When students are in high school learning Spanish, the reading practice they often get is in a textbook or from excerpts of novels or articles for teens or adults written by Spanish speaking authors. These resources provide a great opportunity to build vocabulary, cultural knowledge, grammar skills, verb usage, and comprehension.
But, one resource I like to recommend parents and teachers add to the Spanish reading mix are children’s books and novels. I like to take advantage of these resources because they provide students with an opportunity to more easily learn everyday Spanish language usage.
The reading level of these books for a native Spanish speaker is at a child’s level which provides high school students with something easier to read, but that uses the Spanish language at its various difficulty levels. For example, in the page examples you see in this picture from the El osito polar book, there are verbs used in the present, preterite, and imperfect tenses. There is also grammar usage of indirect object pronouns. Students in the second semester of their second year of high school Spanish, would be able to read this fairly easily.
In the example of the pages shown from El cachorrito de Arturo, there is use of verbs in the preterite, present, and future tenses. There is also use of verbs in the subjunctive as well as direct and indirect object pronouns. This material would be more easily read by third-year high school Spanish students.
If you are a teacher, you will be able to look at some children’s books or novels and determine what would best fit your students.
If you are a parent, I would offer this advice:
Personally, I have found that reading children's books and novels really helps build the high school student's everyday Spanish language skills while challenging them to read at a native level. They don’t feel overwhelmed with these materials and enjoy them.
I know many times I have read things, and as I was reading them, said to myself, "Oh, so that's how they say that!"
PS - If you're looking for resources for practicing Spanish, visit my Pinterest boards! Or if you need a curriculum for your classes or homeschool, check out my curriculum!
A great way to build Spanish conversation as well as reading and writing skills is to write and perform skits. The process of writing and performing skits pushes students to creatively bring together the many verbs, vocabulary, and grammar concepts they have been learning in an open-ended communicative way.
I follow these steps to write a Spanish skit:
If you are teaching a class, write a skit together first. Come up with a theme and characters, and create a verb bank on the board for help. Students raise hands to tell you what the narrator and characters should say, and you write it on the board. The students also write it on paper.
Once you are done, volunteers act it out. Then let students write their own skits in pairs or small groups. For more fun, have them bring props to perform them at the next class.
HERE is an example of a skit my students and I wrote. It is in 4 small pieces because I put it in the computer and printed it into small booklets for the "performers".
Writing skits is not easy because the students will find that they can’t yet say things the way they want, but they will figure out clever ways to communicate using what they know. Once they get going, the language does begin to flow a little more easily.
PS - If you're looking for a Spanish curriculum for your homeschool or to teach classes, take a look at Spanish for You! for grades 3-8. It's simple, effective, and affordable!
If your kids are learning Spanish, there are so many ways you can use toys to add some hands-on practice. Hands-on practice is valuable because it provides students with a multi-sensory learning experience where they touch, look, listen, speak, and move around. They become totally immersed in the practice, and as a result master material better.
Here are some of the ways I like to use toys for Spanish practice:
PS - If you're looking for a Spanish curriculum for your homeschool or to teach classes, take a look at my curriculum, Spanish for You! It makes teaching and learning Spanish easy and fun!
Spanish for You! strives to make teaching and learning Spanish simple, effective, and affordable. In the same vein, I like to take that same approach to other areas of daily life. So, here is a list of simple and effective things you can do to save money AND help the environment:
PS - If you're looking for a Spanish curriculum for grades 3-8 for your HOMESCHOOL or to TEACH CLASSES, take a look at Spanish for You! It is simple, effective, and affordable!
Some years ago my mom asked me what I wanted for Christmas. One item I said I wanted was a big, laminated world map! That might sound like a strange thing to ask for, but I wanted it for playing different games in my classes.
As a teacher I spend money buying items I think will be fun and effective to use in my lessons, but it can get expensive. For that reason, I really enjoy receiving gifts I can use for teaching.
Since homeschool parents are teachers, I thought I would provide a list of gift ideas for your homeschool or that someone else could treat you to:
If you’re buying any of these gifts for someone else, please don’t worry about the time limit for the download items. Just drop me a note at email@example.com, and when needed, we can forward the link to your gift recipient.
Often students are confused about when to use accent marks when writing Spanish words. There are two reasons accent marks are used: to change the meaning of the word or to “break the rules” as I call it.
Here are examples of how they change the meanings of words:
Now the other reason - In Spanish there are a couple of “rules” that tell us where the stress of a word naturally falls. If a word ends in a vowel, n, or s, the stress falls naturally on the second to last syllable, like in: habla, comen, chicas, papeles. No accent marks needed.
If a word ends in any other letter, the stress naturally falls on the last syllable, like in: papel, edad, beber.
So, when we want to “break the rules” we need an accent mark to tell us where the stress should fall. For example: lápiz. According to the “rules” since lápiz ends in a consonant, the stress should fall on the last syllable, BUT that is not how the word is pronounced, so we need to add an accent mark to show where the stress is placed.
Here are some other “rule breakers”: canción, nación, fútbol, música, fantástico.
And that's about it!
PS - If you need a curriculum for your homeschool or classes grades 3-8, take a look at my curriculum, Spanish for You! It makes teaching and learning Spanish simple, effective, and affordable - fun too!
Yesterday we sorted Spanish verbs on the board in class. This is such a great activity because it is simple to do, the kids enjoy all the moving around, and it engages them in learning their Spanish verb conjugations. Here is what we did:
What was really great about this activity was that all the students were engaged, even at the end as we were talking about the patterns for each group. I could really see them thinking about the patterns.
One student came up with a brilliant pattern explanation for the "he/she/you formal" verbs. He said, "They are the same as when we use them as commands to tell someone to do something." This was a pattern connection that I think was very helpful for everyone because the "he/she/you formal" verb forms seem to be the hardest in general for my students to get because there isn't an obvious pattern.
With my curriculum, Spanish for You!, students make a lot of Spanish verb flashcards. One thing they are instructed to do for review is to sort their verb flashcards into their groups. Since we had just done this together, I took advantage to remind them to be sure to do this at home.
To add fun, they can even time themselves to see how quickly they can do it.
You could do the same in a classroom. Time the class to see how quickly everyone can sort or how much can get sorted within a certain time.
Give this activity a try and enjoy! (I used this with my grades 4-6 class.)
PS - If you're looking for a Spanish curriculum that is easy to implement, effective, and affordable, take a look at Spanish for You!
To teach the Spanish “vosotros” or not, that is the question!
I choose to teach it and put it in my curriculum for two main reasons.
The first reason is because it is part of the language. It is the second person plural form in conjugated verbs in all tenses as well as in grammatical items such as, personal pronouns, direct and indirect object pronouns, reflexive pronouns, possessive adjectives in their long and short forms, and possessive pronouns.
Take a look HERE.
As you can see, the “vosotros” form is an integral part of the Spanish language. Many people believe that if you teach the “vosotros” forms, then you are teaching “Spain” Spanish, but that is not true as long as you teach students when and where to use those forms.
I believe it is important to give students ALL of the language which leads me to the second reason I always teach the “vosotros”. It is because we never know where our children in their futures may end up wanting to or needing to use their Spanish.
From personal experience, I did my undergraduate study abroad in Spain. Had I not studied the “vosotros” forms, I would have been lost. Later, when I worked for several years in exporting for U.S. manufacturers, I had to be able to communicate in Spanish to all customers from Latin America AND Spain. Had I not been educated in ALL of the Spanish language, I would not have been able to do that job.
Here are some of the situations in which children may need or want to use Spanish in their future with people from Spain:
I think that if students are going to put so much time and effort into learning a language, I should include everything. To learn the “vosotros” forms after the fact can be a frustrating and daunting task.
I feel obligated to make sure that while students are learning, I am giving them everything I can to fulfill whatever possibilities their futures may bring.
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The Spanish Question/Answer Caterpillar Game is a fun and easy way to get students practicing Spanish verb conjugation, vocabulary, and grammar in a conversational way. This game can be used with elementary and middle school students.
You just create a set of question/answer cards with the Spanish vocabulary and verbs and/or grammar that you would like your students to practice. For example, if you are doing a unit on food, then pull together questions that use vocabulary and verbs from that unit. Include grammar in those questions too if you can/need to.
Examples of question/answer cards can be seen in the photo above.
Then divide your students into pairs and give each pair a set of cards, about 20 different questions so that one person has 10 and the other has 10 different ones.
They take turns asking the questions to each other. If a player answers correctly, then he/she gets to draw a body segment onto his/her caterpillar. The player who has the longest caterpillar when they have gone through all the questions wins.
You can modify this to play as a class together. To do this, just divide your students into teams. As you ask teams questions, they get to add a body segment to their caterpillar for every one they answer correctly. You can let them draw their caterpillars themselves or draw them for the teams on your board.
If you use Spanish for You!, you can get many of your questions from the Interactive Use of Verbs section in your book and/or from the worksheets. You can also use questions from the Common Words and Phrases page.
You can also have students create their own questions. The possibilities to vary this game to fit your needs are many!
To get your PDF copy of this game’s instructions, just download HERE.
PS - If you are looking for a Spanish curriculum for your elementary or middle school classes or homeschool, give us a look!
You can easily and affordably implement an effective elementary or middle school Spanish program at home or in a co-op classroom with Spanish for You!
Teaching and learning Spanish is fun and easy to do because Spanish for You! provides teachers, parents, and students with step-by-step lessons that never leave you wondering what you need to do and that are filled with a variety of easily taught activities.
The philosophy behind the Spanish for You! curriculum is that foreign language learning and teaching can be fun and provide academic excellence in a simple, effective, and affordable way.
Spanish for You! can provide this to you because it is written and taught by me, Debbie Annett, a 16-year veteran teacher with 11 years as a homeschool co-op teacher. I know first-hand what parents, teachers, and students’ needs are. So, I design my materials accordingly, and then take what I do with my students and format it for others to use. Everything comes directly from me to you!
You will find that with Spanish for You! -
If you need a curriculum for co-op classes, this is just for you! Here is how it so easily works: