Printable Spanish-Speaking Countries and Capitals Game Cards

Printable Spanish-Speaking Countries and Capitals Game Cards

Inside: Spanish-speaking countries and capitals map and game cards.

It’s Hispanic Heritage Month, a perfect time to introduce geography for Spanish-speaking countries. I’ve made a map and set of cards that teach countries, capitals, maps, and country shapes, as well as a few quick facts about each country. In this free download, you can also find directions for games like Go Fish, Concentration, and Slap-it. A color set is in included, as well as black and white in case you want your kids/students to color in the flags themselves.

Spanish-speaking Countries and Capitals Map and Game Cards

Though I like to use games to introduce lists like this, remember that memorizing a list won’t necessarily produce students who love culture. If my students are really going to connect to far away places, they needs stories, videos, food, and songs (and of course travel, if possible) to produce real affection. Hopefully these fun games will help you painlessly and quickly introduce geography, so that when you do listen to a Colombian artist or watch a clip from Puerto Rico, everyone knows the context.


These links are helpful for remembering and connecting to Spanish-speaking countries:


Simple repetition for names/capitals, while showing map:



For older students (the original video is cool, but on the line for school-appropriate):












Hispanic artists by country:


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Printable card games for Spanish-speaking countries and capitals.








Hispanic Heritage Month Series 2016 | Multicultural Kid BlogsWe are so excited for our FIFTH annual Hispanic Heritage Month series!




September 14
Hanna Cheda on Multicultural Kid Blogs: How to Pass on Hispanic Heritage as an Expat




September 15
Spanish Mama: Los Pollitos Dicen Printable Puppets




September 16
Hispanic Mama: Children’s Shows that Kids in Latin America Grew Up With




September 19
Spanish Playground: Authentic Hispanic Heritage Month Games Everyone Can Play




September 20
Tiny Tapping Toes: Exploring Instruments for Hispanic Heritage Month




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Kid World Citizen on Multicultural Kid Blogs




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Spanish Mama




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All Done Monkey




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Crafty Moms Share




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Discovering the World Through My Son’s Eyes




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La Clase de Sra. DuFault




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Embracing Diversity




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Mama Tortuga




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Hispanic Mama on Multicultural Kid Blogs




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La Clase de Sra. DuFault




October 5
Pura Vida Moms




October 7
Spanglish House




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Mundo Lanugo




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Kid World Citizen




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inspired by familia




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El Mundo de Pepita on Multicultural Kid Blogs




Don’t miss all of the great posts from previous years as well: 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015


Hey! I’m Elisabeth, a teacher and mom raising two bilingual kids in the Peruvian jungle. Read our story here. I love digging up the best Spanish resources for all you busy parents and teachers!

Los pollitos dicen pío, pío, pío Lyrics and Free Printables

Los pollitos dicen pío, pío, pío Lyrics and Free Printables

Inside: Los pollitos dicen pío, pío, pío lyrics, printables, and activities for kids.


Los pollitos dicen is one of my favorite songs in Spanish for kids. It’s also perfect for families learning Spanish– the song is packed with high-frequency phrases like tengo hambre, tienen frío, and duermen. 

We like it so much I created an entire Spanish Preschool series based on the song, with enough materials to last a year. Click on the link above if you want in-depth resources. 

In this post, I’m wrapping up that series with activities for teaching the song. Read on if you want some great activities and free printables you can use right away!


Los pollitos dicen pío pío pío Activities


los pollitos craft

Choose as many as you like, or do all of them!


1. Listen to the song. 

Here are my favorites from YouTube. (Below you can find the lyrics online and as a printable.)




2. Make Los pollitos dicen puppets. 


To make the song more hands-on, and emphasize dice, make my pollito puppet. Cut out the pollitos, and then make another cut so the top part of the head is separate. Glue each piece onto the top and bottom of a clothespin. Now your pollito can open and close its mouth when it’s time to say, – pió, pío, pío!

Los pollitos dicen puppets and lyrics

If you are teaching Spanish, you can also use this to talk about the little chicks and gets lots of reps for dice. Ask your students, ¿El pollito dice, – guau, guau? Nooo! El pollito dice, -maa, maa? Noo! El pollito dice, -pío!


spanish preschool puppets



3. Make a mini-book of the lyrics from the song. 


Download my free mini-book, to color and read at home or in class. With illustrations, the song is extra comprehensible for Spanish learners. 

los pollitos dicen mini-book


Download the Los pollitos dicen mini-book

los pollitos dicen pío pío pío


4. Act out the song. 


Attach motions to the song and act them out while singing. Once everyone has learned them well, use props or masks and act out the lyrics as a class. You can choose one child to be the gallina, or the teacher can act out that part. 


5. Sequence the song lyrics with picture cards. 


Make (or buy) cards that depict each scene of the lyrics. Read aloud the lyrics of the song, and have the students put the pictures in order, or in a pocket chart in the front of the classroom. Once they are familiar with this activity, they can try it while listening to the song itself. 

preschool Spanish lesson


Additional Resources:


If you are teaching older students, I also have a free printable on TpT. You’ll get the lyrics and several listening/lyrics activities. 


You can also purchase lessons on Los pollitos dicen (the first unit is free!):

Los pollitos dicen


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free resources for Spanish preschool




Hey! I’m Elisabeth, a teacher and mom raising two bilingual kids in the Peruvian jungle. Read our story here. I love digging up the best Spanish resources for all you busy parents and teachers!

Bellringer Choice Boards for Spanish Class

Bellringer Choice Boards for Spanish Class

Inside: Bell-ringers for Spanish class, with a free download for Para empezar choice boards.

Bell-ringers are my nemesis. Many things could be termed as such– taking attendance, keeping track of late/missing work, maybe– but my para empezar history just might take the cake.

I have lots of different preps, and coming up with something specialized to each class has been overwhelming. I’ve come up with more than one bellringer in the 5 seconds before class started, too.


Lol. Anyhow–

— as a new teacher, I usually made them grammar-based. While I think there’s a time for focusing on accuracy, the first few minutes of class are precious. Students typically retain information best from the beginning and end of class. And what helps students acquire language the most is comprehensible input, and so CI, exercises, probably belong in those precious minutes.

I was beginning with grammar exercises as my Para empezar— conjugate this verb, translate this sentence, correct the mistakes, etc. The students who “got” grammar easily flew through it. The middle students may have improved their accuracy. The students who struggled with Spanish grammar struggled with it. They walked into class and were immediately frustrated by their novice errors, which set the tone for the rest of class.

The message to all my students? The *most* important thing is to not make mistakes. Because when they walked in, I was immediately asking for them to work on their accuracy.

Since then, I’ve moved to a proficiency-based model. I am focused on my students growing and growing in what they can communicate, not in finding their mistakes. One of my goals this year, then, is to completely restructure my lessons. I want to immediately begin with input, and front-load the lesson with rich, compelling content– like a good song or story, or a novel we’re reading.

(Update: since writing this post, I wrote an extensive blog on Easy Bellringers for Spanish Classes with a ton of ideas.)

Para empezar Choice Boards

To combat the stress of lots of preps and my own disorganization, I came up with these editable Choice Boards. Essentially, I can simply copy and paste any song, text, or story onto the board. The students choose a option with which to respond. Everything is very short, as the point is really that they’re taking the content in. I have the prompts and blank squares ready in their notebooks so that I can check at the end of the week. (Or, let’s be honest… whenever I’m able to get to them!)

spanish _interactive_notebook_bell-ringer_choice_board spanish _interactive_notebook_para_empezar



When we start off the year, for example, I plan to do Persona especial interviews. The next day, the para empezar could be one of those typed interviews. It could be the chorus to a song we’ve listened to that week, or a short story we wrote the day before.

Hopefully, as they begin class this year, the message is different. Hopefully they walk in and see all they know: that the compelling content itself hooks them, and the confidence carries over into the rest of class.

If I want to, I can choose a specific square and have all the student respond with the same prompt, so we can immediately go over the responses. Grab your editable version today, if you think this might help your bellringer routine for class!


Para empezar choice boards

After attending Camp Musicuentos I’m considering moving my bellringer– administrivia, as Sara-Elizabeth Cottrell calls it– 15 or 20 minutes into class, to maximize the beginning. We’ll see. I think these can work either way!

I’d love to know what you think. Let me know if you have any suggestions to make it better!


Hey! I’m Elisabeth, a teacher and mom raising two bilingual kids in the Peruvian jungle. Read our story here. I love digging up the best Spanish resources for all you busy parents and teachers!

5 Myths About Interactive Student Notebooks

5 Myths About Interactive Student Notebooks


In a recent post, I wrote What Not to Do When Using Interactive Notebooks: things I’d learned the hard way as I began to use them. I concluded at the end that interactive notebooks will neither make or break your teaching, and only you– the teacher–can decide if they are right for your students. Interactive notebooks are hot right now, and so I thought discussing these common “myths” might help you decide what you think of them. Hopefully this can help!


1. Foldables & Flip-ups Make the Notebook Interactive.


I may be going out on a limb here, but I think this is important. It is easy to assume that because a foldable is involved, what was once a mind-numbing worksheet is automatically “interactive.” What makes an notebook interactive is that an active connection occurs between the page and the mind of the student. This, of course, only happens when the content itself is compelling and excellent. If the hands-on format of a foldable makes the page even more engaging and undestandable, so much the better!

Foldables and flip-flips can be amazing tools. Sometimes just the fact that a flip up can be physically lifted in three parts provides just the right “Aha!” moment. We just need to remember that some pages can be very plain, and still highly engage the mind and imagination of our students. That is the ultimate test for our notebooks– not how fancy or cute the components are.


2. Interactive Notebooks are Only for Elementary Students. 


I see this one a lot. Perhaps just the mention of glue and scissors gives nightmares to upper-level teachers, who chose high school precisely to get away from such materials. But the beauty of interactive notebooks is they are exactly what you want them to be: just as cutesy, formal, and involved (or not) as you like. I do think that many of the benefits for younger students (organizational help, portfolio of learning, ownership of work) extend to older students as well.


3. Interactive Notebooks Are Just a New Fad. 


The first time I came across interactive notebooks was actually 10 years ago in South America. While teaching in Peru, I watched my host family do beginning-of-the-school-year prep. My host mother bought notebooks for her sons, a different color for each subject, and carefully laminated each one. Those notebooks were used the entire year, with every student in the school following the color-coded system. The glued-in parts were less elaborate, as copies in general were a precious commodity, but it was the same basic concept. My husband remembers having a notebook for each class and gluing in organizers and notes 25 years ago then as well.

Nature journals (advocated by turn-of-the-century educator Charlotte Mason) provide another early example of “interactive notebooks.” Students began with blank notebooks. They would then go out into nature, find something interesting, and either draw it or glue the plant itself into the notebook. Then they would write about it, label it, or include a related poem or thought. Her Book of Centuries was another example of a precursor to our interactive notebooks.

Again, it’s not exactly the same as our modern-day notion of an interactive notebook. But I think shows that the idea of compiling a year’s worth of learning into a notebook to synthesize information in a hands-on way isn’t exactly a novel invention.


4. Interactive Notebooks Must Be Time-Consuming.


Interactive notebooks can be time-consuming. They don’t have to be, especially if you gravitate toward a simple format and clean lines that only require one cut. With good procedures for materials, prep time can be very short (and might make for a good brain break in the middle of a lesson.)

If you have lots of foldables, it will take some time to do them well. But in the overall scheme of things, ISNs can still save time. When foldables, outlines, or graphic organizers are well-done, they are formatted to make sense. They are made so that the foldable or arrangement itself tells the story. One of the biggest concepts in Spanish grammar, for example, is getting the plural vs. singular. Our grammar notes are on flip-flaps that consistently follow a plural/singular,  left/right format. I don’t have to even talk about this very much– it’s simply implicit in the design itself. We may spend a little longer setting up the notes, but I feel like I get more bang for my buck in the notes we do take.




5. Interactive Notebooks Mainly Benefit the Teachers. 


This myth might come from a suspicion that it just makes the teacher feel good to have a learning portfolio that looks nice. I have found, though, that using an interactive notebook makes me think harder about what I want students to take away from a lesson and how I want them to interact with the knowledge. I think the students are more directly in contact with the information; it is their work to make it their own in the notebooks, and physically place it there.

Typical worksheets– which I do still occasionally use–seem to require less thought. They tend to involve more fill-in-the-blanks, information I’ve already digested for you as the teacher. The advantage of an interactive notebook is that the burden of recording and assimilating the information is on the student. Interactive notebooks are begun empty, only filled in real time as knowledge grows. With ISNs, I know that each page will look different between different students, and that’s okay. It is their notebook, and their own record of knowledge.

I’d love to hear what you think, as I’m still a newbie with interactive notebooks! Have you heard the myths too? Do you think they might actually be true? I’d love to know.


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Five Common Myths About Interactive Notebos (4)




Hey! I’m Elisabeth, a teacher and mom raising two bilingual kids in the Peruvian jungle. Read our story here. I love digging up the best Spanish resources for all you busy parents and teachers!

What NOT To Do When Using Interactive Student Notebooks

What NOT To Do When Using Interactive Student Notebooks

Inside: Advice for teaching with interactive student notebooks.


My first year using interactive student notebooks, I jumped in on a whim. I liked the idea of student ownership: that the students would physically put together a record of their learning. They could put their personal style into this amazing portfolio of all we did.

Well, here’s Exhibit A of how that turned out, from an 8th-grade boy:

what NOT to do with interactive notebooks

It really was his personal style; it wasn’t what I’d been picturing.

Like most good things, interactive student notebooks can be great. But they require thought and planning to be done well. Now that I have a page devoted exclusively to lovely images of interactive notebooks for my Spanish I class, I’ll give you a look into The Year I Didn’t Plan Well. It’s kind’ve embarrassing, but it’s for a good cause: to help YOU!

Here’s my advice on what not to do with interactive student notebooks. (Update: don’t miss my posts on Getting Started with Spanish Interactive Notebooks, and 5 Myths About Interactive Notebooks!)


1. Don’t be unrealistic.


I started these the same year I had a baby at home, no planning period, no Spanish textbook, and too many preps. I taught 3 days a week then, so my planning period was me trying to type and grade on a Wednesday morning, while my kids played in the toilet or tried to sit on my head.

I’m glad I tried them out– even though they weren’t perfect, we enjoyed them. Just be aware that you will only attain all those beautiful Pinterest-y notebooks with careful planning. You may want to start with just one subject or level.


2. Don’t expect a printable or foldable on every page.


Despite my grand ideas, I quickly realized that interactive means:the student is connecting with the page in a meaningful way. Not: this paper flips up, and is therefore meaningful. It helps when work is beautiful and organized, but the main goal is meaningful and useful. Something just writing on the page is the most efficient and useful route.

Also, develop some “go-to” outlines for when you’re not using a printable/foldable, such as Cornell notes. Or have some graphic organizers you can project onto the board for students to copy.


3. Don’t think that printables/foldables have to be fancy. 



It can be something really simple like a strip of keywords and questions, glued in and then responded to. Efficient, sensible, and just enough structure.


4. Don’t use regular glue. Glue sticks are way better. 


Regular glue was a horrible mess! I really thought that middle schoolers / high schoolers might have a handle on the whole “a little dab’ll do ya'” refrain, but apparently not. It also takes a long time to dry, which is annoying if they need to go back and write something in.


5. Don’t number every. single. page. Just number the ones on the right. 


Overall, the students really liked our interactive notebooks. But The Day We Numbered All 200 Pages was a bad day. It’s quite hard to number them correctly without skipping one and only realizing it 20 pages later. It’s much easier to stay on one side of the page and refer to the right and left side (good practice for derecha and izquierda!). One title will often work for both sides anyway.

what NOT to do with interactive notebooks (1)

To buy my bilingual Table of Contents / Índice, click here!


5. Don’t forget about the table of contents. OR forget about it entirely.


As you can see in the picture below, my 8th grader wrote exactly one title: El cuento de Paco.

what NOT to do with interactive notebooks (2)

Some of my students wrote every title page religiously, and some didn’t. It was my fault because I wasn’t enforcing/remembering the whole table of contents thing. I also had somehow lost track in every class of what page things were supposed to be on. Usually one responsible student would ask for the title and page number, and I would shoot back, “Whatever’s the next page!” I’m not sure that it truly matters, but for more Type-A teachers it might.

OR, if you know you won’t keep up with a table of contents, just go chronologically.

The root cause was not establishing a routine for our notebooks, and not staying a step ahead in my “Master Teacher Versions.” (Hah, hah. Those poor notebooks got abandoned by October, I think.) Which brings me to my next point…


6. Do make a Master Teacher Notebook for each subject/level you are doing. 


I was so overwhelmed I didn’t do this, but it really would have helped me. You need to think very specifically what you want each page to look like, because it’s amazing how students can misinterpret an overgeneralized explanation of something you think is fairly obvious. My goal is not to make a notebook of cute and clever worksheets, or a student-made textbook of drills. I want it to be thoughtful, and creative solution for organizing and using what we learn. A well-done interactive notebook will make learning more efficient.

And that, my friends, takes some thinking ahead.



7. Don’t expect interactive student notebooks to make or break your teaching.


I love them. They make sense to me. But they’re just a tool, in the end.

And my 8th grader with the torn-up notebook above? By the end of an informal 6-8th grade Spanish elective, he and the others were reading Piratas del Caribe. He had some of the best comprehension out of the class, and could give amazingly thoughtful answers. I’ll take that over a beautiful notebook, any day.

Did I miss anything? What’s you best advice for interactive notebooks, or what not to do with interactive notebooks?

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What not to do with interactive notebooks


Hey! I’m Elisabeth, a teacher and mom raising two bilingual kids in the Peruvian jungle. Read our story here. I love digging up the best Spanish resources for all you busy parents and teachers!

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