This a list of what I have in my classroom and can’t survive a school year without any of these materials.
Chime: Sometimes we need breaks from using call-and-response chants or clapping our hands. I have found a three tone chime* that works well because it gives enough time for my students to settle down.
Map: I had a hard time finding a map that was simple enough for my elementary students. Luckily I came across this map on Pinterest, and it has been the best purchase ever. You can find it at Spanish Cuentos.
Puppets and Plush Toys: Puppets and plush toys are a great tool in language teaching. I love when my students make connections with some of them. They become one more member of the class. Visit my post where I talk about the use of puppets in a world language class.
Special Chair: I have a chair that my students use when we sing to them to celebrate their birthdays in class. They all look forward to having a chance to sit on that chair in class. They also get a small gift from me which is usually a pencil, eraser, or small craft from Colombia. They also get a birthday certificate. Click here to download some free ones for your classes!
Play Parachute: Every single one of my students seems to love parachute time, no matter how old they are. It’s always fun to use parachutes for a brain break. I have written a few posts about how I use them in my classes:
Authentic Art: I love displaying art from different Spanish speaking countries. I usually label items to show where they come from.
Favorite Music Playlist: Thank goodness for YouTube! I love how you can easily make lists of your favorite songs. I like creating playlists by grade levels. Here is a list of some of my go-to channels:
Flags: I have flags and posters from the different Spanish speaking countries. You can display them all at once or take them out one at a time when you do the country of study. This pack is available on Teachers Pay Teachers.
Pointers: I found a really awesome set of pointers* that I use while looking at our “Plan de la clase” as well as when we play interactive games on the Smart Board. These ones have been the best so far! I have had them for about two years now:
List of Brain Breaks: Brain breaks are great not only to get your students’ attention back, but also for you to take a break as a teacher. I keep a list of brain breaks and yoga cards handy. Download free yoga cards here!
Simple Picture Books: Last year I started a library in my classroom. So far the books that have worked best are books with minimal text and also books that the children are already familiar with in English.
Movies: Sometimes I like using movies right before the break when I know a lot of my students will be missing. I also use them when I am out and can’t find a sub that speaks Spanish, or just being honest, to take a break!
Balls: Yes, balls of different sizes to play games or ask questions!
Instruments: Playing with these is something my younger students really enjoy!
Apron: This is not a “must,” but it has been great for me to stop putting things in my pockets when I am teaching. I used to always end up emptying my pockets of an assortment of things at home that should have stayed at school instead of hitching a ride with me – things like tiny pointers, markers, pencils, and the classroom keys. This is the one I plan to use this school year. I am especially excited about the llamas on this one!
What is something you think I should add to this list? Please feel free to leave your suggestions in the comments box.
“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.
It has been a long time since I’ve hosted a giveaway, but I couldn’t exist this great opportunity to host one that allows me to share one of the traditions that I miss the most when I’m unable to be in Colombia for the holidays.
Growing up in Colombia I remember all the hurried confusion that suddenly erupted during the last five minutes of every year: listening to “Faltan cinco’ pa las doce” and the poem called “El brindis del bohemio”, getting the 12 grapes ready, looking for a suitcase if you hoped to travel, putting dollars in your pocket to become rich in the new year, making sure you have “los cucos amarillos” (yellow underwear) and last, but not least, the excitement of burning the Año Viejo. Traditionally a full-sized stuffed mannequin and filled with fireworks or gunpowder and straw, an Año Viejo symbolizes starting anew, leaving bad things behind and setting goals for the new year – like a reset button (in addition to making political statements). Due to safety issues, many cities have opted to ban full-sized Años Viejos. So instead of coming together neighbors, blocks, or small communities, Años Viejos are now more of an individual family thing, reduced to a smaller, safer size. But no matter what, burning the Año Viejo is always followed by the sound of a new song on the air, “El año viejo”!
I have written all about this tradition in the past. Please visit this post to learn all about it!
Ready to participate in the giveaway?
If you would like to participate in this giveaway and have the opportunity to win this awesome Año Viejo set, just enter below to participate. The winner will be announced on November 30th, 2017. Participants in the continental United States only.
There is nothing children enjoy more than pretending! Role playing games are such valuable tools for teaching languages. Planning a virtual trip requires some planning. You have to make sure the content is suitable for the level you teach.
Introduction of a country or cultural activity:
1. Passport: You can create a simple template that your students will have to fill out with basic information such as name, age, and country where they were born. They can draw a small picture about themselves.
2. Ticket: The ticket will have their seat and arrival country.
3. Sitting on an airplane: You may need to adapt this based on your space and the amount of time you have available to set up. I usually like making single lines and numbering the chairs from 1 to 20, depending on the number of students you have. Each student gets assigned a number. You can have two students pretend being the flight attendance to greet everyone when getting on the plane. This might take up to 5 minutes. You can also pretend that you have a pilot who will welcome everyone and let them know where they are heading to. For example, “Buenos días, Bienvenidos al vuelo de la clase de español. Vamos a Colombia.”
4. Google Earth: This requires some advance planning. You might want to choose the pictures of the places you would like to visit. I found a post written by The Teacher’s Prep with great information on using Google Earth: Create a Virtual Trip Using Google Earth
5. Choose a few short videos about the country you plan to visit.6. Postcard: Have the children make a postcard that they can pretend to send to a family member. The postcard can have information about what they learned during the virtual trip. Steps 4 and 5 might require a few class sessions to complete while the children do the cultural exploration. This also depends on how many times you see your students and the kind of program in which you teach. Some teachers prefer to do the cultural part in English , while others keep the target language basic and at the level of their students. I have a “Travel Set Activity” in my TpT store that I have used successfully with my students. Everything is ready to set up, and it even includes printable stamps that students can add to their passport every time they visit a new country. Click on the picture to learn all about it!
I am so excited to be part of this bilingual blog hop that will help you get ready for the new school year. 19 bilingual teachers have teamed up to share with you all these amazing resources that I hope will make your transition to the new school year easier. If you have already started teaching, these materials will serve you well too!
ONE DAY FREEBIE ALERT!
I have put together a set of six flipbooks with vocabulary related to the fall season. These flipbooks can be used as a way to introduce or support your units.
Last but not least! As part of the blog hop we are also hosting a big shopping spree giveaway. Two lucky teachers will win $100 worth of products from our TpT store. Just fill out the Rafflecopter to participate. ¡Buena suerte!
¡Hola! I am Carolina, a Colombian elementary Spanish teacher based in Austin, Texas. 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.