Friday, November 2, 2012

Giveaway: Bilingual Spanish book "Tim and Kim'

"Tim and Kim" by Kay Linda Nord is such a cute book, perfect for kids learning Spanish! 

You have several entries possible!

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Monday, October 22, 2012

Salta Ranita Salta

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For our little Spanish class today I focused on the book Salta Ranita Salta

We began class with our little routine.
We sang:
Buenos Dias
Me llamo
Te quiero
To review colors I asked "De que color es tu camisa?"
Then I asked them "Quien lleva rojo..."
I instructed my cute little students to stand and say "yo llevo rojo."
(By the way there is a lot of whispering the answer to some of the students on my part.  And that is ok!  When they do say the answer, even if I whisper first, I offer a lot of woo hoo's, buen trabajo's or high fives.)

Next we reviewed numbers 1-10 with the song 1, 2, 3  using our fingers to represent each number.
Next I began to teach some of the new vocabulary from the book Salta Ranita Salta.

I created this page of pictures representing 11 words from Salta Ranita Salta.  I printed the page and cut out each picture.  Then I showed each to the students saying "Esta es una rana.  Pueden decir rana?  La rana dice ribbit, ribbit.  Que dice la rana?"

For mosca I said "Esta es una mosca.  Pueden decir mosca.  Te gustan moscas?  No? Pero la rana le gustan las moscas.  La rana usa su lengua larga para comer las moscas."  I always ham it up a little and make sure to mime as many actions as I can.
Next I had got out number cards 1-10 and we said the numbers again.  I handed each student one of the pictures from the above activity and told them to put the picture on a number.  For example I said "pon el pez debajo de numero cinco."  I said "I'm going to choose the quietest person for the next one."  When there were pictures under each number I asked Donde esta el pez.  I told students to respond with the correct number. This proved to be a little difficult for most of my students.  So I cut this activity a little short as attention spans were starting to wane.  

I got out the book Salta Ranita Salta and reminded students how we had played a game jumping over a  hat saying each person's name.  For example before Rachel jumped over the hat we said "Salta Rachel, salta!"  Then I explained that a ranita is a little frog and that rana is frog.  I read the title and all my students knew that salta ranita salta meant jump little frog, jump.

After reading the story I told my students that they had their own pictures to color.  As they were coloring I gave them the words in Spanish to label each picture commenting over and over about the words, asking what color their snake or frog was and so on.  Here is the sheet I created with some of the vocabulary words from Salta Ranita salta.  I put the glue on and they put them in the correct spot.

Nervous about reading a book to your students that is all in Spanish?  Read this post.

Do you do another activity with Salta ranita salta that I haven't mentioned?  Let us know in the comment section.

Here are some of my other Spanish lessons for kids:

 April 2012

Spanish Days of the Week Train

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Practice writing letters and words with Spanish words

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In the process of teaching your young children Spanish you may be working on their writing skills as well. Why not combine the two and have them practice tracing words in Spanish. I found a great site that has 24 hojas de trabajo (worksheets) for tracing Spanish words. Below is a picture of half a sheet.

Another site I found has pictures of fruits and the Spanish words for fruits that you can print for kids to trace. It would go well with the other activities based on La Oruga Muy Hambrienta (The Very Hungry Caterpillar).

Or you might like the traceable letter pages that correspond to words in Spanish that I found here.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Tips for Reading to Children in Spanish

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Yesterday I read La oruga muy hambrienta to my little class of 6.  It was definitely a hit.  I was feeling a little apprehensive about reading an entire book in Spanish to my students who had such a limited vocabulary.  They are familiar with numbers through 10, colors, days of the week, some emotions, how to say your name along with a few other things. I was nervous that they would feel intimidated by all the vocabulary they didn't know but I couldn't have been more wrong.  They loved it.  Now mind you it helped that I hammed it up as much as I could and did actions where appropriate.  I have read to my kids in Spanish since they were born but I did not how the other 4 kids would handle it.  It was a success.  After this experience I have some tips for reading to children in Spanish.

1.  Make sure they know SOME of the words already.  They don't need to know all the words, just a few here and there scattered throughout the book.

2.  Do actions when ever you can.  For example, if someone is eating in the book, mime eating.

3.  Ask a few questions throughout the story.  Maybe ask about a word they should know.  In our case I asked my students about the days of the week every time we came upon one of those words in the story.

4. Consider reading a story that they are already familiar with in Spanish.

5. If you notice that your students are drifting off a little go ahead and omit some of the words or just take a break and save the rest for another day.

6. If there is a repetitive line (like in i Salta, Ranita, salta! ) encourage students to say it with you.

7.  Have fun!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Present Tense of Stem-Changing Verbs

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One of my readers recently asked me for tips on teaching stem-changing verbs in the present tense.

Here are some of my suggestions:

First I call them boot verbs or shoe verbs because when you draw a line around all the forms that change it ends up looking like a shoe/ boot.  I draw this in front of them exaggerate the fact that it looks like a shoe by drawing shoe strings or something.

I remind students what the stem of the verb is and that with regular verbs the stem does not change but with stem changing verbs the stem changes.  I review one of the regular verbs and then show a stem-changing verb.

I say "in the present tense of stem-changing verbs the stem changes in all forms except for the nosotros form."  Then I ask my students "in what form does the stem change in stem-changing verbs in the present tense?"  They should say "all except nosotros."

For example with cerrar I tell them that the e changes to ie in all froms except the nosotros.  So no longer is the stem cerr.  It is now cierr.

cierro              cerramos
cierra              cierran   

I then have the entire class conjugate the verb out loud together making sure to emphasize the fact that the nosotros from does not change.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Spanish Days of the Week Train

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My kids and my little class of 7 (ages 1-6) are loving the Spanish Days of the Week Train song.  I have to admit that I was a bit unsure of it at first but it has turned out to be an awesome resource for learning the days of the week in Spanish.  I tell my students to get their train ready. (They use their arms to pretend that they are the train's wheels.)

The first couple times we played this song I would tell them that when the train starts it is slow and it gets faster and faster so they will need to make their arms move faster and faster.  The train starts slowly as students, with the CD, chant "lunes, martes, miércoles, jueves, viernes, sábado, domingo."  Then they pretend to pull the train's whistle and say "toot toot!" or "choo choo!"  They love that part!  It gets faster and faster until the kids arms are going wild.  This would probably work best with kids 2nd grade and under.

Maybe some day Blue and Brooks will offer MP3 downloads of their songs, to be purchased of course, possibly through Amazon.  I don't know if there is a major cost involved in that or not or if there would be enough incentive for them to do that.  Until then, they do offer their Spanish songs for kids CD for just $15.  I think this is a great price for the amount of songs that you get: 29 songs!  They did a great job on this CD and I have been using it every day for my little class.

Do you need help pronouncing the days of the week in Spanish?  Try this website.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Teaching Colors in Spanish

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This is part of my series "Teaching Spanish one hour at a time."

A lot of the ideas from this lesson came from the Sonrisas Spanish School curriculum.  They were kind enough to give me a copy to review in exchange for posting about my experience with it.  Each lesson has book suggestions.  You do not need these books in order to do the lesson.  I saw a review on Amazon did not think it was enough for a whole semester.  I disagree.  It is plenty.  There is a lot of review and overlap in early Spanish learning.

Today I am going to focus on teaching colors in Spanish to my little group of kids ages 4-6.

Sonrisas CD
Review how to say "me llamo" with song #3 from the Sonrisas CD
Review phrases for saying how you are feeling with "Buenos Dias" song #2 

Materials needed: Sonrisas CD, crayons for each student,  a piece of red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, brown, black and white construction paper.  Cut enough out of each color so that each student will be able to have their own.

Review each color in Spanish by holding up a paper and having each child repeat the color in Spanish.
Next I will be adapting a game from the Sonrisas curriculum called "el juego de los colores."

I'll just choose three or four of the colors.   Instruct students that you will be holding up one color at a time and if the student is wearing that particular color he or she will stand up.

Say "¿Quién lleva rojo?" Encourage students to use new phrases such as "Yo tengo rojo."


Place the cut papers on the floor in any order. Random is probably best.

Instruct the students that you will be asking them to take one color at a time and put their cards in a pile.  Say "toma el papel amarillo."  Do this for each student until all the cards are gone.

In the last activity students will practice their colors in Spanish by coloring this cute bear.  He is labeled with number words in Spanish and their is a box at the bottom of the page telling you what color to use.  You may need to help students who can't read very well yet.  There's also a similar butterfly to color if you'd rather use that.

More preschool and early elementary Spanish lessons:
(These are some of the lessons I have done with my little class of 3-6 year olds)
April 2012

Spanish Days of the Week Train

Salta Ranita Salta  -- October 2012

And here are some tips for reading to children in Spanish

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Get a Free MP3 Credit

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I downloaded a free math app for my kids yesterday and I got this email this morning...

"As a purchaser of a select app from the Amazon Appstore for Android, you have earned a $1 credit valid towards Amazon MP3 albums or single songs at For redemption instructions and additional information, click here
mp3redeem. Amazon MP3 music is available to customers located in and with billing addresses in the United States. Taxes apply in some states. Limit one promotional credit per customer. Your credit expires at 11:59 pm PST on October 31, 2012."

If you would like to get your free song and you have an android, choose from one of these free apps

Make sure it has that green button you see in the picture above that says "Get $1 for Mp3s with purchase of select apps." Then wait for your email and get your free song or credit towards an album.

Here are some of my recommendations of great Spanish songs for kids.

If you feel like browsing on your own for some children's songs in Spanish start here.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Ideas for Teaching Spanish

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I never thought I'd be one when I grew up but it's true. I'm a Spanish nerd. I love everything Spanish. Well almost everything. Because of that I am always looking for ideas for teaching Spanish to my young kids. (currently ages 6, 4 and 15 months) Recently I began expanding my writing about teaching Spanish to Squidoo so you might find the following articles helpful:

Teaching Spanish to Preschoolers
Spanish 1 Grammar
Best Resources for Teaching Kids Spanish
Beginner Spanish Books

If you've been reading my blog for a while you might remember me posting about this First Grade Spanish Curriculum.  I was so excited to find it because it does a lot of what I need it to do for my kids who already have a large amount of Spanish vocabulary in their arsenal.   What I needed was something that would stretch them even further.  Now to be completely honest I haven't touched it in a while.  I am going to make an extra effort use it at least once a week.  The great thing about finding that curriculum is that it lead me to other websites that offer online activities in Spanish.

I really like "Léeme un cuento."  The site has 9 digital books in Spanish.  It is great because I can have my kids listen to stories in Spanish without my American accent.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Realidades Power Point Presentations

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I know there are a lot of Spanish teachers who use the Realidades textbooks. I found a teacher online who also used to use Realidades and she is offering all her power point presentations for anyone to use. Just go here to see if it will work for you. Why reinvent the wheel if you don't have to? I haven't taken a good look at them so I really don't know how good they are.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Elementary Spanish Lesson Plans

Planning elementary Spanish lesson plans is easy and hard at the same time.  It is easy because there is just so much you can do.  It is hard because sometimes the students and even the core teachers just don't take you all that seriously. That is why you have to have some killer Spanish lesson plans.  Lesson planning doesn't mean a thing if you don't have great classroom management.  If you have that the Spanish teaching world is your oyster.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Kids Learn Spanish through Repetition

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Kids learn Spanish through a lot of repetition just like they learned their native language.  Knowing that I have been wanting something small that I could print out to help reinforce some of the concepts I've been teaching at home.  Here is a great little chart you can print for your home school Spanish lessons or for your classroom. I found it on the teachers pay teachers site. It has colors in Spanish, shapes in Spanish, numbers in Spanish and coins. It is great because it all fits on a 8.5 x 11 sheet paper so it won't take up too much space. You could laminate it and put it on a wall or put it in the front cover of a binder to refer to easily.  To print yours in Spanish or in English go here.


Monday, April 23, 2012

Teaching Spanish one hour at a time

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I've started teaching beginning Spanish lessons to our neighbor's little boy (kindergartener) and in return my daughter is taking piano lessons from his mom.  It's great because it forces me to do a lot of review with my kids.  Boy can my kiddos act up having their mom as their teacher.   Here's what we did today.

  • Simon dice-- to practice body parts
  • Head and shoulders knees and toes in Spanish
  • Power glide Spanish
  • Numbers - 10 in Spanish
  • Sang "1, 2, 3"  (track 6) from Sing A Lingo (I heard my kids singing this later throughout the day.  Score!)
  • Simple conversation using hola, ¿Cómo te llamas?, Me llamo,  ¿Cómo estás?, bien, mal, así así and adiós.
  • My students then got to cut and paste using some of their new vocabulary words from the  Teach Them Spanish Kindergarten book.
  • Played outside jumping on numbers I had written in chalk saying each number in Spanish as we jumped on it.
  • Counted things the kids collected in Spanish.  (This reminds me of some of our Spanish at the park outings.)

This week I plan to review the above and...

  • Sing the Siete Dias song to learn the days of the week at the calendar.
To the tune of The Adams Family

Siete días (snap, snap)
Siete días (snap, snap)
Siete días (3x) (snap, snap)
Hay domingo y hay lunes 
martes y miércoles
jueves y viernes 
Y después hay sábado   
Siete días (snap, snap)
Siete días (snap, snap)
Siete días (3x) (snap, snap)
  • Sing and dance to tracks 4, 5 and 8 from Sing A Lingo. Each of these songs (Marcha, Ponte a bailar and lava las manos) incorporates body vocabulary.
  • Sing "Cinco deditos" to the tune of 10 little Indians
Uno, dos, tres, cuatro, cinco
Uno, dos, tres, cuatro, cinco
Uno, dos, tres, cuatro, cinco
Cinco deditos son

  • Play dominoes to review numbers through 10 using this free printout.
 Here are some of my other preschool Spanish class lessons:


Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Spanish Weather vocabulary using Boom Boom Pow

Have you seen this?  I just saw it today.  Someone put together a video using the music from Boom Boom Pow by the Black Eyed Peas and dubbed in Spanish weather vocabulary.  I love it!  The accent could be a bit better but your students will love it.  If you are teaching weather vocabulary or reviewing it you should use this video to spice things up.  The person who uploaded this video to youtube is a Spanish teacher and recommends having the students do actions for the words in the song.  He says that in the last part of the song you have to decide what you are going to say ahead of time based on what the weather is like. 

Monday, March 26, 2012

Juanes sings Muevete on Sesame Street

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Domino Numbers Game in Spanish

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Practice numbers in Spanish by playing this free printable domino game.  Go here to print yours.  You can also print a free numbers 1-10 word search in Spanish here.

If you like playing dominoes you would probably like the Mexican Train Dominoes game. My dad brought this game back from Mexico several years ago and we have had a lot of fun playing it. Encourage you kids to practice their numbers in Spanish while you play!

 You might also want to check out this Spanish game post.

Free Videos in Spanish to watch with your kids

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There are over 30 short videos to watch including "Pulgarcita/ Thumbalina" and "Caperucita Roja/ Little Red Riding Hood."  Just go here and start watching.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

And the Winner is...

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Thanks to everyone who entered to win the foreign language dictionary app from ultralingua!

Harry y el terrible Quiensabeque

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Harry y el terrible Quiensabeque is an oldie but a goodie.  My kids really get a kick out of this book.  The original English title is Harry and the Terrible Whatzit and it has mostly 5 star reviews on Amazon. 

The above is the first page of the book.   My Spanish translation reads:

Yo sabía 
que abajo en el sótano 
había algo terrible. 
Lo sabía, porque el sótano
estaba oscuro, húmedo y olía mal. 

I am going to tweak the *Monster Lesson plan described below and have my kids roll one die 5 times. We will write down each number that they roll across a blank sheet of paper.  Then I'll have them roll 2 dice 5 times and have them write those numbers as well.  If you do this make sure to have your kids say the numbers in Spanish.  Then write the body vocabulary (boca, brazo, cabeza, cuerpo, pie, pierna, mano, nariz, oreja, ojo) under each number reviewing as you go by having the kids point to the correct body part.  Next explain that they will be drawing their monster using the what is written on their paper.  I can't wait to post our monsters!  If you do this I'd love to see your monsters. Email me or send a link.

*Monster lesson plan for learning the body parts in Spanish (I first blogged about it over here.)
Have each student choose 10 numbers between 1 and 10 and write them across a blank sheet of paper.  Numbers can be repeated and need not be in any particular order.  For example they might write down the following:

8            8            2            1              4              5              3               3                6              2

Next have the following vocabulary words on a poster or somewhere in the room. 
boca, brazo, cabeza, cuerpo, pie, pierna, mano, nariz, oreja, ojo

Use TPR to review and then show how each word can be made plural by adding an 's' to each word except for nariz which changes to narices.

Next have students write the vocabulary words that you have listed under each number.

Tell students that they will be drawing a new monster using the numbers they picked and the vocabulary words.  Under the monster they will write a description of their monster similar to the one described by bablingua: “Mi monstruo tiene una cabeza, cinco ojos, tres narices, cuatro bocas, dos orejas, seis cuerpos, dos brazos, dos manos, una pierna y tres pies.”

For high school Spanish I think this book would be a great example of showing the difference between the preterite and the imperfect for Spanish 2.  On page one there are already 5 verbs in the imperfect. It goes on with plenty of examples of verbs in both the preterite and imperfect including some of the irregulars.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Ideas for La oruga muy hambrienta

Thank you Eric Carle for inspiration!!
Here are my 23 (and counting) ideas on a weeks worth or more of lessons incorporating The Very Hungry Caterpillar to teach Spanish.

1. Print 3 pages (one for puppets described in #2 and two more copies for a memory game) and cut out the pictures that represent the oruga and all the things he ate from here.  You may also want to laminate them.  I have a small laminator like this one that I love.
2. Make these popsicle stick puppets.  If you want smaller puppets make them from these sequencing cards instead.
3. Use this PDF of the text of the story for easy reference.
4. Make this caterpillar sock puppet.  Check out this youtube video showing how to make a similar caterpillar/ butterfly sock puppet.

Review the days of the week in Spanish.
5. Say "Estos son los días de la semana." Have student(s) repeat days.
6. Sing the days of the week song in Spanish to the tune of the Adams family.
7.Sing the days of the week in Spanish to the tune of Oh My Darlin.'  Just sing through the days twice to Oh My Darlin and you'll have it.  

8. Review all the foods that the oruga will eat in the story using pictures or Popsicle stick puppets.
la manzana - apple
la pera - pear
la ciruela - plum
la fresa - strawberry
la naranja - orange
un pastel de chocolate- chocolate cake
un pepinillo- a pickle
un trozo de queso suizo- a piece of Swiss cheese
una rodaja de salame- a slice of salami
un pastel de cerezas- a cherry pie
una salchicha- a sausage
un pastelito- a muffin
una tajada de sandía- a slice of watermelon
un barquillo de helado - ice cream cone
una paleta - lollipop

9. Watch "A mí me gusta la fruta. "  Please note that the "a mí" in the video is missing the accent over the "i."

10. Read La Oruga Muy Hambrienta.  Insert comments and questions as you go.

Vocabulary Practice Activities: 

11. Talk about the word saludable/healthy.  
Have your students either say es saludable or no es saludable after you say each of the things the oruga ate.  Use the pictures again or the Popsicle stick puppets, putting them in two different groups.You can use this chart I created to graph each food.

12. Graph with all the pictures of the foods that the oruga ate. Don't worry that your students don't know all the vocabulary.  You can mime some of the words like "comió" and "hambrienta."

13. TPR to practice vocabulary--Place pictures or plastic representations of fruit in a magic box or bag. As the students reach into the box and take out a fruit say its name (Esta fruta es la manzana./This fruit is the apple.) and give them TPR commands, such as, toca la pera/touch the pear; coge la manzana/take the apple; camina con la ciruela/walk around with the plum; pasa la cereza a Diana/pass the cherry to Diane.

14. Ask Natural Approach questions to the students to help them identify and say the names of the fruits. ¿Quién tiene la fresa?/Who has the strawberry? ¿Es esto una naranja o una manzana?/Is this an orange or an apple? ¿Cómo se llama esta fruta/What is this fruit called? (The above two bulleted activities are from here.)

15. Play "Come la Fruta." Everyone has a fruit and the caterpillar comes around and eats it one at a time.  Everybody says "come la fresa."

16. Watch this slightly animated version, mute it and read the text in Spanish

17. Sing the events of the story to the tune of 10 little Indians.
18. Watch a cartoon version of the Wiggles doing "ensalada de fruta fresca"

19.  Paint a caterpillar using leaves
--Say Vamos a hacer una oruga usando hojas y pintura. 
20. Finger paint a caterpillar.  Here's mine.

21.  Study/ observe caterpillars as they change into butterflies.

22. Watch this you tube video "Time Lapse Painted Lady Pupation"

I'm not sure who this has been more fun for.  Me or my kids.  I have probably learned as much as they have about caterpillars so far. Here are some of the things I learned:
  • Caterpillars moult
  • Butterflies form a chrysalis or pupa not a cocoon.  (This was a surprise for me.  I've lived my whole life thinking they formed a cocoon.  It turns out that moths are the ones that can form a cocoon.) 
 23.  Learn the difference between a chrysalis or pupa and a cocoon.  Draw a venn diagram to help.


24.  Create this caterpillar bean bag toss.  This looks like it would be really easy to make since it is out of foam board.  As each child tries to toss a fruit in the caterpillars mouth have him or her say, "Come la fresa oruga."  --idea from Enchanted Schoolhouse

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Spanish App Dictionary Giveaway!!

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Upon download, the user unlocks the first dictionary for free. Additional dictionaries can then be purchased at a lower price and downloaded all within the app.
Features include:
  • A bilingual dictionary with thousands of translations, phrases, and usage examples
  • A references section complete with guidance for grammar, written correspondence, prepositions, verbs types, and more
  • Entries include parts of speech, gender, and pronunciation information
  • A verb conjugation tool provides conjugations for thousands of verbs in all standard tenses and forms
  • The flashcard feature helps users create, organize, and edit flashcards
  • A number translator instantly provides written forms of any number
Pricing and availability: Ultralingua Dictionary 7.3 is available starting Wednesday, March 7 in the Mac App Store for $34.99. Additional dictionaries can be purchased within the app for $14.99-$24.99.

Press Release:
Instructional Video:
Product web page:

To enter the giveaway complete the form below.  March 23, 2012 is the final day to enter. (Your answers will only be visible to Teaching Español)  Click submit when you are done.