Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Children's Spanish Books for the Kindle

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If you have a digital device like an ipad or smartphone you can download this chapter book (Un príncipe en la nevera) for free.  I'm not sure how long it will last so it might be a good idea to grab it while you can.  It looks like a cute book and it has an average of 4.25 stars out of the 29 reviews on Amazon.

This book would be best for kids with a high level of Spanish.  I could easily see doing some sort of project with a short chapter book like this in Spanish IV.

Do you use digital books with your kids or students?

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Fun Spanish Book of the Week

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I have a boat load of Spanish books.  New to our Spanish book library is ¿Quién se esconde?

On the first two pages are 18 animals.  Don't skip these pages like I did the first time I read this to my kids. It'll come in handy as you keep reading.  You don't just want your kids to point to the animal that is hiding or crying or backwards or mad.  You want your kids to try to answer with the name of the animal in Spanish.  My second grade daughter liked this book so much after I read it to her that she read and translated it to her non-Spanish speaking dad.

Other children's books in Spanish that we have loved are:

Froggy Se Viste (Froggy gets dressed)- perfect to go along with teaching about clothing in Spanish.

¡Quiero mi plátano!

Salta Ranita Salta

Harry y el terrible Quiensabeque

Do you have any favorite books in Spanish?


Saturday, March 22, 2014

We Needed a CD Like This!

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If you live in Virgina, Maryland, DC, or a few other select areas you should try to get your kids to a live Andrés Salguero show!  His music is cross-cultural, Spanish and English, upbeat and fun!

His new CD is called ¡Uno, Dos, Tres con Andrés! is due to be released next month (April 2014).  Get ready to have some fun with salsa, bachata, plena, mariachi, vallenato, bolero, and champeta! It is obvious that Andrés has marinated in all types of Latin music and what a fun  introduction his music brings for our kids! 

We were given the ¡Uno, Dos, Tres con Andrés! CD to review and already my kids and I have listened to it several times, which says a lot! From the first song we were hooked.  I can definitely see myself using this CD in my homeschool Spanish class (and when I go back to work as a paid teacher).

The musicianship is a pleasure to listen to. My husband, a music major in college, really enjoyed the instruments and the various rhythms.

This CD is perfect for a bilingual preschool all the way through second grade or so. I would even use some of the songs in teaching middle school and high school Spanish.  For example the song "If I had a Mariachi" would be perfect for introducing the conditional tense, usually presented in Spanish III.

I am hoping Andrés records more videos like the one below!

I think my top three favorite songs from this album were:

¡Salta, Salta!, If I Had a Mariachi, and Love Song

You can sample all of the songs here:

I noticed on his website  that an all-Spanish version of ¡Uno, Dos, Tres con Andrés! will be coming soon.  I will definitely be interested in that version as well.  Hopefully he'll make his way over to the west coast some time soon!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Foreign Language Acquisition: Annual Repetition

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This is the third and final part of a series on using repetition as an important tool in foreign language teaching.  This series was written by Brooks Lindner from Sonrisas Spanish for use here on Teaching Español.

Below you can find the rest of the series:

Part one: Daily Repetition
Part two: Periodic Repetition

 And now for part three:

Annual Repetition

Annual repetition refers to content that is repeated on a yearly basis. We have always done this with our Spanish classes, and we designed our curriculum to incorporate annual repetition. 

Each level in the Sonrisas Spanish Curriculum is meant to be taught for two years—with lessons being repeated from one year to the next. In this way students are able to use their prior knowledge as a foundation to further learn the content, phrases, and vocabulary of the lesson. 

For example: the first year that you teach a lesson on family your students may only get to the point where they learn the names for different family members. The second year that you teach the same lesson, your students may be able to learn how to also describe their different family members or answer the question, “¿Quién es?” with a full sentence such as, “Es mi primo.”

With the Sonrisas Curriculum the teacher can choose to vary the content of a repeated lesson by reading a different storybook or doing a different art project (most lessons have multiple suggested storybooks and multiple art projects), but many times I simply teach the exact same lesson. 

I don’t believe that students need a constant stream of new lessons in the early years. This has been reaffirmed for me many times in my own classes when I introduce a lesson that students did the previous year, and I hear them exclaim, “I remember this. I love this.” Then, as we do the lesson, students are in a very receptive mode for learning as they are comfortable with the material, and they are able to take their learning to a higher level.

It is important that teachers think about how to use repetition, plan for it in their lessons, and implement it systematically and explicitly. This will insure that students are able to reap the many benefits of repetition in their foreign language learning.


Teachers can get stuck in a kind of rut presenting new information and rarely repeating older lessons.  If we want our students to retain the information we are presenting repetition needs to be a major component of our teaching.

What kinds of things do you do to make sure you are repeating prior lessons? 

Raising Multilingual Children: Foreign Language Acquisition and Children