Wednesday, October 22, 2014

High School Spanish: Practicing NECESITAR

I think I should start calling these videos "Spanish for Ben" since I am making them for my brother Ben.  (Hi, Ben!)  Today's video gives you some practice with the verb necesitar.  Make sure you get out a paper and pencil before watching (and watch yesterday's video first), so you are prepared to write your sentences.  Pause the video to allow yourself enough time to write the sentences, and then check them (with the video) when you are finished.  If you want to, write some practice sentences in the comments below . . . talk about what you need to do today or tomorrow, and we can help each other practice.  Have fun necesitar-ing!!

Monday, October 20, 2014

High School Spanish: The Verb NECESITAR (to need)

I have been working on making some short videos to present bite-sized Spanish lessons.  For many of my students it is easier to break things down into little lessons and focus on one small thing at a time.  In my opinion it is better to do a little Spanish each day, than to try to do a lot of Spanish once-a-week.

The first video I did focuses on the verb necesitar.  

It's a verb that could come in handy quite often.  It means to need.  Once you learn this verb in Spanish you can talk about any object you might need, any action you need to do, or any place you need to go.

I also tried to gather some helpful resources from around the web that focus on this verb as well.  The more ways you can approach learning something, or have something presented to you--the better.  Whether you are learning this verb for the first time, or already know it, use these resources below for practice!

The verb chart on this page might be a bit confusing, but scroll down to the bottom to click on the sentences to hear the verb necesitar used in different sentences, spoken by a native speaker. 

Here is a quick quiz you can take practicing the different forms of the verb necesitar.

Another place where you can listen to a native speaker using the verb necesitar and also the verb tener, which is coming up in some of my other videos.

This website features a free worksheet for the verbs necesitar and tener.  Scroll down to Chapter 4 and you will see it!

I found this Spanish teacher that has a great post explaining AR verbs in general.  She also has a free worksheet you can print off for practice.

And of course, one of my all-time favorite go-to's Señor Jordan.  He has a great video for necesitar with lots of helpful practice sentences.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Travel the World with Families from Around the World! MKB Instagram Blog Hop

Families Around the World: MKB Instagram Blog Hop!

 Join us for an Instagram Blog Hop honoring MKB's second anniversary and families around the world! We want to see your family, and the beauty of diversity... help us showcase families from all over the world!  How to Join In

Blog Hop Co-Hosts

Be sure to follow them all in the linky below (#1-18)! Multicultural Kid Blogs LadydeeLG Sand In My Toes Mama Smiles Kid World Citizen All Done Monkey In The Playroom the piri-piri lexicon Finding Dutchland European Mama MarocMama Discovering the World Through My Son's Eyes Lou Messugo American Mom in Bordeaux The Mommy Factor World Music for Children My Favorite Multicultural Books Chasing the Donkey For the Love of Spanish Smart Tinker Raising World Citizens Entre Compras y El Hogar

Our Prize Package - Enter for a chance to win!

One winner will receive this fabulous prize package! It includes: Green Kid Crafts

A 3 month subscription to Green Kid Crafts, valued at $60. For three months, you'll receive a different-themed Discovery Box packed with 3-4 unique and engaging activity kits designed to foster a child’s creativity and confidence while helping to raise the nation's next generation of creative leaders. For kids ages 3-10. US Shipping Only

Little Humans

Little Humans by Brandon Stanton, donated by Smart Tinker. From the author of Humans of New York, this new work from photograph Brandon Stanton focuses on "littlest humans of New York - the ones who get back up when they fall, who have an impeccable taste in fashion, and who love with all their hearts. With spare text and a mix of all-new exclusive photos and fan favourites, Little Humans is sure to appeal to fans of HONY and those who have yet to discover it."

  Birds of Love | Elika Mahony

Digital download of the album "Birds of Love" by Elika Mahony. "Birds of Love" is a treasury of uplifting words and inspiring songs on the theme of love and marriage. It includes a diverse five song album from varied sources with five additional instrumental tracks for live performances and background at special events. Please note: The subscription for Green Kid Crafts is for US shipping only. In the event our winner is located outside the US, s/he will receive the remaining items, and we will draw another winner from the US for the Green Kid Crafts subscription.   a Rafflecopter giveaway


Wednesday, August 6, 2014

FREE Calendar Printables septiembre-mayo

One of my favorite parts of our morning preschool routine at home is calendar.  During calendar we practice our Spanish numbers, patterning, days of the week, months of the year, colors, and other month-related vocabulary like apples, pumpkins, and Christmas!  I wanted to offer free calendar printables here so that anyone who wants to, can join us this year learning Spanish with calendar time.  Instead of taking hours to design my own, I went on a search.  And you know what?  There are tons of awesome blogs out there that share awesome free stuff for calendar time!  I gathered them all here for you, so you can stop back by at the end of each month and print your new calendar pieces for the new month.  Numerals in Spanish and English are the same, so the only part of the printable that does not work for learning Spanish will be the names of the month.  I have also included my own printable I made with Spanish months of the year that you can use as headers for your calendar if you want.  You can also do what we do, and have the kids design fun crafts with the month's theme and use that as the header, and then just write the Spanish name of the month on the craft.

Be sure to scroll down if you want help or practice saying the days of the week and months of the year in Spanish!

Fun Facts! Days of the Week and Months of the Year are not capitalized in Spanish. Also, in the Spanish calendar the first day of the week is lunes (Monday).

Septiembre (September) sehp-tee-EHM-bray
September Calendar Pieces from Homeschool Creations
Octubre (October) ohk-TOO-bray
October Calendar Cards from Doodle Bugs on TPT (Halloween themed)
October Calendar Numbers from Homeschool Creations (Fall themed)
Noviembre (November) noh-vee-EHM-bray
November Calendar Numbers from Homeschool Creations
Diciembre (December) dee-see-EHM-bray
December Pocket Chart Calendar from Homeschool Creations
Enero (January) eh-NEH-roh
January Pocket Chart Pieces from Homeschool Creations
Febrero (February) feh-BREHR-oh
February Pocket Chart Calendar Pieces from Homeschool Creations
Marzo (March) MAHR-soh
March Pocket Chart Calendar Pieces from Homeschool Creations
Abril (April) ah-BREEL
April Pocket Chart Calendar Cards from Homeschool Creations
Mayo (May) MAH-yoh
May Calendar Cards from Doodle Bugs
Spanish Months of the Year Calendar Headers

Feliz calendaring!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Spanish Now! Level 1 // My Review

I know that many of you are probably gearing up for a new school year!  In the spirit of "Back to School" I have some vlog and blog posts planned to help you out.  Today on the vlog I review my old and trusty Spanish Now! Level 1 book that I have used for almost four years teaching high school Spanish.  One of the reasons I love this textbook is that I feel it lends itself well for use in the home school.  Being a home school graduate and now teacher of home schoolers I know how hard it can be to find a way to offer a foreign language option to your students without spending hundreds of dollars.  So check out my reasons why this might be the book for you.  **Please note: This is not a paid or sponsored's just me talking about a book I really like and think you might like too!**

1)  This book is affordable at the marked retail price of $18.99, but you can get it even cheaper online or at your local used bookstore.  Since it is a consumable text (students write their answers directly in the book), be sure to find one with little to no markings if you are going the used route.

2)  The answers to all of the exercises are in the back of the book.  Students can check their work after each work unit (chapter) and not be left to wonder if they are "getting it" or completing the exercises correctly.

3)  Every new concept or grammar point is bite-sized and introduced with clear and thorough written explanations--as well as followed up with many practice exercises to put your new knowledge to the test and solidify the information in your brain.

4)  Most books come with a CD set that includes native speakers reading part of each story that comes at the beginning of each work unit.  Hearing a native speaker is a great way to reinforce comprehension.  Students can also use the CDs to practice their own pronunciation by repeating after the native speaker as he or she reads.

Check out the video on my YouTube channel to hear more about my reasons for using this book in my own high school Spanish classes.  Have you used this book?  What do you like or dislike about it?  Leave your comments below


Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Learn Spanish Through Play: Sorting Toy Animals

I am always looking for ways to teach my kids Spanish using items we already have on hand.  This sorting activity that we did below is SUPER simple and free!  All you need are some bins for sorting, tape, paper, and a Sharpie for labeling.

One day as we were putting our Beanie Baby toys away for the hundredth time it dawned on me that the animals could be sorted by habitats.  Then of course I started thinking about how to turn that idea into a Spanish lesson.  You can use any group of toys for a sorting activity like the one below, and use it to learn Spanish!  Group your toys by shapes, colors, size, beginning letter sounds, whatever subject you are currently teaching your kids or students.

We started by placing all of our Beanie Babies in a pile next to the toy bins they belong in.  (These bins are actually stacking bins for lockers I purchased at Wal-Mart last Back-to-School season.)

Next, I made some labels with the names of different habitats in which all the animals live.  I simply used scrap paper, a Sharpie and some tape.  We did this activity a while ago, and the labels are still there!

Your labels may look different than ours, depending on the toys you decide to sort.  If you need help finding the Spanish word for your sorting categories, just go to and use the English-Spanish dictionary to help you out.  Our sorting categories were: 

la granja = the farm
la casa = the house
la selva = the jungle
el bosque = the forest
el campo = the countryside/meadow
el aire = the air
el agua = the water

And since this picture was taken I have added a couple to the last label:
la hierba = the grass
la playa = the beach

You can see that I drew little picture clues next to each word label.  My boys are not of reading age yet, so this is a must for us.  

The great thing about this activity is that it can be repeated and adapted each time you put your toys away!  Do not be afraid to break the learning into small bits.  For example, the first time we played this sorting game I only made the labels and then our conversation went something like this: 

Me: "What animal do you have there?"
Jovencito: "A HORSE!"
Me: "Where does he live?"
Jovencito: "On the farm."
Me: "You are right!  Look, here (pointing to the label) is the farm, in Spanish we say la granja.  Can you put the horse in his home, en la granja?"

I might have them repeat the word after me, or even teach them the word for horse (el caballo) as well.  Right now my Spanish goal for my boys is exposure.  I want to try to expose them to the language as much as possible.  If our Spanish play feels too much like a lesson they get overwhelmed with what they do not know or cannot understand.  However if we are having fun and I play games with them, their little brains do the learning for them.

That's why, if you feel comfortable, you can model phrases like this as well (bold print is what you say out loud):

(Holding the animal yourself and speaking in a funny voice) "Hola!  Soy un caballo!  Yo vivo en la granja!"  That means, "Hello!  I am a horse!  I live on the farm!"

Then have the horse go cloppity-clop to the farm bin.  Simple as that.  

Here's my little jovencito finding where the dog (el perro) lives.

We also played the game like this: 
Me: ¿Dónde vive el perro? (Where does the dog live?) ¿Dónde vive...? means Where does it live?
I made the "I don't know" shrug and then pointed to the animal when I said its name.
Next my little jovencito walked the animal to its rightful home.  
Playing like this does not require any "work" from the kiddos and feels more like a game to them, yet they are able to hear, and understand the context of, full Spanish phrases.

You can also just make simple statements and point to where the animal goes:  "La cebra vive en el campo."  In this instance I had to simplify some habitat names.  Zebras live in the savannas but that is so specific so you can use the word prairie or plain, which translates to la pradera in Spanish.  I chose el campo because that means field, countryside, or meadow.  Or to make things even easier, make one label that says zoológico, and any animal that you cannot observe near where you live can live at the zoo.

Depending on the labels you make, here are some example phrases you could use for the photo above:

"El gavilán vive en el aire." = The vulture lives in the air.
"El pájaro vive en el aire." = The bird lives in the air.
"El pájaro vive en el árbol." = The bird lives in the tree.

Remember you will get the chance to try this activity each time you put the toys away, so don't get too overwhelmed with all of the possibilities.  Start simple.  Even if you just learn a few animal names to start out and do the rest in English!  And as you get more comfortable, add more words or phrases each time you put the toys away.

A bonus is that your kids won't feel like they are cleaning up, but that they are playing a game.

So you can learn Spanish and have a clean play area when you're finished!  No matter what, just make sure you are having fun!  I'd love to hear what games you have come up with to learn Spanish with your toys at home.  Leave a comment or a link below to share.  Feliz sorting!

Saturday, March 15, 2014

St. Patrick's Day Activities for the Spanish Classroom

Looking for a fun way to introduce St. Patrick's Day vocabulary?  Try this fun handmade memory match game.  It takes less than fifteen minutes to make and works great in any Spanish classroom from beginning readers to high school.

To begin, I grabbed a couple packages of these sparkly foam shamrocks from my local Deals.  At home, I got out my Word Reference app to double-check spellings and look up words I didn't know...for example I didn't know the Spanish word for Leprechaun!  Here is the list of vocabulary words I chose:

trébol (TREH-bohl) = clover/shamrock
trébol de cuatro hojas ( KWAH-troh OH-hahs) = four-leaf clover
duende (DWEN-day) = leprechaun
olla de oro (OH-yah day ORE-oh) = pot of gold
arco iris (AHR-koh EE-rees) = rainbow
suerte (SWEHR-tay) = luck
suertudo (swehr-TOO-doh) = lucky
afortunado (ah-for-too-NAH-doh) = lucky
Irlanda (eer-LAHN-dah) = Ireland
irlandés (eer-lahn-DEHS) = Irish
verde (BEHR-day) = green

Once you have your list of words chosen, simply write each Spanish and its corresponding English word on the back of each clover.

To play the game, lay out each clover face-down.  Have students take turns turning over two clovers at a time.  If they turn over a Spanish word and the matching English word they have a match!  After finding a match they can have another turn.  The child with the most matches wins!

I played this game with my brother and sister, both of whom are in high school, and we had a blast.  Obviously the game is geared more towards children, but since the vocabulary was new to them it was still a challenge.  This game can be used with any set of new vocab and works great for those students who prefer not to practice vocab with flashcards.  

With my little kiddos at home, I chose ONE new St. Patrick's Day word to teach them and made a coloring sheet for it.  You can print one for your own kiddos here.  This new word is also in our Color of the Month book, which you can also print out and color.  Below is the one my two-year-old colored.  He really enjoys coloring these days and works to stay in the lines (on his own accord).  I let him choose his own colors and medium.  It is fun to see his creativity at work.  If your children or students color one I'd love to see a picture of it!  You can post it to my Facebook page to share here.

If you would like more St. Patrick's Day activities in Spaish check out these awesome resources!

Check out these bilingual activities for celebrating St. Patrick's day from Mommy Maestra.
Spanish Playground has a great list here of FREE St. Patrick's Day printables.
Modern Mami has also compiled a great list of activities and crafts for St. Patrick's Day here.