Resources for Teaching Languages to Children


Hispanic Heritage Month- 16 Pop Songs for Elementary Spanish Class

HISPANIC HERITAGE MONTH BEGINS SEPTEMBER 15, and is a wonderful opportunity for elementary Spanish teachers to highlight the many ways Hispanic culture is part of our students' daily life. One tangible aspect is music- our students hear quite a bit of music sung and created by Latin artists, but don't always think about the connection between the artist and the country they, or their families,  are from. Whether you teach your students salsa while playing Celia Cruz, or play 'Freeze dance' with 'La Bamba', bringing music into class and highlighting the connections make a significant contribution towards your students being more aware of Hispanic culture and the contributions it has made to our own. Here are 16 songs I like to play with my elementary students, some of which are very familiar to them, while others are new but lots of fun:

Hispanic Heritage Month Songs for Elementary Spanish Class

*'Ven a bailar' by Pitbull and J Lo
*'La Bamba' by Los Lobos
*'Echa Pa'lla (Manos Pa'arriba)' by Pitbull
*'Oye como va' by Santana
*'Rie y llora' by Celia Cruz
*'La vida es un Carnaval' by Celia Cruz
*'A Dios le pido' by Juanes
*'La bicicleta' by Shakira and Carlos Vives
*'Dímelo' by Marc Antony
*'La Copa de la Vida' by Ricky Martin
*'Volaré' by Gypsy Kings
*Ven conmigo a jugar' by 1, 2, 3 Andrés
*'Qué viva la vida' by Wisin
*'La Gozadera' by Gente de Zona featuring Marc Antony
*'Canción del Mariachi' by Antonio Banderas and Los Lobos (yes, Antonio Banderas!)
*'Soy yo' by Bomba Estéreo
*'Bailando' by Enrique Iglesias
*'Yo voy ganao' by Systema Solar
*'Salsa y choke' by ChocoQuibTown featuring Nejo
*'Baila conmigo' by Juan Magan featuring Luciana (in both English and Spanish)
*'Bailamos' by Enrique Iglesias (this is primarily in English but does have some Spanish)

And of course, don't miss Putumayo cds-they are fantastic!

*NOTE: I do not play the videos in class, just the songs.

AND FOR SOME FUN GAMES TO PLAY WITH SONGS, check out our 20 Greeting Games!

Click here to grab!
Happy dancing!


Activities for the First Days of School in Elementary Spanish Classes

WE'VE TEAMED UP WITH Fun for Early and Elementary Spanish Teachers for a fun week on Facebook, sharing activities for the first days of school in Elementary Spanish Classes. Be sure to follow both of us on Facebook (click here to go to our page!) so you don't miss out- this week, and every week!

7 actividades para las primeras clases del año escolar Back to School Spanish Class

I AM ALSO POSTING ALL OF OUR ACTIVITIES here on our blog! Here we go! (I'll add each activity here as we progress through the week)

Activities for the First Days of School in Elementary Spanish Classes

SOCIAL DISTANCING ADAPTION: Instead of having kids move around, just have them call out '¡yo, sí!'... you can even have them jump up and down once to add in some extra fun :)

Activities for the First Days of School in Elementary Spanish Class

NO CONTACT VERSION: Instead of rolling a ball, have everyone stand up, and use a bean bag, soft plush ball or koosh; kids can gently kick it to the next person so no hands are touching it. I suggest these substitutes for the ball as they will not roll out of control, precipitating someone grabbing with their hands :)

Activities for the First Days of School in Elementary Spanish Class

SOCIAL DISTANCING ADAPTION: Eliminate the 'cesta de frutas' version

Activities for the First Days of School in Elementary Spanish Classes Back to School

*Here is a great Youtube video with two little girls demonstrating 'Por aquí pasó un caballo'

SOCIAL DISTANCING ADAPTION: if you are able to go outdoors, you can have kids spread out and play at a distance.

Activities for Back to School in Elementary Spanish Classes

Activities for Back to School in Elementary Spanish Classes

NO CONTACT VERSION: Instead of kids receiving the sticky notes, you place them yourself on the chart once kids have indicated their birthday month. You can also do this virtually on a Google slides document projected on a Smartboard :)

Activities for Back to School in Elementary Spanish Classes

NO CONTACT VERSION: Instead of passing an object, have kids sit in a large circle (large enough for social distancing) and mimic passing one to the next, going in one direction only. When the song stops, the last person "passed" to is the one who "has" the object.

FOR MORE FUN IDEAS TO START OFF THE FIRST WEEK, check out our 20 Greeting Games Pack-which now includes ways to conduct them on Zoom and/or with social distancing in mind! You can find it here!

Greeting Games for Spanish Class


Routines for the End of Spanish Class- Cleaning Up and Saying Goodbye

I CONFESS, I'VE DONE A FAIR SHARE OF POSTS highlighting greeting activities, but have yet to write a post starring END OF THE CLASS ACTIVITIES! ¡Qué locura! Well, I am here to remedy that with a round- up of closing activities you can do when cleaning up and saying goodbye to your class, which are just as important as greetings in that they bring your class closure in an orderly and meaningful way, and send them to the next teacher ready to transition.

Routines for the End of Spanish Class-Cleaning Up and Saying Goodbye

*CLEANING UP is one of those times when having a routine is super helpful; whether it is simply putting away pencils and activities, or cleaning up a big mess made from a project, my goal is always to do this as efficiently and quickly as possible. Several years ago I stumbled upon an authentic song 'A guardar' which has become my staple for signaling it is time to clean up and get ready to go. Although only about 30 seconds in length, you would be amazed how much can be accomplished in that time frame- if you MODEL and PRACTICE what kiddos need to do as soon as they hear the song start playing! You can download the song on ITunes: 'A guardar' by Sari Cucien; and on Youtube you can find Reina Infantil's version, which is cute, too!

*SIDE NOTE ON COLLECTING FOLDERS: This is a two-parter- if you use a seating chart AND you hand out folders containing activities, at clean up time, collect those folders in the order in which your kiddos sit, following your seating chart. This will, in turn, make it much easier and quicker to hand them out again the next time you use them! I have also added to this routine that they need to hold their folders upright (rather than on their head like a graduation cap, in their hand like a pizza box, or as high as they can possibly get it- all of which frequently end up in folders falling and activities scattered all over the place).

*REFERENCE A WELL KNOWN REFRAN with this quick chant I modified, which is perfect as a call and response to signal the end of class! You can download it for free here on our drive!

*SAYING GOODBYE: Sadly, we have to say goodbye to our little critters as they have places to go and people to see...but it's always nice to do so with a smile on our faces! Here are THREE songs that are perfect to sing as they are lining up, on their way out the door, or as a closing circle activity.

I also videoed myself demonstrating how I instruct my students to clean up, all in Spanish, to give you a sense of how that can be done in a 90% CI classroom.

Hope I've given you some good ideas for ending class!


Fast Finisher Activities for Elementary Spanish Class

I'M DONE, WHAT DO I DO NOW, SEÑORA? Yes, we've all heard that question! Those kiddos who finish early and need something to do... here is a round up of the activities I provide for my FAST FINISHERS... please add yours in the comments! We would love to hear them!

*COLORING & PARTNER READ WITH OUR MINIBOOKS: This is the first go to in my classes- since every theme begins with one of our minibooks, every kiddo has his/her minibook tucked in their folder, easy to grab and color and/ or partner read with a friend.

Pepita lee sobre Frida Kahlo
*BOOK BASKET: I always have two baskets of books for kiddos to look at and read in my classroom. One has chapter books, while the other has a variety of picture books, non fiction books about countries, animals, geography, etc, and simple picture dictionaries. Many of the books in the second basket are in Spanish, but not all. Consider putting cookbooks in there, too! The pictures are beautiful and show authentic food, always a popular topic!

*MEMORAMA: Memory is always a favorite! Easy to play with 2-3 friends, I create Memory cards that require matching a word with a picture, increasing the challenge somewhat, rather than simply picture to picture. I always have a few sets in our fast finisher bin!

*PUZZLES: I have 3-4 puzzles of maps that are great for kiddos who love to do puzzles and/or are interested in geography. Since my room is small, I let students take the puzzles out into the hall to do them. Can't find good ones, or don't have access? Take a picture from a magazine or print out a page from a book, affix to stiff paper, laminate, then cut apart in wonky shapes to create your own paper "puzzles". Tuck the pieces in a ziploc baggie and have them ready to go!

*STORY TREASURE BASKETS: As I stated above, all of my themes revolve around my minibooks so I sometimes create story treasure baskets filled with props from the story, along with some extras to fuel their imagination. You can see my post here for some fun examples!

*SORTING ACTIVITIES, much like Memorama, are great opportunities for youngsters to practice vocabulary, and muffin tins are perfect for sorting little items like pompoms, beads, counters, and more. Label each muffin cup with a different category word, (colors, numbers, size, etc) provide a set of objects to sort, and away they go! To increase the challenge for older kids, have a mix of objects and word cards to sort.

*COOTIE CATCHERS: Older learners can make their own cootie catchers in the target language, then play them with classmates. Have vocabulary prompts available in writing so kids have direction when creating them. Here is a pattern for making them (not mine):

*WORD SEARCHES, COLOR BY NUMBER, CROSSWORDS, ETC are always a great activity to have on hand for fast finishers, tailored for age level. I like to have ones out that are related to the theme we are currently engaged in, or ones that review vocabulary from previous themes.

*GAMES OF ALL KINDS can be adapted for fast finisher activities- I love Dominos for little learners and, since it is popular in a number of Spanish speaking countries, it is authentic yet familiar. Provide a map of the Caribbean with Cuba, Puerto Rico, and Dominican Republic highlighted to give them context! Another fun game I started with my students I call 'Tapatodo', where students try to be the first to cover their board, a great review of vocabulary. You can find our set of 16 gameboards here!