Saturday, January 30, 2016

Caperucita Roja Readers Theater

I posted earlier in the year how the story Caperucita Roja is a great for teaching/reviewing introductions and body parts. I did the same readers theater script with my third graders just before winter break but expanded the unit to include a performance in front of a live audience.

My 3rd graders are a tough bunch.  It is often difficult to get them to stay on task. I noticed that when we did Ricitos de Oro y los Tres Osos that they didn't get into the choral reading as much as my second graders did. I wanted to make sure everyone was reading and actively participating so I let them just listen and watch while we did it in a big group.  Then I distributed scripts and let them read and perform it on their own in small groups.

The hook was that after practicing each small group would perform for the class. The best class performers would then be our actors and actresses for a special performance for the 1st graders (who had just finished studying body parts so this would be a great review.) While this did lead to some fights over who read which part, it also had them working hard to read it well, with fluency and emotion, rather than just sitting there and barely mouthing the words like they had with the Tres Osos script.

Our actors performing for 1st grade

The kids who didn't get a speaking part for the big performance still had work to do. Every student made a program for the first graders with one of the characters from the play with body parts labeled. Several girls worked on the scenery during recess and after school. We also had ushers, people to pass out programs and snacks, custodians to clean up, an announcer to welcome the 1st graders, and basically any other small task I could give kids so that everyone was involved.

Every 3rd grader designed a program

It was a HUGE success. The first grade teachers raved about how well the kids read and their students loved it. One first grade student told me "Estoy bien. Estoy dos biens" which was her cute novice way of saying two thumbs up. And the 3rd graders had a blast. It took some extra coordination between me and the classroom teachers but it was well worth it.

The 1st graders loved getting a snack, program, & watching the play.


A big shout out to my colleague Alfonso de Torres Núñez who originally gave me the idea of doing readers theater and performances. Have you used readers theater in your classes? Share in the comments below or on Twitter using the hashtag #earlylang!

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Las Meninas

We've been continuing with the art theme in Kindergarten. After learning about Joan Miró, we moved on to Diego Velázquez and Las Meninas. I had seen this painting in Spanish classes and books for years but was absolutely mesmerized by it at the Prado in Madrid.

We started out by just looking at the painting (muchas gracias to my Art teacher who let me borrow her large poster of it) and describing the colors that we saw and saying if we liked it or not. Then we looked more closely at the figures in the painting and talking about them using puppets.



I created Las Meninas puppets by copying and pasting images of the painting in Word and then using the snipping tool to cut out the different figures. Then I printed, laminated, and glued them to popsicle sticks. The students already knew the word artista so I introduced princesa and amiga using the puppets. They asked the puppets ¿Cómo te llamas? and then introduced themselves to Margarita with a bow (because as every 5 year old girl knows you do NOT shake hands with a princesa.) Students also came up and found the different figures in the painting and named them.


Next, we read the book Katie and the Spanish Princess. This book is in English but I translated the words that we already knew into Spanish like princesa, artista, arte, amiga, gracias and venga. I also introduced some new ones like museo, pájaro, and pápa. I found pictures of the paintings in the book and put them into a Word document that I then projected on the SMART board. It was hilarious to watch as they realized that the paintings were the same - Ms. K is magical that way! At the end of the book Katie decides she would rather be a pirata than a princesa so I asked each kiddo what they preferred. Naturally the boys wanted to be piratas and the girls princesas.



We finished up with a coloring page of Las Meninas that I added some text to. As before, I walked around and asked students to tell me what colors they were using.



The next step in our artistic journey includes Pintas Ratones and mixing up color wheels.

If you're interested in the Las Meninas puppets leave a comment below and I will email them to you!

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Hmmm, qué rica mosca

We have been working on expressing likes and dislikes in 1st grade. We started with my favorite song Chocolate but since I only have 15 minutes with them, trying to do my full Chocolate unit with Ricitos de Oro and drinking chocolate caliente didn't seem feasible. So instead I took an idea I got from a colleague at one of our FLES Swap Shops and read them the book Hmmm, qué rica mosca.



In the book, a very hungry fly tries many different and very unhealthy foods. At the end of the story a frog eats the fly. While it doesn't actually have Me gusta in the book, I added it since that was our target structure. We then practiced sorting foods by saludable and poco saludable (which ties in Health and PE standards!) After several lessons talking about healthy and unhealthy foods we rewrote the book so that la mosca eats healthier foods and then escapes la rana at the end.


Students picked a card with a healthy food and then wrote and illustrated their book page. I collected all the pages and made them into a class book (because long time readers know how much I love making class books!)  The kids knew that Ms. K está triste at the end of the original story but with this new book, estoy bien porque la rana NO come la mosca. 


As always the kids loved seeing their book pages. Most of them read along with me and told me if they liked or didn't like the different foods. Thanks Matt for this awesome idea!

You can get the book template here!

How do you teach likes and dislikes? Share in the comments below or on Twitter with the hashtag #earlylang!