Spanish Classroom Libraries: Decor and Hacks for Storing Books

Spanish Classroom Libraries: Decor and Hacks for Storing Books

Inside: A peek into dozens of Spanish classroom libraries, of all kinds, shapes, and sizes!

 

One of the most exciting developments to language teaching is the advent of novels for learners. Not reading passages, excepts or reading practice: real, interesting, novel-length books for Spanish learners.

Reading is possibly the most efficient, natural way to learn a language. Many teachers are working free reading or novel study into their daily schedules, and creating spaces in their classrooms for flexible seating or book displays. There are so many creative ideas out there, I had to write a post sharing them!

(Wondering where teachers are getting these books? Fluency Matters and TPRS Books have a great selections for getting started.)

One of the best decisions I’ve made as a Spanish teachers has been to start my classes with a silent sustained reading (SSR) time. Spanish 1 started halfway through the year. It was a peaceful, rich way to start the day and make the most of the attention peak that occurs those first minutes of class.

 

Spanish Classroom Libraries

 

See the hacks and ideas others teacher have used! Many teachers are using gutters as bookshelves, without taking up space in their rooms. Attaching these to the wall will vary from school to school, but you can try command hooks or directly drilling into the wall. 

Credit: Gisele Conn
Site: Brain Based Learning

 

Credit: Allison Weinhold
Site: Mis Clases Locas

 

Credit: Blair Chalker Brown 

Credit: Maestra_Cutshall
Instagram: @maestra_cutshall

Credit: Sara Glasbrenner
Site: La Señora Sara

 

 

Credit: Marta Ruíz Yedinak

 


Anonymous

 

Credit: Matt Hotopp

Credit: Matt Hotopp

 

 

Credit: Kristy Vernon

Credit: Carolina Gomez

Site: Fun for Spanish Teachers

 

Credit: Jasmin Pilanes de Solano

 

 

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Spanish Slang Phrases from the Around the World

Spanish Slang Phrases from the Around the World

Inside: A collection Spanish slang phrases from different countries in the Spanish-speaking world. 

¿Así es, di? 
¡Hola, huambrilla!

I remember the thrill of dropping slang into my sentences, as a baby Spanish learner. Di is special to the Pervuian jungle, so it got fun reactions when I learned to use it properly, as an obvious extranjera living there.

Heck, twelve years later it’s still infinitely satisfying to include that perfect piece of Spanish slang, at just the right time.

Perhaps it’s that sense of, “This isn’t my native culture, but I belong. I have roots here too.” 

Slang can make you sound like a native you aren’t (as long as you know how and when to use it!) and some phrases express things your native language can’t. 

Street Spanish is interesting, because it varies so widely across the world. Some phrases won’t make sense to a native speaker from another country, or might be considered vulgar somewhere else, so you have to be careful. It’s important to pay attention to what works for each country. 

This post is the result of crowdsourcing! My readers from all over sent in slang from their respective regions. If you find a mistake or disagree, please let me know in the comments. I imagine this post will be organic for a while, as we correct and collect more. Please send me your favorite Spanish slang phrases and I’ll keep adding to the list. 

 

Spanish Slang

 

Mexico

 

¡Qué padre! – How cool!/ awesome

¡Qué chido! – very cool

chafa – cheap, lame poorly made

órale – to express surprise/ Really?

Híjole – Oh my goodness!

¿Qué onda? – What’s up?

¿Mande? – What?

cuate – guy

guey – man

compa – friend

suave – groovy (older form of cool)

Qué mala/buena onda – What bad/good luck

pasta – money

es la leche – cool

chavo – young man

Neta? – Really?

¡No manches! – No kidding!/ For real?

¡A la goma! – to express surprise/ Wow!

¡Qué fregón! – How cool!

chilango – person from Mexico City

foráneo – person from out of town

provinciano – person from elsewhere than Mexico City

lana – money

chanclas – sandals

coche – car

 

Spain

 

sujetavelas – third wheel (candle-holder)

sinpa – dash and dine

pelota – teacher’s pet

enchufado – well-connected, the favorite

Qué mal rollo – that sucks

¡Qué guay! – How cool!

tío – guy/dude

majo/a – very nice

a flor de piel – wear your heart on your sleeve (meaning varies)

pasta – money

¡Cómo mola! – How cool!

vale– okay

es la leche – cool

chaval/a – teenager

Qué chulo – How cool

flipar– to be shocked

picar– to bother someone

 

Ecuador

 

pana – friend

bielas – beer

mijin – friend (amigo inseparable)

guambra – guy/girl (chico/chica)

achachay – it’s so cold (qué frío)

ayayay – that hurts (qué dolor)

acolitar– help (ayudar/acompañar)

ñaño/a – brother/sister

 

Costa Rica

 

chunche – thing

chiva – cool

¡Qué cachete! – How cool!

mop – close friend (primo, changed to mopri, shortened)

vara – thing

voy jalando – to leave a place with a bad attitude/feeling

mae – dude

manillo – dude

chiguines – kids

tico/a– a Costa Rican

tuanis – cool

pura vida– hello/ goodbye/ cheers/everything is good or cool

estar chineado/a– when you want to be cuddle/ loved/ taken care of

 

Panama

 

vaina – thing (as in, when you don’t remember what it is)

¿Qué sopa? – What happened? (¿Qué sopa?, after pig latin… ¿Qué sopa mopri?)

panama

 

Colombia

 

nomba – abbreviation of hombre (used as in “nuh uh no way”)

¿Qué hubo? – What’s up?/ How’s it going?/ to shoo away dogs or reprimand kids

ira – now

 

 

Guatemala

 

güiros – niños

pisto – dinero

patojos – teenagers

 

 

Puerto Rico

 

charro/charrería – something/someone is lame

vacilón – a great party, having lots of fun

mano – dude

algarete – something crazy

bochinche – gossip

bregar – to work something out

cafre – someone with little education and attitude

chabón – someone that bothers you

changa – a person that wines and complains a lot

lambón – someone who is always pleasing others

 

 

Perú

 

causa – friend

pata
– friend

chévere
– cool

flaca
– girlfriend

humabrillo/a
– guy/girl

ñaño/a
– brother/sister

chelas
– beers

chamba – work

bacán – wonderful

calato– naked

cana – jail

chape – kiss

mosca – alert

pituco – wealthy

yunta – best friend

chibolo – niño

peru

 

Chile

 

bakán – cool

filo – over it (no importa)

pololo/a – boy/girlfriend

al tiro – right now

carrete – party (carretear – to party)

poh – filler words used for emphasis

Cachai? – You get it?

fome – boring

seco/a – awesome, a person who is good at doing something

guagua – baby

bebida – soda

chile

 

Dominican Republic

 

un chin – a little bit

vaina – stuff

guagua – bus

jevi – cool

Qué lo qué – What’s up

colmado – convenience store

bacano – cool/ someone good at something difficult

pana – buddy

jeepeta – SUV

chévere – cool

tato – everything is good/alright

ñapa – bonus/ when you buy something and they give you extra

esquimalito – popsicle

jevo/a – boy/girlfriend or girl/boy

concho – non-reulgated public transportation/ to express discomfort

tripear– to joke around/ to be pleasing (as in, “te tripea”)

quillao/quillá– being very mad

guapo/a– to be angry

 

 

Nicaragua

 

tuani – cool/awesome

chigüin/a: boy/girl

dale pues – do it then, go ahead

chaval/a – boy/girl

chele/chela -light-skinned person

chunche – thingamajig

Qué encave – How messed up

están jalando – they are dating

ni chicha ni limonada – to express confution

nicaragua

 

El Salvador

 

chivo/a – cool

va – ok/uh huh/got it/ah

cara de chumbe – turkey face

bicho, cipote(a) – child

chucho – dog

pisto – money

nicaragua

 

Venezuela

 

dale pues – go ahead and do it, let’s go, to express agreement

chévere – cool

chamo/a – boy/girl

chimbo – not good/bummer

coroto – thing (when you’re unsure of the name)

guácala – yucky, gross

bululú – a crowd

na’guará – to express admiration of something incredible or true

venezuela

 

Paraguay

 

colectiva – bus

dispensa – corner store

puerete – cool (Guarani origins)

chulina – cute (Guarani origins)

chamigo/a – close friend (mix of che and friend)

paraguay

 

Uruguay

 

ta – okay

chiquilín/a – boy or girl

guri – boy

plata – money

 

Argentina

 

che – meaning varies (hey, cool, guy)

pibe/piba – boy/girl

mina – girl

re – prefix that means “very”

tener fiaca – lazy

morfar – to eat

bondi – bus

¿Me estás cargando? – What the heck?

baja un cambio – call/ slow down

dale – ok/ hurry up

plata/mango/guita – money

 

 

German Children’s Songs: A YouTube Playlist for Beginners

German Children’s Songs: A YouTube Playlist for Beginners

Inside: German children’s songs: some introductory German music on YouTube, for learners. 

 

Let’s state the obvious: I don’t speak German, or know much about it!. However, I am working on a world music collection for Multicultural Kid Blogs and got some suggestions for German songs from our MKB community. So I’m including their suggestions, as well as a few more, to help parents looking for German children’s songs.

If you are looking for other music collections, I have a post on songs in French for kids, and well as an extensive list of songs in Spanish for kids

 

German Children’s Songs

Special thanks to The European Mama and Erin at Large. If you have some more ideas to help me out, I would really appreciate it!

 

1. Fünf kleine Fische

 

 

2. Grün, grün, grün sind alle meine Kleider

 

 

3. Was müssen das für Bäume sein

 

 

4. Alle meine Entchen

 

 

5. ABCs in German

 

If you click on this song, you can also access songs for each letter of the alphabet. 

 

6. Numbers 1-10 in German

 

 

7. Day of the Week in German

 

 

8. Greetings Songs in German 

 

 

Some support for understanding the song above:

 

Did I miss one of your favorite German children’s songs? Please let me know in the comments!

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German Children's Songs

French Songs for Kids: A Playlist for Beginners

French Songs for Kids: A Playlist for Beginners

Inside: A collection of French songs for kids on YouTube. 

 

As we raise our two bilingual kids, I’ve always planned to introduce a third or even fourth language. While this has always been the goal, I’ve been pretty spotty on following through. My son is super interested in French, and my goal this fall is to be more consistent with that. 

always recommend songs for parents wanting to teach their kids Spanish. It’s the perfect way to pick up pronunciation, remember words, and hear language in context.

I created a huge collection of songs in Spanish for kids, but haven’t found something similar for French. So here goes step 1: creating a YouTube playlist! 

We don’t want to set our kids loose on YouTube, and I don’t want him just listening to random songs. Here’s my collection of what we’ll be using as we started!

 

French Songs for Kids on YouTube

 

1. French Greeting Songs

 

Greetings are a good place to start as we learn to introduce ourselves and say hello. I like “French Greetings Song for Children” (also introduces numbers) and “Bonjour, Bonjour.”

 

 

 

2. French Colors Song

 

This one is nice for just learning each color word:

 

3. French Numbers Song

 

We’ve definitely learned 1-10 after a few listens!

 

 

 

 

4. French Alphabet Songs

 

More lighthearted than most on this list, Yo no sé mañana speaks to the uncertainty of new love with an upbeat salsa tone.

 

 

 

5. French Songs to Learn About the Family

 

 

 

 

 

6. French Songs for Parts of the Body

 

 

 

 

7. French Folk Songs for Kids 

 

Frère Jacques

 

Au Clair de la Lune

 

Nous n’irons plus as bois

 

 

What would you add? I am NOT a French speaker, and would love to hear your suggestions! Let me know in the comments!

 

Common Spanish Verbs & Words You Need to Know

Common Spanish Verbs & Words You Need to Know

Inside: Common Spanish verbs every Spanish learner needs to know, and a guide for parents teaching Spanish.  

The Spanish language has a lot of words. It’s impossible to calculate exactly how many, but the Diccionario de la Real Academia Española (DRAE) contains about 93,000. Don’t worry, though! There’s good news for Spanish learners: only a tiny percentage of those words make their way into daily conversation.

I’m going to give a brief intro explaining why high-frequency is a better way of thinking than by “difficulty” or only themed lists. If you are here to see my lists of high-frequency Spanish verbs and words, click here to jump directly to them. 

This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for your support!

Today’s post is for any Spanish language learner, but I’m actually writing fro parents. Many parents tell me they want to learn Spanish with their kids (or teach it to them), but they’ve forgotten their high school Spanish or never studied it. If that’s you, this post was written with you in mind!

The secret to effective, communicative language lessons is focusing on high-frequency structures. One problem with mainstream textbooks and programs is that they teach by themes, and introduce by “difficulty.” This means you could go half a year in Spanish before learning how to express I have or I like. Many of you probably took classes like this. You might have “learned” the word scarf before you could express liking or having something.

 

Themes aren’t all bad. The problem is when you try to learn every word in a theme–like stepsister and great-grandfather— even if they are sort of obscure. You’ll probably just forget them!

Here’s the solution: zero in on the core of the language: common Spanish verbs and phrases. Learn just mom, dad, sister, brother, as a beginner. You’ll pick up more specific, less frequent terms later. 

And — when you learn high-frequency phrases– you’ll more quickly have access to authentic Spanish books, songs, and materials. Why? Because they’re more likely to show up, of course!

So instead of thinking in terms moving through a sequence of “difficulty” and boxed “themes,” think in terms of frequency: starting at the core, and slowing expanding outward to absorb less-common words. Begin with the words you need to be understood, as a beginner, and eventually you’ll be expressing yourself more precisely. 

 

 

 

If you are trying to self-educate a bit, here are some helpful links. None are as ideal and having a teacher, but you can use these resources at home, for free. 

Teach Yourself Spanish, with Free Online Resources

Load Up Podcasts in Spanish

Make a playlist of Songs that use High-Frequency Phrases

Order learner books like these examplesl(novels that use high-frequency words– made for teens, but fun reads!):

 

  

 

Now, let’s get started with our high-frequency lists! You can download all of them as a PDF by clicking below:

Spanish High Frequency Phrases and Verbs PDF

Spanish High Frequency Phrases and Verbs PNGs

Common Spanish Verbs

Spanish verbs are very complicated, especially if you set out to memorize all the endings and mathematical-like rules. You might be able to get them into your short-term memory that way, but here we are focusing on daily communication.

Instead, focus on what you want to say.Ser” (to be) is a messy verb. As you start out though, all you *really* need to know is how to express core phrases like is, I am, you are, etc. It’s how 2-year-olds begin, and reach fluency without knowing how to conjugate!

Here I’ve gathered 11 high-frequency verbs in Spanish, plus gustar (it’s essential when teaching kids.) I only included the he/she/it forms, along with I and you underneath. Eventually, you’ll acquire the forms for we, they, and you all, but these are the basics. When you are ready, the past tense forms are included as well. 

I made a Quizlet sets so you can access the pronunciation on each word:

Present Tense Verbs

 

Common Spanish Words

Here are some of the top Spanish words you’ll need to know as you get startedEspecially with words like these, memorizing them out of context is probably the slowest path to acquiring them. They are most memorable when read and heard in context.

But if you’re trying to work Spanish into your daily life, you’ll need to use these! First, you can see a list of core questions phrases. If you are teaching and reading books in Spanish with your kids, it’s very helpful to know how ask. Work them into daily life as you point out things during the day. 

For pronunciation help and clarification of use, here’s are Quizlet sets I’ve made:

Phrases for Parent and Families

Common Words / Question Words

This Quizlet set also uses most of the phrases I’ve shared

 

 

Common Spanish Phrases for Parents

 

If you would like to work some Spanish into daily routines and family life, here are some core phrases that you can post and begin to use right away. If you use phrases in context and attached to an action (Come here!), you’ll be amazed how much they stick!

 

More Lists

 

If you want more phrases, here are some more! I’m also sharing some Spanish-only lists, if that’s more helpful to you. 

 

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