Sonrisas: A Spanish Curriculum that Integrates Music, Art, Games, and Culture

Friday, July 26, 2013
Sonrisas is a Spanish-language curriculum designed for early and elementary classrooms. It takes a holistic approach, integrating music, art, games and culture. Teaching about culture can sometimes be complicated, especially if you are talking about "the Hispanic culture," which is very diverse and should be referred to as various cultures. It is also a hard task to incorporate culture into your curriculum if you are not familiar with the culture you are trying to teach or don't want to fall into teaching stereotypes of those different cultures into your class. Sonrisas Spanish Curriculum will help you be more effective bringing culture into your lessons.

What is included?
Sonrisas Spanish Curriculum includes well designed plans that go along with songs, art, activities, and games. I strongly value the cultural piece that this curriculum highlights. 

If you are new to teaching this curriculum will take you through the different methodologies for teaching foreign languages and key terms that are used in this field. It will help you establish routines in your classes. If you are an experienced teacher, you will value all these reminders. 

This is a very rich curriculum that will allow you to challenge your students according to their level, without adding too much pressure or competitiveness that can provoke fear of failure in class. This curriculum includes lessons for up to two years and every lesson includes:
1. Overview
2. Ideas for circle time
3. Suggested books for story time
4. Simple and easy art activity
5. Lesson procedures with list of materials needed. Each lesson is divided into two days, but this is not a strict rule since this program gives you a lot of room to adapt it for your own creativity.
6. Home report which will invite parents to become active and engaged in their child's learning process. This will also make your program more visible in your school community, very important with tight school budgets and debates about curricular priorities! 
7. Assessment Rubrics
8. Scope of sequence 

The curriculum will save you a lot of energy and time. The layout is very simple and easy to understand, and the content follows the ACTFL standards for foreign language learning which are listed as "the 5 C's" of communication, communities, cultures, comparisons and connections.

Sonrisas Spanish Curriculum has provided samples on their website where you can see for yourself that the program is simple and easy to follow:
To learn more about Sonrisas Spanish School Curriculum visit their website, and to get their updates and teaching tips, just like their Facebook page.

Happy teaching!
Fun For Spanish Teachers

Whistlefritz: All The Lessons You Need for Your Elementary Spanish Class!

Friday, July 12, 2013
Whistlefritz is an award winning series of music CD's and DVD's designed for teaching Spanish to young learners. In this set, created especially for Pre-K and Elementary Spanish classes, you can find just about every kind of lesson you can imagine! The collection includes five DVD's and two music CD's. It includes 40  lessons that will engage your students and will provide continuity for their learning process. Every lesson has been well planned and is supported by a song or episode on the DVD. The guide book is easy to use for new or experienced teachers, and it's also very accessible for parents. You can find worksheets that support the lessons, as well as simple art activities that won't take long, which is perfect for young learners. Flashcards to color, and games are also included. The activities can be done during class or sent home to extend learning. 

The collection also includes a set of matching cards with a very pleasant wolf named Rito. Rito always seems happy, really enjoying the fact that everyone is learning Spanish.

Each lesson has been created to take 30 to 40 minutes to explore, but you can definitely extend each one according to the pace of your students and engagement in the lesson. There is no need to follow the lessons in the exact order presented in the book. 

The Lessons
You will find in each lesson:
1. Brief description of the lesson
2. A simple and clear goal for the lesson
3. Objectives and more specifics
4. A list of the vocabulary
5. Suggested materials for the lesson
6. Time
7. Suggested activities
  • Main focus of the lesson and review
  • A list of teachers' input
  • Guided practice as a whole class
  • Independent practice, a great opportunity to assess students
  • Closure
8. Extension activities: These can be done during the class, as a closure activity or at home. Children get to watch an episode of the suggested DVD and learn a song. 

The DVD's
The set includes  five DVD's where children will meet Whistlefritz, a cute and friendly little mouse that shows up in the episodes. The children will meet Maria, a teacher with a sweet voice who will guide them in this adventure. Children of different ages are seen in the episodes, and the best thing is that there is no translations! The DVD's are only in Spanish, but the language used is simple and the situations are easy to understand because they are presented in a clear context. There is no need to translate them!

The Music CD's
Songs are performed by Jorge Anaya, a native of El Salvador who has clearly added a lot of nice Latino flavor to the songs. The songs are in Spanish and are simple and catchy. They support each unit, and the videos for each song are found on the DVD's.

Who wouldn't love having a little mouse as a helper in Spanish class? Whistlefritz  will make sure everyone learns Spanish the fun way! Visit Whistlefritz's website to learn more about the complete collection or the Facebook page to stay tuned!

The Giveaway!
If you would like this little mouse called Whistlefritz to join you in your classroom next year, here is an opportunity to have one of these DVD's. Just enter below to participate. The winner will be announced on July 18th, 2013United States only.

¡Buena suerte!
Fun For Spanish Teachers
*This product was sent to me by Whistlefritz to be reviewed. This review represents my own opinion about the product.

A Fashion Show in Spanish Class

Monday, July 8, 2013

I teach in a FLES program, so I don't really  have much time for big projects in my class. I see my students twice per week for 30 minutes each time. This is a fast and fun project to end your clothing unit.  My students love putting the paper puppets together and getting them ready for the fashion show. This is an activity I do with my second grade classes, and it takes them about three classes plus the class where they present their final work.

These are the steps I follow after we've learned the vocabulary and structures needed for this project:

Class #1: Students put their puppets together with clothes. I use the People Shapes Project Kit from Lakeshore,* Foamies Kids Activity Bucket* and also the free printable paper dolls from Making Friends.

Class #2: Students write a short description of their paper puppet. I give them samples for this and also something that I call "menú de vocabulario" which is basically a list and pictures of the vocabulary they need to write their paragraph. I use a lot of the target language in my class, but sometimes I cheat when I have to give them the descriptions of the projects and use English. That's when I use that 10% proposed by ACFTL, a recommendation for keeping your classroom in the target language for at least 90% of instructional time.

Class #3: Students practice their presentations with classmates.

Class #4: Students present their final work to the class. I use a small puppet theater and also record each of my students. I use videos as an assessment tool in my classes.

This is the result!

And there is more!
Download materials for the project here!


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