As World Language educators it is hard to find a single off-the-shelf curriculum that fits the needs of each elementary program. Some programs have less frequent class sessions than others, some are required by their schools (or have the wonderful opportunity) to make strong connections with other subjects, some have more heritage speakers in the student population, and so on! It’s also important to shape a program according to the needs and interests of the community. All this is just to make it clear that I don’t offer a set “one size fits all” curriculum for this reason.
I have shifted to using more stories with my students, but I also supplement them with songs, games, crafts, picture books, holidays, celebrations, culture, cross-curricular connections, clip-chats, and other activities. I don’t teach a unit just focusing on weather, days of the week, months, the alphabet, foods, and so on. I include these topics in our daily routine when we do calendar time. The stories focus on high-frequency vocabulary and expressions as well as vocabulary related to clothing, family members, colors, numbers, and more!
These are some of the stories I use by grade level. It might seem like a lot, but the stories themselves have a lot of repetition and recycle a lot of the same vocabulary. This is also based on the frequency and length of time I see my students. I see my kindergarten students in small groups, once a week for 30 minutes and my 1st through 3rd grade students twice a week for 40 minutes each time. I mostly follow the resources in the order presented and sometimes I recycle stories and use them again the following year to refresh some of the vocabulary and high frequency words.
If you are looking for books to help you to rethink the content in your curriculum, here are a few! Hard to choose one since all of them are filled with great content. I love that these books have been written by educators for educators. I’m currently working on updating/replacing and creating units, and these resources have been a great support.
💚 “Unpack Your Impact: How Two Primary Teachers Ditched Problematic Lessons and Built a Culture-Centered Curriculum”: This book has great examples of how to reconceptualize lessons to help students think critically and go deeper, and beyond “fun facts.” I actually learned historical facts from this book myself!
💚 “Being the Change – Lessons and Strategies to Teach Social Comprehension” is a book that I have used as a resource for the affinity group for students of color at my school. I have also been able to adapt some of the ideas presented in the book for my Spanish classes, e.g., Identity unit.
💚 I first came across the “Rethinking Schools” publications in a course I took for my master’s degree a little over ten years ago (time flies!). These books are filled with anecdotes and reflections from teachers and their classroom experiences. There is no need to read these books in a certain order. These are the two books in the video:
1. Rethinking Early Childhood Education
2. Rethinking Our Classrooms: Teaching for Equity and Justice – Vol 1
💚 Last, but not least “Words and Actions: Teaching Languages Through the Lens of Social Justice” is a book written for world language educators, but anyone can benefit from reading it. This book has great examples of language lessons for different levels. I’m still working on finishing this one!
I am so lucky to host this new giveaway! This time Speekee® is offering my readers the chance to win a 1-year subscription to their ever popular, ever evolving Spanish Scheme of Work for early and elementary teachers around the world. The Speekee Spanish Scheme of Work is video-based, with 350 lesson plans and supporting resources!
What do Spanish teachers say about Speekee? Lisa says: “Learners love it – the little ones love the fluffy characters and songs whilst the older ones like to see ‘real’ Spanish children and compare the places with where we live. They readily join in and ask for the songs to be repeated over and over! Non-specialists love it thanks to the oodles of support it offers them”
Lorena says: “The planning is very good. It has got all that the Curriculum is asking for. It’s easy learning – and fun! With this program you can feel that everyone can speak Spanish, and everyone can teach as well. The children even teach each other!” To find out more about Speekee, visit their site. You can also follow them on Facebook and Twitter. The Giveaway! To enter the giveaway just sign up for a free 2-week Speekee Spanish Scheme of Work trial using the entry form below. The lucky winner will be chosen at random once the competition has closed on December 7th, 2015.
Nothing is more exciting than finding great resources for Spanish class (okay, other than maybe traveling to Spain or Latin America on an extended, stress-free vacation …). Conversa books will get any teacher ready to teach Spanish and will help you present the language in a fun way. What I like the most about Conversa books is that the language is not presented as several isolated vocabulary words. Conversa does a great job of presenting the language in context. This helps teach students to identify main and important words in a sentence and learn how to decode them to find meaning. These books are good for classroom use or to extend learning at home. They can be used with children who are exploring the language or with native speakers. The sets are divided into elementary and middle school levels which will help you transition and have a consistent program. The program starts in 1st grade and goes all the way up to 8th grade. The illustrations are clear, fun and engaging.
This is a teacher’s dream! Every story in these books invites movement and taps clearly into TPR. Each book includes a teacher’s guide with tons of ideas and games that will save you a lot of time when planning for your classes. The teacher’s guide states the objective for every lesson, the materials needed, how the lesson should be introduced, gestures for each story, engaging activities, questions to ask while presenting the story, cultural information, simple crafts to make, and a lot of learning and fun! It also suggests songs for every lesson. The books provide a lot of repetition and model the Spanish language to invite students to later create their own compositions and stories.
Another important feature about this program is that there is no need to be an experienced storyteller or know everything aboutTPR to use these books in your classroom. Conversa Books will show you everything and will guide you through every step!
Visit Conversa Books to learn more about the program. Stay connected on Facebook to receive updates about sales, freebies for teachers, teaching tips and more!
I know you would love to have this set for your classes. Here is an opportunity for you to have it! Conversa Books is giving away their Elementary Teachers’ Starter Kit. Just enter below to participate. The winner will be announced on June 12th, 2013. United States only.
¡Hola! I am Carolina, a Colombian elementary Spanish teacher based in Boston, MA. Fun for Spanish Teachers is the result of my passion for teaching Spanish to children and my desire to inspire collaboration and creativity in a vibrant teaching and learning community. It’s the perfect stop if you are looking for songs, games, teaching tips, stories, and fun for your classes.
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