Category: Spanish Teachers
Practical and low-hassle Spanish class activities
Whether you’re a Feliz Navidad or Felices Fiestas person, it’s nice to do some special activities around the holidays in your classroom; the trick is pulling it off in a meaningful and low-hassle way.
Not only is it fun to do something unique, but Christmas is ripe for cultural learning. There are a few variations in Christmas cultural traditions between North Americans and our Spanish-speaking neighbors in Central and South America are definitely worth spending some time on.
Christmas Spanish Class Activity 1: Las Posadas
Las Posadas is a 9-day tradition (remembering 9 months of pregnancy) that remembers and reenacts that night in Bethlehem when Mary and Joseph were looking for a place to stay and there was no room for them anywhere in town except that humble stable. Una Posada is an inn or lodge in Spanish. And if … Read More »
Day of the Dead (Día de los Muertos) – el 2 de noviembre
A brief excerpt from Wikipedia:
Day of the Dead (Spanish: Día de los Muertos) is a Mexican holiday celebrated throughout Mexico and around the world in other cultures. The holiday focuses on gatherings of family and friends to pray for and remember friends and family members who have died. It is particularly celebrated in Mexico, where it is a national holiday, and all banks are closed. The celebration takes place on November 1, in connection with the Catholic holidays ofAll Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day (November 2). Traditions connected with the holiday include building private altars honoring the deceased using sugar skulls, marigolds, and the favorite foods and beverages of the departed and visiting graves with these as gifts. They also leave possessions of the deceased.
To view the full post: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Day_of_the_Dead
Review some Day of … Read More »
Teaching Dyslexic Students Spanish- Great tips to ease the struggle
By this time in the school year, it’s clear which students are struggling in your Spanish class. Some students may not be giving your class the energy required to succeed, but it’s pretty safe to assume that there are others who are trying to tackle a foreign language with a learning disability.
Common Ground International is admittedly no expert on learning disabilities, but recently we’ve been working with several High School students struggling with Dyslexia, and we’ve had some success. So here are 6 quick tips for teaching dyslexic students in your Spanish class:
Be honest with your student. Learning a foreign language with dyslexia is going to require some extra effort. Some students may need to be reminded that the extra help they are given at school is not enough to succeed. … Read More »
Tú and usted, using the forms of you in Spanish:
In our work with professionals learning Spanish for workplace communication, we often encounter the patterns they learned in high school or college Spanish courses taken years before. One of the most common is the tendency to default to the tú form of you in Spanish when speaking to someone. This isn’t always the most appropriate way to address someone in the professional setting.
Do your students have a default “you” form?
Most of our clients had Spanish courses at some point in the past, and learned that usted is reserved for speaking to elders and people in positions of authority, or when showing respect. Having learned this, they generally default to using tú in the classroom – practicing usted only in the context of grammar drills, not everyday speech. This may even be … Read More »
Some relevant and interesting debate topics for Spanish Class
Hopefully your Spanish students have been exposed to important historical themes through their classwork and readings. However, what better way to get them talking than by exploring some debate topics relevant to their generation? We recently gave students a list of research topics for oral presentations. Some of those topics could also make for great classroom debates:
Unarmed Conflict in Costa Rica
Background: Costa Rica de-militarized over 60 years ago, and has had a strong commitment to peace and neutrality ever since. However, in late 2010 a Nicaraguan-led river dredging project along the border led to a territory skirmish which eventually escalated into a localized military “invasion” of Costa Rica. The Costa Rican government has sought to resolve the issue without the use of military force.
The Debate: In this case of the … Read More »
Effective, educational and fun Spanish immersion!
There are a lot of summer programs out there for high school students, with different approaches to student travel and education. Our Spanish immersion program has not only proven to improve language ability, but it’s a hit with teachers, parents, and of course, students!
Here are a few reasons why our model simply works, and achieves more objectives without the hassle & uncertainty:
1. Our students have a more profound experience – and learn Spanish more completely.
Our formula is simple yet surprisingly unique among travel programs:
Intensive Spanish classes
+Family Home stays
+ Adventure Travel
= Comprehensive language program!
Few high school travel opportunities truly balance substantive Spanish education, cultural learning and fun. Students who travel with Common Ground go primarily because they want to improve their Spanish. However, as educators we know that a one-dimensional experience isn’t the best way … Read More »
A fun and useful activity for learning Spanish verb tenses; have Shakira help you out with planning an easy classroom activity:
Spanish Teachers -
Don’t let practicing Spanish verb tenses be a drag when you can engage your students with one of the best parts of Latino culture: ¡La música!
Shakira’s song “Estoy Aquí” from her Pies Descalzos album demonstrates both the present progressive and the future tenses with regular, irregular, and unique verbs.
Here’s all you need to do for this classroom music activity:
1) Print out the Estoy Aquí lyrics and lyric worksheets (one for gerunds and one for future tense) and distribute the appropriate worksheet to your students.
2) Play the Song: VIDEO: “Estoy Aqui” por Shakira
3) Have your students fill in the blanks with the correct Spanish verbs as they listen to the song a few times.
4) Go over the answers, and … Read More »
Learning a new language can always be tricky; some of the most embarrassing scenarios include these common Spanish-English translation mistakes:
Whether or not you travel abroad this summer, chances are you’ll be using your Spanish right here at home for a long time to come. Even the most experienced Spanish speakers make mistakes, but here are some particularly embarrassing Spanish translation mistakes to avoid:
I have a LOT of man!
Don’t forget the tiny difference between hunger, men, and shoulders in Spanish:
Tengo mucha hambre = I’m very hungry
Tengo hombre = I have a man
Tengo hombro = I have a shoulder
Oops! I am so pregnant!
Making English words sound Spanish can carry you through some situations…until you’re embarrassed!
Estoy embarazada = I’m pregnant (even more awkward if you happen to be male)
Tengo vergüenza = I’m embarrassed
Can’t keep your household surfaces turkey free? Try Pledge!
Two words you … Read More »
Having trouble motivating students? Getting ready to send your graduating Spanish students off to college and into the world – hoping that they’ll continue their language studies?
For a lot of students, motivation to learn certain subjects doesn’t come simply because they enjoy learning, but later on, once they have a practical application for the knowledge. Take for example, the pilot who failed many of his high school math and science classes, but once he was allowed to fly a plane had no trouble acing calculus and physics. Or the veterinarian who never cared much for chemistry until she needed it to learn how to treat her patients. So what about the Spanish student?
Hopefully your students are fortunate enough to have an immersion experience, which is often enough to make students see and appreciate how speaking a foreign language opens up … Read More »
Use one of the easiest tunes to remember the tricky irregular preterite tense
Irregular preterite tense can be difficult for many students. We all know that remembering the lyrics to a favorite song is easier than memorizing verb conjugations. So when it comes time to introduce your students to a new set of irregular verbs, a little singing can go a long way! Here’s a song to help them out with the irregular preterite tense:
Los Irregulares de Pretérito
To the tune of “Row, Row, Row, Your Boat”
Fui, Fui, Dije, Vine
Tuve, Hice, Puse
Estuve, Quise, Pude, Supe
Traje, Anduve, Di
Could your students use some help remembering when to use Por y Para? Find more songs and tips in our Por vs. Para blog post.
Of course the best way to learn a language is through immersion. Take a look at Common Ground’s Costa Rica Immersion program!
photo … Read More »