Sunday, August 31, 2014

So excited!

We are so thrilled to be part of TpT's blog post on Spanish teachers! What a wonderful community of professionals! See the post here.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Fun and easy colors activity for the beginning of school

My First Graders worked hard on learning their colors (among many other theme sets) last year in Kindergarten and to prime that vocabulary again we have started the school year off with a fun and simple colors practice activity using pompons.


First, I filled 20 bags with a variety of pompons, different sizes and colors. I also made a simple vocabulary sheet with stars on it, one for each of the colors. You can download the vocab page for free here: Star color review activity page

During class, each kiddo has a bag of pompons and a vocab sheet. Before we started, we reviewed the color vocabulary and then we were off! I said a color and instructed them to put all the pompons of that color on the appropriate star. Conversation ensued about how many they had and whether they were tiny, medium size or large, which was so cool! Once everyone had their pompons of that color on the sheet, I said another color and so on. It was really great to have kiddos start calling out colors as well!

Friday, August 15, 2014

Great Bilingual Products from another TpT Seller!

Have you seen Creative Expressions? This two woman team has drawn on many years of experience in the classroom and in administration to build a host of great resources for teaching bilingual programming as well as ESL. I am particularly fond of their philosophy of teaching and learning:  all students can learn! Their products reflect this with strong interactive lessons incorporating a huge opportunity for involvement in critical thinking skills. Lessons are provided with emphasis in differentiation to provide all students with the opportunity to succeed. Their products are thorough, cohesive, and fun!

Visit their store on TpT to check out their offerings and head on over to their blog CreativeExpressionsCenter for wonderful ideas and more resources for teaching. There is a great list of back to school rules for the classroom!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Heading back to school soon...first bulletin board almost ready!

So, perusing through Pinterest I saw many posts about using Social Media with your classes. Since I am a Pinterest junkie, this was very appealing! My kiddos are very used to interacting with my bulletin boards, leaving comments or greetings or filling out questionnaires and leaving their opinions. So, I came up with the idea of highlighting kiddos' projects on a modified Pinterest board, which I have named 'Pinteresante' (clever, right? lol)

The idea is to display activities and projects each week on the white paper with a 'Comentarios' page underneath where kiddos can leave comments in Spanish. At the end of the week, kids can take home their activity and the comments page. I've created a series of talking bubbles with potential comments in Spanish as a reference above the white paper to help with spelling and idea generation for the comments. 
Usually, with my interactive bulletin boards, I instruct the kids that they may leave comments, etc when they come in to school in the morning or at recess time. This avoids other teachers getting growly about kiddos stopping in the hall when they should be with them. They may also go out in the hall and leave comments if they have finished an activity early in my class.

My goal is to highlight every kiddo (K-4) by the end of the school year, which means I need to keep a checklist to be sure I don't miss anyone! As always, I will be modeling with all classes as to how to leave comments, when to leave them, and reminding them to keep it positive and in Spanish. Should be fun!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Decide Now! App- have you seen it yet?

What a cool app! Decide Now! allows you to create custom 'spinner wheels' for all kinds of activities. I originally saw it on Pinterest with kiddos' names on the wheel- you spin the wheel and the kiddo whose name comes up gets a turn- great for random selection of turns. I created the one above for our greetings games which we start every class with- instead of me picking the game, a kiddo can 'spin' the wheel- love it! (Unfortunately, I could not figure out how to make accent marks but I am sure there is a way, will have to investigate further :) )

Friday, August 8, 2014

Answer Key? Why not?

On my way back today from the dump where I scored two NEW muffin tins from the freebie table (I'll explain the muffin tins in a moment) a flash of brilliance (in my opinion lol) struck my last post I shared my 'Activity Shelf', a place where kids can go to find activities when they are done with a project or such. The one challenge I have had with those activities is that often I have to check them to be sure they've accomplished 'the mission', which, if I am needed by a kiddo doing the original project, can get dicey, management-wise. 'Answer keys'- voilá- the flash! Why not take a picture of the finished activity, have that on the activity shelf as well, and when a kiddo is finished, they check the answer key? Why didn't I think of that before? With a little modeling beforehand, I am hoping this will alleviate some of me being needed by 5 kiddos at once! Naturally some activities I will still need to check, and kiddos will need to understand 'no peeking' (hence the modeling beforehand), but this should assist me and foster more independence, which I am always stressing in my classes.

Now, about those muffin tins.... I had seen on Pinterest using muffin tins for categorizing objects- colors, size, etc. Stick little labels in each muffin hole and provide a set of things to be categorized. I particularly like having a mix of items and words so kids have to think not only about the labels but also the objects they are categorizing, as you can see in the second picture in the category for 'blanco'. Love a freebie!


Tuesday, August 5, 2014

"I'm done, now what do I do?"

Yup, we've all had them! The little treasure who finishes early and wants to know what to do next. There's a least one in every class if not several. Being prepared for this eventuality means more organization at the beginning of a lesson/ theme, but less stress once you are in the thick of it. In the past, I had used packets I made up at the beginning of the year and kept in each student's folder so they could always go to that if they finished early. Last year, however, I decided to bump it up A LOT! I was lucky enough to inherit a shelving unit from a retiring unit with 15 cubbies in it, just right for the number of grades I teach (K-4). I labelled each horizontal set of cubbies a different grade, and got creating! For each theme we were doing, I had 3-5 activities on the 'Activity Shelf' (Estante de actividades)... some of these were coloring pages, dot to dots, color by number, puzzles etc while others were games, such as color dominos, Memorama, or El Gato (TicTacToe). I am always thinking about and creating new ideas for this shelf, keeping in mind the activities have to be relatively independent in nature, short on instructions (if any), and last long enough to keep the kiddos interested and active. We've just created a new set of printable activities at Mundo de Pepita which are perfect for any activity shelf, '¡A categorizar! Activity Pages. Create a few sets, sticking the vocab cards in a ziploc baggie and paperclipping them to the category organizer and voilá, kiddos can practice vocab in a fun and appealing way! You can see our set in our TpT store here. 
They are great for individual use as well!
From our set ¡A categorizar! This one features the categories 'En el verano' and 'En el invierno'