Cheering you on in your Spanish-learning journey

The Letter A // La letra A

The Letter A // La letra A

This September we joined a preschool coop.  Each week we focus on a letter of the alphabet and do activities centered around that letter.  So of course, we are working on learning our letters in Spanish as well.  I am not an educator.  I do not know all the theories and research behind bilingualism and learning the alphabet.  Sometimes I wonder: Should we keep the Spanish alphabet seperate from the English one?  Should I teach them at seperate times?  Do my kids need to know their English alphabet (their first language) before I introduce them to the Spanish alphabet?  Will it confuse them to learn both simultaneously?  And you know what I decided?  We are just going to GO FOR IT!  We will work on learning our ABCs and our alfabeto!  Our first week of coop we did the letter A, which of course meant we did apple activities!  For our Spanish A, we learned the word árbol.  The fall is a great time of year to talk about trees; it is the time of planting trees, watching leaves change and fall revealing bare branches, finding all sorts of seeds and pods that fall to the ground, and watching the animals use the trees to get ready for winter.

Since our last mirror mural was a hit, I decided we should try to make another one to learn la letra A.  Here is what you will need to make your mirror mural paint:

  • tempera paint (pintura témpera)
  • dish soap (lavavajillas, jabón de cocina)
  • cups (vasos)
  • paintbrushes (pinceles
So simple, right?  I got the recipe here.  When we went to clean up our last mural in order to make this new one, it wiped right off.  Just be sure to use a trapo that you don’t mind staining as the tempera paint may stain it when wiping off the mirror (or window).  In one cup we mixed the brown paint.  In the other cup, for our green leaves, we added a little pintura blanca and some pintura amarilla to make the green paint un poco más clara.  
First I painted an outline of an árbol.  Then I let my Little Guy fill it all in.  When you add the soap to the paint it gets rather runny, so I did the paintbrush for him and tap out all the excess.  That way the paint does not end up splattering everywhere.  He could not reach the top of the tree very well, so I filled in most of the green part.  
As we were painting I said things like “Vamos a pintar el tronco….El tronco es café…..Aquí están las hojas….Las hojas son verdes…”  (We are going to paint the trunk….The trunk is brown…Here are the leaves…The leaves are green….)  Check out this chart with some Spanish tree vocabulary.
Las partes del árbol
el tronco
ehl TROHN-koh
the trunk
la rama
lah RAH-mah
the branch
las ramas
lahs RAH-mahs
the branches
la hoja
lah OH-hah
the leaf
las hojas
lahs OH-hahs
the leaves
el tallo
ehl TAH-yoh
the stem
la raíz
lah rah-EES
the root
las raíces
lahs rah-EE-sehs
the roots
After we painted the tree, I went back and added a big A and a small A.  I also painted the word árbol.  Now when we brush our teeth or wash our hands we can say things like “¡Mira!  La letra aA de árbol.”  (Look!  The letter a.  A for árbol.)

Songs, Poems, and Printables has an awesome poem/fingerplay to learn about árboles, hojas, and viento.  Check it out here!
Spanish Together (on YouTube) sings a fun song about hojas falling out of the tree.  It teaches colors too!
Print out the FREE Printable below and practice counting trees and planes in Spanish, color in a picture of a tree, or cut out trees and planes (aviónes, another word that starts with A) to make the shape of la letra A.

Other activities we did to learn our letter A are…
Hunting for la letra A
Making a Big A and a Little A with our dot marker.
Sculpting la letra A with playdough.
Building la letra A with nature.

Making la letra A with árboles.