Mini Book: ¡Viva Colombia!

Saturday, July 15, 2017
This year marks the 207th year since Colombia gained its independence from Spain on July 20th, 1810. Colombians observe this day by taking the day off from work. Many of the main celebrations happen in Bogotá, Colombia's capital city. The Army puts on various parades, and the president delivers a speech to commemorate the day. It is also common for Colombians to show pride by wearing the colors of the Colombian flag (yellow, blue, and red), and many people put flags up outside their houses.

What a great way to celebrate by sharing this librito with you! Please click on the picture to download your copy!

This is a video tutorial showing how to make the book.

Just in case you need one more video, this one shows the steps more slowly. 

If you want to learn more about how this holiday is celebrated in Bogotá, this video is quite elaborate and has plenty of detail.

¡Qué viva Colombia!

More resources for teaching Spanish available on Teachers Pay Teachers

Virtual Field Trips in Elementary Spanish Class

Friday, July 7, 2017

There is nothing children enjoy more than pretending! Role playing games are such valuable tools for teaching languages. Planning a virtual trip requires some planning. You have to make sure the content is suitable for the level you teach. 

Introduction of a country or cultural activity:

1. Passport: You can create a simple template that your students will have to fill out with basic information such as name, age, and country where they were born. They can draw a small picture about themselves. 
2. Ticket: The ticket will have their seat and arrival country.
3. Sitting on an airplane: You may need to adapt this based on your space and the amount of time you have available to set up. I usually like making single lines and numbering the chairs from 1 to 20, depending on the number of students you have. Each student gets assigned a number. You can have two students pretend being the flight attendance to greet everyone when getting on the plane. This might take up to 5 minutes.  You can also pretend that you have a pilot who will welcome everyone and let them know where they are heading to. For example, "Buenos días, Bienvenidos al vuelo de la clase de español. Vamos a Colombia."
4. Google Earth: This requires some advance planning. You might want to choose the pictures of the places you would like to visit. I found a post written by The Teacher's Prep with great information on using Google Earth: Create a Virtual Trip Using Google Earth

5. Choose a few short videos about the country you plan to visit.6. Postcard: Have the children make a postcard that they can pretend to send to a family member. The postcard can have information about what they learned during the virtual trip.

Steps 4 and 5 might require a few class sessions to complete while the children do the cultural exploration. This also depends on how many times you see your students and the kind of program in which you teach. Some teachers prefer to do the cultural part in English , while others keep the target language basic and at the level of their students. 

I have a "Travel Set Activity" in my TpT store that I have used successfully with my students. Everything is ready to set up, and it even includes printable stamps that students can add to their passport every time they visit a new country. Click on the picture to learn all about it!

Have a fun trip!

4 Facebook Communities for Elementary Spanish Teachers

Thursday, July 6, 2017

One of the things I love about Facebook is how easy you can find online communities related to any topic and interest. And teachers really do know how to take advantage of Facebook. Just type keywords into the search bar to reveal different groups and pages related to them.

I want to share with you some groups that have been created for teaching Spanish at the early and elementary level. Please note that for some of the groups you will have to request to join the group; this is because they want to make sure only Spanish teachers join. Also in some of them the moderators will have to approve your question before it is posted on the wall. In an effort to keep the group clear of spam, some moderators will delete anything that is not related to teaching at this level. The language of interaction changes according to the group; some groups use English and Spanish, while some of them just use English, and some only Spanish. You will have to find the one you think works best for you.

Here are the names of the groups:

  1. Elementary Spanish Teachers
  2. Teaching Spanish to Children
  3. Actividades de ELE para niños
  4. Hablando de ELE

Hand Signals for Spanish Class

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Nothing like being in the middle of a fun and engaging lesson when suddenly you have a student interrupting because he or she needs to go to the bathroom, or even worse, you have a student who you thought was raising his/her hand quietly for a while when you realized it was a request to go to the bathroom and the student had been holding it for a long time. Then the feelings of guilt flood in.  Time is precious for teachers, but no one wants to cause a student pain!

I  taught in a Responsive Classroom school, and using signs was part of the classroom management model. So I borrowed some ideas from the Responsible Classroom framework and have added more to fit the needs of my classroom. I also teach my students useful sentences to ask for permission to go to the bathroom or drink water in Spanish. There are times when I see the hand signal for bathroom but still ask them what they need to give them an opportunity to practice the language or I also say you need to go to the bathroom or drink water. Once I started using hand signals with my students, I felt that I was able to teach a class with less interruptions, and it was also helpful for the students who were not yet ready to use the target language. I now introduce hand signals during the first class, and we practice them to make sure that they are clear for everyone. 

Recently I found a set of images that go perfectly with the hand signals I use, and I will be updating my classroom signs this fall. I am sharing them with you. I hope you find this helpful!

Download your cards HERE!

Happy teaching!

More teaching resources on Teachers Pay Teachers!

10 Fun Songs for Teaching Numbers in Spanish

Thursday, June 29, 2017

From 1 to 5

From 1 to 10


From 1 to 20  

From 1 to 50  

From 1 to 100

From 1 to 100

Have fun counting in Spanish!

Making Paper Boats in Spanish Camp

Thursday, June 15, 2017

It has been a wonderful week sharing summer camp activities along with Julie of Mundo de Pepita. As a last activity to end our sharing, I propose making an origami boat, but first I suggest you teach this repetitive traditional song called "El barquito chiquitico." There are different versions on YouTube, but this one is short and the animation is fun!

Había una vez un barquito chiquitico
Había una vez un barquito chiquitico,
Que no podía, que no podía, 
Que no podía navegar. 

Pasaron una, dos, tres, cuatro, cinco, seis, siete semanas, 
Pasaron una, dos, tres, cuatro, cinco, seis, siete semanas.
Y si esta historia no les parece larga, 
Y si esta historia no les parece larga, la volveremos, la volveremos a empezar.

Done singing? Time to make the "barquitos de papel" with your students. This is an opportunity to talk about colors and sizes.  The video tutorial below will show you how to make the paper boats step by step.

And here is how my barquito looks like!

Have fun!

Activities for Parachute Time

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

A successful summer camp has a *play parachute! Parachute time is one of those activities where you can engage children of different ages to play together. I have also never met a child who doesn't love participating in parachute time. Before using the parachute, explain your rules to the group to make it safe. I keep it simple. My rules are:

1. Don't go under the parachute without being asked.
2. Don't go on top of the parachute without being asked.
3. Don't shake the parachute without being asked.
4. Let go when I say it's time to do so.

Once in a while you will have a student who decides not to follow, so for safety reasons I might ask the student to observe and then re-join the game when he/she knows he/she is ready to play it safe.

One more thing is that sometimes there are not enough handles in the parachute for the children to hold onto. I let them know in advance that some of them won't be getting a handle, but there are other parts at the edge of the parachute where they can grab,  too.

Here are some fun activities to play while using the parachute:

Number Tag: Make a circle and everyone holds a handle or part of the parachute. Assign numbers to each child. You will need a number caller. His/her job will be to choose who tags who. For example:
Uno y cinco. The number that gets called first has to tag the second number. They will have to run around the parachute and can also go under. Their turn ends when the tagger tags the other child. You decide when to end the game.

Singing Ball: Place a ball in the middle of the parachute. Have the group sing a song in Spanish while shaking the parachute. If the ball falls off the parachute while singing the song, they will have to start all over again. The game ends when they are all able to sing the song while keeping the ball on the parachute.

Counting Ball or Object: Set a goal with the group of how high they want to count in Spanish. Let's say the group decides that "veinte" is their goal. Place the ball in the middle of the parachute and the children should shake the parachute and start counting in Spanish. Just like the Singing Ball game, the game ends when they are able to say all the numbers while keeping the ball on the parachute.

Salsacaídas:  This game is the combination of Salsa music and paracaídas (parachute). Choose a few salsa songs for your group to dance to. "Vivir mi vida" and "La Gozadera" have been hits in my classes and are also long enough for the children to take turns dancing. Children can go in pairs or by themselves. Everyone holds the parachute high and shakes it while playing the songs. Children take turns dancing under the parachute. You decide how long you want the activity to go.

Last, but not least, I have another post with a fun song to use while playing the parachute. Follow this link to read it.

Have fun!
*Affiliate link

Las Ollitas {Traditional Game}

This is a fun game that is played in many Latin American countries. It's simple, fun, and doesn't require much preparation.  There are different versions of this game. I am sharing with you the one I remember playing with my friends in a (then) small neighborhood outside of Cali, Colombia. You will need a minimum of six participants to play the game. Each team will have three participants. One person is placed in the middle in a squatting position, grasping their hands between their legs. The two other members of the team have to pretend to prepare el "sancocho," which is a traditional soup in Latin America. They have to pretend they are adding the ingredients to the bowl while saying the lines below:

Para preparar el sancocho,
pongo el pollo,
pongo la yuca,
pongo la papa,
pongo la mazorca,
lo pongo al fuego.
¡El sancocho ya está listo!

When everyone is done making the sancocho together, the game turns into a competition. You will need to set a finish line for everyone to get to. The team who makes it to the finish line first wins the game. You can continue playing until everyone gets tired of it. I recommend playing the game on a field with grass so nobody gets hurt.

This is a video of a Scout Troop playing a version of "las ollitas" game.

Variation: You can use visuals for the students to use while playing the game.

Have fun!

¿Quién Soy? Game {Beach Ball Version}

Monday, June 12, 2017

Second day of sharing! Yay! This activity is for second graders and up! For this activity you will need *inflatable beach balls and permanent markers. This will be a great introduction activity. Distribute the balls to each child. They will have to complete the following sentences:

1. Yo tengo _____ años.
2. Mi color favorito es ____________.
3. Mi animal favorito es ___________.
4. Mi número favorito es __________.
5. Yo tengo ojos de color __________.
6. Yo tengo pelo de color __________.
7. Yo soy un niño/ una niña.
8. ¿Quién soy?
Have you students make a circle. Place the balls in the middle of the circle. Give your students turns to read one ball each and guess who the student is.  The game ends when everyone in class has had a turn to read or guess the name of a student or have been found. Now, time to play with the balls!

¡Feliz verano!
*Affiliated link

Summer in Spanish: Bubble Time!

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Last year, Julie from Mundo de Pepita shared some ideas for summer camps. We decided to keep the tradition alive and here is my first sharing.

Bubbles are always fun to add to your summer camp! It's a great opportunity to learn some opposite words such as sube, baja, grande and pequeño. You can also count the bubbles while popping them. I was able to find *bubbles that stick for a long time so it allows me to play with the language. 

This song is a really great opportunity to take your class outside to play with bubbles while singing in Spanish. Introduce the word burbujas in Spanish.

Have the children call out the bubbles along with you: ¡BUUUUUURRRRRBUUUUJAS!

Play the song while children play with the bubbles.

Stop by Mundo de Pepita's blog to read her awesome activity for summer camps in Spanish!
Happy Summer!

*Affiliate link

Canción: El Monstruo de la Laguna

Friday, June 9, 2017

En una de mis exploraciones por canciones en YouTube me encontré con esta joya. Es una canción divertida que enseña las partes del cuerpo a ritmo de Cumbia. Además de ser divertida, usa un ritmo tradicional, tiene mucha repetición, lo que hace que sea de uso fácil en una clase de ELE (español como lengua extranjera) para niños. No se diga más, los dejo con "El monstruo de la laguna", interpretada por el grupo argentino "Canticuénticos".

Al monstruo de la laguna.... 
le gusta bailar la cumbia.... 
Se empieza a mover seguro 
de a poquito y sin apuro. 

El monstruo de la laguna 
empieza a mover la panza, 
para un lado y para el otro, 
parece una calabaza. 

Mueve la panza..... 
pero no le alcanza.

El monstruo de la laguna 
empieza a mover las manos, 
para un lado y para el otro 
como si fueran gusanos. 

Mueve las manos, 
mueve la panza..... 
pero no le alcanza.

El monstruo de la laguna 
empieza a mover los hombros, 
para un lado y para el otro 
poniendo cara de asombro. 

Mueve los hombros, 
mueve las manos, 
mueve la panza...
pero no le alcanza.

El monstruo de la laguna 
empieza con la cadera. 
Para un lado y para el otro 
pesado se bambolea. 

Mueve la cadera, 
mueve los hombros, 
mueve las manos, 
mueve la panza...
pero no le alcanza.

El monstruo de la laguna 
empieza a mover los pies, 
para un lado y para el otro 
del derecho y del revés. 

Mueve los pies, 
mueve la cadera, 
mueve los hombros, 
mueve las manos, 
mueve la panza...
pero no le alcanza.

El monstruo de la laguna...
se para con la cabeza... 
con las patas para arriba...
¡Mirá que broma traviesa! 

Mueve la cabeza, 
mueve los pies, 
mueve la cadera, 
mueve los hombros, 
mueve las manos, 
mueve la panza... 
Hasta que se cansa.


Using Centers in Spanish Class {Facebook Corner}

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

This space has been created to save all those awesome conversations happening on Fun for Spanish Teacher's Facebook page.

Xtine says:

"Hi all! My district is moving more towards a centers based learning and I was wondering if you have any suggestions for centers for K-2 Spanish? We are currently working on numbers 1-10 and wanted to see if I could somehow incorporate centers. I have no curriculum so I'm all on my own. I have 19 classes with the class size ranging from 8-22 students. Any advice or help would be great!"

Kelly: using color sticks at one table, numbers at another, vocabulary matching at another, copying printed words in Spanish (lots of web sites for this) just a few ideas off the top of my head

 Joe: If you can get some internet-connected devices then one or two centers can provide online activities.

Janet: Calico have some great ideas: Calico

Susan: I do centers every Friday. Some favorites are:
Candyland (say colors and count in Spanish) 
UNO cards with toss across ( they earn a bean bag to throw for every color and number they can say correctly from the UNO CARD) 
Puzzle: One center is a puzzle of the world to help them with geography. 
I usually have groups of 5 students and rotate every 5 minutes. If one of the centers was a worksheet, I let them use the rest of class to work on it so they are calm by the time their teacher picks them up. Hope this helps!

Jessica: With 2nd graders I do a conversation center, a listening center, a game center, technology center (Spanish apps on tablet generally), independent work center & one with me. I do centers with 1st grade too, though I don't generally do conversation center with them. With kinder I do "actividades" = sort of center like with lots of games and puzzles. (example shape memory, number memory, body parts puzzle match up etc)

Diane: get some of the shape cutouts from dollar store and make matching cards. Pictures & words or just some in English and same ones in Spanish. We have table races where groups match up the pairs. Sometimes individuals match so I can assess. Other times kids play memory with the cards in small groups.

Amy: I got a number puzzle and labeled the numbers in Spanish so they can say the numbers as they take it apart. The puzzle also has a plus, minus, and equals sign, so they can use it to make math problems. I also got a fishing set with fish in different colors on one side, and numbers on the other. They can "fish" by number or by color. I also got a Zing-O game, several varieties of Bing-O games, and books they can read alone. I still don't have much, but it's a start!

I got some Legos and labeled them with days of the week. They have races to put the days of the week in order. A Twister game that I covered up the English with Spanish. I am currently trying to come up with some Go Fish games. I also have a "free draw" corner and some Sp-Eng dictionaries. They can put their name in a box for prize drawings if they do any writing in Spanish.

I also have a puzzle of South America, a dice game, and an emotions game. ha... I guess I have more than I realized. It still doesn't seem like a lot of variety, though. It's almost all vocabulary-based except for the books.

Fun for Early and Elementary Spanish TeachersHere is just one more idea:

Soyla: Check out my Bilingual Pinterest boards for ideas:

Xtine: Thank you all for your help!!! I'm going to definitely incorporate some of your ideas!


An Activity to End the School Year ... and Look to the Future

Sunday, June 4, 2017

A few months ago I shared an ice-breaker activity to help students warm up after returning from winter break. It turns out that this activity can also be used as one to close the school year.  It's a great activity to get everyone moving, using the language, and talking about plans for the summer break.

This activity is set up as an interview. Students have to move around the room asking different classmates about their future plans. I usually give them five to ten minutes to complete the activity. My rules are that they need to use Spanish and need to find one person per box.

At the end of the activity, you can count and see which student got the most names. You can also graph the activities to identify the most popular summer plan.



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