In honor of the approach of Mother’s Day, the moms of Calico Spanish would like to remind you about our free printable.  It’s a fun and easy way to give kids the opportunities to sing their mom’s praise in Spanish.  Enjoy!

 

Happy Mother’s Day!

Mother's Day printable in Spanish

¡Feliz Día de la Madre!

We recently saw an adorable Mother’s Day “My mom and I” printable activity in English.  We love these activities and thought it was such a great idea we’d do something similar in Spanish. In ours, we’ve featured some of our Stories Online characters with their moms and grandmothers.  Here at Calico Spanish, we are moms and love to honor mothers and all they do, in everything from our content to our support for homeschool families to the way we package and distribute our materials.

What mothers are in our Stories?

In the Stories Online program, here are some of the mamás and abuelas children will meet:

  • At the beginning of Level B, “I Love My Family,” we meet Alicia, la mamá de Pepe, el perro café.  It’s Pepe’s birthday and she has a gift for him, a new collar in his favorite color, negro.  He tells her, “¡Te amo, Mami!
  • Later in Level B, we meet Camilo el conejo blanco in the park and he’s with his abuelo and abuela.  His abuela helps him understand that he’s especial because even though he isn’t athletic and doesn’t like to play soccer like Pepe and Goyo el gato negro, he’s who he was meant to be: he’s good at jumping, he loves to read, and he likes to play hide-and-seek.
  • At the end of Level B, in the lesson on pets, María la mona amarilla wants to tell her friends all about her abuela‘s new pet, a pájaro azul named Perico.
  • In Level C, “I Live Here,” we’re invited into the home of Rita la rana verde and her family.  In their multigenerational home, Rita’s abuela lives with them.  Rita ends her busy day with her abuela helping her find her favorite storybook and reading it with her until she falls asleep.  “Buenas noches, nena.  Sueña con los angelitos,” her abuela tells her.

Kids can meet all of these characters and their friends and family right now, because your first seven days of learning are absolutely free, with no restrictions.  It’s ideal for children ages 5-9 in any learning context, including preschool, kindergarten, elementary, and homeschool situations.

Where’s the activity?

Here we offer you a PDF download of the printable in a version for mamás and a version for abuelas. It asks children to tell us about their mamás and abuelas:

  • My mom/grandma is named _________.
  • My mom/grandma is ___________ and ___________. (Example: tall and smart)
  • With my mom/grandma, I like to ______________.
  • I love my mom/grandma because _________________.

Ready for your free download?  Just click one of the images for your PDF.

Mother's Day printable: Mi mamá y yo

Click for PDF.

Abuela version of Mother's Day printable in Spanish

Click for PDF.

 

And happy Mother’s Day from the moms of Calico Spanish!

Happy Mother’s Day from Calico Spanish!

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Role play for young learners? Yes, please!

It’s no secret: in early language education (and even in middle and high school!), finger puppets are a win! Somehow, sometimes, it seems less intimidating to pretend you’re a puppet speaking Spanish rather than be yourself speaking Spanish.  Of course, young children usually love any kind of role play with stuffed or puppet creatures.  (My children can’t get enough of Toca Boca’s record-a-scene feature.)

So, when a customer recently suggested stuffed toys of the Calico Spanish Stories Online characters, or maybe puppets, we jumped on the idea.  We’d already played around with creating a foldable version of Rita la rana verde, but let’s just say that idea didn’t pan out.  It turned out that folding a proper frog doll from a sheet of cardstock was a project worthy of a college architecture class.  We knew the characters needed to be easy to make.  We researched some designs for puppet characters and our amazing graphic artist came up with foldable cone finger puppets.  She didn’t stop there.  She made the backgrounds!  And then she made Pepe’s birthday cake and birthday presents!

Meet our finger puppets

We’re making Pedro el pez azul and María la mona amarilla available here on the blog.  Other characters, including Pepe el perro café and Goyo el gato negro, as well as the backgrounds and props for playing with the characters, will be made available on the member site.  Stories Online subscribers will have access to printables of all our characters and various backgrounds and props.  Just click the image below for the PDF of Pedro and María.

Finger puppet printable of Pedro the blue fish and María the yellow monkey

Click for PDF.

But what if the kids want to color it?

Or if you have 300 students who each want their own puppets and who’s going to make that many color copies?  We’ve made you a blackline version, too.

Pepe who and Stories what?

Haven’t met Pepe el perro café or tried Stories Online yet?  If you click the red button on the homepage, you’ll quickly be into your 7-day free trial.  You get to explore 100% of our content (including the printable puppets) for 7 days with no obligation.  Enjoy, and please tweet, Instagram, or email us your pictures of your learners using these great finger puppets!  We love to see kids learning with our products.

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The first time I taught a kindergarten Spanish lesson, I thought if I read the story La oruga muy hambrienta (The very hungry caterpillar) enough times, kids would learn something.  Right?

So, I faithfully came into my kindergarten classes, once a week for a 15-minute lesson, and read the book to them.  I was animated and I pointed and gestured, but really, there wasn’t a whole lot of comprehension going on.  And as for doing anything with the language?  No.  Mostly, that year was a waste of everyone’s time.
Since then, I’ve learned a lot about comprehensible input and about teaching very young kids.  In Calico Spanish Stories Online, you’ll find a lot of fun, comprehensible stories.  Stories that help kids speak real Spanish to real people.

Even in kindergarten?  Yes, even there.

To prove it, let us give you some free resources to try.  We’ve taken some clips from our Video Stories and put them together into a lesson that’s perfect for kindergarteners.  (Note that these are clips from the Video Stories and not the stories themselves, so this lesson in this video is bonus blog/YouTube content; it’s not part of the member content.)

Ready to try 100% of that member content for free? Click the red button up top.

Here’s the learning target:

I can say something about what I am like and something about what I am not like.

Try out the video, and then try out the free activity sheets below.  We’d love to hear how this goes in your kindergarten classes!

Here are the activity sheets that can accompany this lesson.  Each is an actual Activity Sheet taken from our Stories Online curriculum levels A and B with targets involving describing oneself and other people.

  • Grande & pequeño: 3 Activity Sheets to help young children describe things and people as big or small
  • ¿Quién dice?: Children will identify which characters say, for example, “I’m big” or “I’m smart.”
  • ¿Joven o viejo?: Children will identify which characters are young or old.
  • A describir las personas: Children will select adjectives that describe particular people.

Let us know what you think!
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Committed to responsive quality

If you could see us work behind the scenes here at Calico Spanish, you’d go away knowing two things for sure.  First, we are truly interested in your feedback.  Second, we are always working to make higher quality products that truly help children speak real Spanish to real people.

So: ¿De qué color es?

Song to help children learn to ask and answer the question "What color is it" in SpanishBecause of a language issue in one of our songs, we’ve redone both the song and the video.  The new song is ¿De qué color es la fresa?  It’s the perfect complement to our most popular song, Colores, colores, because children can start there by saying what color they like and move to this song in order to ask and answer questions about what color something is.

Working with this song

How can you use this song to support your lessons on talking about colors?  Here are some of our tips.

  • Categorize the objects in the song as la words, el words, las words, and los words. (These are the terms we use in my classroom instead of the grammatical labels masculine and feminine, which I’ve found distract learners.
  • Show how many of the color words match the object words.
  • Use verde to describe all of the objects to highlight how this color word does not need to change.
  • Identify things in the room that children know the word for in Spanish.  Switch out our word for that word.  Use the same tune to sing the question and answer with children.
  • Make this question/answer your password for a day de vez en cuando.

And the song?

Let us know what you think!

Summer break = break from kids’ learning?

Is summer break really a good idea relative to children’s learning journey?  That’s certainly a hot topic for teachers and parents, and we won’t debate here.  Surely, though, over two months of little to no contact with Spanish can only hurt language development.

Summer activity record to send home with children learning Spanish

Click for PDF.

Here’s an idea: Let’s encourage kids to keep up those skills over the summer, outside of school programs.  But how?  Kids are given reading logs for the summer; why not for language, too?

Here’s an activity log we call “En casa TicTacTó.”  In it, children find a list of nine activities to choose from.  They choose any three activities per week, across, down, or up, to accomplish a TicTacTó.  This free log has “voice and choice” and fun built right in!  This variety makes it perfect for children in any context: preschool, kindergarten, elementary, homeschool, you name it.  Activities include pretending to shop for toys on Amazon Spain, getting a Spanish-language book from the library, and singing along with Calico Spanish songs.

Where’s the printable list/activity?

To get your free PDF, click here or click the image.  We also know some of you Google Doc gurus want to go in and change up some of the activities to tailor them for your context.  To access the document, click here.  Then, choose “File” and “Make a copy” and edit away!

If you’re already out of school but you have a way to contact school families, such as by your administrative office emailing parents, we encourage you to ask them to email this activity sheet for parents to use at home.  Let’s keep kids involved in Spanish!

For the Sing & Color Activities mentioned in the PDF, direct families here, or get your own to send home with each child.

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TEN MILLION VIEWS.

In elementary schools, kindergartens, preschools, and homes around the world, children have joined us in singing in Spanish about everything from colors to animals on the farm.  Kids are singing about how to answer “What’s your name?” and introduce someone to a friend.  They’re showing someone around the house and commenting on the weather.  Meanwhile, we’ve watched our YouTube view count tick toward ten million.  Then it happened: recently, we soared past that 10,000,000 view mark and around the same time, we surpassed 30,000 subscribers.  In light of this milestone, we’ve been hard at work developing another fantastic free resource. It’s a printable activities book to accompany our best and most popular songs.  Whether you’re a homeschool or an after-school program, a gym enrichment program or a third grade elementary class, there’s something in here for you.

Which songs are in the color / activities book?

Here is what we include in the PDF:

  • Las profesiones– Children color and label the papás in our most popular YouTube song, Colores, colores.
  • Sing & Color activities book downloadLos animales en la granja – We invite kids to color the farm animals and their sounds as heard in the song “La granja.”
  • Crucigrama de la comida – In this fun twist on a word search, children color Spanish food words from the song “Comida” and their matching pictures.
  • La habitación de Rita – In Level C of Calico Spanish Stories Online, Rita really needs to clean her room!  To inspire clean-up time, children listen to “A limpiar” and color and label the Level C vocabulary items in Rita’s room.
  • Las partes del cuerpo – Our new update to the song for parts of the body is already a hit; on this page, children color and draw an arrow from the word to the correct part of the body.
  • La casa de Doña Ana – Children can label rooms in Doña Ana’s house and label what phrase she uses to tell the niños what she is doing.
  • Four sheets for “Las estaciones ask learners to color the season illustration and the weather phrase that describes that page’s weather.

How do I get the color / activities book?

Click Here to Get Your Free Activities

After entering your email, you’ll be immediately directed to a download page.  Whether you teach in a preschool, kindergarten, elementary, homeschool, Montessori, or any other context, we’re sure your young Spanish learners will love these activities to accompany our YouTube songs.  Enjoy, and as always, we’d love your feedback!

Children learn language through stories, songs, and play.  Sign up today for your free trial of our innovative, comprehensive curriculum based on online video stories.  You want kids to speak real Spanish to real people, and we want to help.

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Happy Mom’s Day!

Mother's Day printable in Spanish

¡Feliz Día de la Madre!

We recently saw an adorable Mother’s Day “My mom and I” printable activity in English.  We love these activities and thought it was such a great idea we’d do something similar in Spanish. In ours, we’ve featured some of our Stories Online characters with their moms and grandmothers.  Here at Calico Spanish, we are moms and love to honor mothers and all they do, in everything from our content to our support for homeschool families to the way we package and distribute our materials.

What mothers are in our Stories?

In the Stories Online program, here are some of the mamás and abuelas children will meet:

  • At the beginning of Level B, “I Love My Family,” we meet Alicia, la mamá de Pepe, el perro café.  It’s Pepe’s birthday and she has a gift for him, a new collar in his favorite color, negro.  He tells her, “¡Te amo, Mami!
  • Later in Level B, we meet Camilo el conejo blanco in the park and he’s with his abuelo and abuela.  His abuela helps him understand that he’s especial because even though he isn’t athletic and doesn’t like to play soccer like Pepe and Goyo el gato negro, he’s who he was meant to be: he’s good at jumping, he loves to read, and he likes to play hide-and-seek.
  • At the end of Level B, in the lesson on pets, María la mona amarilla wants to tell her friends all about her abuela‘s new pet, a pájaro azul named Perico.
  • In Level C, “I Live Here,” we’re invited into the home of Rita la rana verde and her family.  In their multigenerational home, Rita’s abuela lives with them.  Rita ends her busy day with her abuela helping her find her favorite storybook and reading it with her until she falls asleep.  “Buenas noches, nena.  Sueña con los angelitos,” her abuela tells her.

Kids can meet all of these characters and their friends and family right now, because your first seven days of learning are absolutely free, with no restrictions.  It’s ideal for children ages 5-9 in any learning context, including preschool, kindergarten, elementary, and homeschool situations.

Where’s the activity?

Here we offer you a PDF download of the printable in a version for mamás and a version for abuelas. It asks children to tell us about their mamás and abuelas:

  • My mom/grandma is named _________.
  • My mom/grandma is ___________ and ___________. (Example: tall and smart)
  • With my mom/grandma, I like to ______________.
  • I love my mom/grandma because _________________.

Ready for your free download?  Just click one of the images for your PDF.

Mother's Day printable: Mi mamá y yo

Click for PDF.

Abuela version of Mother's Day printable in Spanish

Click for PDF.

 

And happy Mother’s Day from the moms of Calico Spanish!

Happy Mother’s Day from Calico Spanish!

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Culture capsulesEspecially for early novice learners, culture can be a tough topic to cover in depth, beyond the infamous “Five F’s“: festivals, food, flags, fashion, and famous people.  Throw in the fact that interculturality standards for language classes can’t be met outside of the target language, and it gets tougher.  Throw in a situation where the teacher, guide, or parent doesn’t speak Spanish proficiently (or at all) and something’s got to give.

Instead of ignoring the problem, we decided to tackle it.  We came up with what we think is a startlingly effective solution, and we hope you’ll think so, too.  We took several cultural elements in our Stories Online curriculum and used them to develop what we call “Culture Capsules.”  They bring together the best elements of research-based lessons: engaging content, achievable goals, critical thinking in an inquiry model, and of course, a target-language communication goal at the end of each one.

In each Culture Capsule, the teacher guides learners through a discussion on the capsule’s topic, while the children note answers to questions in their own print guide.  Then, the class, group, or individual learners investigate answers to often deep cultural questions.  Each capsule also culminates in a communicative task that asks children to demonstrate cultural awareness in Spanish, based on the national standards set by the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages.

Here are the Capsule topics in each level of Stories Online.

Level A: I Am Special

  • Are “You” My Friend?
    Why do Spanish speakers change the word they use for “you”?
  • Days of the Week
    How do we decide what is the first day of the week?
  • Flags and Their Colors
    What do the colors mean in the flags of the Spanish-speaking peoples?
  • Describing Myself – free download below
    What do the Spanish-speaking peoples “look like”?

Level B: I Love My Family

  • Special Days – free download below
    How does culture affect how we celebrate birthdays and other special days?
  • Two Surnames?
    How do many people in the Spanish-speaking cultures structure their names, and why?
  • Community Activities
    How do communities in different cultures have fun together?
  • A Family, A Community
    How do families in different cultures show their love for each other?
  • Pets
    Are the types of pets people like to keep different from culture to culture?

Level C: I Live Here

  • Home Is Where the Heart Is – free download below
    What is the same and what is different about homes in different cultures?
  • Let’s Eat!
    What is the same and what is different about foods in different cultures?
  • ¡Gol!
    What games and programs do people in the Spanish-speaking cultures find entertaining?
  • ¿Qué hora es?
    How does culture affect how people think about and talk about time?

Ready to see these in action with your learners?  The above Capsules are included as part of the Stories Online program, but we’re pleased to offer you three of these Capsules to download absolutely free.  Just head over to this page and get started.  And please, tell us what you think!

Let’s teach children to speak real Spanish to real people for a lifetime. Starting today.  Learn more about this innovative program for any preschool, kindergarten, elementary class, or homeschool at Discover Stories.

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Could you use a new music resource to help your early learners use me gusta?  What about descriptions and activities?

Así me gusta a mí song from Calico Spanish
How about a brand new Calico Spanish song?

Wait. Just a minute.

You mean, like the songs that are among the most popular children’s Spanish learning songs on YouTube?  The ones with millions and millions of views?  There’s a new one?

Yes.  And it’s all about me gusta, describing something, and talking about activities with the “yo” forms of verbs.

We’re grateful for the incredible talent of Obed Gaytán for this song “Así me gusta a mí.”  It’s an update on a 100-year-old folk tune, and it features a boy telling you about his buena, buena vida:

  • In it, he uses the yo forms vivo, juego, comohablo, and canto.
  • He also uses the describing words buena, roja, bonita, divertido, caliente, rica, grande, and linda.

Ready to check it out?

Cue the TV infomercial voice: Wait, there’s more.

We’ll be releasing a total of six new music videos over the next couple of months featuring all-new music from Calico Spanish.  They feature catchy tunes and repetitive, fun language including themes of rooms in the house, daily activities, telling time, using prepositions of place, and that topic that has seemed to elude all of us in quality children’s songs: weather and seasons.  One of the songs will even help you integrate a super fun, culturally authentic game in the classroom.

We’re beyond excited to be able to release some new music at last.  We hope our music continues to fill your learners’ journey with more smiles and more Spanish.  See you soon with a new song!

The song “Así me gusta a mí” was developed to support the innovative Calico Spanish Stories Online curriculum in Level C, “I Live Here.”  For a full resource guide, contact us at [email protected]

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How can learners given less than 90 minutes per week for language class develop real proficiency?

They can’t, according to the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages.

Maximize Pt 3 homeUnless, that is, they have additional time outside of class to receive comprehensible input and interact in the language.  But how will they get this extra time?  In this short blog series, we’ve offered a few tips on how you can maximize your district or school time limits for better student outcomes.

First, we suggested you leverage the learners’ computer time.  Second, we recommended you team up with the library using resources like audiobooks including our own original Storybooks with their accompanying audio.  In this last post in the series, let’s talk about how you…

Send it home!

The answer is simple: if they don’t get enough time with you, they have to get enough time with you plus someone else, and why not partner with the folks at home?  Every teacher can be more successful by partnering with the learner’s family, and world language is no exception.

Here are some ways I’ve connected my students with the language outside of class.

Find a partner.

When I reflected on my own language journey, I remembered that having real people to talk to was my primary motivation to keep going, even when it got hard.  My proficiency path has names: Edith. Margarita. Gerardo.  Realizing this made me wonder: was I helping my learners find this world of people to talk to?  I wasn’t.  So I made an amigo a required school supply.  Some kids end up following through and some don’t, but all of my students know that finding a real person to speak real Spanish to is important.

Some learners will know someone in their circle of family or friends that they can practice conversation with, and for others, you can tell parents about tools like The Mixxer (a questionable title to be sure, but I’ve had great success with it) or post a message to a quarter of a million language teachers on the Edmodo world languages community- someone probably has some young learners willing to partner with yours!  Mine are starting their communication this week with a group of 12-year-olds on the island of Mallorca.

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Got a local international festival? Tell your learners and their families about it!

Go to a community event.

What community events could your learners get involved in?  We have a great local festival called WorldFest that shows off the best of world cultures in our area, including a lot of food, fun, music, and language from the Spanish-speaking cultures.  Also, our state language organization puts on a statewide language showcase competition that welcomes upper elementary students.

Play TicTacTó.

Then, there’s the internet.  There is so much variety available in ways kids can interact with Spanish online in safe and fun ways.  But how to show them where to go, and how will you know what they did?  Try assigning TicTacTó, a 3×3 grid of activities you can simply send home every week.  Ask children to complete three activities in a row to complete TicTacTó and return it to you.  They’ll love taking some ownership over their learning, and you’ll have a quick way to see and assess whether your students are spending some time on Spanish outside of class!  We’ve made a TicTacTó board for you here, in a Google Doc you can print as-is or easily copy and fill in with your own activities.

This type of activity isn’t only good for extending time during the school year – send it home during summer vacation and other extended breaks and encourage parents to help kids keep the learning going year-round!

Don’t keep those activities to yourself, though!  Share in the comments below: what activities can kids do at home that keeps them successfully interacting with the target language?  (Check out more of my ideas in my homework choice document for early learners.)

Ever heard someone say, “I took two years in high school and I can say hola and taco“?
That story doesn’t have to be your learners’ story.
Their stories can be Calico Spanish Stories Online.

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