This is the second in a series of three posts about books by Julia Donaldson that I have recently purchased in Spanish.
Las tres cartas del Oso is a very simple board book with flaps. It has two short sentences per page and colourful illustrations by Axel Scheffler. Oso writes three letters and sets out to deliver them. We follow him, counting the letters as we go and trying to guess to whom they are addressed by the home in which they live. Are we correct? Opening the flaps gives us the answer! But why has Oso written to Ardilla, Rana and Topo? All will be revealed as the book concludes with cake!
I bought this book to read to FKS/KS1 as it is very simple and also short. It reinforces counting to 3 and also could be used to introduce the names of some animals. I’d introduce the animal words before the story, with images to support, and then display them so that children can choose from the ‘gallery’ which animal they think the letter should go to. We could act out delivering the letters too, and reading them. And, as the purpose of the letters is revealed to be Oso’s birthday, it would be a good opportunity to talk Spanish birthday songs and traditions.
A couple of traditions that I like that are quirky – instead of being given ‘the bumps’ and being thrown in the air, children in Spain have their ear ‘pulled’ the number of times that corresponds to their birthday. And in Mexico, I’ve discovered that they have the tradition below:
On my trips to Spain I’m always in search of a bargain! I’ve recently not had much luck finding ‘Poundland’ type shops, nor the equivalent of a Swiss brocki but this time I came across a 1 euro shop down one of the Siete Calles in Bilbao. Disappointingly there were no books, and unfortunately I was down to my last few euros. However, I did find some bargains.
Firstly some vocabulary jigsaws. Following on from a tip from Eleanor Abrahams-Burrows at ILILC a few years back, I bought some blank ones from Wilko (also available from Flying Tiger) and made some bespoke vocabulary jigsaws for early finishers/take home Spanish bags/ to reinforce grammar points.
I was pleased to find these ‘rompecabezas’ in the shop and at 1 euro 20 I bought one of each. I’ll use them in much the same way as my homemade ones; let’s see which is the most popular. Additional activities that you could do once the jigsaws are complete:
put the vocabulary in alphabetical order
read and practice pronunciation
make a list of the words you find most interesting
make a puzzle for a friend with the words
classify the words – could be by colour, size, like/dislike, manmade/natural
find the word for… with a partner
My second purchase was a pack of cards. I’ve got lots of decks of cards already, but this my first ‘baraja española.’ As you can see, they are not the same as the ‘baraja francesa’ with which we may be more familiar. There are four ‘palos’ or suites – oros (coins), copas (cups), espadas (swords) y bastos (sticks) – of 12 cards each. The different ‘palos’ are also distinguished by the number of breaks in the line around the edge of the card: oros -0; colas – 1; espadas – 2; bastos -3. And, in contrast to the 52 card ‘baraja francesa’, there are only 48 cards in the ‘baraja española’ as, whilst there are three ‘figuras’ – rey (king), caballo (horse) and sota (jack) – there is no card marked 10.
I was pleased to purchase these from a cultural point of view as well as to be used when we’re working on numbers/counting etc
Here’s a post with some ideas on how playing cards can be used in language learning.
And some traditional Spanish card games that are played with the ‘baraja española’ are explained in this post. Some are played with a 40 card deck (which omits the 8 and 9) One such game, and probably one of the simplest too is Siete y media which is explained in Spanish here (to change it to English, click on English in the left hand menu!) but is basically a game in which the aim is to get cards totally 7 ½ points and no more, with number cards being worth face value and ‘figuras’ are worth half. A simple game that could easily be played in class with basic language:
te toca a ti – it’s your go
otra carta por favor – another card please
me planto – I’m sticking here (no more cards)
me paso – I’ve gone bust (my total is over 7 ½)
gano – I win!
¿jugamos otra vez? – shall we play again?
You many not want to add an element of betting for counters or points, but if you do…
apuesto… puntos/fichas – I bet …. points/counters.
I usually use decks of cards for activities such as :
pick a card and say its value in Spanish
pick two cards and add their values
playing 21 (very like Siete y media but with higher numbers so harder to play when pupils can only say up to 10!)
pick a card and saying the number bond to make ten, fifteen or twenty
pick two cards; what’s the difference?
pick two cards and multiply the numbers
higher, lower (in the style of Play your cards right!)
Do you have any favourite card games that you think could be used in the language classroom?
It’s very tempting when you can’t go shopping to get the shopping bought to you. I’m being quite restrained but I have been ordering a few things…
One of my recent purchases is pictured below.
I admit that they’re bigger than I’d envisaged (they’re advertised as and are 1.5 inches/3.8cm but my spatial awareness is not good!) and some of them aren’t exactly cubes, but they serve the purpose for which they are intended. Which was?
Well, they’re made of foam which will hopefully mean less noise, and their size and colour means that I’ll see where they are, they won’t get mixed up with the school dice and they won’t get lost under/inside books/pencil pots/pencil cases.
So many ways to use dice in this way! Here are a few – I’m sure you’ve got ideas of your own – feel free to add them in the comments!
throw one die and say the number
throw one die and double it, or multiply by 3 etc
throw two dice and add the numbers
throw two dice and multiply the numbers
throw a dice several times, adding up the numbers are you throw and trying to score a perfect 21.
Here’s a PDF of Maths activities using dice for Kindergarten right up to year 8. Dice-Ideas
I particularly like Make 100/Cien challenges learners to throw dice and make 100 by using any operation, and also Double half or stay (I shall call it Doblar, dividir por dos o ¡ya! as I am struggling to find a better way of putting it!) which is simlar to 21 but can be played with any number and you can, as the name suggests, double,half or stick with your number.
Activity Village suggests a very simple game called Mountain o Sube la montaña which has the aim of reaching the summit of the mountain first by throwing the numbers in order. So you have to throw 1 to start then 2 and so on. Players say their numbers as they throw the dice so plenty of repetition. Have a look at the site for more detailed rules and variations.
For subtraction, here’s a game I found on eHow.com called Pennies (although could be called cents or Euros instead of peniques 😉 )
This is an ideal game for younger players. Stack 20 pennies in the center of the table. The first player rolls one die and takes the number of pennies shown. Play passes to the next person and continues until the pile is gone. An exact roll is required to take the last of the pennies. The winner is the person with the most pennies.
Language used would be very simple – Tengo 2. Hay 20 euros. Tomo 2. Restan 18.
I like this idea from Activity Village too called Beat That! (¡Superárlo! or ¡Superar eso!) that reinforces place order and practices 2 , 3 (or more!) digit numbers.
Roll the dice and put them in order to make the highest number possible. If you roll a 4 and an 6, for example, your best answer would be 64. Using 3 dice, a roll of 3, 5 and 2 should give you 532, and so on. Write down your answer, pass the dice, and challenge the next player to Beat That!
Play in rounds and assign a winner to each round.
You can also play to see who can get the lowest score!
Mathswire has several games that look at probability – I especially like the Cookies game where you throw two dice and add the numbers to decide which cookie can be packed away – or perhaps eaten! 😉
A variation on this I’ve played is for outdoor fun using chalk as I shared at #ililc3
You draw a grid in chalk on the ground with lanes of 10 squares for numbers 2-12 (when I saw it played with Kindy in Switzerland they used 1 which wasn’t fair!!) Pupils choose a lane and they are the ‘caballo’ or ‘caracol’ that will race in that lane. They take it in turns to throw two dice and add the numbers together. That decides who can move forward; so if 2 and 3 are thrown, caballo #5 can take a step forwards. The idea is to “llegar a la meta” first. Lots of number language involved, and it’s an activity
that can easily be played as one activity in a carousel. (There’s a board game called Snail Pace Race that is similar but uses colours)
Another probability activity from Maths is fun would be a great way of supporting the Maths curriculum using más probable and menos probable. Clare Seccombe has done a whole presentation on Supporting Maths through language learning – it’s well worth a look for further ideas! (Sadly now that Slideshare has stopped slide casts the audio is no longer embedded 🙁 )
Six sided dice are great for conjugating verbs as there are six “persons” 1st 2nd and 3rd singular and plural. Throw the dice to decide the person of the verb
You could combine this with a board game featuring verbs like the one I made below for M and M, my Spanish English students in Switzerland to practice the past tense. Or
You could also assign parts of speech a number – learners throw the die a number of times and “collect” parts of speech according to their roll and then make a sentence using that combination of words. You could restrict the choice of vocabulary with cards, or allow learners to use dictionaries to make a unique sentence!
4 = adverb
Similar to grammar games, you could play a speaking game as suggested here
The teacher brings a large soft dice to the classroom. Students sit in a circle and take turns rolling the dice. Each time, a student throws the dice. The student who rolls the dice uses the number that shows up on the die to say some things about himself or herself. For example, if the number 2 shows up, the student will have to say two things about himself or herself.
Another variation would be for the student to ask the class the number of questions according to what number shows up on the dice. Equally, you can make the class ask the number of questions according to the number on the dice.
You could also use two dice and challenge learners to make a sentence with that many words, a phrase with that many syllables or think of a word with that many letters.
Throw the die to win body parts. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a beetle you build; it could be a monster, a clown, a person or something completely different. Activity Village suggests Mouse or Ratón
6 = el cuerpo
5 = la nariz
4 = bigotes
3 = un ojo
2 – una oreja
1 = la cola
Here’s an idea to make a Joan Miró style painting using a die…
Juego mueve dados online dice game – not really for using my dice, nor a language activity but I thought I’d share as it made my head ache!
And then, of course, there are dice that don’t have numbers on them but colours, images or words! MES Dice games has some ideas that uses vocabulary dice too, and Crazy faces looks fun too – I might come back to that and write another post on non-number dice! And then there are dice apps…
*This is one of a series of posts about some of my favourite story books for Primary Language Learning*
Following on from some ideas for Spanish books using colours, the books in this post look at numbers 1-10.
Counting ovejas (available on Amazon and Abebooks) is a book about a little boy who can’t get to sleep as there’s too much noise so he decides to count sheep. Except these sheep aren’t in his imagination! Una oveja blanca arrives in his room and he bids it ¡Adiós! , then dos ovejas amarillas walk in; he bids them ¡Adiós! as he pushes them out of the window. More and more sheep of varying colours arrive and the boy bids them ¡Adiós! in ever increasingly ingenious and elaborate ways. Does he ever get to sleep? you’ll have to read the book to find out!
The text is very simple and very repetitive, following the structure of stating the number and colour of the sheep on one page and bidding them goodbye on the next. In fact the whole book is made up of the following vocabulary:
los números – uno / dos / tres / cuatro / cinco / seis / siete / ocho / nueve / diez
There is a ‘pronunciation’ given on each page for the Spanish; I personally don’t like these as their accuracy depends on everyone interpreting the ‘phonetic spelling’ in the same way. For example seis ovejas rojas is written ‘pronounced’ say-ees oh-veh-hahs ro-has
However it’s a lovely book for reading with young learners who will soon recall the colour of the sheep as well as the next number as you count the invading woolly creatures! It’s a great book for acting with masks too, perhaps for an assembly! And although this post is about another (similar) book, the activities are equally valid!
Diez orugas cruzan el cielo (available on Amazon and Abebooks) is another counting book with little caterpillars traveling through the pages. Each double page is written in four line rhyme with the final word of line 4 being the number of caterpillars left on the next page:
One caterpillar falls asleep, gets lost, or gets left behind on each page so the numbers decrease from diez to uno until there’s a big surprise on the last page. I like this as counting backwards is more tricky than forwards and adds variety to number work.
The final counting book for young learners is Descubre y aprende los números con Fido. This book is similar to Descubre y aprende los colores con Fido and particularly good for small groups or individual reading, or for whole class using a visualiser. And as the numbers only go as far as 5, it’s particularly good for very young learners in Nursery/Kindergarten.
Each double page focuses on a different number and has bright images for counting, a panel of numbers for indicating the correct figure and a wheel for finding the correct image to fill the window. You could extend the activities by asking learners to find a certain number of items e.g. dos ovejas or tres vacas from the farm, or cuatro coches y un tren from the transport corner. Or count the number of steps to reach certain parts of the classroom/playground.
A fun book – I’m sure there are plenty of other similar books that could be used for similar activities.
I’ll be back with some French ideas once I’ve found all my French books!
And to finish, a few videos that could be used with these books –
Reading Los mellizos del tiempo got me thinking about integrating language learning in the Primary curriculum. As I mentioned in my previous post, it links so well with the ‘topic’ of Egyptians, or under the ‘learning journey’ of Treasure taken in Year 4 at WCPS. So I had a bit of a look around and came up with the following ideas, resources and links that might be of use to anyone who wants to do just that!
Egipto para niños – collection of fairly simple texts on a number of areas of Egyptian life including the Pyramids, food, manners and mummies as well as a bit of geography. This text is in fairly short chunks too. And Blog de los Niños has some short chunks of information, particularly about Egyptian gods and the meanings of the various crowns.
Here are some longer texts about various Egyptian ‘misterios’ including the Mummy of Pyramid KV22.
Historia Simple has some short-ish historical summaries of the various phases of the 2500 year long Egyptian era including a section on the Pyramids. There’s also some information on El Historiador.
And of course there’s Wikipedia – you can translate the pages back and forth between languages so you could have some fun with picking out key items of vocabulary.
Slideshare has some presentations for ideas and information including this lovely one from some young learners which is beautifully simple and asks some good questions on slide 4 that could be used for investigation.
And this blog has two simple presentations by Dora la Exploradora and friends, and Hello Kitty covering some of the basics of Egyptian geography and history in words and image.
However, my favourite find is from Junta de Andalucia. This site is a one stop shop about Egyptians, written in simple language and presented in short paragraphs with lots of visuals, making it really accessible. There is a dictionary of key terms as well as the facility to click on highlighted words for an immediate ‘pop up’ definition. Lots of interactive maps and also a hieroglyphics maker within the site also make it a great place for young learners to find out about Egypt. There’s also a webquest that guides learners through the site, posing questions that can be explored and investigated. (There’s another more complex webquest here along with other Egyptian resources shared on the Tiching site.)
A close second goes to a resource from Gobierno de Canarias that takes an interactive look at the Pyramids with extra information, again simply presented, appearing as you click on specific areas of the pyramid.
Videos are another source of information that can often be more accesible than just text.
And then there are these cartoons, the first from a series called Érase una vez.. and the second from a series called Martín Martín.
And here’s another I’ve just found which is a short video about the Egyptian pyramids:
You might also like to try the Barrio Sésamo approach with this video in which Lola visits the Pyramids or this video which presents images and name of the animals of Egypt before moving on to images of buildings and then some short snippets of information about Egyptian life.
You know how I love a good kitschy song! Here’s one called Momias de colores by Rockolate. When my hand is feeling better, I might try to subtitle the video using Amara or at least write them down!
(see also Fátima una momia responsable below under Stories for another song)
(see also Stories below!)
Perhaps with older, more advanced learners you could use some of the definitions from this ‘Glosario’ for a match the word to the definition. You could choose key words like Faraon, Esfinge, Obelisco, Momia, Papiro, Sarcófagos, Vasos canopos and so on.
And this vocabulary list gives you the Spanish word with the Arabic equivalent. Could provide an interesting language comparison activity.
And here’s an online hieroglyphics tool. Would be fun to write some words in hieroglyphics and ask learners to decode before they write their names. Or they could write key Egyptian vocabulary in hieroglyphics for display as well as in Spanish for a multi lingual display!
The Egyptian system of counting and adding etc was very developed and you can find out all about it here (in more detail than I think I need to know but if you like Maths…)
This site has lots of writing at the top (useful information!) but the really ‘useful’ part for learners is the chart with the Egyptian number glyphs and the puzzles underneath, both for whole numbers and also for fractions. I foresee lots of fun with setting maths problems for each other… There are a few more maths problems here.
A document explaining that Egyptian numbers are not positional so you can write the units, tens, hundreds etc in any order! Un sistema aditivo – el egipcio
And of course there are all sorts of things you can do at a very simple level such as sequencing and using geometrical shapes when making Egyptian jewellery, and making pyramids.
I found this free video story about Egypt called El pendiente de la princess: Cuento de Egipto. Sadly it doesn’t go full screen but the man telling the story speaks clearly and fairly slowly so it could be used for a true/false activity or perhaps a multiple choice activity.
However, I found two more promising possibilities!
2. This PDF (rita_ladrones) has links to useful sites (some I’d already highlighted above before I found this!) and also some activity worksheets. Whilst the middle sheet on characters in the book would be hard without reading it, the first sheet (matching words with images and writing your name in hieroglyphics) needs no knowledge of the book, and I think that the third sheet which is a sequencing activity could also be done without reading the story, and actually gives a very simple synopsis of what happens!
3.Then I discovered that there is an online version of the CD rom of activities about the book, complete with Teachers Notes (in Spanish!) There are various activities including finding synonyms and antonyms, sequencing text and a wordsearch – see below image for contents. Some activities are quite challenging for primary learners; however, a bit of challenge can be a good thing!
Fátima, una momia muy responsable
Fátima una momia muy responsable is a lovely story about an Egyptian mummy called Fátima who wants to be a tour guide and keeps scaring people! She builds up a great collection of hats and torches by doing it, but one day…
It’s a narrated version of a book that has been used in many Spanish primary schools.
Some ideas for using the story –
act out the story
talk about colours and sizes describing the hats that Fátima collected / was gifted
pretend to be Fátima and give a tour of a pyramid
one of the class blogs I discovered had a song on it about how Fátima dances which would be great fun, whatever your age! You can access the words here or here, and here is a recording of young learners singing it!
I love ‘being a magpie’ and collecting ideas, and here are some classes in Spanish primaries that have done an Egyptian topic and shared their ideas.
Mis cosillas de Educación Infantil – this link takes you to the posts for the entire project. I particularly like the concept map that they made which includes lots of important vocabulary organised systematically. I think that having a map of what is already known that is added to as time passes and more information is gathered is a great way of documenting learning and progress, especially if learners post questions that they’d like to investigate and see them answered as they explore and investigate!
E.I. 5 años Carlos Ruiz have been doing an Egyptian topic too and this is the first of a number of posts on what they have done. If look in the archive, there are further posts documenting their work throughout noviembre and diciembre 2012 including the sequencing activity referenced in the Maths section above and an interesting post giving instructions on making ‘papiros’.
La Clase de la Bruja Maruja have done a project on Egyptians too and have published some of their work as well as links on their blog. Of particular use I think are the simple worksheets they used that could easily be used in the primary language classroom. I also love the fact that they’ve been using the wonderful Woodlands site by Mandy Barrow using GoogleTranslate to put it into Spanish!
So, I hope you’ve find the above useful. I know that there are many more things that could be done; for example, I haven’t even started on the possibilities for art projects! If you have any ideas or resources, please leave a comment – it’s good to share! And even if you haven’t, leave a comment! Its good to know that people are reading!
This week is My Money Week in many schools across the country including my own.
For the first time this year, I’ve been asked to contribute some ideas for Spanish activities. I’ve done them in the past but it’s a sign of the increasing willingness – and excitement – on the part of some of my colleagues that I was specifically asked this time.
So off I popped to do some research and found a site called MamutMatemáticas where I found some resources for all sorts of mathematics in Spanish!
There are free resources for each topic as a sample – there are five for Dinero (see below) and I could have just used those. However, for £2 I downloaded a 52 page PDF offering ideas and worksheets on recognising coins, adding up, giving change, c to € and vice versa, prices and solving word puzzles.
So, in conjunction with the euro coins that are lying in the Maths cupboard, year4 are next week going to do some Spanish maths. Again. (I need to tell you about my excursion into CLIL but that’s for another day…)
The instructions won’t make much sense without the PDF but I’ll share them if anyone buys it!
I also found a number of sites that might help with the week –