Monday, May 27, 2013

My little guy

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In case you don't know, Spanish is my second language.  I began learning Spanish in kindergarten and decided to pursue it in college. I put my Spanish to the test in Mexico, the Dominican Republic, and Spain. I fell in love with the language and the varying cultures.  After getting my masters degree in education I taught 8 years of high school Spanish.  I now teach a small homeschool Spanish class.  If I have to speculate, in five years (or sooner) I will either be back teaching high school Spanish or still homeschooling.  Time will tell.

What does all this have to do with my little guy?
Well I just wanted to give a small amount of inspiration to teachers of Spanish.  I am proud every day of my youngest Spanish student (also my youngest child) but Saturday it was just one of those wow moments.  Wow!  It's working!  You see my little guy turned two on Saturday and he was opening one of his birthday presents (a shirt).  He got the wrapping off and he said " ¡camisa!"  I was so proud.  I must be doing something right!  My husband is sometimes afraid that he knows more Spanish than English or that he isn't learning English but I know he knows English too.  He has a lot of English words in his two year old vocabulary.  His older brother and sister speak English to him all the time.  His Dad, grandma, grandpa, and all his friends speak English to him.  I am the only one who speaks in Spanish consistently to him, well me and Dora (Spanish version of course).

Friday, May 17, 2013

Salsa Spanish Language Video Series

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Maybe I'm way behind the times but have you heard of this Spanish video series before?  It is a series of 42 episodes of puppets and animation that focus on teaching Spanish in a fun way.  It is geared toward Kindergarten through third grade although I think it works great with pre-k too!

You can buy the videos or you can watch them online for free here.  The first episode starts at number 101 and is based on the familiar story of Goldilocks and the three bears.  Each video has a link to an extension activity as well as the transcripts for the entire dialogue.  The transcripts have the English translation next to the Spanish.  These would be great for middle school or high school Spanish classes for a skit project.  There are also online Spanish games to go along with the series.

I showed episode 121 "the fruit fiasco" to my class this week and they loved it.  There is a great extension activity to print out.  Students count the fruit and write the Spanish number in the blank.  They read the sentence and then color the fruit the correct color as stated in the sentence. 

You can find teacher supported materials from the Wyoming Department of Education website for the Salsa Spanish series here. It includes a scope and sequence, learning objectives, and a synopsis for each episode. The scope and sequence is located on p. 26 through 37.  If you print it out make sure to change your print settings to landscape.

The Wyoming Department of Education also has learning materials to go along with each episode (more than 20 pages of information per episode).  These are all free to print pdfs.  Just go here and click on the episode you need.

You can also play some online Spanish games that go along with the Salsa series.

Have you used Salsa Spanish in your class?  What are your thoughts?

Sonrisas Spanish School End of the Year Review

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I have been using Sonrisas Spanish School level 1 for my little homeschool class of 6 and sometimes 7 students (ages 3 through 6.5).  Sonrisas is a preschool and elementary Spanish curriculum. I teach my class once a week for about one hour.  I have a ton of elementary Spanish materials that I have reviewed or purchased and Sonrisas is the one I use most often. It has provided me with a good back bone for structuring my little class.  Each lesson has the same structure: Greeting and Roll Call, Circle Time which can include review games, poetry, songs, and dances, Story Time, Art Time and Good-bye.  I will touch on each of these.

Greeting and Roll Call

I greet each student in Spanish as they come to class and look them in the eye, making sure they say a Spanish greeting to me.  I only have 6-7 students in my class so our "roll call" often consists of us just going through the "me llamo" song which is taught in the first lesson.  I change it up here and there and now ask the kids to tell me the names of other students in a complete sentence.  So I might say, "Caden, ¿Cómo se llama él/ella?" as I point to another student in the class.  If they don't tell me in a complete sentence I gently have them repeat after me and offer loads of praise.  For the greeting I alternate between using their buenos días song and another buenos días song that I have from Ana Lomba.  When using the Sonrisas "Buenos Días song"  we usually sing it through twice.  The first time when they get to the part where they ask "¿y usted?"  I have them point to me.  Then the second time around we sing "¿y tú?" instead of usted and I have them point to a friend.  We've talked several times about the difference and we review it often.

Circle Time 

We always sing at least 3 songs from their CD.  Sonrisas includes very helpful suggestions for gestures and movements or dancing for each of the songs and poems on the CD (found in the back of the book).  My students love singing and dancing!  I think their favorite song from the CD is "Mi Cuerpo." Here are the lyrics and the suggested movements:

Mi cuerpo, mi cuerpo hace música.
Mi cuerpo, mi cuerpo hace música.
Put your hands on your hips and rock back and forth to the music.  (I changed this in my class to point from head to toe, more or less, each time we sing "cuerpo" and then for "hace música"  we do a quick "cha cha" or move the hips and a couple fake snaps with hands raised.)

Mis manos hacen...
Put hands in front of your body, then clap three times.  (When my students were first learning this, and sometimes still, I got my hands ready really early to remind them what was about to happen...same with the next moves.)

Mis pies hacen...
Point to your fee, then stop them three times.

Mi boca hace "la, la, la."
Point to mouth while singing "la, la, la."

Mi cuerpo hace cha cha cha.
Point to your body and then do the twist to the words "cha cha cha."

Some of our other favorites are "El tren del los días de la semana", "Te Quiero" and "Gorra, camisa, pantalones, zapatos."

Story Time
--Reading to kids in Spanish

I probably read a story to my students about every third class.  If you feel a little strange reading a whole book in Spanish to your students who only know a few words check out my post here. Each of the 35 lessons in the Sonrisas Curriculum include several book suggestions.  Obviously you are not going to buy them all (or if you're like me maybe you eventually will.)  I have purchased a few to add to my already crowded Children's Spanish books library.  If you do not have a lot of books in Spanish for kids try your library. I know my library has quite an impressive selection.  Otherwise choose wisely and purchase 4-5 books to get yourself started.  The great thing is that your students will benefit greatly from hearing the same story several times.  Reading to your kids in Spanish is a powerful tool and I am glad that Blue and Brooks emphasized this in their curriculum.

Art Time

The crafts are always a hit with my students.  Each lesson has an art project to go along with the lesson.  We have done several of these and I plan on doing more.  These are something my students look forward to for each class and it gives me the opportunity to use the targeted vocabulary with them. After learning there colors I always make them ask for the color that they need in Spanish (a good reason not to provide each student with his/ her own set of crayons..) I alternate between doing actual art and doing a reinforcement activity on paper in which there is almost always some coloring involved, matching or even a small amount of writing. 

I make sure to provide one last opportunity for my students to speak Spanish as they leave class.  I like the suggestion Sonrisas gives to mix it up a little by saying "Nos vemos el jueves" or "hasta el martes."

I am not getting paid for writing this review.  All opinions are my own.  I did receive a review copy of the level 1 curriculum.