October 2014 - Island Teacher

Create an Adjective Person!

This past week we wrapped up a unit on los adjetivos descriptivos. One of the activities that my students enjoyed was creating "Cómo soy yo?" people. I had gotten an idea from Pinterest and then set out to make some templates and adapt it to Spanish. Students had to choose Spanish adjectives which they felt best described them, add them to the body of a "person" and then attach the body parts. Even though we haven't done body parts vocabulary yet, they were then pre-exposed to words like "la cabeza", "los brazos", etc., so this served a dual purpose. They then added color to their people and they are now added to a classroom bulletin board. These also will also fold up well, so we saved a page in our interactive notebooks for them to be added after they are on the bulletin board for awhile. Here are some pictures of this quick mini-project!

The templates for this activity are available in my TpT store Here!

Teaching el Día de los Muertos

It's coming soon! One holiday that I look forward to teaching about every year is Día de los Muertos. I like helping my students knock out the stereotype that it's just another version of Halloween. Today I was happy to have to opportunity to jump over and guest blog at Language Teachers' Cafe. Here I share some ideas that I've come across online for incorporating Day of the Dead into your lessons at the end of the month. 

I was thinking ahead about the holiday this year and wanted to make some new resources of my own for students to include in their interactive notebooks. While I was busy creating back in July, my 6 year old wanted in on the action too! What was the result? I now have Día de los Muertos Christmas ornaments that I can proudly display in a couple of months...thanks AG! ;)
Head over to Language Teachers' Cafe to see my 5 ways to Celebrate el Día de los Muertos in your classroom.

The Día de los Muertos clip art can be found at PoppyDreamz Digital Art.

Creatively Teaching Spanish Speaking Countries and Capitals

I often find that for whatever reason I tend to breeze through the topic of Spanish speaking countries and capitals. This year I pre-tested student knowledge of the topic by giving them a blank map and asking them to write in as many Spanish speaking countries, along with the capital, in the correct location on the map. Let's just say that the results were LESS. THAN. STELLAR. I find that when students are asked where in the world Spanish is spoken I get the standard responses of "Spain!" or "Mexico!" and, because I'm now in the Cayman Islands, "Honduras!" and "Cuba!" are popular choices as well. While they may be able to spout off a few countries that speak Spanish, can they locate them on a map? Can they tell the capital city? If your students are like mine...probably not. Because of this, I was determined to dedicate a bit more time to this topic this year in order to really help my students get a better grasp of geography before we dive in to studying individual countries and culture. 

Here are some of things we are doing for this unit of study:

1. Map Labeling- I always start with showing a PowerPoint which highlights each country on a map. As each county is highlighted, I have students fill in their maps with the country name and capital. This year, since we are using interactive notebooks, they have a page in their notebooks dedicated to this map. 

2. Creating acronyms- After we label maps, we come up with acronyms to remember the order of the countries on the map. This year our acronym for remembering Mexico and Central America is:

For South America, we are using:

We couldn't leave out the other countries, even though this doesn't help with the map labeling:

You can check out these posters HERE!

3. Next, we add foldables to our interactive notebooks. I created a set of interactive notebook activities to help students categorize the geographic regions of the countries and to learn capitals. You can check those out HERE if you'd like. 

4. Students use their interactive notebook foldables to quiz themselves and each other. We also practice with a whole class game like "Yo Tengo...¿Quién tiene?" Countries and Capitals.  

5. I show the countries and capital rap. It drives students crazy, but I think they secretly love it! ;) It's all over YouTube, here is one link.

6. To assess this unit, I re-test students using a blank map and they are able to see that their knowledge has (hopefully!) greatly improved!

How do you teach countries and capitals?

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