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Also available – 50 English Phrases

When bsmall contacted me to say that they were updating their 50 Phrases series and would I like a sneak peek, of course I said yes!

bsmall are a “small but mighty” (love that description!) award-winning independent children’s publishing company that creates and publishes children’s books for sale in the UK and around the world. “We’re on a mission to empower all readers with critical literacy skills, and our books are creative, educational and encourage children to think for themselves.” I’ve written about some of their books before. You can find out about their Hello Languages series here, one of their UKS2 parallel text books Los Mellizos del Tiempo here and their I can read series of books here (update – there are a couple of Spanish ones and more French available now £1.99 each from Apple Books)

The 50 Phrases series are currently available in French, Spanish and English, and aim to give children ‘a head start’ with a new language. Over 32 pages, they introduce some common phrases and useful vocabulary for beginner learners including how to introduce yourself, talk about your family and express opinions as well as asking questions about where and what things are, inviting others to play and requesting things. Each double page spread has between 2 and 5 key phrases that are highlighted, adding up to 50 over the whole book, as well as boxes of vocabulary that can be used with those phrases. There is also the suggestion of a game or activity to rehearse those phrases, and also a little bit of grammar is explained throughout. You can see an example below.

Each phrase is written in Spanish and English, and is also written ‘phonetically.’ I’m not a great fan of this ‘how to pronounce it’ guide as it can lead to very odd pronunciation, but I understand that some people find it helpful, particularly as this is intended to be used at home/independently. And that’s where the update comes in about which I am very pleased.

The book now comes with a QR code that gives the reader access to audio files of the 50 Spanish Phrases (and the same for English and French if you purchase those books.) that give a clear native speaker model of the pronunciation. You can see how it works with the sample below.

Links to the English book.

By giving the pronunciation of the key phrases, learners now have access to what they actually sound like which will facilitate more educated understanding of the pronunciation guide and more accurate Spanish pronunciation. So this is a great resource that can be used at home without need for a Spanish speaker to be present!

As I said, I was given a sneak peek as the updated versions are not released until May 3rd but you can preorder the Spanish French and English books via the bsmall website.

While you’re on the site, check out some of the other books they publish. My eye was caught by the Hide and Speak books with flaps to lift and the Mix and Match flashcards for practising questions and answers. Or download the Language Learning brochure to browse at your leisure! And make sure you check out the Activity Hub where you can download a copy of the Rights of the Language Learner as well as a beach picture labelled in French and Spanish – perfect for Y2s summer topic.

The Bitmojis were a clue…

I once more had the pleasure of presenting at Language World, the annual conference of Association for Language Learning (ALL).
My presentation was entitled Take One Book and was the sequel to the presentation I did at PHOrum in November (you can read about it here) this time choosing a book that was originally written in Italian and has no English translation.

I really enjoyed sharing my ideas of how to use ¡Ojo Oso! and was pleasantly surprised that I managed to finish in time and have time for questions. I experimented with using subtitles/captions during my presentation after comments by Helen Simpson on LiPS made me think about accessibility. I need to watch back the recording of my session (which has just been made available for those who registered for the conference but missed the session) to see exactly how accurate they were but I know that when I spoke Spanish they definitely had trouble as they were set to English! For example un agujero became ‘all alcohol’ and una madriguera became ‘mother together.’

Below you can find a PDF of my presentation. I’ve removed the story slides due to copyright but you can find links to versions of the story read online, as well as to where you can purchase a copy.

At the end there is a link to my Pinterest where I collected together materials for the talk, some of which I didn’t use! You can also access it via this QR code.

http://bit.ly/OjoOso

Perhaps you have ideas that spring to mind? Or you have a book that you could use in a similar way? If you have any comments or questions, do leave a comment below.

Postscript – you can watch the ‘standby/rehearsal’ recording of the session here.

The last (for now!) of the poems that have caught my eye from the anthology Los Mejores Versos de Gloria Fuertes that I purchased from Little Linguist

This one is entitled Paisajes para que los pintes and was chosen once more for simplicity of structure, but also because it immediately sparked ideas in my mind.

A reading of the poem here

Each ‘estrofa’ decribes a very simple image with the basic structure
Arriba (top)
Abajo (bottom)
En medio (in the middle)
In the first couple of estrofas this is made explicit but after that, the pattern has been established so the prepositions are omitted although the structure remains.

I immediately saw a pairs game – can you match the image to the description?

And then I thought of back to back dictation where two children sit back to back and one describes a picture that the other then draws. In ‘times of COVID’ this could be done as an activity on a recorded or live lesson, or as a whole class activity once we’re back to school. It could be one of the descriptions from the poem or one of their own.

Which brings us to rewriting the poem – so easy to do by simply substituting nouns.
1. Los pájaros arriba,
Los campos abajo,
y, en medio, la cuidad.

2. En el cielo, las nubes
En el corral, la oveja
y, en medio, la granja.

3. Arriba, el sol
Abajo, el mar;
En medio de la playa, la palmera.

You could make it harder by challenging children to make the lines rhyme – you might find Rimar.io or Woxicon helpful! It could lead to some fun, unpredictable pictures and is a good activity for dictionary skills too! You could extend the poems by adding adjectives too:

Arriba, las nubes blancos,
Abajo, un hombre en zancos.
En medio del colegio, toca un arpegio.

I can see this as a lovely way to celebrate learning too as it would be easy for children to illustrate their poems then record them, creating a class anthology either as video, stored online or printed out using QR codes to access the audio.

Can you see ways to use this poem too? Please share them in the comments!

Now to do some work as half term is nearly over and I have pupils awaiting their next lesson!

Translation:
Landscapes for you to paint.
The sun above,
The clouds below
And, in the middle of the wheat,
A scarecrow.

The sun above,
The sea below
And, in the middle of the sea,
A boat.

The meadow,
The mountain
And, in the middle, the cane.

The snow,
The cold
And, in the middle,
The river.

The cloud,
The sea
And, in the middle,
The squid.

The jungle,
The palm
And, in the middle,
The panther.

The sky,
The plain
And, in the middle,
The aeroplane.

The church above,
The town below
And, in the tower,
The bell and the cat.

The next in a series of posts about poems from the anthology Los Mejores versos de Gloria Fuertes is En un país mágico, a poem in two parts about a magical world and unusual friendships.

A recording of the poem can be found here

I liked this poem as it’s very simple with a repeated structure:
[noun1] amigo de [noun2]
with noun2 being an unlikely amigo for noun 1. So we have cat and mouse, robber and police, wolf and lamb, witch and child, but also yolk and white, bee and flower, black and white, rich and poor.

I also liked the poem for the message of friendship, that we could all live together in harmony and peace. as the last verse says:

Esto sucedía en un país mágico donde todos se reían y nadie se enfadaba.
This happened in a magical world where everyone laughed and nobody got angry.

Wouldn’t that be a good world in which to live?

What could you do with the poem?

  1. Read it and enjoy it – the rhythms and rhymes, and the message too.
  2. Act it out as a play (at the end of Primera Parte, the curtain falls and there is applause!)
  3. Look at pronunciation – the j and the use of accents.
  4. Use the image to help children find the meaning of the poem.
  5. Explore the interesting vocabulary – el ‘poli’, la bellota, el tiesto (I had to use the picture for that one) You may need to explain the relationship between a pig and an acorn!
  6. Look at masculine and feminine – why is la gata amiga de la rata but el gato amigo del ratón? And likewise, la gata amiga de la rata but el gato amigo del ratón?
  7. Challenge children to find new pairings that could be friends to rewrite the poem:
    El frío, amigo del calor.
    El Sol, amigo de la Luna.
    La radio, amiga del video.

What would you do? Please share your ideas in the comments!

Other poems by Gloria Fuertes:
Sólo tres letras
La Risa
Doña Pito Piturra
Lee con Gloria Fuertes (lots of links in this post to others)

Approximate translation:
IN A MAGICAL COUNTRY
First part:
The cat,
Friend of the rat.
The cat,
Friend of the mouse
The witch,
Friend of the little girl.
The ‘bobby’,
Friend of the robber.
The wolf,
Friend of the lamb.
The flowerpot,
Friend of the balcony.
The egg white,
Friend of the yolk.
The bee,
Friend of the flower.
(Applause! Applause! And the curtain falls)

Second part
The enemy,
Friend of the enemy.
The white,
Friend of the black.
The black,
Friend of the white.
The pig,
Friend of the acorn.
The rich,
Friend of the poor.
The ball,
Friend of the boot.
The umbrella,
Friend of the drop.
This happened
In a magical country
Where everyone laughed
And nobody got cross
And everyone loved each other.

Following on from yesterday’s post, another poem from my new book Los Mejores Versos de Gloria Fuertes.

A recording of the poem here.

I was drawn to this one firstly by the brevity and then for the repetition, both things that work well for younger learners!

I also like the theme – peace. Whilst it’s not International Day of Peace until September 21st I don’t think you need a special day to celebrate these things!

If you wanted to use this poem in class, you could ask children to consider their own PAZ poem – what words would they choose for each letter? Perhaps three verbs like pensar, actuar, zanjar conflicto (think, act and resolve conflict) or nouns likes paciencia, acción y un zapatazo a la guerra (patience, action and a kick to war) As you can see, z is a tricky letter so you might want to allow words that contain a Z and write it as an acrostic. For example, you could have:
Paciencia
communidAd
esperanZa

Alternatively you could challenge children with another word like AMOR or VIDA, or even their own name, choosing words in Spanish that apply to them.
I might write
Libros
Idiomas
Sol
Amistad

I collected some resources for Día de la Paz on Pinterest including the following images that might go well with this poem or could equally be used alone.

And of course there’s this famous song Que canten los niños:


How might you use the poem? Do share your ideas in the comments!

An approximate translation:
Just three letters
Three letters, nothing more.
Just three letters
That forever you will learn.
Just three letters to write PAZ (peace).
The P, the A, the Z; just three letters.
Just three letters,
Three letters, nothing more:
To sing peace,
To make peace.

The P of pueblo (the people)
The A of amar (love)
and the Z of zafiro (sapphire) or zagal (young boy)
‘zafiro’ for the blue world; ‘zagal’ for a child like you.
You don’t have to be wise or need bayonets,
If you only learn these three letters well;
Use them when you’re older and there’ll be peace in the world.

La risa – Gloria Fuertes

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¡Ja ja ja!

I’ve just bought a new book called Los Mejores Versos de Gloria Fuertes and, having a flick through, wanted to share a few of the ‘versos’ with you over the next few days.

The first is this one entitled La risa (Laughter)

Here’s a link to me reading the poem.

I like this poem as I love laughing! I like the simple rhyming couplets too and thought that this might be a poem that children could recite for the Express yourself in Lockdown competition run by the British Council, Association for Language Learning and the cultural and linguistic bodies of the United Kingdom that I’ve just shared.

Perhaps they could create a happy mask to wear as they record the poem, or make an avatar using an app. Or they could speak behind a powerpoint of things that make them laugh and smile?

Related to the poem, you could look at these sayings and expressions in Spanish about smiling and laughing.

Another poem will follow tomorrow!

¡Hasta luego!

Approximate translation:
Welcome is the laughter that leaves joy wherever it goes.
Come, laughter and her cousin, the smile.
To laugh is like eating (it feeds more than meat.)
One must laugh hourly (as humbly prescribed.)
What a laugh, Auntie Felisa, ruffling your Tshirt.
(Laughing is very good for the chest!)
Whoever goes laughing goes better than by car;
Whoever laughs by day, sleeps well at night.

¿Confused face?

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I love Itchy Feet: The Travel and Language Comic and this particular comic amused me no end! It’s one way to explain ¿? and ¡! I guess, although I tend to liken them to ’66 and 99′ or ‘6 and 9’ for speech marks/quotation marks that we use in English to enclose speech/a quotation! And in typing that I’ve discovered that my computer doesn’t distinguish between opening and closing speech/quotation marks hence the simplistic KS1 explanation!

Here’s the link to a scrolling magazine type version https://tinyview.com/itchy-feet/2020/2016-02-21-confused-face

Original post

Prompted by various requests for simple Spanish Christmas songs and my own desire to teach Y2 a song that didn’t involve too many words and too much ‘blending words together’ I decided to collate 10 possibilities (with thanks to LiPS for reminding me to do this!)

Mi burrito sabanero
I love this song and so did one of my Y3 classes last year who learned it and sang it in our ‘Christmas around the world’ LKS2 performance. It’s a Venezuelan song writtern by Hugo Blanco that was famously recorded by La Rondallita and then by Juanes and is all about the little donkey on his way to Bethlehem. Y3 particularly liked the ‘tuki tuki tuki’ part but enjoyed the repetition of the lines too which meant that they didn’t have too many words to learn.Here are the lyrics – https://www.letras.com/villancicos/1613730/

Vuela Vuela
This is a beautiful song that remembers the Christmas star that led to Bethlehem and talks of a wish for a world with no more war, hunger, poverty or loneliness, a peaceful world. Really simple and a lovely sentiment.
This version is great for little children as it has characters in it https://youtu.be/nymD4tp_emw but here’s an alternative.

Copo de nieve
This one isn’t strictly about Christmas but it’s a lovely song to sing at this time of year especially if you don’t want to have a ‘religious’ song. Would be lovely to use with Nursery or Reception and let them dance like snowflakes!

Soy un muñeco de nieve
Another one for the very littlest – and a great one if you’re not allowed to sing at the moment! More of a rhyme spoken to music, children can join in by pointing to themselves as if they are the snowman showing his buttons, mouth, nose and so on.

A las doce de la noche
This song talks of the midnight when the baby Jesus was born. The cockerels all sing and wake the singer to announce the birth of Jesus. The singer takes Mary some pears as a gift and declares that he loves the baby. A sweet little song with a good rhythm.

En Navidad turrón y mazapán
Another song with a great rhythm is En Navidad turrón y mazapán. This one is good as the lyrics are clear and repeated twice with rests at the end of each line which makes it clearer than in some villancicos where one sentence ends and another starts! This is obviously a very popular song for performance as there are multiple videos on Youtube of little ones dressed as Christmas trees and mini Santas singing it! I like the version below as it has widgets or pictogramas to explain the meaning but if you’d prefer a version without them, here’s one (fast forward to 1:27 to avoid the chatting!) https://youtu.be/hymnI_DKOnk

Cascabel
Spanish version of Jingle Bells. I particularly like this version as it has an echo section in the middle where the chorus is sung line by line with spaces to echo it back. This allows those who can’t recall all the words or struggle to fit them in to concentrate on just one line at a time.

Dulce Navidad
An alternative version of Jingle Bells in Spanish which replaces Jingle Bells with Sweet Christmas. This version is repeats the chorus and verse twice before there’s a final verse about Santa Claus being old and confused and delivering last year’s presents including chewed chewing gum and a punctured football!

[The more widely known version of this is Navidad Navidad hoy es Navidad; this however has three verses with lots of words. It’s here though if you’d like it https://youtu.be/Z0qYQSvGSdw]

La Marimorena
This one is a more traditional Christmas song. As you can see from here https://www.mamalisa.com/?t=es&p=4198 there are many verses and alternative verses but the chorus is lively and simple to join in with. I love the flamenco clapping – it makes me want to dance! The version below is long but gives lots of opportunities to sing the chorus and has ‘sing with the colour’ lyrics! You could split into groups and each take a verse – one way of getting around ‘don’t sing altogether’ if that’s the rule in your school! This version is shorter and has people singing but no lyrics on the screen. https://youtu.be/CSaoK1Aceb0

¡Feliz Navidad!
I couldn’t leave this one out! Very very simple – but it’ll get stuck in your head and may drive you slightly loco! This version is animated but if you’re a fan of Michael Bublé here’s the one for you 😉 https://youtu.be/J4DQC-M9O5c (that song starts after 44 seconds)


And one more bonus!
Decoremos el árbol de Navidad
Perhaps not to sing but this is a cute song for tidying up at this time of year with the repeated ‘Fa la la la la, la la la la’

Earlier today I saw someone share that they had made an Advent calendar using AdventMyFriend. Not liking to actually sit and do just one thing, I decided to investigate and have a go myself whilst watching TV.

Below is the result!

Click the image to go to the calendar.

Really easy to do too!

1. Choose your background
2. Give your advent calendar a title and click on Day 1 (or any other day – you don’t have to do them in order!)
3. Decide if you want to add an image or a video to show behind your door.
4. I added a video. Add a message too then click OK.
5. That door now has a tick to show it’s ready. Keep going until they’re all ticked.
6. Once all the boxes are ticked, click preview to check it works then SHARE!

One you’ve finished, you can share your calendar to most social media platforms as well as sharing via email and embedding it into a website or blog.

I’m thinking that I’ll make another one with Christmas traditions from around the world. In the meantime, you’ll have to wait until December 1st before you can look behind the first door of the one above! Why not make your own in the meantime?

I was overjoyed to be asked to present at the inaugural PHOrum meeting for members of the Association for Language Learning last Wednesday evening (get well soon Susanne x). My presentation was entitled Take One Book and can be viewed below along with links to some of the resources and ideas I shared.

You can find out more about the Take One Book by going to their website. A helpful literacy idea with amazing resources! https://www.takeonebook.org

There are multiple versions of the story being read online in Spanish online – this is one and here’s another one that are read in both Spanish and English, and this one has the bilingual text but just Spanish narration.

Wordwalls:
https://wordwall.net/resource/6417210  Esta no es mi gata

https://wordwall.net/resource/6416418 Es mi gata Q+A with words

https://wordwall.net/resource/6417038 Es mi gata Q+A no words

Joining in with a story video featuring Nigel Pearson sharing the book in German (Wo ist meine Katze?) https://vimeo.com/123422432 Well worth watching this masterclass in engaging a class in a story!
If you want to story as written in the book in German here’s a video of it being read

A number of resources are available for the original text (in English) that could be adapted.
A puzzle to adapt
https://www.readytoread.com/documents/rtr-carle-activities.pdfResource
Resources on TPT
https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Have-You-Seen-My-Cat-by-Eric-Carle-Bundle-Resources-4566552?st=2bc1e1ad0f265de650a2c2f0f099b137
A literacy lesson plan
https://tracieanzara.weebly.com/uploads/1/1/7/2/11727035/lesson_2.pdf

ReadWriteThink Planning PDF http://www.readwritethink.org/files/resources/interactives/stapleless/StaplelessBookPlanningSheet.pdf
Word cards http://www.readwritethink.org/files/resources/lesson_images/lesson131/wordcards.pdf
Lesson ideas http://www.readwritethink.org/classroom-resources/lesson-plans/using-predictable-text-teach-131.html?tab=4#tabs

Tissue paper cat craft https://www.gluedtomycraftsblog.com/2015/08/tissue-paper-black-cat-kid-craft.html
Hidden cat article https://www.cnet.com/news/find-the-cat-photograph-with-tricky-kitty-stumps-many-as-it-goes-viral/
Infographic showing the effect of loss of habitat on wild cats https://www.agenciasinc.es/Visual/Infografias/La-perdida-de-habitat-amenaza-a-los-felinos-del-mundo#results
Article about the Cat Island https://www.ngenespanol.com/traveler/descubre-la-isla-de-los-gatos-japon//
Animalandia – a great website with short factfiles in Spanish about a wide variety of animals as referenced in slide 46. http://animalandia.educa.madrid.org/

There will a PHOrum meeting every term so if you don’t want to miss out on the next one, do join ALL. Find out how here.

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