A Visit to The Zoo in Cali, Colombia

Tuesday, July 31, 2012
Teaching about zoo animals is one of my favorite units. This time, I visited the zoo in Cali, Colombia, and I collected a few videos of animals native to Colombia and South America. Comparing the various zoos that I have visited in different countries and cities in the US, the Cali zoo is by far my favorite. Not that I'm biased or anything! But, seriously, it is first rate. First of all, the weather is great and makes it possible for the zoo to have species from all over the world. The zoo is very well organized and has plenty of information for visitors to learn about each species. Any self-respecting zoo has a lion, a jaguar, and a bear, but this zoo also has Andean condors, Andean spectacled bears, and monkeys that are endemic to, or can only be found in, Colombia.

To use these videos and pictures, I advise you to first take a virtual trip to Cali, Colombia, using Google Earth. Then, download the map of the zoo and plan your visit with your students. On the zoo's website you can find some pictures and videos of some of their animals.

Here are a few videos I took during my recent visit to the zoo. Feel free to share them with your students! Teaching with authentic resources always gets the children excited about the language and different cultures.

el cóndor de los Andes

la guacamaya

la llama

el mono

el oso de anteojos 

Have fun visiting the zoo!

 All the videos and pictures here are property of Fun for Spanish Teachers and are available for classroom use only. Please contact me directly if you wish to use them in a different way. If you use them in a blog post you must give credit to my site www.FunforSpanishTeachers.com 

Visiting a Supermarket in Colombia

Monday, July 30, 2012
Every year when I travel to Colombia to visit my family, I try to take as many pictures and short videos as I can to share with my students in my classes. They are always curious to know about Colombia and always get very excited to see what I have to share with them. I've taken a few of those videos and pictures and am sharing them with you here so you can share them with your students too!

The supermarket is always a very fun and interesting unit, especially because I love teaching about a variety of fruits that are common in Colombia but not so well-known in most of North America. It is also an opportunity for students to compare the markets in their own cultural settings and that of Colombia. We have traditional markets where small, family farmers travel to the big cities to bring fresh products, but we also have supermarkets like Carrefour, Exito, and La 14. On this trip, I took a video in a Carrefour supermarket in Cali, Colombia. I am always very excited about the amounts of fresh and delicious fruits and vegetables I can find at great prices. You can find everything you need in a supermarket here - fresh food, clothes, everything you need for school, refrigetators, iPads, computers, etc. You don't need to go to different places, you will find everything in one place!

A Mall in Cali, Colombia

Picture: los tomates

Picture: los bananos y los aguacates

Picture: la piña

Picture: la sandia y la guanabana

Picture: el mango

Picture: la papaya

Have fun teaching in Spanish!

The pictures here are property of Fun for Spanish Teachers and are available for classroom use only. Please contact me directly if you wish to use them in a different way. If you use them in a blog post you must give credit to my site www.FunforSpanishTeachers.com 

14 of My Favorite Online Resources for Spanish Teachers

Saturday, July 21, 2012
The internet has taken off as a tool and forum, used by many teachers to look for new ideas, share their expertise, support their units, and more. I have found many websites with great resources for Spanish teachers. Here are several of my favorites, in no particular order. 

1. Spanish Playground
Ideas and resources to use in the Spanish classroom.
Facebook Page

2. Online Free Spanish
Free online games to motivate young learners and families to continue learning and practicing Spanish at home.
Facebook Page

3. Flapjack Educational Resources
Teacher-created resources for FLES and dual language programs.
Facebook Page

4. Foreign Language House
Teaching tips and resources for Spanish and French teachers K-12.
Facebook Page

5. Mis Cositas
Cultural resources for Spanish class.
Facebook Page

7. Kinder Latino
Teacher-created materials geared toward preschool classes.
Facebook Page

8. The Bilingual Teacher Clubhouse
A group of language teachers who share resources, ideas and teaching tips to use with elementary school children.
Facebook Page

9. Spanglish Baby
Tips and resources to support teachers and families raising bilingual children.
Facebook Page

10. Spanish Simply
A blog with lesson plans from an elementary Spanish teacher.
Facebook Page

11. Mommy Maestra
A mom sharing her experiences homeschooling.
Facebook Page

12. 1-2-3 Spanish Together Youtube Channel (disclaimer - this is my own site)
Free songs and videos to teach Spanish to young children.
Facebook Page

13. Ask Paulino
A place to find answers about anything related to the Spanish language.
Facebook Page

14. Sonrisas Spanish School
Cultural resources and teaching tips for Spanish class.
Facebook Page

I am sure you have your favorite websites too. Feel free to share them in your comments below!

Happy Teaching in Spanish!

ABC en Español

Friday, July 20, 2012
ABC en Español is a website created by Lauren Peacock,  a Spanish teacher  who writes her own songs and makes her own videos that go along with her songs. She has a great collection of resources for teachers to use with their students. To learn more about her teaching resources, visit www.abcenespanol.net.

Las Frutas

Rosa La Foca

Las Calabazas

El Gusano TuTu

Have fun singing in Spanish!

Playing with Flash Cards

Thursday, July 19, 2012

I am a Spanish teacher who travels to different classrooms. I carry a lot in my bags, and it can be a painful at times. This is when having a set of flash cards can be really handy, instead of lugging tons of heavy materials around! Plus, my students really enjoy playing games like the ones you will find below.

Fly swatter

Place different flashcards on a table or the floor. Describe one of the flashcards. For example: It’s a big animal, its colors are black and white and it says “moo”. After the description, have one of your students tap or slap the right card using a fly swatter.

What’s missing?

Place 3 to 5 flashcards on a table or on the floor. Look at them with your students and name each of them. Have one of your students close his/her eyes while you hide one of the cards. Have your student open his/her eyes to guess the name of the card that is missing.

The jumping game

Place a line of flashcards on a table or the floor. Call out some of the vocabulary placed on the line and have one of your students jump next to the correct card.
Place a flashcard in a box and have a volunteer guess the name of the card in the box. You can give your child some cues about the card.

Little translator

Show one side of the card and have your students give you the word in the other language.


Arrange a set of flashcards in a pile. Take the first several flash cards and create a sentence. Have your students take another flashcard to continue with the story. Continue with the same procedure until all the flashcards in the pile are gone.

Download your free flash cards here!

Have fun playing in Spanish!

You might also like these resources available on Teachers Pay Teachers:


La Oruga Comelona

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Since in many of my classes my students read "The Very Hungry Caterpillar" by Eric Carle, and also to support the butterfly unit they explore in their homerooms, I came up with an adapted version which I love calling "la versión criolla" of Eric Carle's story. This oruga decides to take a trip around Latin America and tries different traditional dishes. I used a picture of a caterpillar, a big colorful map, and pictures of the different traditional dishes and places where they originate that la oruga visited. Children had fun learning about the different dishes, and it was also an opportunity to learn about geography and the butterfly life cycle in Spanish!

La Oruga Comelona

En un día en el que hace sol, la oruga sale de su huevo para cantar una canción:

“Tengo hambre, tengo hambre, debo crecer muy grande. Mis maletas debo empacar y por  Latinoamérica  me voy a viajar”

El lunes comió en Colombia un sancocho que la dejó como un ocho.

El martes fue  a México, comió un pozole y luego se durmió sobre  unas flores.

El miércoles fue a la República Dominicana, comió mofongo y se quedó dormida sobre un hongo.

El jueves fue a Cuba, comió tostones y se quedó dormida sobre un par de cajones.

El viernes se fue a Argentina, se comió unos alfajores que después le  dieron dolores.

El sábado fue a Perú  y comió ceviche como loca que otra oruga la confundió con una foca.

El domingo fue a Ecuador y sintió que comer una hoja sería mejor.

Después de tanto viajar, a su casa en Colombia tenía que regresar. Había ganado tanto peso que ya no cabía en la hoja de su árbol de cerezo.

¡Upa, upa, es hora de construir una pupa! Y después de tanta fiesta en su nueva casa decidió tomar una larga siesta.

En la mañana, junto al sol, de la pupa una linda mariposa salió.

*This is story was written by Carolina Gómez and it's being shared for classroom use only. It can't be sold! If you which to use it a different way, please contact the author directly. This story belongs to Fun for Spanish Teachers ©2012.

Have fun teaching!

Bilingual Books for Spanish Class!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

I always love bringing literature to support my lessons during the middle of a unit or to end a unit. I have found it difficult to find books that are well written in English and Spanish. Sometimes the translations are not very relevant to the original text in Spanish which makes it lose flavor when reading in class. These books are well written in both languages and the author, Adriana Pacheco, wrote both the Spanish and English versions. 

The stories in each book are simple and easy to understand. The colorful illustrations represent accurately what is being expressed in the text and place the readers in the settings of the story. Many of the characters make multiple appearances in various stories, helping readers become more familiar with them, and many of the situations are very relevant to the day to day life of young learners. Each book includes a CD, and these are perfect to support listening skills in Spanish and English. What's best, the speakers in the CD's are native with very clear pronunciation! In each CD you will find the stories read in Spanish and English with time for the children to read along with the speaker. Even though these books are bilingual, the languages are not mixed together in sentences, a major bonus that is too often ignored by teachers and curriculum developers who think that a child needs immediate translation, forgetting that a young language learner's mind is very different than their own! I love the idea of having bilingual books with audio because it is a tool that children who are learning or exploring the language can take home to invite their parents into their process of learning a new language. 

To learn more about this great collection of books, visit Heritage Language at www.HeritageLanguage.com or just like their Facebook page.

OUR GIVEAWAY: Choose your Heritage Language Book For Your Spanish Class!

Last, but not least, here are the "rules of the game" for our giveaway:
1. You need to make sure you LIKE this post on my Facebook page and on the Heritage Language Facebook page to  participate. 
2. Share the love with other friends! Let them know about Fun for Spanish Teachers and Heritage Language Books and encourage them to join as fans of each of our sites.
3. Stay tuned and check back often! The winner will be announced on July 21st, 2012. You will have 24 hours to contact me to claim your prize.
4. The book will be sent as soon as you contact me with delivery details.
5. Enjoy reading and exploring the wonderful world of language learning!

Have fun reading in Spanish!

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