Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Using Repetition When Teaching Spanish to Children

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This is part one of three of an article written by Brooks Lindner from Sonrisas Spanish for use here on Teaching Español.  I have used Sonrisas for the last year or so as our elementary Spanish curriculum and I have been very happy with it.  You can check out my end of the year post on Sonrisas here.


The creators of Sonrisas Spanish are huge advocates for repetition in second language learning. 

They say "that when we learn our first language, we hear a word about 75000 times before we know it. Granted this includes the years that we are pre-verbal infants, but it drives home the point of how important repetition is in language learning. Repetition benefits students by building vocabulary, comprehension, and verbal skills, and it increases students’ receptivity to new material. 

There are many strategies for using repetition when you are teaching Spanish to children. Sonrisas focuses on using three different kinds of repetition: daily repetition, periodic repetition, and annual repetition."

Daily Repetition

"The key to achieving daily repetition is in establishing a consistent routine. In doing this, there are certain phrases, dialogues, and vocabulary words that teacher and students use every day. Something as simple as taking role can provide daily repetition. Every day the teacher can take role by asking, “¿Veronica, dónde estás?” The student answers, “Aquí” or “Estoy aquí.” When students become accustomed to this routine, the teacher can begin to add and repeat new questions such as “¿Cómo estás?” or “¿Qué tal?” within the routine. 

If your lessons have a consistent structure then you can use the same language every day to transition to the different parts of your lesson. For example, if you do an art project each day, you can repeat the same language to indicate that it is time for art, or you can use the same question each day to ask who wants to help pass out supplies. Affirmative phrases used to support and praise students in their efforts are another way to get lots of daily repetition. Students will become accustomed to hearing these phrases, internalize them, and then start to use them."


Daily repetition is extremely important.  It doesn't matter what level you are teaching.  When I was teaching high school Spanish repetition was a tool I used and it works!  Make it fun by varying your tone of voice, asking questions, and using music.  I am now using repetition with my homeschool co-op class and I can see the benefits there too!

Books are a great way to accomplish this.  Most recently we read Froggy Se Viste.  In that book clothing vocabulary was repeated several times.  Don't just read a book once to your class.  Read it 2-3 or more times!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Froggy Se Viste

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Today was my second co-op Spanish class this year and I wanted to continue on with the clothing theme.  I checked my Sonrisas curriculum and was happy to find a clothing unit and the recommended book was Froggy Se Viste.  The Froggy books are so cute!

We sang "gorra, camisa, pantalones, zapatos" to the tune of "head and shoulders, knees and toes" from the Sonrisas CD.

I read Froggy Se Viste online from here.  I'd like to get my own hard copy.  It is such a cute book and my students really enjoyed the book.  In fact as soon as I was done reading it they wanted me to read it again. It is a perfect book to read when teaching clothing vocabulary in Spanish.  Clothing is repeated several times throughout the story.

For the table activity my students did two pages (front and back side) from Teach Them Spanish Grade 1.  They simply had to copy the Spanish clothing words and color.  As they were doing this I went to each student and asked them questions in Spanish.

More resources.

Go to the bottom of this site to find a link on how to do a skit using Froggy Se Viste

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

First Co-Op Spanish Class of the New School Year

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First Co-Op Spanish class of the new school year.

I have the same students so I didn't have to start from the beginning this year, although I might add one more family so I may have to change things up.

Here's what we did for the first day:

  • Emotions-- I asked each student how they were doing and interacted a bit with each.
  • Names-- I asked each student their name and made sure they answered back in a complete sentence. Then I had them ask a partner and respond with "mucho gusto."
  • Colors -- We often talk about the colors each person is wearing.  I reviewed the colors a little since it had been so long and then I started asking ¿Quién lleva rojo?  Then whoever is wearing red stands and says "Yo llevo rojo."  My students have gotten quite good at this and they really like it!
Clothing -- This was our main activity.  I had some cards that I printed and cut out from Teach Them Spanish Grade 1.  I reviewed the 12 clothing items and then we played memory making sure to say the name of each card that was flipped over. 

Next we listened to track 40 and 41 from Hop, Skip and Sing Spanish.   The track is "Juguemos en el bosque"  a traditional Spanish song/ game in which some pigs are singing that they are playing in the forest while the wolf is away.  The piggies stop and ask if the wolf is there to which the wolf replies "Yes, I'm putting on my shirt, pants..."  Once the wold if dressed he chases the pigs or kids or whatever you want the wolf to be chasing.  The kids liked this song.  I think we'll do it again over the next few weeks.  They'll get better and better at the song and will be able to take turns being the wolf.

For our table time activity my students colored a page with the clothing vocabulary in Spanish on it.  This was a sheet from Teach Them Spanish Grade K.   While they were coloring I went around and commented in Spanish about the clothing and color that each student had.  Then I had each student tell me the name of each clothing item in Spanish.  I only had to help a tiny bit!

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Some Spanish Songs to Use in Your Class

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In my young Spanish class ages 4-7 we are going to continue to use the Sonrisas CD.   The kids and I both really like it and we did songs from it for each class.


I've written about Hop, Skip, and Sing Spanish before also. I think it is a great resource.  There are songs, rhymes, stories and games.

I mentioned that The Wyoming Department of Education has an awesome resource document to go along with the Salsa Spanish series.  Included in it is a list of songs that you can use. The songs start on p. 54.

Here is the PDF

Here is one that I may use this year:

Yo Me Llamo (Tune: Mary Had A Little Lamb) 
Yo me llamo Sarita, Sarita, Sarita.
Yo me llamo Sarita.
¿Como te llamas, tú? 
 Here is my original post on the Salsa Spanish series.


We love the Whistlefritz videos.  This CD, Cha, Cha, Cha -- Spanish Learning Songs,  is great also!


Sing-A-Lingo is another favorite of mine, although I can't seem to find it right now : (.  I may need to buy a new one if I can't locate it soon!! 


On my list of music to try is Mi Guitarri: Spanish Songs for Kids The reviews are great.  Have you tried this CD?


How bout you?  What are your favorite CD's to use in your Spanish class?
Leave a comment here or join the discussion on our Facebook page here.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Awesome Spanish Traveling Experiences

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Have you heard of Vaughan Town?  I mentioned it here.  It is a program in Spain for people interested in learning English.  They stay in this "town" and interact with native English speakers or fluent speakers of English for a week.  The English speakers volunteer in exchange for room and board.  Sounds good to me!!

So if you are looking for some adventure and you have the time and the means you should try this!  Let me know if you do so that I can live vicariously through you. ; )


Have I mentioned that I walked across Spain?  This was before I was married and had little kids.  So I could do that kind of thing.  I walked the Camino de Santiago and had the time of my life!  You can read more about this trip here.

The above is a picture of me at the end of my walk in Santiago de Compostela.

Do you have some awesome traveling experiences you like to share with us?  Leave a comment to let us know!  : )


Not so awesome was a trip my friend and I took traveling down Baja Mexico in the Summer.  There were some fun parts but mostly I was not a fan.