4 Facebook Communities for Elementary Spanish Teachers

One of the things I love about Facebook is how easy you can find online communities related to any topic and interest. And teachers really do know how to take advantage of Facebook. Just type keywords into the search bar to reveal different groups and pages related to them.

I want to share with you some groups that have been created for teaching Spanish at the early and elementary level. Please note that for some of the groups you will have to request to join the group; this is because they want to make sure only Spanish teachers join. Also in some of them the moderators will have to approve your question before it is posted on the wall. In an effort to keep the group clear of spam, some moderators will delete anything that is not related to teaching at this level. The language of interaction changes according to the group; some groups use English and Spanish, while some of them just use English, and some only Spanish. You will have to find the one you think works best for you.

Here are the names of the groups:

  1. Elementary Spanish Teachers
  2. Teaching Spanish to Children
  3. Actividades de ELE para niños
  4. Hablando de ELE

Using Centers in Spanish Class {Facebook Corner}

This space has been created to save all those awesome conversations happening on Fun for Spanish Teacher’s Facebook page.

Xtine says:

“Hi all! My district is moving more towards a centers based learning and I was wondering if you have any suggestions for centers for K-2 Spanish? We are currently working on numbers 1-10 and wanted to see if I could somehow incorporate centers. I have no curriculum so I’m all on my own. I have 19 classes with the class size ranging from 8-22 students. Any advice or help would be great!”

Kelly: using color sticks at one table, numbers at another, vocabulary matching at another, copying printed words in Spanish (lots of web sites for this) just a few ideas off the top of my head

 Joe: If you can get some internet-connected devices then one or two centers can provide online activities. tackk.com/colorsinspanish

Janet: Calico have some great ideas: Calico

Susan: I do centers every Friday. Some favorites are:
Candyland (say colors and count in Spanish) 
UNO cards with toss across ( they earn a bean bag to throw for every color and number they can say correctly from the UNO CARD) 
Puzzle: One center is a puzzle of the world to help them with geography. 
I usually have groups of 5 students and rotate every 5 minutes. If one of the centers was a worksheet, I let them use the rest of class to work on it so they are calm by the time their teacher picks them up. Hope this helps!

Jessica: With 2nd graders I do a conversation center, a listening center, a game center, technology center (Spanish apps on tablet generally), independent work center & one with me. I do centers with 1st grade too, though I don’t generally do conversation center with them. With kinder I do “actividades” = sort of center like with lots of games and puzzles. (example shape memory, number memory, body parts puzzle match up etc)

Diane: get some of the shape cutouts from dollar store and make matching cards. Pictures & words or just some in English and same ones in Spanish. We have table races where groups match up the pairs. Sometimes individuals match so I can assess. Other times kids play memory with the cards in small groups.

Amy: I got a number puzzle and labeled the numbers in Spanish so they can say the numbers as they take it apart. The puzzle also has a plus, minus, and equals sign, so they can use it to make math problems. I also got a fishing set with fish in different colors on one side, and numbers on the other. They can “fish” by number or by color. I also got a Zing-O game, several varieties of Bing-O games, and books they can read alone. I still don’t have much, but it’s a start!

I got some Legos and labeled them with days of the week. They have races to put the days of the week in order. A Twister game that I covered up the English with Spanish. I am currently trying to come up with some Go Fish games. I also have a “free draw” corner and some Sp-Eng dictionaries. They can put their name in a box for prize drawings if they do any writing in Spanish.

I also have a puzzle of South America, a dice game, and an emotions game. ha… I guess I have more than I realized. It still doesn’t seem like a lot of variety, though. It’s almost all vocabulary-based except for the books.

Fun for Early and Elementary Spanish TeachersHere is just one more idea: https://bit.ly/2hmWqk6

Soyla: Check out my Bilingual Pinterest boards for ideas: https://www.pinterest.com/castilloesc17/

Xtine: Thank you all for your help!!! I’m going to definitely incorporate some of your ideas!


Report Cards in a FLES Program {Facebook Corner}

Conversaciones de maestros en nuestra página de Facebook 

Angelica says:
“I was working for a small school, so when it came to grading, I only graded 15 students. The teacher usually handed me the forms and it was with numbers 1-4
Well….now I am working at a big private school. I got hired at the middle of the second trimester, so we decided to only grade the last trimester. My question is: When it comes to grading a Spanish class is there any grading rubric that you follow? Do you make your own? I want to send a little note home that says something about their learning since I began there. The grades that I teach are K-8. ¡Gracias!”

Familia Botero:I also teach k-8. For every unit i create goals. These are the “notes” i share w parents. For grading purposes, every class period students get a participation grade. They also get grades in completing projects. I create worksheets we use in class. Some of our worksheets can be colored so i assign it as “homewor ( at the lower levels) so they understand spanish js a “real” class.
Upper levels have projects and activities that allow me to grade their work.
My principal and I agreed that participation on the lower levels would be the biggest chunk of their grade. Hope this helps. Reply to my comment if you want any more details

Patty: Following!

Jenn:This is a great question. We don’t have anything on our report card at all yet, so are really looking for the same info.What about aligning them to “can do statements”?

Heidi : We are using “can do” statements, but our computerized report card morphs those into speaking, listening, reading, and writing. I use a common curriculum and assessments and attach a cover letter to each test I send home with general info about the unit.

Christine: I do 50% homework/class participation and 50% tests/quizzes/projects for grades 5-8. For grades 3 & 4 I assign points to most work done in class because I don’t give homework or tests. Thankfully I don’t have to give grades to the little ones at all.

Simone : The “can do” type statements that come with the authentic assessment charts in the Sonrisas Spanish school books are great.

Rachel: Following

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Should Teachers Assign Target-Language Names? {Facebook Corner}

Conversaciones de maestros en nuestra página de Facebook

Fun for Spanish Teachers asked the following question based on an article published by Education World.

“Should Teachers Assign Target-Language Names?”

Joe: I teach approximately 300 students and try to make positive contact with every child and her/his family every year. I cannot imagine trying to remember every child’s given name AND target language name.
Erin: I agree with Joe. I teach a large number of students so I don’t give them Spanish names. I know they would live it though. unsure emoticon
Danyell : I have over 500 and I don’t give them target language names either.

Jeffrey: Same here. I teach 700 kids a week.
Sarah: Sometimes I will call a student using Spanish pronunciation or add “-ito” or “ita” like Briannita for a girl name Brianna, or Rosita for a girl named Rose. It makes it feel more like how a Spanish speaker would possibly address them and can be fun and endearing. I have a student named “Religion” and sometimes I say her name as it is in Spanish Religión… However, I am opposed to children choosing a new”name and especially do not want them to feel like they are “acting”… I want it to be authentic communication as their own identity and self.
Fun for Early and Elementary Spanish Teachers: Same here! I don’t give them names in Spanish. I have too many students and it doesn’t feel natural to me to call them by a different name.
Danyell: I have a Simon, Carolina, Brianna, and a few others that I use more of an accent with, too. I love this idea!
Simone: I have given Spanish names to my students who are new to the study of Spanish each fall. I use the Spanish version of their name or a name with many of the same letters, when necessary. Most of these children are first graders. They are normally thrilled with their new “Spanish names,” but occasionally I offer an alternative or two to a child who doesn’t like the sound of my first choice. I find it is useful in teaching them some of the basic pronunciation rules and correspondence to spelling in the beginning.
Brigette: I only teach 2 classes at the moment. We are in an area that is majority Hispanic, so Hispanic names are normal here and there is nothing to be learned from adopting one. I give my students a list of animals and plants. They choose from there or can choose any “kind” vocabulary word from the glossary of the text. They learn their classmates’ new names fast and therefore have 25 or so new words they know if Spanish. I did not do this when I had 250 students a day.
Mundo de Pepita: I give my kiddos Spanish names when they get to 2nd grade (I teach K-4)…they clamor for them like mad! BUT, I explain the difference between their real name and the one we use for Spanish class, which is like a ‘code name’, and that they would absolutely need to introduce themselves to a native speaker using their real name. I have to say that it continues the sound of Spanish throughout the class, and they so enjoy it. They are also useful when we start introducing the alphabet (3rd grade) and rudimentary reading skills… especially letters like ‘j’, ‘ll’, and ‘ñ’… they are able to make the connection between the Spanish sound and the letter because they have seen and used it with their name.
Caroline: Short I do give them Spanish names and they love it! They laugh at their new names and love hearing their names being called out in class.
CrianzaBicultural: I don’t think you need to change their names, but it is important to show them the equivalent of their names in the language they are learning. And the idea of using it and ita or even pronunciation in the target language is great for immersion purposes.
SeñoraSpeedy: I don’t give my students names either since I can barely remember their real names! I saw a great idea on the Nandu listserv through – a middle school teacher had students choose adjectives to go with their names. They learned descriptions and she had a way to help remember all their names.
Margaret: I did this one year with second grade, they were also studying Mexico in class. I spent hours on a Spanish baby name site trying to find names as close as possible to real names. We also made the name “necklace” tags, helped us all remember. The kids enjoyed it.
Janina: I teach PK to 8th. Only the 3rd graders get to pick their Spanish names from a list of 100 most common Spanish names. They make their own name tags. This way I can call them by their new name. They have a blast, especially because they are the only ones in school allowed to do so.

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Whole Brain Teaching in the Spanish Classroom {Facebook Corner}

Conversaciones de maestros en nuestra página de Facebook 

Ana Alicia says:
“Whole Brain Teachers! How do you introduce your rules in Spanish class. Do you use only Spanish? A little bit of English? English? This will be my first year using WBT. I am also trying to translate “Teach, OK” , “Mighty Groan” and “Mighty Oh Yeah.” Any ideas? Thanks for your help. Have an awesome school year!”

SeñoraSpeedy : I love WBT! I keep the rules in English so that there are no excuses for not following them. I do Clase, clase, si, Espejo, Enseña, and Cambia. For the scoreboard they do ¡OH ! and ¡Que pena! We also did the air punctuation (well sometimes and only in 1st grade but they loved it and I need to remember to do it more.) Here is a link to a few blog entries where I outline how I use WBT in my classroom. https://senoraspeedy.blogspot.com/2013/12/whole-brain-teaching-part-one.html 

Fun for Early and Elementary Spanish Teachers Wow! This is awesome! Thanks for sharing. I started using WTB a little last year and it worked great. I plan to start with WTB from day zero. I am still reading the book.

Neen: I have pictures next to my rules which are written in Spanish. I try to keep everything in the TL.

Christina: I have them in Spanish too!! Love WBT!

Roxanne:  We say the rules in Spanish and have hand gestures that accompany them. My partner teacher, who teaches in English, does them I’m English making sure to use the same hand gestures.

Danyell: This is great!

Kimberly: I have the rules posted in Spanish! I will go over them in English for the first weeks until they get the hang of them

Tabitha: Many thanks, SeñoraSpeedy…I’m moving from high school to Kindergarten (Spanish immersion) and I was wondering how to introduce WBT and in which language!!

Jeisa: I teach Spanish Immersion too. I have my wbt rules posted in Spanish. At the beginning of the year we go over the rules every day in the target language. I have the posters already made in TpT in Spanish. Good luck!

SeñoraSpeedy:  Tabitha – I think you could easily do the rules in Spanish if you are immersion. I am in the Specials rotation so I don’t see my students often enough for me to feel comfortable doing them in Spanish. Although by the end of the year I did have students asking how to say them in Spanish so I might start in English and transition to Spanish later on in the year.

Mundo de Pepita I have the rules posted in Spanish, along with all our other procedures. Like Kimberly, we go over them in English and Spanish at the beginning of the year so everyone is clear and by the end of Sept I’ve transitioned over to only Spanish. (I teach in a Specials rotation like Señora Speedy). For getting their attention when I need it, I use the call and response ‘Nachos’, ‘Salsa’. I would also note I teach using Responsive Classroom, so lots of modeling and reinforcing throughout the year.

Kristy: What do the rules look like in your classrooms? This is only my second year teaching Spanish in the elementary classroom.

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Seating Charts for Spanish Class {Facebook Corner}

Conversaciones de maestros en nuestra página de Facebook 
Jodi says:
“Do you have any good ideas for seating plans? I have 22 classes and can hardly remember the students names!
Think it would work if I assigned a number to each student?”

Joe: How many students? Maybe they could wear name tags until you memorize most of their names.

Simone: I observed a teacher with a white board who had made a spread seat seating chart for each class. It was the first slide she displayed at the start of each class period, so children could check where to sit and she could check their names.

Lisa: I tried numbers but most kids would forget. It got crazy at the beginning if class sometimes. I just made a seating chart for each class and kept it the same all year. It worked well.

Melissa: I’m in a similar situation – I make seating charts which helps (including assigned spots to sit on the floor for the littlest guys) but I’m open to others’ suggestions!

Melissa  S: I have 19 classes and totally get this issue. When I started, I made seating charts (my kids sit in rows, on a rug). Because I see them 2x a week, I photocopied the charts and then made a Monday group, a Tues. group, etc. I slid the papers into plastic protectors, back to back (2 per protector) and stapled them together in the groups. After a couple of months of using them, I had the names down and didn’t need to continue being so dependent on the chart. Later I would leave it on my table, next to smart board, for a quick glance, in the case I forgot a name.

Dana: I teach 46 classes a week, so I understand. As part of my warm up for the first few weeks, I throw a ball around and ask everyone their name. Then, once we’ve covered greetings, the kids throw the ball around and can ask their name or how they are. (As we cover more units, they have more choices of questions…what’s the weather, how old you are, etc.) I’ve been at the same schools several years, so it’s really just reminding myself of the returning students and learning the transfers and kindergartners. I let my students chose their seats until they show they can’t handle it, but if I were to move to a new school where I didn’t know the majority of the students, I would have seating charts for everyone.

Fun for Early and Elementary Spanish Teachers: I also make seating charts for my students. The homeroom teachers are helpful too. Every teacher gives me a chart of their classes with the pictures of each child in their group.

Debbie:  I do that every year. I do it by number in alphabetical order.

Neen: Sometimes hrteachers assign numbers so you can use the same numbers too.

Ana:For me, it is easier to use sticks with numbers for every group. I have numbered lists for every class that I can quickly check when they do not remember. It is good for them to learn the numbers in Spanish, too!

Ana :For the older ones, I use seating charts. I have chair pockets, which have a space to put their name and group, as well as their cuaderno y carpeta.

Lori : Hi Jodi, I have 16 classes and I do use seating charts. I keep the charts all year, but mix the students up during activities for pair work, group work, etc. so that they aren’t always working with the same people. I feel it saves time as far as them sitting down quickly and especially for me to pass back work. I have taught in the same school for 15 years and I made an investment years ago in this product:

Virginia : assign seats for older kids. The younger kids are usually on he floor and I ask them to pick a classmate that is quiet and seated (& I specify girl/boy for listening comprehension) and the kids all know each others names. 

Lori: https://pacon.com/product/educational-aids/classroom-seating-pocket-chart/ I reuse the labels every year and just update the classes as they move through the years. So after the first year I only had to add my new first graders and then reshuffle the names of the students in grades 2-8. I keep them in a 3 ring binder and they are there for a sub to reference as well.

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