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Monday, September 28, 2015

Caritas -Fun activities for teaching emotions in Spanish.

 Fun activities for teaching emotions in Spanish to young children.
Caritas are cute little faces created to teach young children about emotions in Spanish.
Here are some ideas and suggestions for using caritas as an activity.
1.      Introduce three to four caritas at a time. Each carita represents a Spanish emotion.
2.      Create or use stories that involve the emotions you are teaching.
3.      Allow students to select the appropriate emotion depending on the circumstance.
4.      Sing the Spanish song: “Buenos días, buenos días, cómo estás. and replace “muy bien gracias” with  the emotions you are teaching. Here is an example of how the complete song including the emotion feliz will sound like:
Buenos días, buenos días, cómo estas, cómo estas
estoy feliz, estoy feliz, y usted, y usted. (this tune is sung to the song are you sleeping)
 Every one sits in a circle with the caritas in the middle and can start singing the song. Each student gets a turn to say how they are by selecting the appropriate carita while saying in Spanish the emotion. When they get to the part that says “y usted” student points to the person next to him/her and so on until everyone gets a turn.
5.      Ask students to make specific faces by calling out different emotions in Spanish. For example you can say: “hagan una carita triste” or “ hagan una carita enojada” etc.
6.      Cut a set of caritas and laminate without the craft stick on it. Place the caritas down and ask a student to pick a carita without anyone seeing which one it is, then student imitate the same carita that was picked up and have the other students guess what emotion it is. Encourage students to say the emotions in Spanish.
7.      Have a set of caritas without the craft sticks on them. Have a set of craft sticks with an emotion written on each one. Students match the carita with the correct stick.
These activities can be easily adapted to any language!

You can access these free caritas here.

Check out Flash Cards las emociones by clicking here.
Flash cards -Las emociones                                     

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Friday, September 18, 2015

Games to reinforce colors and shapes

Games to reinforce colors and shapes.

School year is back and we teachers are geared up and ready to teach our little ones with new ideas or at lease create a variation to our teaching methods.
Well, here I will share some variations on activities I’ve been doing with my preschool students in our Spanish class to reinforce colors and shapes.
When introducing young children to shapes, I prefer to use neutral color shapes. Once students are well familiar with the shapes, I introduce different color shapes. Prior to teaching the shapes, students should already know the colors that have been taught to them.  (I use the same colors we have been working on). So for example, I’ve been working with four colors in Spanish (yellow, green, blue and red) so I will make shapes in those colors. That way we are reinforcing shapes while keeping the colors present. That way I’m always incorporating what we have learned with new material.
So here are some ideas and suggestions that have worked for me.
1.      The asking game: Have three or four shapes of the same but with a different color each. Ask students: “¿de qué color es el círculo?” and son on with the other shapes. (suitable for students 2 -5)
2.      The mistake game: My students love this one because they like the fact that they are helping the “teacher”. Have a basket with different color shapes in it. Tell students:  “Voy a buscar un triángulo azul” and after looking for a few seconds take out a different color triangle from the one you are looking for and then ask students: “¿es el triángulo azul?” they normally say while laughing a big “no”. Let’s say I took out green instead of blue, I have had students even say the color. They will say: “no, it’s verde”  So I keep looking and do the same two or three times until I finally take out the right one and they will say “yes”. This is a good time to introduce to them how to say yes in Spanish.  (suitable for students 4 -5)
3.      The finding game:  Place the different color shapes on the table and pick students one at a time to find the shape and color you select. (suitable for students 3 -5)

4.      Variation to game 3: Have students sit in a big circle and place all the color shapes in the middle and have students take turns in a clockwise or counterclockwise motion finding the shape and color you select. (suitable for students 3 -5)

5.      The basket game: Have a basket with different color shapes. Pass the basket around and when you say “alto” the person with the basket takes out the color shape you asked the student to find.

(suitable for students 3 -5) Suggestions: you can put on a lively music as students pass the basket and stop the music and who ever has the basket at that time takes out the shape and color you select. Similar to hot potato game.  
This is a good time to introduce negation in Spanish for the finding game and the basket game. When a student takes out the wrong shape or color you can say: “no es el círculo rojo”, for example.  After doing these activities for a while, students will become more and more familiar with them and will naturally answer in the affirmative and negative in Spanish.
6.      Patterns and sequencing games: Use the shapes and colors for creating games where patterns and sequence are introduced as shown in the picture below.  (suitable for students 3 -5)

They can also create groups by color or by shape. All these different activities done over a period of time will help students remember and internalize the shapes and colors in a fun and engaging way.
7.      You can use these shapes to introduce or practice “yo tengo”. Have each student take out a shape out of the basket. Then ask questions such as: “¿quién tiene el círculo rojo? the child who has it should say: “yo tengo el círculo rojo” and so on.
I’m sure you will come up with your own ideas as well. Feel free to comment and share your ideas, comments and feedback!

You can access the neutral color shapes and different color shapes for free here.

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Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Six Benefits of Using Commands for Language Learning

Six Benefits of Using Commands for Language Learning

I was first introduced to commands when I read Dr. James Asher book on Total Physical Response (TPR). I found it to be very insightful and logical. His book is based on his own experience and tons of study cases done with students and adults.  I would recommend reading the book to get the full scope of his experiments, study cases and for an extensive guide on how to apply TPR. For those that are interested in reading the book , you can find more information at the end of this post.
When I started incorporating TPR in my Spanish class, I noticed how children will rapidly remember what to do when a command was said. This experience corroborates with Dr. Asher concept that the assimilation of information and skills can be significantly accelerated through the use of the kinesthetic sensory system.
In using TPR, I also noticed how much fun they have when doing these simple actions. At first, I thought it was just fun for the preschool children since they love moving around; but I also noticed how the older students enjoyed it as well. After students get comfortable in doing the commands they hear, I then challenge them to say the commands for me and/or the other students to do. This is probably more fun for them!

 Students learn faster when an action is associate with what’s been said.

These are the six benefits I experience with my students:
1.      It boosts memory and helps internalize concepts.
2.      It creates a fun environment for learning and retention.
3.      It diminishes intimidation for the target language.
4.      It encourages participation even with shy students.
5.      It helps develop gross motor skills in young children.
6.      It prepares students for verbal expression down the line.

Just by telling my student to performed one word commands like: corre, camina, salta, etc (run, walk, jump, etc.) they have so much fun. So to add to the fun, I create these 20 hilarious commands which include more than just a one word command. 

Some ideas and suggestion to use with the command cards in Spanish:

1.      Introduce one or two commands at a time.
2.      Between each command use the word “alto” which means stop. This will help manage for how long students do a specific command.
3.      Once most of the commands are learned, you can have students select a number or a card and perform the command.
4.      Once students are comfortable with the commands, have them say the commands to their companions.
5.      Have students perform the command in groups of two’s  or three’s for added fun.
6.      Use the command cards to play the game "Simon says"

7.      Avoid translating a command. If a student does not remember the meaning of the command, then demonstrate by acting it out.

Hope these ideas are helpful. Your ideas and feedback are welcome! J

                                                     You may also like

The book I mention earlier in this post is:
Learning Another Language Through Action By James Asher (6th Edition)

Click here to purchase 20 Hilarious Commands in Spanish.

Click here to purchase 50 commands in Spanish.

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