Saturday, September 19, 2015

Learn Spanish With Kids: Unit One--The Spanish Alphabet

Don't Give Up.

Before reading any further: go buy yourself this mug.  Drink your morning coffee or tea or lemon water from it each day for a reminder that--you got this!  (If you haven't been following along lately go here to see what I mean by "this.")  I thought you might appreciate this bit of encouragement before I mentioned the phrase "lesson plans."  What?  You do not have time to plan out Spanish lessons for your kids?  That is exactly why I made some for you. Easy peasy. 

Buy it here!

Are Your Excuses Better Than Mine?

Might I ask, How's it been going finding a time each day to practice Spanish with your kidlets?  Honestly speaking, we have only listened to the Alphabet Playlist once around here because a) I took the YouTube app off my phone to make room for more photos and b) our speakers went out that I hook my phone up to which means we have to listen to the music on the computer in my tiny office which means we don't.  I'm sure you have plenty of excuses like mine, so let's challenge each other this week to say NO. MORE. EXCUSES.  (If you need to get them out of your system, comment below with the things that are holding you back from doing Spanish each day, and we can encourage each other to not give up.)

What You Need for This Week

Here is my idea for this week.  How about we focus on listening to at least ONE Spanish alphabet song each day?  For the playlist go here ---> Learn Spanish with Kids ABCs.  My oldest son's favorite so far is song #4.  it's pretty catchy and also a little creepy!  After the song we will play one quick and easy alphabet game.  You can either come to this post each day to follow along with the plan, or print out the guide I have below.  The guide also has the alphabet chart with a pronunciation guide which would be helpful for the parents to have on hand as you play the games.  Try to do any prep before the week begins so you can just grab and go on each day.

Lesson 1

Song #1
Older Kids: Have the kids come up with an action or sign with their body that looks like the letter.  Listen to the song again and when you sing the letter, make the letter with your body.  This might be too tricky for littler kids to remember and might frustrate them, but I have done it with students ages 7 through high school and it has been a hit!
Younger Kids:  Write each letter of the Spanish alphabet on a piece of paper or index card.  Lay out each one on your floor in a circle.  As the song plays, have your kids jump from letter to letter.

Lesson 2

Song #1
Game: Same as Monday.

Lesson 3

Song #2
Game: Write out each vowel on a piece of paper or index card.  Tape them in various places throughout the room.  Yell out a random vowel and have the kids race to where that vowel is hanging in the room.  Repeat until the kids are out of breath.

Lesson 4

Song #2
Game: Same as Wednesday, but this time have the kids take turns yelling out the letters.

Lesson 5

Any Song
Game: Grab a ball.  Toss it around to each other.  As you toss it, say the alphabet together.

Lesson 6

ABC Playlist
Game: You'll probably be on the go, so listen to the play list in the car. Or just take turns saying a letter of the alphabet until you have recited the whole thing a few times.

Lesson 7

Favorite Song
Game: See if you can say the alphabet backwards together.  Keep trying until you can do it without mistakes.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

When You Read You Begin With ABC

I started a series recently of blog posts for parents who do not speak Spanish, but want their children to learn it.  I am pretty excited about it really.  That is one of the big goals/reasons/motivations for this blog actually.  My first post addressed the "How To" of helping your kids learn Spanish--like where to start with your mindset and goals and expectations.  You will definitely want to go read it here if you have not already.  Here is a summary of our plan of attack for those of you who have read it:

1.  Do it everyday.
2.  Have one "lesson" a week.
3.  Don't give up.
4.  Make it fun.
5.  Set goals.
6.  Think like a baby.

Today I want to address number one.  Before you even start worrying about "lesson plans" (review here what I mean by "lesson"), you will want to make Spanish a part of your daily routine.  "How can I make Spanish a part of my day without having a lesson?" you ask?  With music!  Of course there are other things like games, activities, finger plays, but in my humble opinion music is the easiest, most fun way to begin learning a foreign language.

You and your children can benefit from listening to music without having to "learn" anything.  Do not worry about understanding all the words you hear.  Just have fun and let your ears and brain do the work.  You will begin to pick up on things like pronunciation, rhythm of the language, and even a few words--especially if you watch a music video with visual cues.  Here is a playlist of fun songs I put together covering the Spanish alphabet.**  We all have different music tastes so I tried to find a wide variety.  You will not hurt my feelings if you choose to skip over a few.  Some kid songs can grate on my nerves a little, you know what I mean?

Now jump right in!  Find a time each day and try to listen to at least two or three of these songs.  It might even be best, once you find a few "faves," to listen to those same ones each day until you have them memorized.  Enjoy!

**Note to Parents:  The Spanish alphabet has changed over the years and varies by region.  Some of the songs actually include letters that are no longer in the Spanish alphabet, and you will notice some of the songs have different names for a certain letter than other songs.  The Royal Spanish Academy has published an "official" list of names for each letter.  I would say, don't fret too much about that right now and just learn the variations.  You can refer to the chart below for how to pronounce each letter, or check out this video on YouTube.

FYI I tested this song list out on my kiddos and they liked it.  It kept the attention of my 5-year-old for about twenty minutes.  He replayed the song with the puppets about five times (which was probably one of my least favorites haha!)  Let me know how it goes for you and your family and if you have any questions that come up!  I may not have the answer but I would love to help you find it.  Feliz alphabeting!

Spanish Letter
Official Letter Name
Alternate Names
How *I* Write the Pronunciation for English Speakers


bay (beh)

say (seh)
no longer a letter
chay (cheh)

day (deh)

ay (eh)

AY-fay (EH-feh)

hay (heh)

AH-chay (AH-cheh)

ee (like in feet)



AY-lay (EH-leh)
no longer a letter
AY-yay (EH-yeh)

AY-may (EH-meh)

AY-nay (EH-neh)

AYN-yay (EHN-yeh)

oh (like in open)

pay (peh)

coo (like a baby coos)

AY-ray (EH-reh)
no longer a letter
AY-rray (EH-rreh)

AY-say (EH-she)

tay (teh)

ve (bay/beh)
OO-bay (oo as in boo)
uve doble
doble ve, doble u
OO-bay DOH-blay

AY-keys (EH-keys)
i griega (ee gree-AY-gah
yay (yeh)

SAY-tah (SEH-tah)
a, Ab, Bc, Cd, De, Ef, Fg, Gh, Hi, Iabecedeeefegehacheij, Jk, Kl, Lm, Mn, Nñ, Ño, Op, Pq, Qjotakaeleemeeneeñeopecur, Rs, St, Tu, Uv, Vw, Wx, Xy, Yz, Zerreeseteuuveuve dobleequisyezeta - See more at:

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Can I teach my children Spanish if I don't speak it myself?

It is that time of year, guys!  School supplies, back-to-school, and yes SPANISH LESSON PLANS!! And I love it.  I am a nerd, and all summer long if I had a spare moment to do something fun for me--which did not often happen--I worked on my brother's Spanish syllabus (he is homeschooled and I am his Spanish teacher).

Lately some friends and family who have young children have asked me how they can teach their children Spanish.  First of all I just want to stop and give them a round of applause!  Seriously.  How brave and awesome is it that parents who do not speak Spanish, want to learn it alongside their children?!  What a great example to the kids, and what smart parents to introduce their children to a foreign language even if it means learning something new themselves.

Since so many people have asked about this, I decided to write some blog posts about the topic and gather the information here.  I figured, if people in my life are asking me about this, surely other people on the interwebs must be wondering too!

For starters: this will take a little extra effort on the part of the parents.  I know, I know, maybe not what you wanted to hear, right?  What parent has extra time? Ha!  Believe me (momma of 4 here!), I get ya.  But what if I promise you it would only take about 5-10 minutes on the days you want to do it?  I will try to put a little section in each post like this labeled "Note to Parents," that explains what you will be learning for that day/week.  It should only take a few minutes to read and it will help you understand on an adult/grammar level the topic or lesson.

Here is my suggestion on how you can approach learning Spanish with your kiddos at home.

First: Try to expose your family to Spanish EACH. DAY.  This means finding your favorite songs on YouTube, a good Spanish CD or Spotify playlist and turning it up once-a-day.  Maybe on your car ride home from school, maybe while you fix the kiddos lunch, or right before nap time have a little Spanish dance session.

Next: Choose one day a week to do a focused "lesson."  I use the term lesson loosely here.  Do not get overwhelmed.  I am talking super simple folks.  For example, the first "lesson" I have planned for my boys is to have them trace their hand on a piece of paper, color it, and write the phrase "Hola means hello."  Then all throughout the about what you learned in your "lesson,"  see if you can put it to practice.  When your kids wake up, wave and say "Hola!"  Or have your kids teach the lesson to their stuffed animals or grandparents.  Take a video of them using the new word or phrase (my kids love this--they love to watch themselves on camera).

Last:  Okay I cannot decide what to put here.  But mainly DO. NOT. GIVE. UP.  What you are doing for your kids is super beneficial.  I guess another good piece of advice would be MAKE IT FUN!  Kids learn best when they are playing and using every part of their brain.  Also, SET GOALS.  No one gets anywhere without a plan first.  If I were you I would set a simple goal like "Learn 30 Spanish words for things (sticking to nouns is a good concrete place to start) and 3 Spanish phrases."  Finally, I don't want to leave you without explaining one more tip: THINK LIKE A BABY.  Your kids don't need this advice, but you do.  As an adult, learning a new language is going to make you feel awkward.  DON'T PANIC.  Just remember "think like a baby."  Does a baby worry about mispronouncing words?  No.  Does a baby let fear of making a mistake keep them from trying to talk and communicate with the world around them?  No.  Does a baby give up if talking is "too hard"?  No.  Does a baby ever lose her curiosity?  No.  Does a baby start by speaking in sentences?  No.  So learn from the babies of the world and just be excited!  Be curious!  Keep trying!  Start by learning a few words and build from there.

To keep from making this the LONGEST. BLOG. POST. EVER. I am going to write further posts with play list suggestions, resources, and lesson plan ideas.  I'll link up to them here as I add them.

Buena suerte, people!

Next in this series...
When You Read You Begin with ABC 
Teach My Child Spanish: Week One