Saturday, August 31, 2013

Learn Spanish through Literature // La mariquita Lara

Have you been keeping up with our Learn Spanish through Ladybug series?  So far here is what we have learned!

1. Make a Ladybug (Spanish Counting & the Color Red)
2. Learn Spanish Prepositions with Ladybug
3. The Ladybugs and Their Spots (Spanish Counting, FREE Printable)
4. The Ladybugs and Their Colors (Spanish Colors, FREE Printable)
5. Help the Ladybugs (Spanish Colors, Counting & Nouns)
6. Today's Post: La mariquita Lara // Lara the Ladybug

Okay, so maybe this book would not be considered literature, but it is a cute story about a ladybug who has lost her spots. La Mariquita Lara is part of the "Rookie Reader Español" series for beginning reading (or learning!) in Spanish.  Even though the text is simple, it introduces the past and future tenses in Spanish.  My kiddos and I played a game to extend the story, but this would also be a great read for older Spanish students to practice using tenses beyond the present.

First we read the story.  We read it quite a few times, actually, as it sat in our library basket a while before I decided what activity to do with it.  For some reason I just think the the illustrations of Lara the ladybug are so cute!  Her expressions as she looks for her missing spots make me giggle.  Like any beginning reading book, in order to help readers master a certain vocabulary set the story consists of only thirty-five words.  Most of those words you can easily find in the dictionary, however I made a chart of the verbs in the story because sometimes finding the definition of verbs in their different tenses can be challenging.

she lost
they will be able to
she left behind
vamos a...
BAH-mohs ah
we are going to
she rests
is it/it is
she sees
they are

Isn't she so cute?!
My only reservation about the story is the phrase "¿Dónde podrán estar?" which translates as "Where will they (be able to) be?"  If there are any native speakers reading this right now, I would love your input on this!  In my mind, you would want to ask, "Where could they be?" which, if I were to translate to Spanish, I would say "¿Dónde podrían estar?"

**EDIT** 06/20/2016 - After almost three years from having written this post, I learned (in a Periscope broadcast by Nuria Frexias {Spanish Comes Easy} that the future tense is used as speculation.  Learn something new everyday!  Even from kids' books!

Lara finds her manchas but can you guess where?

After a week or so of reading the story, I decided to make a Lara ladybug.  On Tuesdays we go to my parents house for school.  I teach Spanish to my siblings (they are homeschooled) while my mom does activities with my kiddos.  Last Tuesday I had mi hermano help me make a mariquita just like Lara.  He is very artistic.

Next I made some purple spots and hid them all over the first floor of the house.  I called Jefe downstairs (Little Guy was still napping) and pointed out Lara to him.  We pretended that Lara was talking and she explained (in Spanish) that she had lost her spots.  Since we had read the story many times, Jefe was familiar with it and knew just what to do!

DOHN-day eh-STAHN mees MAHN-chas
Where are my spots?
I put a few in really obvious spots to get Jefe excited about the game and to make him feel successful--that way he would want to keep looking for spots!  As he walked around looking for spots, I narrated in Spanish what he was doing.  Right now my boys do not have a lot of Spanish language that they use on their own--just a few words here and there like por favor and agua.  So I try to speak it to them whenever I can so they can hear it and get comfortable with it.

As we found the spots we would count them.  When Jefe put the spots back on Lara I would pretend to have her say things in Spanish like, "Oh thank you!  You found one of my spots!  Now I have three, but I need more.  Can you find more?"  Depending on your level of Spanish and that of your children, you could adapt this activity and just focus on using the word  manchas and counting the manchas as you find them.  For example: Lara lost her manchas!  Can you help her find them?  Oh look you found uno!  Do you thing you can find dos (while holding up two fingers)?  And so on.  

If you want to use Spanish phrases, some simple ones you could use are: "¿Dónde están las manchas de Lara?" (DOHN-day eh-STAHN lahs MAHN-chas day LAH-rah) which means "Where are Lara's spots?"  To which you can answer (when you find one), "¡Aquí está una!" (ah-KEE eh-STAH OOH-nah), or "Here is one!"

The ladybug Lara lost her spots.  Can you find them?

Feliz spot hunting!

Friday, August 30, 2013

Insta-Friday // 30 de agosto

Today is viernes.  That means we are linking up to Insta-Friday over at!  I love this part of the week where I look back and see all the fun we had together as a family and what kinds of fun Spanish stuff we did.  So our week looks pretty boring through the eyes of Instagram...but it was an exciting one filled with so much! 

To kick of the fin de semana the boys decided to "mix ingredients."  I just couldn't find it in myself to stifle their curiosity and imagination.  Probably why my house is a mess desastre.  It's two against one most days around here...and the little munchkins always win.  

It was actually fun to watch them work together and get along for a bit.  Thank you harina.

Batman and his foe, Poison Ivy!

Okay, can I just say I LOVE having boys!?  We went to the library this week (pretty soon they're not going to let us in as I have over 100 books out and some are overdue, racking up fines as we speak!) and Jefe found a Batman book in the JE (Juvenile Easy) section.  I have never been a fan of comics myself, especially because I don't like villains.  However, to see Jefe excited about reading and imagining makes it worth it.

If you couldn't tell, the villain in the current story is Poison Ivy (not Peter Pan, haha!).  She gets mad at Gotham City for putting up another mall and tearing down trees, so she turns all of the citizens into trees themselves. I know, Gasp!  Batman of course saves the day by turning everyone back into humans and donating a large sum of money to make the park where they had planned on putting the mall, a forest reserve.  

I swear my laundry couch was cleared off at some point this week and all I had to do was mate calcetines.  Having photographic proof makes me feel un poco better.  But then I look at the couch, covered in la colada again and I just wanna cry.

Last Monday was an exciting day: Little Guy turned two!!  And like I already said, every single one of the 1,048,320 minutos with this Little Guy has been an absolute blast!!

Yesterday I got a little girl time with mi madre, mi hermana, mi tía, y mi abuela.  They all got pedicures and I got a manicure.  I asked the gentleman doing my nails how to say, "So cute!" in Vietnamese and it sounded something like "dep-wah."  I really want to learn a new language and I was thinking Vietnamese would be a fun one.  I wonder where I could get lessons?

It's starting to feel like school time again.  One of my Spanish classes has been in session for a few weeks now, in fact we are already learning about AR verbs!  Here are some of my students playing a game of memory to learn some vocabulary about la ciudad.  

So a lot happened this week, just not much on Instagram!  :)  Are you on Instagram?  I'd love to follow you!  Just leave your Instagram name in the comments.  And you can follow me at fortheloveofspanish.  Feliz Friday a todos!

life rearranged

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Learn Spanish with Ladybugs // Can You Help the Ladybugs?

Here is a quick post for the day as part of our Learn Spanish with Ladybugs series!  Check out this list of our other ladybug activities...

1. Make a Ladybug (Spanish Counting & the Color Red)
2. Learn Spanish Prepositions with Ladybug
3. The Ladybugs and Their Spots (Spanish Counting, FREE Printable)
4. The Ladybugs and Their Colors (Spanish Colors, FREE Printable)

Can You Help the Ladybugs?
The activity in this post I planned for some of my junior high students...our class does not start until September, but here is a peek at the printable I made for them.  You can print it too here!

This story features some little (blank) ladybugs that are tired of being black and red.  Since I wrote this for my older students, I put all of the vocabulary from the story at the end, along with how to pronounce each word and its English equivalent.

Each page follows the same pattern.  The ladybug says what color they want to be, how many spots they want and what color they want them to be, and what color they want their legs to be.  For example, the first little ladybug says (in Spanish), "I want to be the color of the sun with three black spots, black eyes, and purple legs."  Students can work on translating the story and color in the ladybugs.  You will be able to measure their comprehension based on their coloring.  Students can also check their work if you read the story as a class.  You can print one story per student, or have the students work together on one story in groups or pairs.

One thing I plan on using this story to teach is how to use colors as adjectives.  I am pretty sure my students will know the names of colors in Spanish, however I think they have yet to learn that color words can change gender and number depending on the noun they are describing.

I also used this story to slip in a few new NOUNS for my students to learn.  Each ladybug requests to be the color of something, instead of just stating the color.  So students will learn words like sun, grass, sky, clouds, night, and more.

Watch this video if you want to learn more about using colors to describe nouns.
And here is another one for even more practice with colors in Spanish!

Like I mentioned earlier, I did not color this story with my kiddos--with so many specific coloring directions I figured it would frustrate them.  (You know how preschoolers like to be creative and independent!)  However, I still plan on reading it to them like any other story.  With the colors already filled in, we can point to each item that the ladybug mentions and learn our colors that way.

How are you learning and practicing your colors in Spanish?!  Would love to hear about it in the comments below!

Feliz ladybug helping!

Monday, August 26, 2013

Learn Spanish with Ladybugs // Las mariquitas y sus colores

We have had so much fun lately learning Spanish with ladybugs around here!  In case you missed it, check out these posts to see how we have learned Spanish with ladybugs so far:

1. Make a Ladybug (Spanish Counting, the Color Red)
2. Spanish Prepositions with Ladybug
3. The Ladybugs and Their Spots (Spanish Counting, FREE Printable Ladybug Story)

Today we put together another fun story about ladybugs.  This story helped us learn our colores in Spanish.  You can print out a copy here and follow along with us!

As you can see from the photo, some of the pages in this printable have a ladybug that already has its color.  Other pages have a ladybug without its color.  Each page says, "Esta mariquita es..." (EH-stah mahr-ee-KEE-tah ehs...which means, "This ladybug is...) and then gives the color of the ladybug, or gives a blank for you to fill in with a color you choose.  Before reading the story, watch this video about describing the color of things in Spanish.  

In Spanish, adjectives have to agree with the noun they describe.  Since the word for ladybug in Spanish is feminine, mariquita, then the color words we use to describe the ladybug have to be feminine also.  Here is a chart of color words in Spanish to explain what I mean.

Masculine Form
Feminine Form

Notice that if the color word in Spanish ends in an -o, then we change the -o to -a when describing a feminine noun.  For more about nouns and gender in Spanish, watch this video.

I did this activity with my two-year-old and he did so well!  As with most activities, you can adjust how you approach it depending on the age of the child you do it with.  I will share with you what the Little Guy and I did, and then at the end you can see more ideas for age adaptations.

First, I read the pages printed with colors.  Then I read the next pages that had the color names given, but no color.  In English I said, "Uh-oh! This ladybug lost its color!  The story says, "Esta mariquita es morada."  Then I might say something like, "Morada means purple.  Can you help me find the morada?"  Or "Here's the morada.  Can you color the mariquita morada?"  As you can see in the photo, I drew a circle around the body to show him where to color.  

I also let him try out different mediums.  We got out a purple colored pencil, a purple crayon, and a purple marker.  I pointed to each one and said "Here's a morada."  That way he could distinguish that morada referred to the color and was not the word for pencil or crayon.  

When you come to the pages with a blank, choose a color to fill it in.  You may have noticed before that Crayola colored pencils and crayons give the color in English, Spanish, and French, which is perfect for this activity!  You and your child can choose the color you like from the pile of pencils or crayons, and then look on the label to know how to say it and spell it in Spanish.  Remember, if it ends in an -o, change that to an -a since mariquita is a feminine word.

The last page of the story says, "Esta mariquita es mi color favorito.  Es..." which means, "This ladybug is my favorite color.  It is...."  Do the same as above and let your child choose which crayon or pencil is his or her favorite color.  Fill in the blank with the Spanish word, and let your child color in the ladybug.

After we finished all the pages, we stapled it together (nothing fancy!) and read it all together.  

For older children, you may want to get out some Spanish flashcards with the colors on them.  As you read them each page, point out the color word at the end and see if they can use the flashcards to figure out what color it is.  If you are using this story in your Spanish classroom, have the students use their Spanish-English dictionaries to translate the story on their own or in pairs.  Once everyone has finished translating the story and coloring in the pages, read together as a class.

Feliz coloring!

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Learn Spanish with Ladybugs // The Ladybugs and Their Spots {FREE Printable}

If you have been hanging out around here lately, you have seen that we are learning Spanish with ladybugs!  It all started with the Virtual Book Club for kids Summer Camp when we read The Grouchy Ladybug (La Mariquita Malhumorada).  From there we started checking out more books from the library about ladybugs, doing ladybug crafts, learning ladybug facts, and even finding some ladybug books in Spanish!  Here is a look at our Learning Spanish with Ladybugs series so far:

1. Make a Ladybug
2. Spanish Prepositions with Ladybug

And today...
3. The Ladybugs and Their Spots // Las mariquitas y sus manchas  

We had so much fun practicing our Spanish counting with this ladybug story I made.  Each page has a ladybug that has lost its manchas (spots)!  Have your kids or students help the ladybugs get their spots back by coloring them in.  I did this activity with my almost two-year-old, so we chose to use stickers for spots as that is easier for him right now than drawing.  It was also much easier to practice one-to-one correspondence.  As I peeled off each sticker to hand him we counted, "uno...dos...tres..."  When we got to cuatro he pulled the sticker off my finger and said without any prompts from me, "kah-koh!" (his attempt at saying cuatro.)  It made me so happy and thrilled to see that our Spanish learning is actually sinking in!  Yay!  He lost interest after a while and Jefe helped me finish it.  Here is a look at how we put it all together.  (The photos have the instruction in Spanish; the captions have the pronunciation in italics and the translation under that.)

eem-PREE-may ehl KWEHN-toh
Print the story

KOHR-tah lahs OH-hahs
Cut the sheets

ahs oohn FOH-roh
Make a cover

MAY-tay lahs OH-hahs ee GRAH-pah-lahs
Insert the sheets and staple them

KOHR-tah ehl KWAH-droh kohn ehl TEE-tooh-loh ee
PAY-gah-loh ehn lah PAHR-tay day-lahn-TEHR-ah
Cut the frame with the title and
tape it on the front.
Obviously these steps are pretty self-explanatory.  I did all these steps myself, and then brought the book to the boys all put together.  If you are teaching a Spanish class with older students that are practicing mandatos in Spanish, or reading in Spanish, you could present them with the papers and supplies and give them the list of instructions to read and figure out.  I think I might try that idea with my junior high class that starts in September--might be a fun group project to get them working together and talking out loud in Spanish.  If you are making this book with your kiddos (a little older than my one- and three-year-old, you could give these instructions out loud as you do the steps together.  For example, read one step, look at the picture (or explain what it means), then do the step together and repeat!

Like I mentioned earlier, I did the first few pages with my one-year-old and thought stickers would be best for the manchas.  First I read the page aloud, pointed to the number word (nueve here for example) and then said "Let's count to nueve! Uno...dos...tres..." When my three-year-old took a turn doing some pages, I read the page to him and then repeated the Spanish number word (in Spanish) and held up my fingers.  I would ask him "Can you put cinco (or whatever number it was) manchas on the ladybug?"  He was able to peel of the stickers by himself (great fine-motor practice!) and needed only a little help getting the right amount.  

Once we got all the manchas put on, we would count them again together.  So fun!

The last page has a picture of a mariquita with spots on it and asks, "¿Cuántas manchas tiene esta mariquita?" which means, "How many spots does this ladybug have?"  Count them together to find the answer!  Below is a list of vocabulary from the cuento (story) and pronunciation guides.

Feliz spot counting!

he has/she has/it has
how many

Friday, August 23, 2013


life rearranged
It is Insta-Friday!  You know what that means . . . here are some little cuadros giving little peeks into our week.

My boys made me a necklace last viernes.  They know just how to cheer me up.  Actually, it seems they have an eye for design as well.  Or maybe I am biased.

Lately my Little Guy has turned into a mono.  Seriously!  He climbs everywhere.  In this photo he had to call for help.  "Mom! I duck (stuck)!"

I have been trying to work on some Spanish curriculum and workshops lately . . . 

but this is usually what ends up happening.  My Litte Guy's favorite place is encima de mi cabeza.  I am not even joking.

Had another cita with the doctor this past week.  As you can see it was time for the glucose screening.

Popotes make everything taste better.

If they eat this much now, what is it going to be like when they become teenagers!?  And we have another hijo on the way!

You might have seen we have been working with ladybugs lately.  Here mi hermano is helping me with a cute ladybug craft/game.  That post is coming up on the blog soon!

Comida highlight of the week?  Gofres!!  My momma let me try out her waffle maker for a while.

We tried this yummy Cinnamon Zucchini Waffle recipe from Life As Mom.  She has the best recipes over there...for freezing, bulk cooking, good, cheap eats.  You should check it out.

What have you been up to this week?  I would love to hear about it, just comment below!  This post is linked up to