I am looking for ideas in teaching children spanish
October 3, 2013 3:12 PM   Subscribe

I am new to teaching, and will be teaching spanish once a week for one hour to 8 or less children who are in reception and year 1 (4 to 6 years old). Do you have any ideas to what I can do? I have looked online and have some ideas but more are appreciated, I am quite nervous!

This is my first month ever as a teaching assistant, and part of my contract involves setting up an after school club. I am fluent in Spanish so will be leading the spanish club, by myself. The number of children is unknown but it will be a maximum of 8. My ideas so far, which come from the internet and another teacher who taught spanish, are:

-'Splat' game, where you have 4 colours on a board and one person has to point to the correct colour which will be said in Spanish.

-Head shoulders knees and toes but in Spanish as it isn't just writing on paper

-Counting songs

-Learn food names by bringing in snacks and getting them to ask for them in spanish

I have other ideas from websites, but what has worked for you, and what hasn't?
Basically I don't want to bore them with worksheets, and leading a 1 hour class for a few months in Spanish is exciting but also I don't want to let them down, so any ideas are appreciated, thank you :)
posted by lovisa91 to Education (8 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Lots and lots of songs.

Read simple illustrated books to them. There are some such books available in English and Spanish, so you can read it in both languages.

"Theme" lessons such as foods, articles of clothing, numbers, furniture, tools, sports, body parts, etc., preferably with hands-on stuff (clothes, tools, balls, etc.).

Make sure to continually re-expose them to previously learned material.
posted by Dansaman at 3:58 PM on October 3, 2013

Seconding the songs.

A 10 minute song-singing routine at every meeting with lots of hand and body motions.

Introduce new songs slowly.

My kids get 45 minutes of language instruction and they sang a whole lot at that age. Hello songs, also good-bye songs. Whatever-you-can-sing-about songs!
posted by mamabear at 4:08 PM on October 3, 2013

Best answer: When I used to teach EFL for elementary school the normal routine was Song (with old vocab/grammar), New Vocab/Grammar, and Game using New Vocab/Grammar.

At that age you can keep games REALLY simple, and the kids will still go nuts for them. We played 'what's in the box' with various nouns where I would put something in a box and the kids would guess what it was. I thought it would be boring as hell, but the kids got so loud another teacher had to come over to tell us to be quiet.

One great multipurpose game was "Super Rock, Paper, Scissors." You lay all your flash cards for the day in a long row, and break the kids into two teams. The first kids from each team start from different ends of the row, saying each flash card and working their way in. When they run into the other kid, they have to play Rock Paper Scissors. The winner gets to keep going, and the loser goes to the back of their line, and the second kid on the team starts on the same cards.

Lots of regular childhood games can be adapted to be language games. Play Red Light/Green Light in Spanish. Or Duck Duck Goose with vocab words. You'll get the hang of adapting games and coming up with activities on the fly.

Oh! and there are 12 months of the year, and 12 steps to the Macarena. Kids LOVE it.
posted by Caravantea at 4:29 PM on October 3, 2013 [3 favorites]

Watch old kids shows on DVD with the Spanish subtitles.
posted by luckynerd at 5:36 PM on October 3, 2013

Best answer: Here's what my French teacher did:

He acted out a little skit that he called "What will you do tomorrow morning?" He told us that question just one time in English, then translated it into French and had us repeat that question in French, and then he did all the rest by acting out the answers and speaking in French only. never using English for the answers. Note that he used the "I'm going to..." (Voy a...) form of the verbs, so that the we learned the sound of the infinitives.

I'm going to wake up. (Yawn, and stretch your arms over your head)
I'm going to get out of bed. (act all these out...)
I'm going to walk to the bathroom.
I'm going to wash my face.
I'm going to brush my teeth.
I'm going to brush my hair.
I'm going to get dressed.
I'm going to walk to the kitchen.
I'm going to make breakfast.
I'm going to eat breakfast.
I'm going to pick up my books.
I'm going to walk to school.
I'm going to say 'hello' to my teacher.
You can stop at whatever point you want, or insert actions relevant to your kids.

But my point is that he did this EXACT same routine every day and we all participated/acted/repeated the French sentences. After a few weeks when we all had it down pat, he started inserting other things, like, Today I'm going to make cereal/toast/waffles for breakfast.

By making a ritual that gets repeated, he was able to get us speaking in French without having done any grammar lessons. By using some of the same words in each sentence, then substituting different parts into the same sentence, he was able (LATER!!) to talk to us about those sentences and we could pick out what each word meant individually, even if we couldn't do it right away.

35 year later I can still repeat this in French, though I can't spell it, so that's why I typed it in English.
posted by CathyG at 8:42 AM on October 4, 2013

Best answer: Another idea: when my kids were little they had some Spanish lessons at that age and they did flash cards with single words for body parts, colors, days of the week, etc. It was cute and they learned some, but they never learned to SPEAK anything.

I suggest that you incorporate whole sentences into your learning, not just single words. If you can figure out things that will be repeated over and over, those are good candidates to learn as whole sentences, since you can spend the time to practice them every day.

One way to do it is to think about the classroom management sentences that you might need to say, and only say those in Spanish: Sit down, please; Let's be quiet; It's time for singing; Everyone line up at the door; etc. Start out in the first week by saying it in English, then Spanish, have the class repeat the words, then do the action, and then after a week or so, only say it in Spanish and have the class repeat it while they do the action.

Other ways:
For the flash cards, instead of just saying "el nariz" (and PLEASE make sure to use the articles), have them say 'The nose is on my face' while they point to it, or 'I use my nose to smell [things]' and insert the name of a food that smells good.

For the "what's in the box?" game, make the instructions in Spanish (Roberto, come to the front of the class. I have put something in the box; do you think you know what it is?" and teach them a structure for how to phrase the answer in Spanish, rather than just the one-word answer of what's in there: "I think that there is a [thing] in the box! Am I right or wrong? Let's find out!" and then the whole class can say together "You are right! It is a [thing] in the box. Who plays next?" and repeat the whole structure. Make it sort of sing-song so they can get the pattern of the words, but after that it's the whole repetition thing that helps them learn the sentences.

Figure out sentences that they might need in their lives and teach them those sentences in Spanish. Start with the classroom, then move to the home. Things like: Please pass the crayons; Is it time for snack?; My mother/father/sitter will pick me up today. etc
posted by CathyG at 8:59 AM on October 4, 2013 [1 favorite]

I'd suggest getting a beginning level ESL textbook (Let's Go was popular in Korea and I think is published by Oxford University Press) and adapting it to your Spanish lessons or using it as a guide for order to teach things.

Flashcards, yes. Games, yes. Songs, triple yes. Even my littlest students (about 4 yo) loved doing English pop songs.
posted by kathrynm at 3:14 PM on October 4, 2013 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thank you, all these answers were really helpful. Using sentences rather than just simple words is a good idea. I'm excited and hope they will enjoy and learn something :)
posted by lovisa91 at 1:54 AM on October 6, 2013

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