Resources for Teaching Languages to Children


Activities You Can Do with Social Distancing & No Contact Restrictions

TEACHING WITH SOCIAL DISTANCING and no contact restrictions in mind, though a challenge, does not necessarily mean we have to throw everything out and start afresh. Many of our old favorites (and new ones!) can be successfully done even with these restrictions in mind. Here is a list of my brainstormed ideas, please add yours in the comments!

Activities for world  language class with social distancing restrictions Spanish French
'Listen and draw' Activity
*Freeze Dance
*Simon Says
*What’s missing?
*What doesn’t belong?
*Where’s the ___? (Example on this post here)
*Listen and Draw
*Read and Draw
*Draw and label
*Picture book Walks
*Video Walks
*Four Corners (modify by labeling each corner with a number, kids then indicate the corner they want to “stand in” by showing the number)
*Reciting Poems
*Would you rather?
*Polls & surveys
*Color by number, dot to dots with numbers out of order
*I spy
*Guessing games of all kinds
*Crafts (have the materials organized in small paper bags & ready to go)
*Yoga, Brain Gym and Tai Chi (See my post The Calm Classroom)
*Meditation activities
*Live webcams
*Mini books
*Journaling activities
*Brackets such as those for March Madness

Many of these activities I am also including on my Youtube library of ideas which you can check out by clicking here!

As well, individual activities in folders (which they don’t share and keep with them) and online via platforms like Seesaw, Google Classroom, and the many Kahoot style games, are all ones that can form a portion of class (I am really eager to not rely solely on digital activities for class as I do still want kids to interact with one another).

Using Paper Activities during Social Distancing and Remote Learning

Let’s also not forget that all those routines we do on a regular basis, greetings, lost teeth, birthdays, daily news, weather commentary, etc can still, and should, be done. Putting a kiddo’s name on the Ratoncito Pérez or La Petite Souris poster after losing a tooth is still so important!

For more ideas related to re-opening, check out these posts:
*Outdoor Classroom
*Offscreen Activities for Remote Learning
*Photo Prompts for World Language Classes
*Tips for the Traveling Teacher

And a few Craft posts:

*Tissue paper flowers (to reduce movement & contact, have everyone make flowers the same color, such as yellow for marigolds, instead of choosing colors)
*Paper poinsettias
*Tiny Books

Highlight authors & illustrators of picture books

I LOVE PICTURE BOOKS - THEY CAN BE A VEHICLE TO BOTH LANGUAGE & CULTURE IN CONTEXT.... but it didn’t occur to me until recently how important it is to not just read the author & illustrator’s names, but to show photos of them as well to fully represent who they are. We often talk about how important it is for children to see themselves in the books they encounter-I think this should be expanded to include seeing themselves in the creators of these books as well.

SINCE PICTURE BOOKS DONT ALWAYS INCLUDE PHOTOS of the author & illustrator, you may have to do a little leg work and search them out yourselves. The collage I created above was easily put together via Google search-I typed their names as well and voila -a visual ready to accompany reading the story! :)

NOTE: You can also put a flag next to each indicating where they are from!

How to use a picture book when the text is too difficult for your students
How to develop a theme from a picture book step by step

The Outdoor Classroom for World Language Classes- A Round Up of Ideas

TEACHING IN THE AGE OF COVID BRINGS WITH IT UNIQUE CHALLENGES....and OPPORTUNITIES! For us teaching elementary world language, we are, I think, in a lucky position to be able to take on one approach that seems to be slowly gaining in interest... the OUTDOOR CLASSROOM. With the need for greater social distancing, being outside means you have more space, and of course ventilation is not an issue. There are also TONS of difficulties & drawbacks, I am fully aware, especially if you were to consider being entirely outside and most especially if you live in the north... weather conditions, access to the building for bathrooms, nurse, etc. That being said, there are some pretty cool pros also. I thought it might be helpful to outline some ways you can take your classes outside on a regular basis to reduce your exposure to Covid-19, and have fun in the process. NOTE: Many of these ideas have materials included in my theme packs to go along with the idea, or will, as I am working on them this summer :)

The Outdoor Classroom for World Language Spanish French

Like any setting, you need to think about what routines & procedures are going to make the most sense, and what ones you already do that can be adapted for the situation. Things like giving instructions, lining up, behavior expectations and physical boundaries (depending on the lesson you might consider putting out cones or another marker to define the space being used so you don't have a wanderer :) ), use and storage of materials, hygiene, etc. You might also need to consider how you will accommodate for sun, ticks, mosquitos, and other outdoor challenges. Lastly, all the activities below take covid-19 hygiene into consideration, meaning little to no sharing of items, and social distancing capability :)

Consider starting each lesson, as you would any lesson, with a greeting activity. You can then move into singing a song together, and then one or more of the activities listed below. Don't forget to bring everyone back together at the end for closing :)


*SCAVENGER HUNTS: A natural outdoors activity! You may have seen my colors scavenger hunt pages, which was a huge hit with teachers during the remote learning closure; keep in mind that you can also "stage" items to be found, not just have kids look for items already in place. See my post on bilingual scavenger hunts here for photos of how this can look! The modification to that one would obviously be not to collect any items in a bag as you don't want to then have to disinfect them :) A number of my theme packs include scavenger hunts, such as Pepita y el oso (Las estaciones), Uno, dos, tres (Numbers Theme Pack), amongst others. If you are using clip boards, I suggest you have kids use hand sanitizer before touching them and then again after use.

*TALLIES: Like scavenger hunts, tally activities require kids to observe what they see around them, using tally marks to record those observations. Put a time limit on the activity, then come together to share out each students' findings. I have a bunch of stand alone packs as well as tally activities included in larger packs, such as Backyard Birds (Spanish), Backyard Birds (French)Buenos días (Greetings)En el jardínDans le jardin and more.

Tally Mark Activities for World Language Outdoor Classroom

*I SPY: Like scavenger hunts, I spy is perfect for any setting, including outdoors. Have color cards ready as visuals, especially for your littles (remember, visuals are a go-to strategy for conveying meaning, and therefore not having to translate to English, regardless of being in a classroom or outdoors. Be sure to have those ready to go!) For your youngest students, in particular, to stay in the target language, you can have students POINT to what they think the object is if they don't know how to say it. This non verbal strategy allows all kids to participate.

*PLAYGROUND GAMES: There are tons of traditional games that can be played outdoors, providing both language and culture together. Choose ones that don't involve contact and support social distancing, such as Uno, dos, tres, calabaza (Red light, green light), Hopscotch, jumprope games & chants (students don't share jumpropes), Rock, paper, scissors, shoot with hula hoops (see idea here), Tierra y mar (de África), and so on. Another fun activity along these lines is to make paper airplanes, then have a contest to see whose flies the furtherest!

WEATHER JOURNALS: Keeping a weather journal is a natural connection to being outside! Kids keep track of the weather over the course of a week or a month, creating drawings and/or writing phrases each lesson. You can combine this with tracking the weather in a target language country for cultural comparisons and content related instruction. We have monthly calendar pages included in our Weather Bulletin Board Kits for Spanish and French.

Track the Weather in World Language Classes Spanish French

*DROP EVERYTHING AND READ: My school has historically had DEAR time during the day for upper elementary where there is silent time for reading, what is often called FVR in world language classes. This can easily be incorporated outside, especially if you use our printable minibooks which kids can then take with them so you don't have to worry about disinfecting them like you would hard cover/paper back books. For younger kids, you could also do story time, reading a picture book to kids just like at circle.

*CHALK ART & MESSAGES: A perennial favorite, using chalk to write messages in the target language and/or draw is a winner every time. In order to make this feasible with covid-19 in mind, you would need individual sets of chalk. I would suggest checking out one of the dollar stores as they frequently have inexpensive sets; colors may be limited but for this purpose should be fine! :) NOTE: using chalk will definitely get hands messy. This activity will require wipes or a visit to the bathroom to wash hands so factor this in if you are doing it with classes :)

Chalk Messages for World Language Outdoor Classes

*PUT ON A PLAY! Plays tap into what little kids already do-imaginative play! They can also incorporate purposeful movement, which is extremely helpful, especially for those friends with focus issues. Consider simple plays that don't require a "stage" to perform-for example, in our Three Plays for Preschool (& early elementary!), for the play 'La lluvia' you can assign the weather props to kids without having them hold them, and they act them out as the play progresses. Being outdoors actually gives them more room to "act"! :)

Plays for Preschool Spanish Class that Can be Done Outdoors

I ALSO HAVE A BUNCH OF ACTIVITIES that work really well outdoors on my Off Screen Activities post here including using natural items to create pictures, people and more!

UPDATE: A number of people have been asking me, what about once it gets cold???? I, too, have been thinking about this, especially living here in Maine where winter lasts from the end of Oct right into April. Here are some ideas to get you & your classes outdoors even when it's snowy & cold:

*BUILD A SNOWMAN: Well, it's obvious right?! Give kids some parameters such as size & a time limit to create their snowman so that everyone has a chance to finish theirs. To add a listening component, you could direct them step by step-okay, lets make the body. Now, make the head. and so on. If you are really ambitious, you can bring in sticks, pebbles, carrots etc for decorating the snowmen :)))

>You can take this in a different direction by creating snow sculptures-another fun way to get creative with kids. If you are able, you can also photo their sculptures & upload them to the online platform you are using so kids can later annotate them, use them to create stories, etc. 

*BIRD FEEDERS: This activity would definitely benefit from some parent donations of bird seed! ;) Students can make bird feeders out of a variety of items, including stringing Cheerios on pipe cleaners, then bending into fun shapes (super easy, even for littles!), decorating a small milk carton and attaching a string for hanging, or stringing egg cartons on branches (you can break the bigger ones apart to make smaller feeders) and putting bird seed in the cups. Then head outdoors to hang them up in your school garden or grounds. Filling these can then become a regular occurrence, as well as observing who's coming to your feeders (see bird tallies above!) and/or checking the birdy feet prints on the snow below :) NOTE: If you don't want to do the craft part in your own class, esp the milk carton one, for ex, consider teaming up with the art or homeroom teacher!

*MINUTE TO WIN IT SNOWBALL CHALLENGE: No, this is not how many snowballs can you throw at another person lol Instead, it's how many snowballs you can make in a minute! Easy & fun!

*WINTER SCAVENGER HUNT (see my paragraph on scavenger hunts above-I have a winter one in my Pepita y el oso pack!)

*BE AN ARCTIC/ANTARCTIC ANIMAL: Use the weather to your advantage to act out animals that live in cold places, like polar bears, penguins, seals and more! Use visuals for unfamiliar animals and to support comprehension without having to translate to English/common class language. 

What ones have you thought of? Share in the comments! :)

Summer Reading List 2020 for Children and Tweens

HERE COMES SUMMER and time for my annual list of great reads! This year, as with every year, really, there are some AMAZING books with themes, protagonists, and connections to countries & peoples who speak Spanish and indigenous languages. These are a great way to foster a continuance of our Spanish classes beyond the school building, while also encouraging and supporting literacy for our kiddos. AND, I will add, supporting the authors and illustrators of these books means you are also placing value on having books published by #ownvoices and amplifying their voices and access to the publishing community. This year I am including their social media handles (if available) so you can follow them & spread the word!

Summer Reading List 2020 HIspanic Latino Bilingue


2019 Summer Reading List
2018 Summer Reading List
2017 Summer Reading List
2015 Summer Reading List 

*MI PAPI TIENE UNA MOTO by Isabel Quintero, illustrated by Zeke Peña (also available in English): I love this touching story of the author's memories spent with her father. I was able to catch her live reading on Instagram in April-so wonderful! I also included Isabel's book, Ugly Cat and Pablo in my 2017 reading list. :) Twitter handle for Isabel Quintero: @isabelinpieces Zeke Peña @zpvisual

*SEÑORITA MARIPOSA by MisterG (Ben Gundersheimer) and illustrated by Marcos Almada Rivero. A gorgeously illustrated book featuring la Mariposa monarca! Mister G follows a monarch butterfly on her journey of migration, while Almada uses his artistic talent to draw connections about friendship and community across borders-perfect for a theme on the monarchs, or any time! Twitter Handle for MisterG: @MisterGsongs

*JUST ASK!/ ¡SOLO PREGUNTA! by Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor and illustrated by Rafael López: I could go on forever about how much I LOVE this book-each child's voice depicting their particular uniqueness (race, Tourette's syndrome, ADHD, blindness, etc) is touching and completely relatable-so well written and accessible for kids. Rafael López Twitter Handle: @rafaellopezart

Summer Reading List 2020 Just Ask Sotomayor

*THE DAY YOU BEGIN/ EL DÍA EN QUE DESCUBRES QUIEN ERES by Jacqueline Woodson and illustrated by Rafael López: this is an incredibly touching story of both feeling like an outsider and belonging. This is a great book to open/continue conversations about heritage in your classrooms. Twitter handle: @JackieWoodson

*JUANA Y LUCAS written and illustrated by Juana Medina: set in Colombia, where the author herself is from, this book features a sweet story highlighting aspects of being a kid, including the family pet, having a brother, yummy food, and more. Wonderfully written and filled with information about Colombia! Twitter handle: @juanamedina

*SAL AND GABI BREAK THE UNIVERSE by Carlos Hernandez: This sci-fi mystery, perfect for upper elementary/early middle school is on my own list to read this year and includes magic, Cuban food, and more! This is the first in a series, and as a mystery fan myself, I am looking forward to reading this! Twitter handle: @WriteTeachPlay

*WOVEN IN MOONLIGHT by Isabel Ibañez: I am currently reading this fantasy Young Adult book with significant Bolivian culture embedded throughout. Set in a mythical realm, political intrigue, mystery, magic and the challenges of personal journeys fill the pages- perfect for upper middle school & highschool students! Twitter handle: @IsabelWriter09

Woven in Moonlight Summer Reading List 2020 Hispanic Latino

*EACH TINY SPARK by Pablo Cartaya brings us Emilia Torres, whose father has returned home from deployment but remains distant and troubled. Emilia, who has ADHD, struggles to reconnect with her father, all the while her friendships are being challenged as she becomes more aware of the racial and cultural divides of her community. For a longer review of this book, see my post here. A must read! Twitter handle: @phcartaya

WANT TO RECOMMEND THESE BOOKS to your students and their families? Click here to download a pdf you can share!

How Visuals Can Support Students of Non Target Culture Heritage to Share Their Traditions

WITH THE DEARTH OF MATERIALS CONNECTING JEWISH, MUSLIM, AND OTHER HERITAGES IN SPANISH OR RUSSIAN, I have sometimes found it hard to incorporate traditions, celebrations and other perspectives of my students of these faiths without resorting to using English (as in, maintaining 90-100% in the TL is challenging). Over the past few years, I have been slowing trying to remedy this by creating illustrations and resources that bridge this gap. As I work towards broadening the horizons of my classes, a tweet by Rebecca Blouwolff in response to a request I made on Twitter helped me put into words what my heart was feeling but couldn't articulate well out loud... in asking her how to help me translate the foods on the Passover Seder plate, she mentioned that it was hard to find them in French, that "they are always referenced in Hebrew"...

Visuals for Sharing of Traditions like Passover in Target Language

THIS WAS THE KEY COMMENT I NEEDED, because of course this is true. Traditions, celebrations and the like have names in Hebrew, in Arabic, in Japanese, in Hindi, etc which are used even if the celebrant is not fully proficient in that language. And if a student was interested in sharing about a particular holiday or tradition, it would be natural for them to use that heritage language rather than the target language or even the common language of the group. HERE'S WHERE MY VISUALS COME IN.... my purpose in creating visuals in the target language for these traditions is to allow the sharer to connect the vocabulary of their heritage with the target language being taught in class, without having to resort to using the common class language (in many instances, English). After all, this is what visuals do-allow us to avoid translating to English (or class language) by representing the meaning we are trying to convey. However, for this purpose, I actually envision translation occurring BUT from the heritage language to the TL with the support of the visuals!

SO, FOR EXAMPLE, TAKE MY SEDER PLATE foods.... rather than a student sharing about the traditional foods eaten for Passover in English, he/she could use 'beitzah' in Hebrew and explain in the target language that this means 'huevo' or 'яйцо', and show the visual for a hard boiled egg-without having to say 'egg' in English. :))) (You can find this resource by clicking here!)

THE SECONDARY, AND AS IMPORTANT, purpose of the visuals I am creating is to provide representation, a presence, for ALL our students-even in the small town, close to rural, school I teach in has diversity of ethnicity, background, and heritage. Much like we say that our students should see themselves in the books we provide, too we need to have visuals and resources available for students so they see themselves in the regular flow and interaction of our classes. When a student can reach out and grab a set of cards representing Passover, imagine what that feels like to her or him!

I would LOVE to hear your thoughts and perspective-my goal in these endeavors is to use my rudimentary artistic abilities to fill a gap I see, honoring all of our friends who come through our class doors :)

Activities for Distance Learning That AREN'T Online

DISTANCE LEARNING CAN BE CHALLENGING, ESPECIALLY FOR ELEMENTARY WORLD LANGUAGE CLASSES where we are used to getting up and moving with our students, and doing lots of interactive activities with them. Many of us have moved to sharing links and resources online, but I've been also trying to mix those up with activities which don't involve a screen or have an off screen component. Here is a growing list of ideas you can add to a choice board or share with your students via your regular communication channels.

Off Screen No Tech Distance Learning Activities for World Language Class

*SCAVENGER HUNTS: My students love doing these in class, so why not encourage them to do one at home? Students can draw or put items on their scavenger hunt board, then have parents take a photo and share it with you. Here's the link to one for colors, in SIX languages, which you can download for free.

*EXERCISES IN THE TARGET LANGUAGE: Give your students an exercise regimen! Have them do 10 jumping jacks, bunny hops, burpees, skips, cartwheels, sit ups, etc and prompt them to count in the target language.

*PLAY UNO: A perennial favorite game at home, now they can say the colors & numbers in the target language! War, Go fish!, and Crazy 8s would all be great card games to play in the TL, too!

Play Uno en español Distance Learning Games in Spanish

*NATURE ART: Inspired by our art teacher, this is a simple activity that any age group can do. Simply provide a verbal or written prompt of what they should "draw" outside using natural elements, such as sticks, leaves, stones, and more. For example, right before school closed, my Kinders were finishing up our theme on El, one of their at-home activities is to choose one (or more!) of our zoo animals and "draw" it outside. I have paired it with a Youtube link to one of a series of videos we've already watched in class-they are awesome! Here's the one for el elefante And here is a video I took of me giving my students instructions for this activity :)

Give a Prompt in the Target Language to Create Nature Art

As a follow up to the nature art, depending on proficiency & age level, you can have kids label their art, take a photo & share with you. They can also provide a list of target vocabulary along with the photo instead of labeling it.

*CREATE & DESCRIBE: Inspired by a number of photos I saw on Pinterest, and along the lines of nature art, kids could also create a person out of objects, such as this leaf person, then provide a short description-could be a simple as just sharing a name & it's color, or could write or record additional details such as what the "person" eats, or likes to do, etc. You can also see my video introducing this activity to students by clicking here.

Create & Describe Activity for World Language Classes

*PLAYGROUND GAMES: I wrote a post a few years ago with games we can play OUTDOORS, which are perfect to share with students (who can play with their siblings & families!) Here's the link to that post.  Along with those FIVE TRADITIONAL games, you can also share how to create a traditional rayuela (hopscotch) and/or this cool African version frequently played in many Spanish speaking countries.

*HAND CLAPPING GAMES: Speaking of playground games, don't forget about Choco-choco-la-la and Mari-po-sa, amongst others that your kiddos may already know-have them teach a family member or pet!

*TRADITIONAL BOARD GAMES: Games, games, and more games! Another fun way to incorporate culture is with board games, such as the set I created featuring FIVE board games from a variety of countries. Share the rules as well as the boards with students-they can play at home! You can grab them by clicking here!

5 Traditional Board Games from Spanish speaking Countries

*WEATHER JOURNAL: Prompt students to start a WEATHER JOURNAL by drawing seven squares on a piece of paper, labeling each square for a day of the week (hey, calendar vocabulary, too!) and then tracking the weather each day by drawing icons to represent the weather and writing in the target language the associated phrases. BONUS FUN: Share with them a link to a weather website in a target language country and have them track the weather there, too! You can find calendar pages to create a weather journal as part of our Spanish and French Weather Bulletin board kids.

*BIRD WATCHING COLOR TRACK: I LOVE watching birds come to our feeders outside-even here in Maine, we have a large variety of birds that visit! Though the names of birds in the target language might not constitute high frequency vocabulary, colors are. Repurpose the free scavenger hunt page(s) above by having students use the one in your target language to tally the colors of birds they see outside-set a time limit of 10-15 minutes (or longer)... students put tally marks in the boxes representing the colors they see, then share with you/the class via the platform you are using. (The great part about this activity, as well as many in this post, is kids can do them multiple times! ;) )

*WRITE A POEM: I love the poems which utilize vocabulary words as the outline for a drawing. Provide your students with a set of vocabulary words (could be just one or a set) and prompt them to create a drawing using those words as the outlines-they can then share with you/the class :) The one shown below has just two words- flower & leaf.

Word Poems for World Language Class

*NATURE WALK: One of the activities I include in my En el jardín / Dans le jardin theme packs is tracking what one sees out in nature (worm, bird, flower, etc). Invite your students to do the same when they are out in their garden (if you already have the theme pack, awesome!), or on a hike. They can use tally marks to indicate what they see of each thing.

*SING WHILE WASHING HANDS: Challenge your students to sing a familiar song in the target language while they are washing their hands :)

*COOTIE CATCHERS: Many kids know how to make cootie catchers (they could teach me!)-prompt them to create a cootie catcher using the target language, either entirely, or as a bilingual one (numbers and colors for the initial two rounds, for ex, while fortunes are in the home language).

Using Objects at Home to Spell in the World Language

*FOUND OBJECTS SPELLING: A special shout out to Señora Dana who inspired me with her idea of leaving words spelled using sticks on hiking trails for her students to find... (how cool is that??!!) How about providing your students with a list of words they can choose from (or for older kids, the prompt can be "choose 'x number' of words") to spell using objects found in or around their home & yard. I love this because regardless of what type of socioeconomic group students are from, they have access to the activity, as can be seen in the photo below where I used carrots to spell 'Hola' and stones to spell 'Adiós'. I also love the idea of having the objects themselves connect to the word being spelled, such as in the foto above where I spelled 'rojo' using all red items :)

Use found objects to spell words in the target language

LET ME NOTE: I have been careful to not include activities like cooking and crafts because so many kids either may not have these materials at home and/or I do not want to encourage families to go out to stores during this #stayathome time.

Photo Prompt Activities for Remote School Learning with Pepita

MANY OF US ARE SUDDENLY IN NEED OF REMOTE LEARNING ACTIVITIES as our schools close for extended periods of time due to Coronavirus. I have created a set of 12 activity pages in Spanish you can send home with your students (click here to download for FREE), and thought that additionally some of you might want to keep connected with Pepita, the gang, and the themes from our resources. To that end, over the course of the next month (at least) I will be posting 2-4 picture prompts a week featuring our characters which you can share with your students.

Remote Learning Photo Prompt Activities for Elementary Spanish


*SHARE A PHOTO WITH STUDENTS-you can do this by downloading the photo from my drive (links will be updated on this blog post each week) and sharing it via the platform you are using to connect with students-just be sure to give photo credit where/if applicable.
*PROMPT STUDENTS to generate a list of vocabulary they see in the photo-could be one or two words, or could be many. These are geared for Novice students, so single words, chunks, & simple phrases are what one would expect at this level. You can have them record their words or type them (for upper elementary students). You can also pair the photo with a list of words they can circle virtually (such as on Seesaw)

So, for example, in the above photo, words generated could include:
rojo (a)
rosado (rosa)
cuatro frutas
Tengo hambre.
Me gustan las frutas
Me gustan las peras
No me gustan.....

I think you get the drift! :)

*SOME PHOTOS WILL CONTAIN PROMPTS-my plan is to have some of the photos come with prompts embedded in the image itself (for example, it could contain a question related to what is pictured) which I am hoping will provide extension for your students.

That's it- ¡pan comido! Here we go:

Click here to download :) 
En el zoo photo prompt for remote school learning
Click here to download
Click here to download
Photo Prompt for Distance Learning Pepita Nest
Click here to download 
Picture Prompts for Distance Learning in World Language Spring Crocuses
Click here to download
I love this one with the crocuses to foster seasonal vocabulary along with what's actually in the photo- spring, "it's warm out", "it's sunny", "I like spring"; you could also add the question Which is your favorite season? or Do you like spring? etc :)

Photo prompts for Remote Learning Picasso
Click here
I was inspired by the person who did an art museum for their guinea pig! These are props from our theme pack Pepita lee sobre Pablo Picasso :) And below, for French teachers, Monet painting in a field :)

Monet Field of Poppies Picture Prompt
Click here
Let's not forget about Frida Kahlo!! Here's a simple vignette with one of her paintings of fruit :) Some of the props come from my theme pack Pepita lee sobre Frida Kahlo :)

Frida Kahlo Photo Prompt for World Language
Click here

Alphabet Bead Bracelets which Celebrate Positive Attributes for World Language Class

ONE OF MY THEMES FOR FOURTH GRADE SPANISH IS YO SOY... with personal adjectives that celebrate positive self descriptors, such as adventurous, generous, artistic, etc. This year, after a student told me in wistful tones that he wasn't good at anything, I decided I wanted to do an activity which would build up all my students & provide something they could take with them and actually use after class was over... which led to us making ALPHABET BEAD BRACELETS.

Yo soy alphabet bead bracelets for world language class Spanish French

IT TOOK ONE CLASS PERIOD (30 minutes) TO MAKE THESE BRACELETS. (If you are concerned about time spent in the target language when doing a small project like this, read my previous post about how you can maximize language use when incorporating projects by clicking here).

Yo soy adjectives bead bracelets for World Language Class Spanish

***This activity came at the end of the theme, so my kids were already familiar with the adjectives to choose from.

-elastic cord (you can find this at Walmart, Michael's etc in the jewelry aisle)-for 95 kids, I used approximately two packages of cord
-alphabet beads-this can get EXPENSIVE if you have a lot of students UNLESS you can find the beads at Dollar Tree or another dollar store. Some letters are used WAY more than others, which means you need extra packs. I went through about 12 packs of beads, with 500 beads in each pack. You can find alphabet beads on Amazon as well, but the cost is prohibitive.
-optional: little silver beads to put one on each end-I had found a bunch free this past summer so I used them for this project, definitely not necessary!

-CUT LENGTHS OF CORD (it really helps having these ready to go before class)

1) Have students CHOOSE AN ADJECTIVE that they connect with (I had kids write the adjective down on a 3 x 5 card so everyone was ready to go)

2) Put out BEADS in bowls or small containers-my students are already in groups, so I put one bowl per group. Also hand out lengths of elastic cord so kids can begin stringing.

3) Once the word they've chosen is spelled, tie both ends of the cord together and ¡Ta-chán! they've got a bracelet to wear-in the target language!

NOTE: the alphabet beads did not have accent marks, which takes a little away from the spelling, but because my kids were so familiar with the vocabulary, it was a minimal issue for me.

INTERESTED IN THE THEME PACK I MENTIONED? You can grab it here in my shop!

Yo soy Theme Pack for Spanish class

Preschool Spanish Activity for Valentine's Day Using the Song 'Peekaboo'

I STUMBLED ACROSS THIS VIDEO / SONG FROM SUPER SIMPLE SPANISH & IMMEDIATELY THOUGHT HOW PERFECT IT IS FOR PRESCHOOL SPANISH CLASSES! The song itself is super easy to learn (I do wish it used 'cu- cú' instead of peekaboo, but I'll roll with it lol) and the video lends itself to a fun interactive activity to do alongside learning the song... & fits in well with Valentine's Day!

Preschool Spanish Activity For Valentine's Day


1) BEFORE viewing the song video, establish the vocabulary 'te amo' and 'el gato'- I like to use "heart hands" for 'te amo'-most kids readily understand this. You can pair this with a heart visual, and of course, be sure to indicate the 'te' by pointing from yourself to a kiddo and saying 'te amo'. For 'el gato', a simple visual and the sound 'miau miau' are perfect for establishing meaning of the word :) You can also have a gesture for the cat, such as stroking whiskers, and for peekaboo, an obvious gesture is the peekaboo motion with your hands over your eyes :)

2) START THE VIDEO (click here for video on Youtube): Play and sing along, using the heart hands gesture for 'te amo' until :24 seconds-stop video. At this point in the video, the cats pop out of various places in the video, which makes it perfect for an interactive component with the video itself-by stopping the video as the cat appears, you can then ask the question ¿dónde está el gato? and calling up a kiddo to point it out. ¡Aquí está! Do this each time the cat appears so that multiple students get a turn! When the song resumes, everyone can sing along, then stop again when the cat starts popping out. You can play the song sufficient times for every kid to get a turn "finding" the cat. FUN & EASY ACTIVITY FOR CLASS!


*SING! This is so catchy, you can play it over and over again for the littles; you don't have to do the above activity again, though sometimes that's a fun thing to do after a few classes have gone by (I find my kids are not hugely keen on repeating an activity like this in subsequent lessons UNLESS not everyone got a turn during the first round. The element of surprise is lost, so they tend to want to move on... might just be my kiddos lol)

*WHERE'S THE CAT? GAME: A fun extension is to play one of my favorite games with littles- Where's the ____? (it has endless variations). Using cards with familiar vocabulary on them, such as colors, numbers, whatever you might also be focusing on or want to spiral back for practice, set them up in a pocket chart or on the board using magnets, then have your students close their eyes while you hide a cat image behind one of the cards. Have them open their eyes and take turns trying to guess where the cat is by naming a vocabulary word. Guesses continue until the cat is found, then start a new round. Don't have time to make this game yourself? Here's one I made to go along with the song that focuses on colors! Click here

Where's the Cat game Colors for Preschool Spanish French Russian German

*LABEL SCREENSHOTS: Even pre-literate kids can interact with the written word! For this extension, make a series of screenshots with the cat in each, print them out, and have them placed around the room. Also make a series of small word cards, each with 'gato' on them. Hand a card to each student and have them "search" for el gato and put their label on him/her (on a screenshot). Since you have given the word orally, they are not "reading" per se, but you ARE developing literacy skills by connecting the sound of the word to it's written form. You can go even further if they know colors, parts of the house, or other vocabulary in the video by making word cards of them and having kids "label" the screenshots with color words, etc.

Labeling Activity for Preschool Spanish French

THIS VIDEO IS A PERFECT COMPANION to our Te amo, familia Theme Pack! You can find it by clicking here :)

Te amo familia Spanish Theme Pack for Valentine's Day preschool

Have fun and let me know how it goes!

Annotating for Greater Text Comprehension- A Reading Strategy

FACILITATING READING COMPREHENSION FOR MY ELEMENTARY STUDENTS IS A CONTINUAL GOAL for me in my Spanish classes, with several in place right from the start, including high text to illustration correspondence, repetition of text (and/or pattern sentences), and lots of visual props to accompany my teaching when I introduce a new mini book. Always on the look out for additional strategies, I’ve begun using a new one I adapted from a strategy incorporated by home room teachers: ANNOTATING THE TEXT, or as I like to call it, coding the story.

Annotating For Greater Text Comprehension in World Language Classes

THE CONCEPT IS SIMPLE: Use a series of annotations to create a visual mechanism which conveys the meaning of the words within the text, so that, as students are reading, the meaning jumps out at them immediately (or at least, more quickly). With my 3rd & 4th graders, who are ready to decode simple texts independently, this strategy becomes a way for them to access the story in a different format (rather than me providing all the input & scaffolding verbally in the initial introduction). ***This doesn’t mean it replaces me telling the story, just adds another layer for comprehension purposes.

HOW TO ANNOTATE: Each text being different, the annotating is unique to each story, but here are the MAIN STEPS:

1: Go through the text yourself prior to introducing the story & identify key vocabulary that can be highlighted in some fashion- color coded, circled, small icons or pictographs put under/over, underline, label the illustrations, etc. Concentrate on those concrete words which the coding can help to bring meaning into view quickly. In the above example, you can see a variety of annotations: verde is colored green, queso is colored yellow, Mateo is circled in brown (because he is brown), the spaceship is labeled, a heart is put under ‘favorito’, the planets are labeled. Make a list for your own reference. (This mini book comes from our Theme Pack, Mateo el astronauta, which you can find by clicking here)

2: In class- before reading the story together, hand out the mini book or other text, and begin the process of annotating. Do one annotation at a time so all kids can keep up and don’t get confused during the process. Once the annotating is finished, you can then read through the story using storytelling techniques. As kids follow along, their comprehension is now enhanced by the annotations; this also facilitates future re-readings of the story, and supports your Special Ed kids with concrete connections between text & meaning. I would add that I think kids doing this annotating themselves is more beneficial than you doing it yourself in the text-they are connecting meaning while they are annotating, much like writing has been shown to facilitate learning, as opposed to using a digital device.

Note: this strategy also reduces the need for translating, allowing you to stay in the target language more often :)

A Reading Comprehension Strategy for World Language Classes