Resources for Teaching Languages to Children


How to Build & Maintain Relationships With Your Students in a 90% Classroom

SO, YOU'VE MADE THE COMMITMENT TO TEACH 90% IN THE TARGET LANGUAGE IN YOUR CLASSROOM- great! There's just one thing (ok, a lot of things, but let's focus on this one :) )... how are you going to develop and maintain positive relationships with your students if you aren't speaking very much English? This was my greatest concern when I switched over to 90% (and then 100%)... but it was a fear I most definitely did NOT have to worry about! Of course, it took some time to figure that out, so to save you, my dear teacher reader, some of that time, here are some things that work for me with my students!

How to Build Relationships in a 90% Target Language Classroom

*NON VERBAL COMMUNICATION IS KEY: Often overlooked or forgotten as a factor in creating and maintaining relationships is how we interact with our students- the tone of my voice, my facial gestures/ expressions, my body language- regardless of the language I am speaking, my students can tell how I feel about them based on how I look and sound to them. If I am smiling at them, hugging them or patting them on the back, using a friendly, caring tone, being patient with them, this goes a LONG way toward building relationships with my students. We do this unconsciously- the good news here is that you are ALREADY doing things to build a relationship with your students that don't involve language- keep doing them!

*POSITIVE ENCOURAGEMENT AND CLASS CELEBRATION: It is part of my job to create a safe and encouraging environment for my students to learn in. Celebrating success is vital to this, especially as, in a 90% classroom, students often feel challenged or unsure. Being very vigilant as a teacher to students who need a little extra "you can do it!" and "look, you HAVE done it!" is crucial, without overlooking the rest of the students who also need a morale boost on a regular basis. Whether it's a class applause, a high five, a thumbs up, however you choose to celebrate in class, do it consistently and often. Students will feel cared about and on your radar- who doesn't feel good about someone who is looking out for us?

*STRATEGIC USE OF ENGLISH: In a 90% TL classroom, it becomes really important to strategically plan when you are going to use English (this is a real shift in planning, in my opinion). Purposely use some of that 10% English time to reach out to a kiddo or the whole class, strengthening bonds and forging new ones.


How to Teach a Lesson in Elementary Spanish Class Using a Video Clip- Step by Step

I LOVE USING VIDEO CLIPS IN MY ELEMENTARY SPANISH CLASSES-they are a great authentic source of input, and can generate lots of communication and interaction in the target language. And, of course, my students LOVE watching videos, so I am always happy to tap into that interest to increase motivation. I call these 'VIDEO WALKS' after the term 'picture walk' used in gen ed literacy to describe the activity of "walking" through a picture book prior to reading it, just looking at the pictures, talking about them and predicting what will happen in the story.

how to teach a lesson in Spanish class using a video clip

SO, HOW TO TEACH A LESSON USING A VIDEO CLIP? Here's my break down of a short Pocoyó video for Valentine's Day. My goal is to practice vocabulary in context by stopping the clip at intervals and asking a series of questions my students can answer. You will note I make lots of use of the 'either/or' question- these are great for novice learners as the answer is embedded in the question, providing linguistic support for your varied learners, and helps the entire class stay in the target language. I also do a lot of pointing to parts of the video, especially if it is vocabulary that they may not know, but is obvious if I point to it on the screen- 'balsa' (raft) for example. Typically when I am using a clip/ video for a lesson, I will first show the clip, stopping at intervals and asking questions, and then show the clip a second time without stopping so my students can just watch it. Since we've already gone through and asked questions and elicited reactions, that has primed the mental pump and I often have kids calling out vocabulary we've just used during the first run through. Modify the questions to suit your students!

POCOYÓ- Paisajes Románticos:

0:01: ¿Cuál es la fecha? (What is the date?)
0:05: ¿Toca la música Pocoyó, sí o no? (Is Pocoyó playing music, yes or no?)
0:12: ¿Toca el piano Ely o Pato? (alternate: ¿Toca el piano Pato, sí o no?) (Is Ely or Pato playing the piano? alternate: Is Pato playing the piano, yes or no?)
0:12: ¿Es Ely una bailarina o dentista? (Is Ely a ballerina or dentist?)
0:12: ¿Está llevando Ely un tutu o un sombrero? (Is Ely wearing a tutu or a hat?)
0:12: ¿De qué color es el sombrero de Pato? (What color is Pato's hat?)
0:24: ¿Hace frío o hace calor? (Is is hot or cold?)
0:24: ¿Cuántos icebergs (témpanos) hay? (How many icebergs are there?)
0:24: ¿Toca el violín Pato o Pocoyó? (Is Pato or Pocoyó playing the violin?)
0:24: ¿De qué color es la balsa? (What color is the raft?)
0:24: ¿De qué color es el sombrero de Pulpo? (What color is Pulpo's hat?)
0:30: ¿Tienen Ely y Pato hambre o sed? (Are Ely and Pato hungry or thirsty?)
0:30: ¿Qué comen Ely y Pato, espaguetis o la pizza? (What are Ely and Pato eating, spaghetti or pizza?)
0:40: ¿Van Pato y Ely en carro o en avión? (Are Pato and Ely in a car or airplane?)
0:40: ¿De qué color es la bufanda de Ely? (What color is Ely's scarf?)
0:40: ¿De qué color es el avión? (What color is the airplane?)
0:40: ¿Es Pato dentista o piloto? (Is Pato a dentist or pilot?)
0:51: ¿Qué forma se aparece en el cielo? (What shape appears in the sky?)
1:00: ¿Qué hacen Ely y Pato, bailan o cantan? (What are Ely and Pato doing, dancing or singing?)
1:09: ¿Toca el piano o la guitarra Pocoyó? (Is Pocoyo playing the piano or the guitar?)

¿Te gustó el video? (Did you like the video?)

WANT TO SEE A LESSON IN ACTION? Here is one of my Second Grade classes with the trailer to a movie about Ratoncito Pérez: (I have several others on my Youtube channel here)