My family spent Christmas in Costa Rica a few years ago. We loved the nativity scenes that appear all over the country. Families often create an extensive nativity scene with figurines traversing through moss, small plants, and rocks. The scenes are often displayed in the living room or on the porch where they can remind passersby of the Advent of Christmas. While we missed the scent of a freshly cut noble fir, we delighted in experiencing a different tradition of gathering native plants and decorating your home as a part of the Christmas season.

¡Feliz navidad a todos!

The children and I love this wonderful story of being different than the cultural norm and making the most of what life offers you. In Giraluna by Eduardo Gudiño Kieffer, you can read all about this little sunflower who doesn’t do things in the normal fashion and ends up being loved and understanding her purpose in the end. You can purchase this book from
Giraluna (Spanish Edition)

You’ll find additional suggestions for great read aloud books in Spanish to share with your favorite people on my growing list by clicking on my Book Recommendations.

While visiting Stephen Krashen’s website last week, I stumbled across a free eBook he is offering titled Principles and Practice in Second Language Acquisition.I love Krashen’s work, so I downloaded the Acrobat version, printed it out and curled up next to the fire to read and learn.

Happily, reading this text helped me refocus my efforts as I teach my own family Spanish. I am once again investing additional time in presenting comprehensible input in Spanish throughout the day. It is so easy to give directions or make comments about our activities in Spanish. I also dug out some of my favorite Spanish picture books and began reading with the kids in Spanish more frequently. They love it and I am always amazed at how much language they acquire through reading aloud together. I also expand my vocabulary with this technique.
Additionally, I am more aware than ever of the Affective Filter. My son in particular is quick to put up his filter and I have to be continually aware of this fact. I even theorize that his filter is active and prevents acquisition/understanding in other subjects as well. We are testing out several methods to lower his filter when it is preventing his enjoyment of educational opportunities! Mostly, recognizing that the filter is a problem helps me, the teacher, look for ways to do something fun and lighthearted to take the emphasis off of effort and struggle and put the laughter back into our classroom. In my experience, putting a smile on his face is the surest way to dissolve his filter at any given moment.