (luminaries) and candles are seen everywhere.
I have blogged before about the importance of this celebration in Colombia. Visit the links below to read my previous posts and find other activities to help you share with your students about this and other Christmas traditions in Colombia.
La Noche de las Velitas 
Christmas in Colombia

Farolitos Tutorial

This is a simple way to make farolitos with your students. You will need:
1. Paper lunch bags 
2. Led tea light - battery operated
3. Templates of different Christmas shapes
4. Tissue paper - preferably green and red 
5. Glue
6. Scissors

Use the opportunity to bring some language to the lesson. Visit my previous post with some ideas about questions for this activity. Talk about the colors and materials needed to make the farolitos.
You will need to prepare the templates in advanced and pre-cut the pieces of tissue paper.


1. Trace the shape on the paper lunch bag.

2. Cut out the shape. Younger students might need help to start cutting the shape.

3. Glue the tissue paper inside the paper bag.

4. Insert tea light

This is optional. Students can make designs around the edges of the bag.

5. Get ready to sing some villancicos while celebrating La Noche de las Velitas in class. Here is a great playlist on YouTube. I also recommend the "Mi Burrito Sabanero" version by Colombian singer Juanes. 

Mamá Tortuga, who is also a Colombian bloguera has another awesome tutorial to make farolitos with your students. Please hop over her blog - rápido y no a paso de tortuga- to learn all about it!

¡Feliz Noche de las Velitas!

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Brain Breaks for Spanish Class

I am "brain break" lover! I teach young students, but it doesn't matter how old your students are, a little break to get them moving will help them tune into class. I use brain breaks a lot, but depending on the time of the day, I have noticed that they are more needed, especially with classes after lunch.

Here is a list of brain breaks for different levels.

Choco, choco, la, la
Cho, choco, te, te
Chocola, chocote,

Palo bonito
Palo, palo, palo, 
palo bonito,
palo eh,
eh, eh, ah
palo bonito, palo eh.

Hula en español: Five minute video that will get your students moving!

La Yenka: This could also be used as a fun choreography for your students to learn!
You can also use it as freeze dance by just chanting "izquierda, izquierda, derecha, derecha, adelante y atrás, 1, 2, 3" and then everyone freezes.

La Familia Sapo: Perfect to review family members while getting everyone moving

Todo el movimiento: Great to review parts of the body

El baile de la ensalada

Have fun moving in class!

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Maestros de Español Fall-Winter Blog Hop

This is an exciting time of the year! So many holiday celebrations happening all over the world bring an opportunity for language teachers to explore a lot of vocabulary, stories, and share about traditions in the  Spanish-speaking countries.

Here is  a cute song to teach during November.

During our blog hop you will be able to find many amazing resources from different Spanish teachers. Below see the products that will be on sale in my store this week! Click on each picture to learn more about them.

Still looking for more holiday resources for Spanish class? Click on the picture below to find more free teaching tips in my blog!

Here is my giveaway! ¡Buena suerte!
I would like one of my readers to have four of my TpT products. Please note that my Interactive Notebook Set is not included in this giveaway.  Just enter below to participate. Worldwide participants are welcome! The winner will be announced on November 5, 2015.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Many of the teachers participating in this blog hop are hosting giveaways and freebies in their stores. Don't forget to stop by each of them and join the fun!

An InLinkz Link-up

Have fun!

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Reasons to Celebrate El Día de los Muertos in Spanish Class

I have to admit that I didn't know anything about "El Día de los Muertos" until I moved from Colombia to the United States.  In the first Spanish program in which I taught, cultural traditions and celebrations were not part of the curriculum. This was mainly due to the limited time we had with our students. Without the ability to engage deeply, we were afraid of passing down wrong information or stereotypes of other cultures to them. After a few years of teaching in this school district, I moved to another school district where the program was richly infused with cultural celebrations. "El Día de los Muertos" was an important feature, and the children were really engaged in various aspects of it in ways that made it a comprehensive cultural exploration for elementary level students. And yes, it took me a while to get comfortable with this celebration, but I still wasn't 100% excited to be teaching this to my students. 
And just as life changes and people move, I moved to a different neighborhood and changed schools again. This time, I was at a school where a big part of my job was to help create the K-3 Spanish curriculum , but still El Día de los Muertos wasn't my top choice to include in it. I also felt that, being Colombian, I had an obligation to teach and share about my own culture. After about two years in this program, I heard conversations of students explaining El Día de los Muertos as simply the way Halloween is celebrated in Mexico. My heart sank, and then it jumped with adrenaline as I had a flashing thought that I was missing an awesome opportunity to share with students the real meaning of this celebration. Not to blame them, but everywhere they go, many of the icons such as calacas, catrinas and catrines are displayed in the Halloween aisles in many of the big stores. They are now part of Halloween costumes and even an excuse to have "Day of the Dead" fiestas. I am also guilty of buying the decorations and bringing them to my classroom, and of course, hiding the label that shows that they were made in China, not in Mexico.

The celebration deserves room in the curriculum of Spanish teachers. We, the community Spanish teachers, have a responsibility to educate our school community about the importance of this beautiful celebration, especially given the fact that it was just recently included in the "List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity" by UNESCO.

We also have to remember that as world language teachers we should help our students (and each other) to understand other cultures are well prepared to be good citizens of the world!

As a good starting point, I put together a PowerPoint that I use to introduce the celebration to my 2nd and 3rd grade students. I am now sharing it, and you are welcome to download it and adapt it to your needs.  Please note that I don't own any of the pictures in the PowerPoint. If you share the resource, I would appreciate if you give credit to my blog. 

Click here or on picture to download presentation!

Have a wonderful celebration in your class!

Thursday, August 27, 2015

One Year Subscription to Rockalingua! {Giveaway}

Rockalingua is a small company based in San Francisco and run by César, an elementary Spanish teacher who is very talented and writes his own songs. On his website you can find a variety of songs suitable for elementary, middle and high school students. Teachers can purchase CD's, DVD's or a full yearly membership to Rockalingua's website where members have the benefit of accessing the videos, songs, worksheets and teaching tips from anywhere with online access. 

I am lucky enough to have my very own membership and enjoy the full benefits of it. I would love one of my readers to have that benefit too! To participate, just enter below. The winner will be announced on Wednesday, September 2nd, 2015. WORLD WIDE participants are welcome! ¡Buena suerte!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, August 23, 2015

5 Reasons to Use Interactive Student Notebooks in Elementary Spanish Class

An Interactive Student Notebook is nothing more than a regular notebook, but it's organized in a specific way that helps students keep track of all the content we explore in class. For older students, their ISN requires them to have a table of contents, numbered pages, and space for teachers to add notes. Also, there are lots of hands-on, independent enrichment activities peppered throughout for students to explore at their own pace or at home (e.g. to cut and paste, color, match words, etc.). Since I teach Spanish at  the lower school and don't see my students with much frequency, I have adapted this tool to use more simply. We keep songs, make games, write short paragraphs and make it interesting for students to feel proud of their own work. At the end, it's their own creation they can be proud of and feel a sense of ownership. 

Interactive Student Notebooks have been a life saver for me and wonderful teaching tool at the elementary school level. I started using them last year and created mine along with my students and aligned it with my own curriculum -take a peak inside it!  

There are a lot of benefits to using Interactive Student Notebooks in a world language class at the elementary level. Here are a few I have found while using them in my classes:

1. Easy to keep organized: I've found Interactive Notebooks are an easy way to keep my students organized. I used to have binders for my second and third graders, and it became chaotic for them to handle and keep them in order. Interactive Notebooks provide a space where everything we do in class is kept in one place.

2. High motivation for students: Students are more engaged in class and constantly ask when they can take their notebooks home. I include hands on activities, lyrics of songs we've learned, and games! 

3. Good communication with your students' parents: Spanish notebooks help children keep track of their own learning and exploration in class. Many of the activities in the Interactive Notebook should be engaging such as games, puzzles, memory games, and so on. 
Provide space during the school year for students to take their notebook home to share with parents what we've done in class - this helps parents feel more connected with their children's learning and allows you to educate them since, in most cases, this kind of second language learning is much different than their experience. 

4. A resource for the summer: When the school year is over, children will have a resource they have created and can take home to practice over the summer. 

5. You will love it! Just make sure you have the materials required for the fun. I use regular composition books and glue sticks. 

Have fun!

Monday, July 20, 2015

Spanish Teachers to Follow on Social Media

If you are on Facebook, Pinterest or enjoy following blogs, you may like to know that there is a group of Spanish teachers who are active on social media. They are all dedicated educators who share teaching tips, classroom management ideas, what has worked or hasn't worked for them, and a lot more when it comes to teaching Spanish as a foreign language. Following them on social media can save you some time and will keep you on track while navigating the internet. 

I created this in no particular order. The levels are identified by the following letters:
E- Elementary 
MS - Middle School
HS - High school

Mundo de Pepita 

Monarca Language

Señora Cruz 

Vibrante Press with Loni Dai Zovi

Woodward Education

YB Smith

The Spanish and ASL Lady

The World Language Cafe

Sue Summers

Spanish Sundries

Lectura Para Niños

Teacher's Clipart 
(Designer and Teacher)

Sol Azúcar

Best PowerPoints for Spanish Class

Sra. Casado

Island Teacher

La Profesora Frida



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