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Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Counting Fun part 2

              Counting Fun –part 2
¡Hola! and thanks for visiting! In this post I will share more counting fun ideas.
For this counting game we will use water balls and butterfly nets. These nets works well for this counting game and kids love it. Hold the net and give the student a basket with the water balls (I use 20 of them) the objective is to throw as many balls as possible inside the net. So the participant will stand at a distance established by the instructor and start counting as the balls are been thrown inside the net.  The whole group can count too or just the student.  As he/she throws the balls some will go in and some will not but the student should continue throwing and counting until all the balls are gone. Then student counts in Spanish to see how many balls are in the net.  Instructor at this point asks: “¿cuántas pelotas hay en la red? Student says: “hay once pelotas”

In most of the games and activities I incorporate questions in Spanish to encourage students to answer in the target language. The games help students to become more comfortable and less shy when it comes to speaking the foreign language. It provides a safe and non threatening environment while at the same time creating an immersion experience. 
Variations and suggestions:
For older students you can have several nets of different colors (see picture below)
 between four and six nets and have a student for each net throw the balls at the same time and at the end see which students has the most balls in the net. Instructor can ask: ¿cuántas pelotas hay en la red azul? the student that has the blue net counts in Spanish and then says for example: “hay cinco pelotas”. Then instructor can ask next: ¿cuántas pelotas hay en la red amarilla”? and so on… When doing more than one student at a time more balls will be needed. At least 20 per student. The water balls and nets can be found at dollar stores.
For younger children I recommend doing the game individually.
Here is a short video of this game.

Have an idea? I will be thrilled to hear about it. Your ideas, comments, feedback are all welcome!
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Thursday, April 23, 2015

Counting Fun -part 1

             Counting Fun –part 1
If you teach a group of students you may notice when it comes to review time that everyone appears to knows numbers, colors, shapes and so on when the questions are directed to the entire group.  But I quickly realize that once students are tested individually it’s a different story.  So in teaching I do an assessment periodically to see who needs help and it what specific areas.
One of these areas is counting. As a group it seems like everyone can count from one up to a determine number.  This activity helps to make an assessment to see to what number an individual student can count up to without skipping a number.  It also gives me knowledge on the problem areas of connection between one number and the next. For example a student may count up to 19 and be stuck there but that does not necessarily means the student does not know the rest of numbers; sometimes it is just a number the student needs help in to continue the sequence. These and other observation can be detected with this ball activity I will share.
The activity is very simple yet I find it to be very effective. For some reason children enjoy games with ball.
This game is a favorite from ages 4 all the way to 12 but older kids will have fun too. For older students above 12, I will share some ball activities later on. But for now the activities I am sharing now works well for children 4 to 12 years of age.

Just have a bouncing ball. For younger students use a medium to big size ball. It doesn't have to be spiky as my students call my ball. It can be a regular smooth ball.

 For older students a smaller size works fine.

Tell students they will have a change to bounce the ball as they count. Tell them they will count as they bounce the ball and see which one counts to the highest number without help and without skipping a number.  Students love the challenge.  So as participants have their turn, they start counting each time the ball hits the floor and keep on going until they reach the highest number selected or up to whatever number they can count to. Once they skip a number then their turn is over. I will make a note as to what number they were able to count to without problems.  What I normally do before having the students start the activity is to practice before by bouncing the ball myself, and have students as a group count along with me as I bounce. To make it more coordinated and rhythmic, I instruct them to count only when the ball hits the floor not before; so we try it and practice it for a while. To encourage concentration and focus, without warning, I will withhold the ball from bouncing, so at that point they should not count…..I make it fun for them and they really enjoy it especially when I hold the ball back from hitting the floor. It keeps them alert and ready. Once we do the little practice now they are ready and know exactly what to do.
To keep track of students counting progress I created this assessment sheet for my records and for reference.
If you try the activity and would like to use the assessment sheet you can access it here.
Benefits using ball with young children:
·         It helps boost memory and concentration
·         It helps develop motor skills
·         It helps develop eye/hand coordination
·         It helps develop spatial awareness
·         It helps develop focus
·         It helps develop rhythmic coordination

My students never get tired of this activity. They always ask me if I brought the ball.

Another variation is to have students bounce the ball back and forth with a partner as they count.
Another idea is to have number cards face down on the table.  The student that is going to count picks a card up and whichever number is on the card student counts up to that number. If the student counted correctly student keeps the card and keeps picking up another card and counts up to the number on the card and so on until a numbers is skipped.  At the end instructor sees which student has the most cards.  The cards that students have serve as a quick reference guide for the instructor to see up to what number the students can count up to if instructor forgets to keep the score during the game.
Another game is to have a student throw the ball to another student.  This is excellent for practicing commands in Spanish.  Children have a natural tendency to understand a new language by deduction. Without previous explanation I will give the ball to a student and tell the student in Spanish “tira la pelota a Juan” (throw the ball to Juan) and so on…they automatically understand what I mean and throw the ball.  
Hope you have as much fun doing these games with your group as my students and I do! 
Give it a try and share your experience, comments, feedback, etc... they are welcome!

Friday, April 17, 2015

Bean bags and number fun

            Beanbags and number fun

Here is a fun way to engage little ones in a fun activity while learning is taking place.  This game or activity will help students recognize numbers independently.
So here is what you will need:
1.      A large black foam board. You can use two to make it larger.
2.       Then make your own multicolor number mats or if you prefer you can buy the round foam shapes and with a black marker draw the numbers on the mat.
3.      Place the mats on the large foam board.
4.      Select a student and have them throw a beanbag on the board. Student will say what number the bean bag landed on.
Kids will have fun with this simple activity and at the same time it will reinforce recognition of numbers in random order. I do notice that children will say their numbers well from 1 to 10 in Spanish but have difficulty naming an isolated number. This game will help repair that J
Variations and suggestions:
·         Make sure all students participate. Students, especially the younger ones will take it to heart if they do not get a chance to participate in the game. Sometimes I have a larger group making it difficult to include everyone in the game period part of the class. So I will explain beforehand that everyone might not get a chance in this session, but next session they will. (That really doesn't help too much) so now I make sure to include everyone the same day by using the entire session for the game if necessary.  After all, they are still learning!
·         To avoid the mats from moving when the bean bag is thrown you can place tape under the mats unto the board.
·         Sometimes the bean bag will fall on a number. Then ask in Spanish “¿sobre qué número cayó el saquito?” (on what number did the beanbag fall on?)

·         Other times the beanbag may fall between two numbers. Ask in Spanish “¿entre qué números cayó el saquito?” (between which numbers did the beanbag fall?) You can help students by responding to your question by saying “cayó entre los número veinte y treinta” 

·         By asking and responding to questions in Spanish will further train kids ear to the language and also help in the development of speech. After a while you will be surprised to hear them repeating the same questions and answers in Spanish. 
·         Another technique I use in helping students recognize numbers independently is to select two or three numbers at a time.  Let’s use for example 5 and 15. We review those numbers over two or three classes. Students can now recognize these numbers in whichever order they see it. You can even customize your number mats and make them with just the numbers you are working on.  Then doing the activity will serve as a strong reinforcement.
·         To add to the fun and excitement you can also have some of the mats turn down to where the number is not shown. If the beanbag happens to fall on one of those mats then I will say “adivina el número” (guess the number) students at this point start calling out numbers in Spanish. Every now and then they call out a number in English but then I will say  “en español por favor” (in Spanish please) Sometime my students remind their friends to say it in Spanish when someone says the number in English.  After a few chances we will turn over the mat to see what number it is.
Wishing you all the fun with this activity!

Los números del 1 al 20 is a fun song and a favorite among students and teachers! To hear a sample and or purchase it click here

Will love to hear from you! Please share your ideas and comments!
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Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Games to help students learn Spanish words.

Games to help students learn Spanish words
Games to help learn, reinforce and encourage language development for Spanish.
In my previous post entitled Merry go round with shapes and words, I shared an enrichment activity with foam cups to help students learn Spanish words.  The vocabulary and pictures used for the activity were selected from the pile of flash cards set 1. 

A sample of flash cards set 1
To further the learning experience and retention of new words I came up with a game using all forty words found in flash cards set 1.

Flash card game set 1 (these are to be use with flash cards set 1)
 For purchase and more information on this game and how to play visit my store on TpT by clicking here.
Here is another game I came up with to help students as they learn these new words. Repetition is key for retention so these games and activities are created for this purpose.
Before playing any of the games or doing the activities, students should already be familiar with all the words that will be used.
This game introduces the verb to have in the first person singular and the question “who has” in Spanish.  So students will learn to say       “yo tengo” and ask: “quién tiene…?
So here is how to play the game:
Give each student a picture card. The card will have the main picture on it. At the lower bottom right of the card is  a small picture. See picture below.

Using the example on the card,  the first student will start out by saying: "yo tengo la cama. ¿quién tiene la silla?” (“I have the bed, who has the chair?”)The student with the chair gets up and says: yo tengo la silla and immediately ask ¿ quién tiene el televisor?”……the studend with "el televisor" gets up and say "yo tengo el televisor, ¿quién tiene el pizarrón?

and so on until everyone gets a turn to say and ask. The last student will say “yo tengo” and immediately ask the question “¿quién tiene”? if no one has the card then the group says: "nadie tiene la/el...." (no one has...) This game can end there or can be extended by adding another dimension to it.

 This other part is good for memory, good for practicing verb to have in the third person singular by making simple affirmative and negative statements. Example (Maria tiene….)(Mary has…)  Students will need to remember who has what. So after the first part of the game is over the instructor can ask: ¿quién tiene la mesa? The question can be asked to the whole group or to an individual student. They should answer by saying: “María tiene la mesa.” Substitute the student’s name for María.   If María does not have la mesa then María should say: “no tengo la mesa” Instructor can say:” “María no tiene la mesa.” Playing these games and practicing the simple affirmative statements and negation over time will help students tremendously in  understanding the construction process in grammar in a natural way without having to memorize conjugations.
These games encourage speaking and at the same time reinforce the words. After some time doing these activities and games, students will naturally be able to make simple and affirmative sentences and negation with ease and will prepare them to create more sentences.
The cards are numbered to facilitate the use of the reference guide included with the game to assist students who might need a little help. 
The pictures used on the cards correspond to the same ones in flash cards set 1. There are four sets of flash cards. To purchase these flash cards click here.
To purchase the game: "Yo tengo. ¿Quién tiene? Spanish cards click here

I hope these games and ideas are helpful. Feedback and comments are welcomed! And don’t forget to make it Fun! J
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Friday, April 10, 2015

Merry go round with shapes and words part 2

  Merry Go Round with Shapes and Words part 2
In my previous post Mary Go Round with Shapes and Words, I shared an idea of how to practice Spanish words using foam cups.  On this post I will share detailed information how I do it along with pictures for clarity.

So here are the steps:
1.    Take an 8 oz foam cup
2.    Holding the cup upside down draw a square half a inch below the top and a rectangle at the bottom right above the cup ring.

3.    Using a toothpick perforate along the line of the square and the rectangle.

4.    Use your finger to punch out the perforate areas.

5.    Place the perforated cup over another foam cup.

To ensure placing the pictures and words in the correct space on the second cup you can place the perforated cup over the second cup and with a pencil draw the outline of the areas perforated on the second cup as you rotate it to know exactly where to glue each picture and word.

And this is the result!

You can download the pages with the pictures and words for free here.

I appreciate your feedback and comments. Let me know how this activity worked for you. Share your experience and please "have fun! :)

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Merry go round with shapes and words

Merry Go Round with Shapes and Words!

Here is a fun way to engage and encourage kids to learn and practice vocabulary words and shapes in Spanish.
This activity works well for students ages 7 to 12 but older students can also benefit from this little activity by doing it themselves and using it as a quick reference.

Use foam cups to engage students and to reinforce any subject or topic in Spanish.  Even though this idea is meant to be use as a Spanish enrichment activity it can easily be adapted to English and other languages.  

Use a foam cup and tape around the upper part of it pictures and the corresponding words. Using another foam cup cut out a square like shape section and lower down cut out a small rectangle section and place it over the first foam cup that has the pictures and words taped on it then rotate it either left or right to see the picture and the corresponding word.

This idea can be applied to pretty much any topic. It can be use for reinforcing:
·        numbers
·        animals
·        parts of the face /body
·        insects
·        food
·        clothes
·        letters
·        verbs
·        and the list goes on

My next post entitled: Merry go round... part 2, I give more details on how to do it with pictures and all. I have included the pictures, shapes and words as well, so you can have everything to start the activity.  I hope this idea is useful.
Thanks for visiting and taking the time to read this post.

Your feedback and comments as well as ideas are welcomed. Please share and don’t forget to have fun!

Monday, April 6, 2015

Spring into Spanish Verbs!

Spring into Spanish Verbs

It is spring time, my favorite season on the year! This is the time when the flowers start to bloom and the leaves on the trees start to grow back.  I truly enjoy spring weather in general
So here is something I thought of to help older students learn Spanish verbs in a fun way. This activity is appropriate for grades four and up.
So here is what I did:
I drew these flowers, colored and cut them. After, I wrote on each flower stem a Spanish verb. These verbs have endings in “ar, er, and ir. 

I use these little cute clay pots to classify the Spanish verbs according to their endings. I labeled each clay pot with a verb ending as shown in the picture below. 

Then place each flower in the correct clay pot. See picture below.

Once all the flowers are in the clay pot have one student at a time come up and pick a verb from any of the clay pots. The rest of the students should not know which verb was picked out. The student with the verb will then act the verb out (no words should be said) for the group to guess and once they group figures it out they should say the verb in Spanish. 
This game will work well also by dividing the group in two teams (or more if you prefer) the first theme that guesses correctly by saying the correct verb in Spanish wins a point. The team with the most points wins.
This game is useful for assessing the student’s knowledge in Spanish verbs. It evaluates reading and comprehension. By acting out the verb it helps to further internalize its meaning. Students will have fun as they attempt to act out the verbs. Be prepared for lots of laughter and fun!
Another activity or game that can be done is to have students pick a verb out and create a sentence in the present tense using first person singular. So for example if student picks out a verb that says; “bailar” student thinks of a sentence and could say for example: “yo bailo todos los días” (I dance everyday)

Another activity similar to the one above is to change from present tense to present progressive. So using the same example with “bailar” student creates a sentence using the present progressive form in the first & second person singular:“ estoy bailando” (I’m dancing); "Pedro está bailando" (Pedro is dancing) 
For this activity the "Spanish verbs task cards" will be excellent for practicing verbs in the present progressive. Will expand more on these in my next post. Keep tune :-)

Tips and recommendations:
To encourage and help students feel more comfortable acting out the verbs you could even start acting out several verbs for students to guess. Doing this will also serve as an example of what they will do. Students are more likely to participate in activities when their teacher is also actively participating. 
You can make your own flowers for this activity but if you would like to use the ones that are here on this post you can access it for free here. Print them out on card stock for firmness. There is a colored version and a black and white version. Just write the verbs on each stem. The small clay pots can be purchased at dollar stores. Then just cut a piece of paper and label each clay pot.
You can even have students color their own flowers and write the verbs on the stem.
These little cute clay pots can be displayed on your desk, by the window or any part of the classroom for students to have access to at any given moment or just for reviewing and practicing.
“Las acciones” and “Más acciones” are excellent for teaching the verbs.
As an extension to this activity you can have a student select verbs from the flash cards "Las Acciones" and "Más acciones" and say which actions they like doing. For example a student may pick out the verb: “caminar” the student can say “me gusta caminar” (I like to walk) in another opportunity with verbs they can say they actions they don’t like for example: “no me gusta correr” (I don’t like to run)

The ideas are endless. Create your games and activities. Your feedback, comments and your experience with your students or kids are welcomed! 

Have fun!

 To purchase Las acciones click here.

To purchase Más acciones click here.

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Thursday, April 2, 2015

More numbers

                    More numbers!

I mention earlier in one of my post that I am now teaching my 4 and 5 years old students to count in Spanish up to one hundred.  I found it easier to teach them to count by tens up to fifty and then continue up to one hundred.  To help with this process I made these round number cards.

Once students are familiar with counting by tens up to fifty then we begin counting from one all the way to fifty. We do that over the next few classes. The kids will be getting more and more familiar with the numbers and the sequence. So here is an idea I thought of to use with the round cards.

The number activity:

The round cards are numbered by tens up to fifty. I give five students a card each. The rest of the group follows along with me as we begin to count: “uno, dos, tres, cuatro, and so on until we reach to 9. Then we all keep silent and the student that have the card with the number 10 on it will raise the number and say “diez” then we continue counting “once, doce, trece….until we reach to 19 then we all keep silent and the student that have the card with the number 20 will raise the number and say “veinte”  then we continue counting and doing the same thing over until we reach to 49 and the student that have the card with the number 50 say “cincuenta”

After the first round I select another group of five students and we start over again. Just doing it once or twice is enough for that day. In the other classes I will pick students that did not have a turn previously.

Once students can count up to fifty with easy then we do the activity up to 100 instead. So this time I select 10 students.

This game helps students to listen, pay attention and learn the sequence of the numbers.

These numbers are easy to make. Just make circles on card stock paper and either print or write the numbers on each card. Use a craft stick and tape behind each card.

If you prefer to use the ones I made you can download it here.

Round number cards for learning and creating games!

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Easter eggs and Number Fun!

Easter eggs and Number Fun!

So today I took my Easter eggs to class. The kids were excited about the eggs and they were all saying which color egg they will select.  Before playing the games I reviewed the numbers from 1 to 20 and then by tens up to fifty for the 4 years old and up to one hundred for the 5 years old.

The first game we did was Game 1 where they look for the eggs in the classroom. I instructed the students to come back to the rug area when they find the egg. Everyone came back with their eggs. They opened it and said the number in Spanish. Of course some of them said the number in English but with the help of the other students they were able to say it in Spanish. They wanted to play more game so we did Game 3

To see the games click on "Easter Fun with Numbers

Here are some pictures of what we did today.

Children in a circle. Basket of eggs in the middle.

Student taking out an Easter egg.

Ready to open the egg. Can you guess the number?


And the number is "cuarenta"

We had a great time!!!

Please share your comments and experience with your group or kids! Thanks :-)