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Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Easter Fun with Numbers!

         Easter Fun with numbers!

Here is a fun game for reinforcing numbers with your kids.  I use this for my Spanish class with children 4 and 5 years. These games can also be use for reinforcing numbers and colors in any language.

These colorful eggs are great for reinforcing colors and numbers!

Cute chicks with numbers to use with egg games.

I use Easter eggs to hide numbers inside of them. 
Numbers are inside each egg.

Game 1:

Place the numbers inside each egg. Hide the eggs in different locations in the room. Have students look for the eggs then open it and say the number they found in Spanish.

Game 2:

Place numbers inside the eggs. Have students find a particular number (for example 15). The student that finds the number 15 say: “encontré quince” (I found fifteen)

Game 3:

This game reinforces numbers and colors at the same time.  Place numbers inside the eggs.
Place eggs in a basket or plate. Have students sit in a circle with the basket of eggs in the middle. Select a student and give a command in Spanish: “abre el huevo azul” (open the blue egg) Student finds and opens the blue egg. Then ask: “¿qué número es? Student should say the number in Spanish.

Game 4:

Give each student an egg with a number inside. Have student stand in a circle while holding the egg.  Go around the circle saying in Spanish this little chant:

“Estoy buscando el número diez, número diez, número diez.                          
 "Estoy buscando el número diez. ¿tienes tú el número diez? (look at a student and ask the question) Student opens the egg to see if he/she has the number ten. If student does not have the number ten, student say: “no tengo el número diez” Continue in the circle until you find the student with the number.

If student have the number ten student say: “si, tengo el número diez”. Then the student with the number comes out the circle. Repeat the same until all student had the opportunity to discover their number.

Game 5:

Place number in eggs but leave one egg empty. The amount of eggs should be the same as the amount of students participating. So if there are 10 children participating in the game there should be 10 eggs (nine eggs with number and one without) Students should not know which egg is empty. Each student picks an egg out the basket. The student with the empty egg gets a basket and goes around and say the number in Spanish of everyone’s egg. For each number than was said correctly that student gets the egg. So at the end the student could end up with many eggs or all the other eggs! This game helps to evaluate each individual student with the numbers. It’s done in a fun way and also gives insight to the instructor as to who needs more help in learning and recognizing the numbers in Spanish.

These “Eggy” number cards are excellent for reviewing the numbers!

You can download these cards, the cute chick number cards and the regular number cards here for free! Included are blank cards too so you can select and use your own numbers!

Have fun!

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Thursday, March 26, 2015

Fun with numbers!

               Fun with numbers!

Click here to listen to a sample of this tuneful Spanish song that teaches numbers.

In my previous post entitled “make your own number mats” I shared some ideas on making your number mats and an activity to go along. Here I will share more ideas on how to use the number mats and other activities with numbers.

Create the mats and select which numbers you want on the mats. You may also create several mats with the same number on them.

More ideas:

1.     Place mats in different directions on the floor. At your command students find a mat and stand on it. Each student says in Spanish the number they are standing on.

2.    This other activity is similar to musical chairs but with a slight variation. Place mat horizontally on the floor. (There should be one mat less than the total amount of students participating). Play music using percussion instruments. Students walk around the number mats. When the music stops students step on a mat. Each student says the number they are stepping on.  The student that is left out after each round join with you by also playing an instrument. (Make sure to have enough instruments for each student to have as they join you)

3.    For this game you will need at least three or four mats of the same number (let’s use for example the number 4. Have three to four mats with the number 4 on it) along with the other numbers. Have the mats in random order and in different directions on the floor.  At your command students should find the number 4 and step on it.

4.    Place the mats on the floor but this time face down. So the numbers are not seen. At your command students all find a mat and stand on it. Go to each student and ask if they can guess which number they are stepping on. You can ask them: “¿puedes adivinar el número que estás pisando?” (can you guess which number you are stepping on?) Students try and guess the number. Once they say a number they turn over the mat to see if it is the correct number. If the number is correct then say: “¡Si! adivinaste el número correcto!” (yes!, you guessed the right number!) If the number is not the correct one say: “no, no es… (say the number that is not) then you can go ahead and ask student: “¿qué número es?” (what number is it?)

5.    This game is for older students ages 8 to 12.  You will need several mats with the same numbers. This game involves mat skills. It is excellent for reinforcing and practicing addition, subtraction, multiplication and division.  Here are some examples of what you can say for this game. But you can make up your own mat problems. Some examples are:

Ø  3 + 5 (tres más cinco) students should find the mat with the answer.
Ø  10 -6 (diez menos seis)
Ø  7x2 (siete por dos)
Ø  10÷2 (diez dividido por dos)

Suggestions and Tips:

·         To keep number mats clean and for durability have students take off their shoes before stepping on the mats.

·         If group is too large select a few students at a time to play the games. This also helps to keep the game under control.

·         The focus on all games in not to select winners but to all play in unity and cooperation where the focus is to learn while having fun. Make it fun all the way even when students don’t know the answer still make it fun for them. Make it clear to them that it is not about a winning or losing game it is about learning and sharing.

·         Give out stickers to all participants.

·         If possible and when appropriate give instructions in Spanish. (kids understand more than you will imagine)

·         Always say: “¡muy bien!, buen trabajo, excelente!

·         Each time you play any of the number game say: “vamos a jugar un juego de números”. (sooner than later students will know exactly what you mean)

I appreciate your feedback and comments. Let me know how these games worked for you. Share your experience. If you have any ideas on how to use the number mats please share. Thanks!

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To purchase the Spanish song: "I can count in Spanish from 1 to 10 click here

Monday, March 23, 2015

Make you own number mats.

         Make Your Own Number Mats!!!

Teaching the numbers in Spanish from 0 to 20 to preschoolers was very easy and fun.  Now it was time to move on to learning more numbers. So we learned up to fifty and later on move up to one hundred. 

I found it easier to start teaching them to count by tens up to fifty and once they knew that part we would continue counting by tens until we got to one hundred. I noticed that once they knew well how to count by tens up to one hundred they could easily catch to the sequence to all the other numbers in between.

So I made small number mats using foam shapes that you can easily find at dollar stores. They come in different shapes and they are assorted in colors. They are excellent for creating the number mats. See pictures below.

They come in different colors which make it useful for reinforcing colors while learning numbers.  So using a black marker (I use sharpie brand) I write the numbers 10, 20, 30, 40, 50, 60  and so on up to 100 on each round mat. See example below.

For this activity have students sit in a circle. Place the mats on the floor in the middle of the circle with the number faced down. A student selects a color and says it in Spanish. Look for that color mat and turn over. The student that selected the color says what number it is. (if student does not know, the other students can help) Each student gets a turn to say a color. So students are learning the numbers by tens up to one hundred while reinforcing the colors that was learned sometime earlier.

Since you will only need 10 colored mats for this activity you can make two or three sets and use them together. This will also make it more challenging for students to remember which color belongs to a particular number.

You can also use yoga mats to make the number mats too but you will not have the variety in color. However it is useful for this activity and for playing many other games to help students learn and reinforce numbers.

To draw the numbers on the mat you can use number stencils and black marker.

In my next post entitled: Fun with numbers I will share some more cool ideas to use with the number mats.

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Tuesday, March 10, 2015

How to encourage children to say the colors in Spanish.

An Effective Way to Engage Preschoolers to Learn and Say the Colors in Spanish
This is the cover for the little book of colors.
Teaching a foreign language to young children is rewarding. I find it very interesting how young children can pick up on a new language so quickly. Having a native speaker or a native accent of the target language maximizes the possibility for the young learner to develop correct pronunciation and intonation.

My students and I have lots of fun learning the colors. We do different activities revolving around colors which I will share here.

So here are some of the activities we do:

1. Select a color to work on. (Let's use the color orange for example). (You can decide how long you want to work on a color or colors before moving on to next color or colors) 

2. Put several items of the same color you are working on and other colors as well in a box or basket. Take out the target color and show it to the students. Encourage students to say the target color in Spanish each time it is taken out. (Students like this activity very much because it keeps them engage and wondering what the next item will be). 

3. Another activity that I use is focused on having students learn to say yes in Spanish. I will show them the color orange for example and ask them in Spanish: "¿es anaranjado? then I will immediately say:¡Si! 
I will do that several time until students start saying "si" when I ask the question. (I use different colors for this activity)

4. Another fun activity we do is to go around the classroom finding things in the specific color we are learning.

For older children four to six years I created "Mi librito de colores" (my little book of colors) Students color and assemble the little book. As they color each brush stroke I encourage them to say the color in Spanish. (this activity can be done over several classes.) There are 11 colors in total in the booklet.

The size of the little book after it is assembled is 8½ by 5½
This is the cover page to "Mi Librito de Colores"

Here the students are coloring their little book of colors
This is how it should look once the book is assembled.

After students are done assembling their little book of colors I encourage them to repeat all the colors in there. Here are two short videos with examples of that. Once a student does it, everyone wants a turn. It is great for reinforcement, speech and review. 

To purchase "Mi librito de colores" click here.

An excellent companion to "Mi librito de colores" is the Spanish song: "Más Colores" this song includes all the colors in the little book. It can be played and sung while the students are coloring and assembling the booklet.  
To purchase and/or listen to the sample of the song: Mas Colores click here

Spanish song that teaches the parts of the face.

Spanish Song: Las partes de mi cara (the parts of my face)

This is a lively and fun song to help teach preschoolers, kindergartners and first graders the parts of the face.

The parts taught in the song are: eyes, ears, mouth and nose. 
It is easy to learn because I arranged it to the familiar tune: Head, shoulders, knees and toes.

I became a little bit more creative and added some fun to the song by including an extra detail that kids happen love very much. Some teachers will say to me that the students really like the song with the "boom-boom". It is something simple but yet I have found it to be very effective. So this is what I do. I'm going to try and explain it here but if you listen to the song you will get a better idea.

So the song goes like this:
Las partes de mi cara (right after that there is a short pause)
Las partes de mi cara (another short pause)
Ojos, orejas, boca y nariz
Las partes de mi cara (short pause)

So this is what I do: after each short pause I will say "boom-boom" while hitting my two fists together. Simple right? but kids love it! In fact, I would say it's their favorite part of the song because all they do is anxiously wait for that part where they can say "boom-boom"

So the song will go something like this:

Las partes de mi cara (boom-boom)
Las partes de mi cara (boom- boom)
Ojos, orejas, boca y nariz
Las partes de mi cara (boom-boom)

 A useful tip:

Sometimes it's best to teach them the song without the "boom-boom" so that they can focus on learning the lyrics to the song. After a few classes and they are pretty much familiar with it then I will suggest adding the little extra part for added fun and something new.  I must say though that even if you start using the "boom-boom" from the start, the kids will still and eventually learn the lyrics.

Other ideas

Use the free flash cards I created to go with the song as a visual aid for introducing the parts of the face and also the song. The flash cards are very useful for kids that are more of a visual learner and the song is great for auditory learners and everyone else too since music is known to activate certain parts of the brain that helps retain information. 
In my experience though I notice that my auditory students tend to learn songs and lyrics faster; but everyone learns the songs at the end because music is definitely a universal language. 

Another way I teach this song is by having students repeat the words and also follow me as I point to the different parts of my face. 
Once students are familiar then I would say in Spanish: toca tu nariz" (touch your nose); "toca tu boca" (touch your mouth); "toca tus orejas" (touch your ears); "toca tus ojos" (touch your eyes)  if student don't know what to do I will do it as an example as I repeat the command again in Spanish. ( I try to avoid translating at this point)  This is a great opportunity to incorporate TPR (Total Physical Response) 
It only takes one or two classes for students to understand what you mean when you say these commands in Spanish. After a while they do it without me having to show them what I mean.

As they sing the song point to the parts of the face that is been mention.

You can also have a big face drawn and have students point to the different parts of the face. If you will like a picture of the face you can download it for free here.

Another great activity that works well as a supplement is a product I created called: "La cara, ¿que falta? (The face, what's missing?) this is a fun activity where students say in Spanish which part of the face is missing. If you are interested in it you can click here to learn more.

To purchase and/or hear a sample of the song: Las partes de mi cara click here.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Spanish song to teach colors

Los Colores

These songs are excellent for teaching and reinforcing the colors. It is a supplement to any activity involving the learning of colors.

The Spanish song: Los Colores includes six colors in Spanish: yellow, red, blue, green, orange and purple. "Más Colores" is another version of the same song that includes five more colors.

These songs have been used in preschool programs and also kindergarten graduation.

Here are some ways I have use them:

1.      Students are lined up side to side. Give each student a pair of scarves. Each student will have a different color scarf. Each student comes in front with the scarves and wave it as the appropriate color is mention in the song. At the end of the song everyone waves their scarves.

2.      Give each student a color crayon as shown in the picture below.  You can make this crayons yourselves using construction paper.  Each student raises the color when they hear the color they have. This is very good for helping students listen attentively and it also helps identify students that are still having trouble identifying the colors in Spanish.

I use these with my students but you can also create your own crayons using construction paper.

Other ideas:

1.      Students can dress up in their particular color of selection.
2.      They can wear wrist band colors
3.      Have a basket with different color items. Student finds the correct color as the song is been played. (for example, each time the color yellow is said in the song student should pick out something yellow out of the basket and at the end say along with the song: “me gusta amarillo”
The items on the color cards can be use in a basket for students to select when it is time to pick out a color.

These are just some ideas. Hope you enjoy these activities with the songs.

You can use more colors with the other version "Más Colores" which includes five more colors but same melody.

To purchase and/or hear a sample of the Spanish song: Los  colores click here

To purchase and /or hear a sample of the Spanish song: Más Colores click here