Happy Presidents Day!
I have been writing a lot about the adventures in the pre-K/kindergarten world, but I do not want to neglect the other side of my job: Middle School Spanish. Yes, that's right. For those who have forgotten about my entire job description (I have been just short-labeling it "I teach Kindergarten" to save myself some breath), I do happen to also teach the pre-k program and 3-8th grade Spanish.
Teaching Spanish has been a rewarding challenge. I have three sections of Spanish divided up by so: 3/4 grade, 5/6 grade and 7/8 grade. I have had some experience teaching all of those grades, but the older the kids get, the more challenging it has become to keep things fun and interesting. Thankfully the older two groups of kids, it is okay to do things like a "pop quiz," "lots of homework," and "tests!" But the 3/4th graders are a group of kids that can still benefit from the playfulness in school. One way I keep it fun and fresh is in the form of centers.
Most of the centers I have had in class, with an exception of a few, I have created on my own. Ironically the ones that are featured in this entry mostly have the ones that I have found online. There are not a lot of resources out there that I have found that would be good for our classroom. Well, let me rephrase that, there are some good resources out there, but I can remake them and therefore save money. The hard part is finding Spanish Centers pre-made. Those are a always a challenge to make, even though I only have to prep those once a month! I have thought about making my own TPT site and selling things, but I don't want to deal with copyrights and what not. So if anybody decides that some of my ideas are worth copying, just brag about how awesome this website is on your site (or pinterest!) That's all. I hope somebody uses my bright(?) ideas in their own classroom. My goal is to simply pave the way for people who need [good] resources for Spanish but just don't know where to start looking!
Here are a few things that I have done recently in Spanish class.
Here's my bulletin board for the weather! I made it myself:) I'm sure you can guess what the words mean, even if they are all written in Spanish!
I used the Cricut to cut up all of my letters. Then I created the other counterparts by hand. I used to make every bulletin board by hand. I used to LOVE making bulletin boards by hand! It was one of my absolute favorite parts of my homework. I even felt cooler that I had a Cricut machine and everybody else had to scramble and fight for the one at school. Not I! My cool machine actually got people hooked on paper crafting and so forth! Of coarse, this was back in the day when I only worked 5 jobs, went to school full time, and being creative with making a cool looking bulletin board impacted your grade pretty significantly. Let me tell now, now that I am out of school, my ambition to make bulletin boards has greatly dissolved. I enjoy making them, but between all of the other crap I have to do, I just don't find the time to make nice creative ones anymore. So my advice to you undergrades? When you make your cool bulletin board for your A+ in EDUC373 or whatever class, spend the extra cash to laminate it. Even if it isn't something you think you are going to teach, you just never know! I wish I laminated a lot of my Spanish bulletin boards back when I taught first grade Spanish for cash...they would have come in great handy when I started teaching here! Now I have to remake everything over again! (I'd buy stuff, but they just don't have cool weather things in Spanish)
Another cool thing I made with the Cricut was my "Tienes" poster. Too many times I have found the kids have forgotten simple things like oh, a pencil. It blows my mind how older kids can forget such simple things, but then again, I am sure when I was that age I didn't bring a pencil either. I'm sure the only things I made sure I had were my comic books and my super cool walkman.
Well, the kids grades partly depend on their ability to bring all of their materials. I'm sure it sounds cruel to you non-educators, but I do have a very good reason for this! I expect the kids to do their job, and part of their job is to be prepared. That's a life-skill that one needs to acquire and school is the perfect place to acquire that life-skill.
Enter the poster: this reminds the kids what they need so they can get their "A" for being prepared. I have seen less stressful, more prepared kids since I posted the poster. They know exactly what they need each time. They also know that they cannot leave the classroom to get any of those materials once class starts. They have to use what they bring to the table for that day. (Which is very interesting to see done when they forget things like pencils and we have a pop-quiz.)
As for these centers, I was able to find two great resources on TPT.com. I sadly cannot find their link right now, but PLEASE if you are going to use these ideas, look there! I did not make them, but I might next time, they seem pretty easy to make. I used these to help the kids review their numbers. Most of the kids are doing a great job remembering their numbers from 1-10, but still need a little review with the 11-20 numbers. I want the 3/4th grade class to have a great foundation for numbers, because next year, they are going to be using those numbers to count and measure various things in class. I had a few kids love this center, but this one didn't hold the 4th graders attention for too long. Next time, I am going to make larger numbers!
Once again, this is NOT mine. I found this one on TPT as well. You can purchase this one for a mere .75 cents by clicking right here. If you do, please brag about how awesome it is!
This center is an ode to the wonderful and awesome Senora Taft. Senora Taft was my 7/8th grade Spanish teacher. She's the one responsible for a lot of my classroom elements (flashcards, ladder game, review packets, etc.) This is another Senora Taft inspiration. This game is called "Fly Swatter Game." There are three students that play this game. Student 1 pulls a card and reads it out loud. The other two students have to find it's partner and slap it AS WELL AS shouting it out loud in the opposite language before the other person. First person to slap the correct word gets a point. There are two sides to this. Purple side has the cards in Spanish and they have to shout the word out in English. The red side has the words on the card written in English and the kids have to shout the word out in Spanish. It's a great way to also assess the kids on how to speak the words properly. I have also done this game as a full group and it works! The older kids get all worked up because it is fast paced!
Last but not least... I have purchased three books that are going to make my classroom super awesome! They are...
(The Very Grouchy Ladybug)
(The Pigeon Finds a Hot Dog)
(From Head to Toe)
My plan is to record myself reading these on my iPad and having the kids listen and follow along for a future center. Then they can practice reading these books out loud. Even if they don't completely get how the story goes, they can start to slowly get used to hearing and speaking the language. I want the kids to hear and speak as much Spanish as possible!
So what do you think...? Not bad for a teacher who wasn't planning on teaching Spanish!
More to Come(?) (I'm kidding, yes there is!)