Thursday, December 13, 2012


This month has been focused on Celebrations.  We've read books about birthday parties, Santa and his reindeer but I think the kids enjoyed Thanking the Moon (a Chinese celebration of the moon) most of all.   Here is some of the vocabulary that they've picked up.

  • los globos-balloons
  • las luces-lights
  • la luna-the moon
  • la comida-food
  • las estrellas-stars
  • el pastel-cake
  • las linternas-flashlights
We also started learning this sweet song, called Esta lucecita.  The kids use their linternas, and shine them around the room as they sing.  We're just learning the first part of the song and will replace some of the countries with different places as we learn them.

This week, I learned that students P and S's favorite song is "Old McDonald had a farm."  We learned the Spanish version, "Vengan a ver mi granja"  (Come and see my farm)  It was an immediate hit and they already know it pretty well!

Just for fun

Just found out about  You can switch the language to Spanish and they have 6 minute videos that are easy to follow with the talented animations!  I just found this one about a stolen estrella that has lots of vocab that the kids know and will easily follow. 

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

La familia


November began by talking about family.  We learned a little finger play that was quickly memorized by all of the children and now they beg to do it "solito" or "alone." (A couple of them really like to put themselves on the spot).  And then they instigated a second verse which included dogs and horses (I think horses meant to include My Little Ponies as part of the family.

La familia finger play
Mamá, Papá, hermano y hermanita, y la nena aquí está
(Mommy, Daddy, brother and little sister and the baby is right here)

Abuelo, abuela, los perros y caballos en mi familia están
(Grandpa, grandma, dogs and horses are all in my family)

Then we learned this sweet little song...The link below is a recording of a child singing both verses, although we just learned the first verse and then replaced the underlined words with other members of our family including Samantha and Chloe, 2 of our little girls "perros."

Una familia feliz (click here)
Amo a mami, y ella a mí,
y a papá amamos, sí.
Él nos ama a su vez;
oh qué feliz mi casa es.

Amo a mis hermanos,
sí, y su amor me dan a mí.
Todos se aman a su vez;
oh qué feliz mi casa es.

Drama and acting

I've discovered how much the kids love to act and dramatize.  Some of their best language has come out while re-enacting stories.  Our latest story was the well-known Three Billy Goats Gruff (Los Tres Chivitos).  My son and the only boy was the "enano" or troll and the three girls were los tres chivitos.  They incorporated several of the Language Structures from the list below, such as...

1-¿Puedo pasar?                   Can I cross?
2-Quiero comer allí.             I want to eat over there.
3-No, No  Te voy a comer.    I'm going to eat you!!

Language Structures

As promised weeks ago, I've been working on creating a list of basic structures that will help the children become bilingual at a conversational level.  It isn't complete yet but I'm adding to it as I do more research.  Although I speak to them without oversimplifying I always emphasize 2 or 3 of these structures each day and then wait patiently till the day when they unexpectedly use the structure on their own accord!  It is magical when they just spit something out after hearing it for a few weeks.

Basic fluency structures
Spanish structures

Express wants
Me gustaría...
I would like..

I want...
Express needs
I need...
Identify objects
There are...

Es una...  Estos son...
It's a...  These are...

Voy a ...
I'm going to ...(dance, run, go, visit, play, etc)
Explain what you have
Yo tengo...
I have...
Describe nouns
It is ...(adjectives)

It is (location/prepositions)
Express ability
Yo puedo...
I can...
Express possession
Es mío, Es tuya, Es de él/ella
It's mine, It's yours, It's his/hers

mi, tu, su, nuestro
my, your, his/her, our
Be able to ask questions

Question-who, what, where, why, when, how?

Saturday, October 20, 2012

El otoño (The fall)

October has been such a fun month as we've based our lessons on semillas (seeds), árboles (trees), hojas (leaves) and ardillas (squirrels).  My favorite language observation was a confusion between 2 near homophones "hojas" & "ojos" (leaves & eyes).  As we began a book about leaves, I asked the kids to point to the "hojas" one pointed to the leaves in the book and the other 2 to their own pair of "ojos."

With all the rain (lluvia) we've had, we've learned a new favorite song.  It's called Que llueva (Let it rain!).  It's a fun traditional song because it describes the crazy rainy seasons of central and south america when one minute it trickles, stops and then ends in a downpour (un chaparón)!

¡Que llueva!

Magical necklaces

At the beginning of class we put on our Spanish necklaces and this changes our mouths to only speak in Spanish (of course this is most effective for the teacher).  The kids have picked up so much vocabulary that I've become more and more strict about the power of these necklaces and they surprise me and I think themselves how they can express themselves.  As I describe under methodology in the link to the right, the goal is to get the kids to use basic structures (I have, I like, There are, I need, It is...) and then they can fill these in with all their new vocabulary.

I am composing a list of these basic structures and will put it up in my next post, then I am going to have an individual report of which structures each child has incorporated into their speech.  I'm having so much fun observing how kids learn a second language!!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Edificios y casas

This month we are talking about buildings, homes and construction.  Throughout the month we will be including shapes, colors and adjectives to describe the buildings, plus fun verbs for building.  I've tightened up on the kids by not  letting them speak in English.  They are coming up with some pretty great stuff... Little M told me in English that she was almost as tall as her mom but when I told her, "No inglés,"she came up with "Yo, alta, mamá"  Not bad for only a few months into our program!

We've added some new songs....

Para construir

A mí me gusta clavar con martillo,                                  I like to nail with a hammer,
clavar con martillo, clavar con martillo.                        nail with a hammer, nail with a hammer.
A mí me gusta clavar con martillo para construir.        I like to nail with a hammer in order to build.

A mí me gusta serruchar                                                    I like to saw, to saw
serruchar, serruchar.                                                           to saw, to saw, to saw to saw
A mí me gusta serruchar para construir.                         I like to saw in order to build

A mí me gusta lijar la madera,                                         I like to sand the wood
lijar la madera, lijar la madera.                                        sand the wood, sand the wood
A mí me gusta lijar la madera para construir.                I like to sand the wood in order to build.

Edificios (buildings)
  • la casa          house
  • el castillo      castle
  • el puente       bridge
  • el museo       museum
  • la fábrica       factory
  • el torre           tower
  • el nido           nest (bird's house :))
  • la cueva         cave

Es... (It is...)
  • larga y corta     (long & short)
  • baja y alta         (short & tall)
  • grande y pequeño   (big & small)
  • bello y feo       (beautiful & ugly)

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Summer Lessons

I just started a last summer session and have had so much fun with my 2 little students.  We had a science lesson on Thursday and the students learned about objects that float or sink. They started by saying that the objects were "arriba" or "abajo" (above or below the water) and then categorized the items into a "flota" or "se hunde" chart.  I'm amazed at how quickly they pick up a new language while learning about science, art, nature & math.   

To anyone interested in Spanish lessons, come try a class for free during the next couple of weeks.  These young minds are incredibly absorbent  and so fun to teach!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012


This post is so named for el sentido de humor (sense of humor) that my little students have and testimony of the power of humor on learning.  Apparently they got tired of teasing about snack being mala when it is really buena and today they decided on their own to tease about the agua being leche.  As I teased along, I heard the sentences go from Spanglish"It's not agua, it's leche" to "No es agua, es leche"

Vocabulary progress:

Two months ago, explaining to the kids and getting them to touch the colored plates during the rainbow song was quite a disaster but we've made huge progress.  Every day after we sing El arco iris, the kids take turns handing me the color that I ask for.  Today was our best day yet-I think they can all identify the colors of the rainbow in Spanish.


I added one little thing to our ending routine.  ¿Dónde está ...?  (Where is...?)  Today I had hid three pictures of conejos (bunnies) around the room and everyone had to find one before we did our counting and our final cheer.  Kids were so sweet to each other, being patient to not give away the hiding spots when they had already found their own.  We'll continue this everyday so that we are always looking for something new.  By the way the final cheer is ¡BIEN HECHO! (good job) and we do it no less than 3 times because for some reason the kids love it and keep saying again, again.

Just for fun:  

Just previewing some online resources for kids.  This one has a great little activity to practice colors.  If you want to try it, click here.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Moscas y arañas

Flys and Spiders-a preschooler's best friends!

We added one more song to our reportoire-The itsy bitsy spider.  The lyrics are below and you can click on the title to hear a little girl singing.

                 La araña pequeñita
     La araña pequeñita subió subió subió
     Vino la lluvia
     Y se la llevó
     Salió el sol, y todo lo secó 
     Y la araña pequeñita subió subió subió

Scavenger Hunt

It seems all kids love nature.  I thought the little girls might have an aversion to arañas and moscas but they haven't picked that up yet-YES!  In fact they were all ecstatic every time we spotted another mosca.  The 3 year olds didn't quite have the fine motor skills to circle the animals as we found them but L gave a thoughtful "hmmm" and scribbled on her clipboard like a true explorer.
  • ¿Dónde está?  (Where is?)   Buscamos (We are looking for)
  • una mosca (fly)
  • una mariposa (butterfly)
  • un palo (stick)
  • una araña (spider)

More language notes: (hand washing routine)

     Jabón                       Soap
     Lávate las manos     Wash the hands
     Entre los deditos      Between the fingers
     Y encima                 And on top
     Ahora con agua       Now with water
     Y con la toalla         And with the towel

Notes from/for the teacher:  

     I have to remind myself not to force learning or expect kids to perform when I want them to.  I catch myself, after we've already transitioned out of Spanish, trying to quiz them about what we've learned-usually they aren't interested in performing.  But if one waits patiently out of the clear blue they throw something amazing at you.  
     Like this week when M made up her first original sentence. During snack time, I'd been pushing the phrase, Quiero una fresa  (I want a strawberry).  M was determined to not even taste a fresa but then the other two were chowing them down; she couldn't resist it any longer and communicated that she wanted one, "¡una fresa para mí!"  (a strawberry for me!)
     And when we were singing the color song and we were about to begin without our pointing pencils and L calls out lápices (pencils) in a worried tone.  I believe she even pluralized it without hearing it first!
     Or when my little guy asks for canela (cinnamon) at breakfast without realizing he's speaking Spanglish.  Our real goal is to play using another set of vocabulary and maybe one day the kids will realize it's a whole new language.

Just for fun:

     Have you ever done un brindis (a toast) as a family.  I learned this popular saying in Spain and just found this 30 second video on a Spanish podcast.  Try it at dinner with plastic cups full of lecheIt also explains the history behind toasting:  Originally roman, drinking was thought to include all of the senses except for the toast was added to make drinking a six-senses experience.  Also, it was customary for the host of a party to extend a toast to ensure the guests that the drinks weren't poisened.     ¡Hasta la semana entrante!


Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Los pollitos (little chicks)

La canción (Song)

Post named after a new song we've been working on.  Also because my three little chicks had their first squabble-involved an unfair grab & two shrieks: Click here to listen:  Los pollitos
Kids have already picked up a lot of the vocabulary from below. Their favorite part is when I wrap the abrigo around them.

Key words:
  • pollitos (chicks)
  • tienen hambre (they have hunger)
  • tienen frío (they are cold)
  • el maíz (corn)
  • el trigo (wheat)
  • abrigo (coat)
  • alas (wings)
  • duermen (they sleep)

El cuento  (Story)

  • ¡Esa mosca! (That fly!-A fly enters la ventana (window) and lands on different items before it finally leaves through la ventana.  We are going to do more with moscas next week.

More language notes:

  • The kids know Me gusta and mala o buena. (They love to tease about something being mala (yucky) even if it is really buena (good). We've been working on quiero (I want) and I heard a few, Quiero más.

Just for fun:

I like this sesame street song Me gusta. I haven't shown it to the kids because it is mostly in English but my Kindergarten students loved it last year-might be fun to try at home.  ¡Hasta pronto!