IT’S A WRAP AND ADIÓS 2023!

IT’S A WRAP AND ADIÓS 2023!

Every year comes with its share of highs and lows, and though this particular year brought its challenges, I’m grateful to say that I’m in good health. I’ve found immense joy in conducting training sessions for teachers, and I hope the coming year will bring even more opportunities for me to do so.

Looking ahead, I’m excited to continue using my blog as my primary platform for sharing my experiences. While I have a presence on other social media platforms such as Instagram and Facebook, I believe my blog allows me to provide deeper insights and support to others.

I want to express my heartfelt gratitude for your presence and support. Thank you for being a part of this journey. and wish you peace for the new year.

Here are the top three most visited posts on my blog this year:

1. Activities to Foster Mindfulness in the Spanish Classroom

From calming breathing exercises to mindful storytelling in Spanish, this post covers practical and creative ideas to help your students develop essential life skills while improving their language proficiency.

2.  Comprehension Trough Cognates

Explore exciting activities and strategies that will help your students gain vocabulary and confidence. Whether you’re a new or experienced teacher, this post provides valuable insights and practical ideas to add enthusiasm to your Spanish lesson

3. Story Asking in the Elementary Classroom

Create engaging stories with your students effortlessly! This post offers valuable tips for incorporating story asking into your lessons.

I’m always grateful for all the readers here! Thank you for your support in this blogging adventure. Wishing you a Feliz Año Nuevo!

CREATING A GRATITUDE MAP

CREATING A GRATITUDE MAP

Creating a gratitude map with students is simple and does not require a lengthy process. This activity can be done at any time of the year.

To begin, download the templates HERE and select the one you consider most suitable for your classes. Subsequently, facilitate a group conversation about the things your students are grateful for. Make sure to take notes, and if possible, accompany them with drawings or visuals.

Next, ask your students to draw or write in each space of the template the things they feel grateful for. Encourage them to decorate their gratitude maps with colors, markers, and other creative elements. This will make their maps more attractive and personal.

Finally, create a space for your students to share their gratitude maps. If possible, create an area in the classroom or school where you can display their gratitude maps. Remember to adapt the activity according to the age and level of your students.

Enjoy,

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TIPS FOR MAKING THE MOST WHEN USING SHORT STORIES IN THE ELEMENTARY CLASSROOM

TIPS FOR MAKING THE MOST WHEN USING SHORT STORIES IN THE ELEMENTARY CLASSROOM

There are several things that can be done after telling or reading stories to young students. Here are just a few:

Picture Talk

Choose some pictures or illustrations from the story and discuss them with your students. Ask questions about what they see. For example, inquire about the type of animal depicted, whether it’s a cat or a turkey, its color, the sounds it makes, and its current location in the story.

Use TPR  (Total Physical Response)

Identify key vocabulary words in the story. This can be done before or after reading. Create flashcards, use gestures, or provide simple definitions to help students understand and remember new words. Introduce interactive games such as the freeze dance game, where you play music, students dance or move around the room, and when the music stops, you call out a word, prompting students to perform the corresponding gesture. Alternatively, engage them in a game of charades!

Act It Out

Allow students to act out parts of the story through role-playing or dramatization. This not only reinforces comprehension but is also excellent for repetition. Another option is to provide your students with props to act out the story.

Drawings

Ask students to draw their favorite parts and use their pictures to retell the stories. You can also encourage them to complete drawings related to the stories and use these as conversation starters.

Play Games

You can look for games that support the story. For example, in the story “Pavo prepara su pastel”, my students and I love playing the hot-cold game with a soft toy turkey.

How do we play the game? One student leaves the room, and we hide the turkey somewhere in the room. Then, the student returns to the room, and we help them find the turkey by saying “frío”when they are far away, “tibio” when getting closer, and “caliente” when the student is next to it.

Read the Story Again Changing Your Voice

Use different tones and pitches to portray different characters in the story. This adds excitement and helps maintain the children’s interest. Additionally, ask your students to choose an emotion for you to incorporate while reading the story, such as happy, sad, or crying.

Add More Extension Activities

Encourage students to write or create their own endings, or craft simple projects related to the story. If possible, provide your students with mini-books containing versions of the stories that they can take home and share with their families!

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You might like these resources available on Teachers Pay Teachers:

NOVICE LANGUAGE LEARNERS AS AUTHORS

NOVICE LANGUAGE LEARNERS AS AUTHORS

This was an end-of-school-year project that spanned about 8 classes, equivalent to three weeks in our schedule. The project was conducted as part of an all-school Celebration of Learning event, intended to be shared with families. The project’s goal was to provide third-grade students with the opportunity to apply their Spanish skills as novice learners. Through this project, we used the language they had been exposed to through various sources, such as stories, songs, structured routines, and other forms of input during the school year and previous years. Additionally, the project aimed to foster a sense of community by allowing students to read their books to their pre-k buddies.

The majority of my third-grade students demonstrate language proficiency at the novice mid and some high after being in the program for almost five years. They initially had Spanish once a week in the early years, and from first through 3rd grade, it increased to twice a week.This means that most of them can comprehend and use basic phrases and sentences to communicate in the context of our classroom. They do require guidance and support, including visuals in the room, memory aids, and assistance from me.

 

The Process of Becoming Authors

Reviewing High-Frequency Words and Phrases 

Throughout the year, we covered various high-frequency words used in different contexts, such as stories, clip chats, classroom routines, and other activities. We brainstormed some of those words, phrases, and even questions for the students to use in their stories. Additionally, I provided my students a template with  suggested phrases to assist them in writing their stories.

Writing The Story

As my third graders are considered novice learners on the ACTFL proficiency scale, they required assistance with certain words. During the story-writing process, students turned to each other for clarification, referred to the list of high-frequency words, and used the provided template. However, because language acquisition is a personal journey, some students needed more support from the teacher than others.

Editing Their Stories 

After the students completed their initial drafts, we moved on to editing their work. The students reviewed their work, and then I helped edit it for accuracy.

Typing and Illustrating Their Stories 

Once students were ready, I instructed them to use Canva to type up their stories and encouraged them to search for appropriate illustrations to accompany their work. Some students were already familiar with Canva from previous projects with other teachers. To finish the process, the students also worked on their author bios and included pictures of themselves

Recording Their Voices 

Next, students recorded their voices reading their stories on Seesaw. We were able to generate QR codes on Seesaw and used them to create a virtual library.

Reflecting on Their Work 

Students reflected on their work’s process and provided suggestions to improve this project for next year’s students.

When The Books Were Published… 

The books were published, and third graders read them to their PreK buddies during community time.

These books are now part of our classroom library. I read them to kindergarten students, and my second and third-grade students love them since the authors are their friends!

This is an example of one of the fun stories created by my students!

This project was a little messy and required me to be 100% present to support my students, but I still enjoyed it. Thanks to my students’ feedback, I have ideas to make it even better this year, and maybe write a post again!

 

 

VOCABULARY MATCHING GAME WITH A HALLOWEEN TWIST

VOCABULARY MATCHING GAME WITH A HALLOWEEN TWIST

I call this game “Busca,” which is based on a popular matching game. This is a fun game that my students absolutely adore, and it can be played at any time during the school year! It has a Halloween theme, but you can play it at any time. Before you dive into the game, you’ll need to prepare by printing at least 6 sets of cards and, if possible, laminating them for added durability. Here’s how to set the stage for the Busca game:

  • Introduce the vocabulary: While students may not necessarily need to learn these words, this is a fun game to engage them and get them moving. Nevertheless, I recommend going over the vocabulary with your students. You can achieve this by using flashcards or, if available, by projecting the image on the board.
  • Explaining the Game: Let your students know that this game is inspired by various popular matching card games. I like calling it “Busca.” Take a moment to discuss the rules of the game. It’s important that everyone is on the same page before you start.

 

  • Setting the Objective: Explain that the primary goal of the Busca game is to be the quickest at identifying matching vocabulary between cards. To prepare for the game, you’ll need to distribute a card to each student. Then, instruct them to find a partner in the classroom. Here’s how the game unfolds:
    • Both students should cover their cards and, in unison, say “1, 2, 3, ¡busca!” (which means “search” in Spanish).
    • Simultaneously, they reveal their cards to each other and race to find the matching image. The student who successfully identifies the matching image first wins and gets to keep their partner’s card.
    • The student left without a card should promptly receive a new one. If you prefer, you can be the one distributing the cards.

 

The game continues until all the cards have been matched, and one student accumulates several cards. If you’d like to make the game shorter or more challenging, you can set a specific time limit for each round, such as 10 seconds.

Ready to play it in your classes? Click on the picture to download the 36 cards for the game!

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