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Spanish language for kids:  the philosophy behind the tools that complement Spanish learning for grades K-6

-A resource  for children, parents, and teachers-

As pedagogical tools, games, songs, tongue twisters, movement, and visuals, are vehicles of powerful interest, especially for elementary-aged learners.  Through them, we can induce knowledge  of language. In early education (grades K- 6) it is very  important to present materials for Second Language  Acquisition (SLA) in many varied forms so that it  becomes accessible to different learners and reaches  across the spectrum of learning styles.

I bring to my elementary classrooms Spanish traditional and non-traditional forms that represent the  essential elements in phonics.  This helps spiral the language learning process by scaffolding the  form and sound of the language. If a young student is successful in L1, I find that scaffolding  and  working with the children’s Zone of Proximal Development, -ZPD (Vygotsky, 1978) results in the   acquisition of basic reading and writing knowledge.

I have witnessed repeated, demonstrable benefits using this kinds of tools as efficient teaching  aids for reading and writing of Spanish language. Therefore I integrate them  as an important part of my  teaching toolbox usually within the context of thematic  units.

The challenge is to find what is appropriate to use at a certain age level, or how to adapt a  particular activity so that students can be challenged in the right amount: not too much to  frustrate them, nor too little to bore them.

Here I present a list of some of benefits of these kinds of activities:

      •  As aids and complements for different units of study.
      • As a tool for developing phonetic skills in the language, particularly in pronunciation and verbal comprehension.
      • As a form of bringing fun into the classroom, providing a way to capture their interest and spur their enthusiasm.
      • As a form of keeping students engaged in learning the language.
      • As a form of providing kinesthetic action to the classroom.  To help enhance psychomotor coordination and to help students stay more focused by establishing a balance between action and stillness.
      • As a social tool: these games are exercised in groups, therefore, they promote the development of social skills.
      • As a tool for developing student’s creative skills as we transcend the initial activities into creative variations.
      • As a means of complementing literacy in the classroom – L2 games and songs provide tools for students that can aid them in their literacy proficiency in L1.
      • As an expression and reflection of the cultures in which the language is embedded.  These songs and games provide a means to get closer to the cultures from which the language emerged.
      • As a means of self and collective expression in the language classroom.
      • As a means of bringing together different and less typical forms of learning instruction, thus strengthening and enhancing the opportunities for learning.
      • As a way to provide for a more rounded learning experience by integrating these activities into other topics and/or establishing connections with other subject areas.

Spanish Grades K-6

I focus primarily on familiarizing young people with building basic vocabulary and developing language use.  My main goal is to encourage a love for Spanish by presenting the language as a fun experience.   By the third grade, after repeated exposure to Spanish from kindergarten on, students will be making connections between spoken and written language. They will be able to form simple sentences and ask questions of each other. By sixth grade students wil be able to ask and respond to high frequency questions as well as read and interpret simple text.

Watch as Third grade students express their food likes and dislikes to each other