Thursday, December 3, 2015

La Nochebuena ¡Bilingüe!

First let me say that I do not claim ownership of the following.  I was just lucky enough to find it online and, though I cannot track down the original source, I think it might be from Plaza Santillana.  Normally I would say no to Spanglish, as I'm sure you would too.  But I have to admit that this little poem delighted me and I cannot wait to share it with my students!

Also, here are a couple of funnies to share with your students!



And, in case you are looking for Navidad classroom materials, may I make a couple suggestions?

 Spanish Christmas Bingo by Anne Karakash 

¡Hasta pronto, amigos! 


Thursday, November 5, 2015

Humor Para Noviembre

I'm often amazed by the sorts of things that are popular on Pinterest and other social media.  I try hard to make good lessons that will interest students and teachers, that use authentic language, and that are culturally relevant.  But what gets pinned  and re-pinned are the jokes.  I guess that makes sense, really.  Jokes appeal to everyone and lessons only really are of interest to teachers, so I'm not complaining.

But try to find seasonal jokes in the fall that aren't all turkeys morbidly trying to avoid their demise!  Yikes!  I don't think I find that sort of thing very humorous, but I must be in the minority on that particular opinion.  I only included a couple of those jokes here, but there are plenty of them online if you are interested.

Without further ado, here is the November humor roundup:

And, if you are looking for an activity to do on Thanksgiving with your Spanish classes, I have one available on TpT for a song.  You get vocabulary, reading comprehension, Power Point with foods and traditions, and a cultural comparison.  It's awesome, I'm just sayin'.  (Spanish 2-3)

Acción de Gracias - Reading, Power Point, & Cultural Comparison by AnneK

And, at the request of my 6-year-old son, I have delved into designing elementary school content as well.  This Thanksgiving Fun Pack is approved by him as fun and got a thumbs up - though the crossword puzzle was a bit hard for him.  It is intended for grades 1-3 but some of it might be appropriate for older or younger learners.

Thanksgiving Fun Pack in Spanish - for Elementary Kids: Puzzles, Hidden Messages, Vocabulary, Coloring, Fun!!

Hasta pronto, amigos.  --AnneK

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Más Vale Tarde Que Nunca

The students in our chapter of Sociedad Honoraria Hispánica decided that, even it it was a day late, they wanted to put up an ofrenda at the school to generate interest and to educate the student body on the meaning of the holiday. 

I want to take a moment to offer a special thanks to our SHH chapter president.  She is a minor and I don't have parental permission to put up a photo or mention her name here, but she is a super star!  She organized the effort, stayed late after school, lead the group that put up the ofrenda, and created an informational poster to help people understand the meaning of Day of the Dead and how it differs from Halloween.  She did all of this without any prodding from me and with no incentive whatsoever (no grade, no extra credit, no name up in lights).  She is, quite honestly, one of the best people I have ever had the privilege of calling my student.  (And if you knew just exactly how amazing my students are, you would realize what a compliment that is!).  She is headed for great things in the future and I can't wait to see what she does with her life.

Do I have amazing students or what?!  I hope your Día de Muertos was a good one, amigos.

Hasta pronto,


Sunday, November 1, 2015

Día de los Muertos y Halloween

Halloween and Día de Muertos snuck up on me this year somehow.  It seems like school is just a whirlwind of meetings to attend and paperwork to do, and I haven't had a moment  of peace.  Normally my Sociedad Honoraria Hispánica puts up an ofrenda, but we didn't get that organized this year.  Nor did we do anything to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month, which is sad.

But I don't want Día de Muertos to go by without at least a little recognition so I'm going to do a comparison/contrast activity with my students. 

I figured we would start by watching these two videos and talk about the images, emotions, and atmosphere created by each one.


Día de los Muertos:

And, because you know me, I put together an activity for them to do as well.  I have a lot of Spanish 1 students this year so the article I have referenced  on the worksheet is in English.  I probably should put something together in Spanish too but, as I already told you, this sort of snuck up on me this year.

Holidays of Halloween and Día de los Muertos Compared - Activity by AnneK at Confesiones y Realidades

Since tomorrow is Día de los Muertos, I know my timing is bad and you probably won't be able to use this during the current school year.  I'm sorry.  But, put it up on your Pinterest board, save it to your hard drive, Tweet it, or whatever you like.  It will be there for you next year.

Hasta pronto,


Thursday, October 29, 2015

¡Que Se Levanten y Se Muevan!

I recently returned from the 2015 FLANC conference, which was a lot of fun and very restorative.  One of the things I got to thinking about while I was there are ways to get my students more physically involved in their learning.  Kinethetic learning is a good thing.  It keeps students alert, assures that everyone is participating, and it changes up the routine from time to time.

I got a couple of really good ideas, one of which I'm going to share with you today.  This is an activity that works well when students are first exposed to new vocabulary and are not yet comfortable enough to communicate with it yet.

The basic idea is to offer a choice to the students: ¿Qué te gusta más, el chocolate o el vainilla?  Then students will gather on one side of the classroom or the other to show their support for the one they choose.  In my case, I used a Power Point with pictures and the words written in Spanish.  Arrows pointed them in the direction to go.  Once kids get with their groups, discussion is certain to ensue and you will have to be fast to provide them with Spanish so that they can stay in the language to every extent possible.

¿Qué Te Gusta Más? Power Point by AnneK at Confesiones y Realidades

My vocabulary was loosely based on 3A in Realidades 1, which is breakfast and lunch foods.  I had to add in some extra words, so this doesn't match up perfectly and if you want to use it in your classroom you will have to make some adjustments.  You can download the file here or you can click on the image above.

Of course, teens do not like to be cubbyholed so I had to provide vocabulary such as Me gustan los dos.  And Depende de la situación.

My personal favorite part of this activity, besides all the great conversation it generated, was the final part in which I gave my students a blank slide and had them pick their own two vocabulary terms to contrast.  They picked the words, found pictures, and I am picking a selection of them to share with the class on Friday.  They seem to be excited and some are already urging me to pick their slide to share.  It should be fun!

Hasta pronto amigos,


Saturday, October 24, 2015

Ésto Te Va A Hacer Sonreír - El Tiempo Progresivo

I'm always looking for fun content to add to my grammar instruction.  Even though I love grammar and find it fascinating, I do realize that my students do not always share my enthusiasm.

So, since I'm always on the prowl (so to speak) for that great content, I squealed with delight when I found these looping pictures.  My first thought: These are amazing!  My second thought: The Present Progressive Tense!  My third thought: Yes! It's great to be a Spanish teacher!

¡Miren, miren, miren!

Spanish 1 & 2

¿Qué está haciendo
el hombre?

¿Qué está haciendo
la sombra de él?

Spanish 3+

¿Qué está pasando
en la foto?

¿Qué mensaje nos
está comunicando
el artista?
Spanish 1 & 2

¿Qué está haciendo
el hombre con los

¿Y con las piernas?

Spanish 3+

¿Qué está pasando
en la foto?

¿Qué está haciendo
que nos hace pensar
en pájaros?

The questions are just what occurred to me on the spur of the moment and are the sorts of things that I would ask students in the large group before splitting them up into pairs to discuss similar questions with other pictures.

Other pictures? you ask.  Oh yes!  The artist's name is Romain Laurent and he has a lot of these great looping photos.  I found these particular pictures in an article on Neatorama.  But I found a lot more of his great moving pictures on his Tumblr page.  And you can find Mr. Laurent's online portfolio here.  The front page of his portfolio is comprised of static pictures - not looping ones, but they are outstanding.  Films and GIFs can be found by clicking links in the upper right.

Happy descriptions and conjugations with this one, amigos!

Hasta pronto,


Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Platillos Voladores

Amigos, I'm very excited to show you my latest creation: Platillos Voladores - A Spanish Vocaculary Game.  This is an original creation from beginning to end and I'm so happy with how it came out.  I designed and produced this game from scratch, which is to say that it is not another game dressed up in Spanish.

I originally made this game as a big vocabulary review when we had a midterm exam come up.  I typed up the vocabulary, printed it on card stock and cut out the cards by hand.  My students played it and it was a big hit.  When I got the bright idea of adding in wild cards with game effects, the game really took off and now my students literally beg me to play it.

I showed off the final commercial version of the game to my students this week and they were thrilled.  They were so proud to be a part of the playtesting process and they treated me like I was some sort of VIP.  (I must admit that I enjoyed that.)

So, it's here now and I have the pleasure of telling you all about it.  Basically this is a game in which players want to get rid of all the cards in their hand by playing them into the proper categories (ex. Lápiz goes into Materiales, Gris goes into Colores, and Cien goes into Números).  The categories are on plates (platillos) that rotate around the circle, bringing a different category to a player each round.  There are wild cards that have fun effects like making all your opponents draw a card, trading your hands with another player, and changing the rotation of the plates.  Players keep an eye on each other because if a card is played into the wrong category and an opponent points it out, they get to give one card from their hand to the erring player.  Sometimes I instate the rule that students must give a definition or an example when they play a card - to get them speaking.  Other times, I just let them play fast-paced and fun. 

I chose seven Spanish 1 vocabulary topics and I will add more to an expansion pack soon.  I think I will also create some blank cards so that teachers can create their own vocabulary categories that match the base set.  You can see the categories in the photo below.

I'm very pleased with this!  If you are interested in possibly purchasing one for your classroom, you can look closer and purchase at Game Crafter.  In fact, you could create your own game there too.  It's a lot of work, but it is fun work that makes you feel accomplished and impresses the heck out of your students.

Hasta pronto, amigos.