What Everybody Should Know About Comprehensible Input

What Everybody Should Know About Comprehensible Input

Inside: What is comprehensible input? How do students acquire language?

In Part 1, we talked about proficiency: where we are going in the language classroom. Here in Part 2, I’ll talk about acquisition: how students take language in. If our goal is students who “rise in proficiency” (World Language Classroom), how do they grow? What do they need? What is the best way to get language “in”?

 

 

When people find out I teach Spanish, 95% of the time I get a comment like this: Oh man, I took 3 years of Spanish. It’s usually followed by a joke using the few words they remember: Mi casa es su casa. Hah!

Seriously– I get this all the time. From those very informal observations, it seems that we’ve been doing for decades now just isn’t working. When I discovered proficiency-based language teaching, I saw where I wanted to go: I wanted students who could communicate in Spanish, not just perform isolated exercises. And I needed to find a better way to teach them.

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What Everyone Needs to Know About Language Proficiency

What Everyone Needs to Know About Language Proficiency

Inside: What is language proficiency? What does it mean for my Spanish classroom?

Last year I wrote a post explaining why I was throwing out my Spanish textbook. Of course, throwing it out was the easy part. But what to do next?

I’m writing this series because I remember so clearly what’s it’s like, to be on the edge of that cliff– poised to jump into textbook-free land, with a mind-boggling array of choices below. I just wanted someone to hold my hand, help me sort it all out, and put me touch with the experts. And that’s exactly what I’d like to do here.

So, here’s my after-story to going textbook-free. I found I had three major tasks in developing a plan for the year: figure out our objectives, research how students acquire language, and then choose methods and develop content. Here in Part 1, I’ll share how I formed a big picture and zeroed in on targets for each class.

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Preschool Spanish Lesson 6: Los colores

Preschool Spanish Lesson 6: Los colores

Inside: A preschool lesson on the colors in Spanish for kids, through comprehensible stories, songs, and input.

Lesson 6 Goals: I can recognize some colors.

Target Structures: me gusta, no me gusta, te gusta (repeated from last week), los colores, pinta

Note: You may want to teach just four colors one week, or all at once. The online songs, books, etc. teach all the colors together, but doing activities with all the colors at once may be overwhelming at first.

Click here to see the week-by-week listing, and to access my overall unit plans. (Each lesson provides enough material for multiple classes.)

Movement/brain breaks: Stretch with our movement words: levántate, siéntate, manos arriba, and manos abajo, corre and salta, Duck, Duck, Goose in Spanish, or ¡Salta, salta!

Lesson 6 Colors in Spanish Activities

Introduce the colors with the song to the tune of Frere Jacques.
(You may just want to teach the first four colors to begin.)

Activity 1

Play ¡Salta, salta! Scatter large cardstock circles on the floor. You can use whatever materials you have– paper, flexible plastic discs, etc. Just make sure you have lots! Call a color- ¡Salta en rojo!- and the students find the color and jump onto it. Start with 2-3 colors, and slowly add in more (over several weeks, perhaps).

Activity 3

Do a graph activity, similar to lesson 4. Let everyone vote a favorite color and graph their choices. Remember that you can get in a ton on input with me gusta this way: ¿Te gusta rojo, o amarillo, o verde? Te gusta el verde? ¡Muy bien! Niños, ¿a Emma le gusta rojo? No, a Emma le gusta verde.

Activity 2

Do some art! Give directions for what colors to use and when.

Activity 4

Read El patito que le gusta pintar. Let the students guess the colors as you tell the story, and stop to ask questions and check for understanding as needed.

 

Colors songs with lots of repetitions:

Sweet colors song that mentions animals, foods and objects (even el pollito!):

¿Qué color es la fresa? (Uses the phrases ¿Qué color es…?):

Peppa Pig episode in Spanish that mentions colors frequently:

Want More?

If you like this lesson, click to purchase the whole unit! You’ll get games, printables, mini-books, and more!

teaching preschool spanish: los colores

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The Ultimate Resource Guide to Learn Spanish Online with Kids, For Free

The Ultimate Resource Guide to Learn Spanish Online with Kids, For Free

Inside: Free resources to learn Spanish online with kids.

It’s easier than ever to learn language now, with so many online Spanish resources for kids– for free! The hardest part is just going through all of them and deciding where to start.

No worries though: I’ve collected and sorted through the most popular Spanish resources, so you can find what you need. If I am missing any, let me know! I’ve also got you covered if you want to teach yourself Spanish and need resources for an older crowd.

 

Learn Spanish Online with Kids: Authentic Shows and Series

 

1. Peppa Pig
There are tons of free Peppa Pig shows on YouTube. They will be difficult for true beginners, but if your kids know a little they will definitely recognize words and phrases. Most of the language is clear, simple, and repetitive, and the action is slow enough that the language is more accessible. (Find the official Spanish channel here.)

 

2. La vaca hace mu
This series was made for Spanish speaking children, but would be great for learners as well. The language is very repetitive and easy to understand for novices. Each episode features a different animal and tells all about them.

 

3. Pocoyo
Pocoyo is another series with many episodes on YouTube in Spanish. This is a popular one among kids and has high comprehensibility as well.

 

4. Caillou
Again, lots of free episodes on YouTube.

 

5. Semillitas
Made for Spanish speakers, but could work for more advanced learners. YouTube channel here.

 

Online Resources for Kids: Shows Created for Spanish Learners

 

1. Salsa
This PBS series was designed to teach Spanish through 15 or 30-minute story segments. You can access all the episodes here at Georgia Public Broadcasting.

salsa

 

 

 

2. Oh Noah!
Another PBS series, these episodes are a mix of Spanish and English. Noah goes to live with his grandmother in a neighborhood where most people only speak Spanish. All are available on YouTube.

 

3. Calico Spanish
Calico Spanish is mentioned again below for their songs, but they have some stories and videos online as well.

 

4. ¡Habla Jorge!

 

Learn with Spanish Songs

 

Songs are some of the most effective online Spanish resources for kids, especially when their parents aren’t native speakers. (I have started a collection of songs by theme you can access here!)

1. Calico Spanish
I really love how these videos have subtitles– perfect for parents trying to learn along with their kids! Find the homepage for the YouTube channel here.

 

2. Rockalingua
Rockalingua has many song for Spanish learners by topic as well.

 

3. Toobys
These are designed for younger kids, and have been really popular at our house. Songs from Toobys could be for Spanish learners or native speakers. Find the YouTube channel here.

 

4. Leoncito Alado
Made for native speakers, but slow enough to help learners. YouTube channel here.

 

5. Basho & Friends

YouTube channel here.

 

Online Spanish Stories & Poems

 

1. A Collection of 50 Spanish Stories from Spanish Playground
A huge list of links to stories in Spanish.

2. Spanish Children’s Stories by The Spanish Experiment
Famous stories read by native speakers.

3. Children’s Short Stories in Spanish by 123 TeachMe

4. Collection of Poemas by Spanish Mama
Some of the most famous rhymes and poems in Spanish.

5. Songs and Rhymes from Mama Lisa’s World

6. Fables Told in Simple Spanish
These stories are told in picture format with only beginning vocabulary Some of these would be better for older elementary.

 

Learn Spanish with Kids: Websites and Blogs

 

1. Spanish Playground
There are tons of resources on this site for Spanish learners.

2. Preschool Lessons from Spanish Mama
Designed for parents who speak some Spanish, or for teaching preschool Spanish classes.

3. 20 Spanish Apps and Games for Kids from Kid World Citizen
Great list for learners at home!

4. Online Free Spanish
Online activities, divided by level.

5. Spanish Town
The site is newly designed, with lots of games and activities.

5. Mommy Maestra
A blog by a homeschooling Latina mom
.

What are your favorites resources to learn Spanish online with kids? Tell me about them in the comments below!

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Free Online Spanish Resources for Kids

The Best Spanish Cartoons and Shows on Netflix

The Best Spanish Cartoons and Shows on Netflix

Inside: The best Spanish cartoons and shows for kids, on Netflix.

Cartoons can be a great source of Spanish input for little learners. Now, we all know to limit screen time for kids, right?

BUT… videos and shows really can be an incredible resource for authentic and rich language.

I’m not a native Spanish-speaker and can’t provide a totally fluent environment for my kids, by myself. (My husband is fluent, but not at home as much as I am.) So we rely on music, books, and shows to round out the input. Sometimes it’s funny to hear my three-year-old bust out a phrase I know I’ve never used (¡Ay, cielos! from Pooh).

Netflix has a fair amount of cartoons and movies with audio in Spanish, and here are my top picks. They do pull and add shows, so this list may change. Lucky for us, most Netflix original series are available in multiple languages and stay there for good!

 

 

(If you are looking for something for yourself, here’s a giant list of movies in Spanish, and another huge list of Spanish shows on Netflix. I’ve also got you covered with lists of bilingual books for kids, authentic books in Spanish for kids, songs in Spanish, and free online resources to learn Spanish with kids.)

 

I’ve include trailers for our favorite series, but they are mostly only available in English. 

 

Our Favorite Spanish Cartoons on Netflix for Kids:

 

1. Puffin Rock

We love, love, love this show! It’s nature-based, with lovely graphics and sweet story-lines. The audio is very clear and understandable, and would be perfect for learners who understand a fair amount of Spanish, but aren’t fluent yet.

 

2. Llama Llama

The popular children’s series has arrived to Netflix- WITH Spanish audio!

 

3. Peppa Pig

I really like the slow pace and simple storylines. This is an excellent show for kids who aren’t fluent, because the audio is very clear. Even beginners would be able to pick out the phrases they already know. (This show isn’t available in every country. If you can’t find it, you can still access the Peppa Pig Spanish Channel on YouTube, with complete episodes!)

 

4. Pocoyo

This is the best show for absolute beginners, as the phrases tend to be more isolated and easy to catch. Kids love this one! Again, not available in every country, but most episodes can be found on YouTube

 

5. Little Baby Bum

This is a series of popular children’s songs and nursery rhymes available in Spanish. Listening to songs is really one of the most effective ways to learn a language, and would be perfect for little ones.

 

6. Piglet’s Big Movie

Unfortunately, the original Pooh movies have been removed. This one has good audio though, and stay pretty close to the originals. 

 

 

More Shows in Spanish on Netflix for Kids:

 

Below are series we haven’t necessarily seen or watch, but are in Spanish. Let me know if you love any and would recommend them!

1. Masha and the Bear

 

2. 72 Cutest Animals
(a nature show)

 

3. The Hive

 

 

4. Clifford

 

5. Word Party

 

6. Luna Petunia

 

7. Kazoops

 

8. Beat Bugs

9. Popples

10. Cars Toons: Mater’s Tall Tales

11. Pororo

12. Inspector Gadget

13. Curious George

14. Ask the Storybots

15. Lalaloopsy

16. Julie’s Greenroom

17. Justin Time Go!

18. Care Bears and Cousins

19.Veggie Tales in the House

20. Trolls

And movies (some aren’t toddler-appropriate):

1. The Little Prince

2. Tarzan

3. The Fox and the Hound

4. The Wings of Life (nature documentary)

5. Lilo & Stitch

6. Kung Fu Panda

7. Brother Bear

8. Zootopia

9. All the Mickey Mouse movies

10. Disney Short Films

 

Did I miss any of your favorite Spanish cartoons and shows? Leave your suggestions in the comments below!

 

Like it? Pin it!

 

Shows in Spanish on Netflix for Kids

Lesson 5: Me gusta Activities for Preschool Spanish

Lesson 5: Me gusta Activities for Preschool Spanish

Inside: A preschool lesson with me gusta activities, with comprehensible stories, songs, and input for kids.

esson 5 Goals: I can say that I like or don’t like something.

Target Structures: me gusta, no me gusta, te gusta

(Las uvas, la zanahoria, el queso, la galleta, la lechuga, and los arándanos are also introduced. At this point, they are always presented with pictures or props. Only the target structures are meant to be acquired at this point. Having variety in the foods is fun for book, games, and songs. They can be learned naturally throughout the entire unit.)

Click here to see the week-by-week listing, and to access my overall unit plans. (Each lesson provides enough material for multiple classes.)

Review: Sings the songs learned so far, ¿Cómo te llamas? ball chant, Los animales Bingo.

Movement/brain breaks: Stretch with our movement words: levántate, siéntate, manos arriba, and manos abajo, corre and salta, Duck, Duck, Goose in Spanish, or ¡Salta, salta!

Lesson 5 Me gusta Activities

Activity 1

Introduce the new foods (las uvas, la zanahoria, el queso, la galleta, la lechuga, and los arándanos). Use props or toys if you can! These foods will appear in the stories, songs, and games throughout the lesson, so just go for comprehension and don’t expect students to produce them for a while.

Show the lettuce, for example, and say, Es lechuga. Use the animals props and say, El caballo come la lechuga, or hand it to a student and ask, ¿Emily come la lechuga o come la manazana?

Teaching Preschool Spanish: La comida.

Activity 2

Tell the story El pato que tiene hambre, available below. Stop to ask questions and check for understanding as necessary.

 

Activity 3

Do some total physical response with the words learned so far. Say a word or phrase, and they act it out. El gato dice miau, come la manzana, toma agua, etc. This is a perfect time to watch what everyone is doing and get a check on the pace of the lessons. Always go as slow as necessary, repeating games and activities as needed. These lessons are packed with new targets, so if anything is shaky I take extra time before moving onto the next lesson.

Activity 4

Play ¿Qué hay en la bolsa? again, from Lesson 3. Have bags ready with toy foods inside, or sneak foods into one bag for each turn. Sit in a circle, and the kids take turns getting a bag. They have to put their hand in the bag and guess what food is inside just by feeling it. Once they guess the food, we talk about it. ¿Te gusta el maíz? ¿El perro come el maíz? etc.

 

Supplemental Me gusta activities and resources for home or class:

A lesson on me gusta and no me gusta:

Sesame Street episode on me gusta/ no me gusta:

¿Qué color es la fresa? (Uses the phrases ¿Qué color es…?):

Peppa Pig episode in Spanish that mentions foods and me gusta:

Peppa Pig episode in Spanish that mentions colors frequently:

A silly, highly comprehensible song that teachers me gusta/no me gusta:

A silly, highly comprehensible song that teachers me gusta/no me gusta:

Want More?

If you like this lesson, click to purchase the whole unit! You’ll get games, printables, mini-books, and more!

Preschool Spanish Unit

Play Bingo with pictures of the foods. To keep the language as “whole” as possible, I call out the terms as Me gusta el helado. Me gustan las uvas. If the words are very new, show a picture as you call out the term.

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