Every April is celebrated in the United States “National Poetry Month,” and I couldn’t let April go by without sharing some of my favorite poems in Spanish. The poems are a goldmine in the Spanish literature. Since I teach in a FLES program, I only share portions of the poems because some words are not easy for elementary aged students in a FLES program to understand. I’ve included poems by Juan Ramón Jimenez (Spain), Federico García Lorca (Spain), Gloria Fuertes García (Spain), and Amado Nervo (México). Download them all here!
Let’s be honest! Paying for professional development from a teacher salary is not an easy thing. Many school districts also have limited budgets to pay for outside professional development. I remember a time when I really wanted to attend a weekend conference in the same state of the school where I taught, and I had to put my name in a hat along with seven other Spanish teachers to choose to winners to go to the conference. I remember being sad because I didn’t have the opportunity to attend. Going to a conference or a training also give you the opportunity to meet other colleagues face to face, and as I refer to it, “sharing the same air with people who like to do the same you do.”
Nowadays, there are endless possibilities for free professional development online. The teaching community is one of those communities where individuals really like to find ways to give back and offering opportunities for others to have access to professional development at no cost is one of them. Planning your summer? Here are some options for you!
The University of Texas at Austin has a complete course called “Foreign Language Teaching Methods.” It has different modules for teachers to get training in the different aspects of language teaching.
Earth Day is around the corner and what a great opportunity to connect it to Spanish. Here are a few resources I have found, and I think are great for elementary school.
Visit Rockalingua to download the free resources that go along with this video.
Online Free Spanish has tons of great activities to celebrate Earth Day in Spanish class, from coloring pages, matching games to word search puzzles. Yes, they are online! No need to print!
Google Earth is one of my favorite resources to use for taking virtual trips in class. How about visiting some protected areas in Spanish speaking countries? I highly recommend you visit the Cocora Valley and Tayrona National Park in Colombia.
As many of you know, I am all about Colombia, after all I was born and raised there. Download this awesome calendar by the Ministerio del Medio Ambiente y Desarrollo Sostenible in Colombia. The calendar has information about important eco-hightlights in the country.
“Los Pollitos” is one of those traditional songs that everyone who grew up in a Spanish speaking country knows from childhood. It’s catchy, cute, and fun so I make sure to teach it every year to my Kindergarten students. I am sharing some ideas that I use while teaching this song.
Use TPR while teaching the song. I like using American sign language, or I sometimes create the gestures along with my students. Click on the links below to see some of the signs for the song:
Use plastic Easter eggs and markers to have your students create their own pollitos. Place the lyrics of the song inside the egg and send it home for your students to sing to their parents. Download the lyrics here.
Make props to use while singing the song. Download them here.
After singing the song, your students can color a simple page related to the song. Download it here.
I’ve had the chance in previous schools to have real chicks in the classroom and sing the song to them. We don’t have real pollitos now, but I was able to find these pretend hatching eggs called “Growing Pet.” *Affiliate link
Watch a time-lapse video of little chicks hatching
There are different versions of the song on YouTube. Choose the one you like or think works best for your classes.
This is game that works wonders with preschool students and, in my experience, is one of their favorites. I have never had a class that fails to embrace this game. In fact, because there is such demand for it, the game presents a great opportunity to learn “otra vez.” Once students start saying (or pleading!) “again,” just respond by asking them “¿otra vez?” I even use the song to teach “more” in sign language. This game is also great for students to learn how to be patient as waiting for the last person is not always something that kindergarteners and first graders like to do. This game doesn’t require any preparation other than that you might want to teach this song before playing the game.
How to play the game:
Have your students form a circle while standing. Choose a student to start first. To choose students impartially, I like using chants similar to “Eeny, meeny, miny, moe” in Spanish. I use “De tin marín, de do pingüe, cúcara mácara títere fue, uno, dos y tres.” Please share in the comments if you have any other ones you use! After deciding on the student who will go first, we start singing the song for the days of the week while pointing at the students in the order of the circle. We sing, “lunes, martes, miércoles, jueves, viernes, sábado, domingo, siéntate.” This is an elimination game. Whoever is after “domingo,” we will say “siéntate” and that student has to sit. We continue the song until two people are left standing in the circle. We continue singing, and the last person standing wins the game. We also sing using different voices that vary according to speed and pitch (fast, slow, high, low). I hope your students have fun playing this game just as mine do! Also, click on the picture below or click here to download some free cards to decorate your room!