Friday, July 29, 2011

Pick and Draw Spanish Art

Please do not use the pictures or content on this blog without prior permission - the photos are my own.  Please provide a link back to my blog if you found something useful or when referring to this content.  The use of small items requires close parent or teacher supervision at ALL times.  Thank you and enjoy your visit!

Sonrisas Spanish School Curriculum
I most likely won't be blogging on a daily basis about our experiences with this curriculum, but I wanted to share with you an art or shall I say ... drawing activity that we did yesterday.  

Calendar and Circle Time
The second day using Sonrisas Spanish School Curriculum went well again. Alyssa gets SO excited when she sees me place the Sonrisas CD in the player.  She grabs the sombrero and maracas and gets herself ready to dance.  Alyssa also danced with Ana (the girl puppet).  We focused on the recommended songs in the manual for the first lesson.  Alyssa's favorite song was track #4 "Cabeza, hombros, piernas, pies."  Don't forget to listen to their sample songs.  We played several songs over and over again because she LOVES dancing and singing.  She is also trying to memorize or learn the words to the songs.  The tunes are very catchy! We played the same "Me llamo" game and made it a bit sillier using the puppet who was causing a whole lotta trouble.  Alyssa was laughing so hard at the puppet.  She already knew the appropriate response to the Lesson 1 question.  We decided not to choose Spanish names this year. I think we will save that activity for next year when we repeat the curriculum.  
Ideas and Suggestions
1.) You could use different size balls and different colored balls to play the game using the appropriate Spanish terms (pequeno, grande, azul, rojo, etc.) before throwing and asking the name game question.  Please remember that I haven't figured out how to type with accent marks.   

Story Time
We read the story again and I asked her a few comprehension questions in addition to questions about the pictures in Spanish.  It was a bit hard for her to understand some of the questions, so I really had to simplify how I asked them.  At times I needed to respond or answer for her in Spanish.  We also read the book I told you about the other day A mi manera just for fun. 

Art Time
This art activity is not part of the Sonrisas Spanish School curriculum - this is one of my own ideas using other available resources.  I wanted a game that reviewed the facial features in Spanish.  I remembered a game we owned and hadn't played in awhile.  Alyssa and I use to play the game Pick and Draw all the time.  However, I wanted to do another art activity so I decided to put a twist on this game.  I used my photo blocks and Spanish body part Education Cube inserts cards to create a new game.  Education Cubes is a member only subscription website, but it is well worth the price I paid for it.  I added in a stack of cards for ears that I had drawn.  At first, I used a colored dot die that was already prepared from a previous math lesson, but then I remembered that there were Spanish color word card inserts too.  I used the ones with the color words typed in the actual color.  Next time we will use the black and white inserts since Alyssa already knows her colors in Spanish too.  I printed and cut the color word set and Alyssa played the game again.  We extended the activity by naming and labeling the character she had drawn in Spanish.  One of the characters was named after her and the other after her grandfather.  This was so much fun and I am sure we will play the game again to review color and facial terms in Spanish.

On another note, the Pick and Draw game cards are in English - you could replace the top card and make Spanish cards to avoid translation.  I wanted to assess Alyssa's knowledge so as she rolled the Spanish body part die she was responsible for figuring out which card to flip over. She knew what all of the words meant in English and it was almost like it was second nature to her.  The pictures at the bottom are using Education Cube inserts for both of the dice.
P.S. I love the picture where she is pointing to her ears and saying las orejas. 

Click here to read about our experience with the first lesson using the Sonrisas Spanish curriculum.

Please feel free to comment and let me know what you think. 

I will be linking this activity on the Education Cubes Show and tell carnival.

Education Cubes Show & Tell
Visit the Show and Tell to get and share Education Cube ideas!
I will also link this activity on the blogs Preschool Corner and 1+1+1=1.

Thanks a bunch, 
Tracey M.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

First Day Using Sonrisas Spanish School Curriculum

PLEASE do not use the pictures or content on this blog without prior permission - the photos are my own and are copyrighted.  PLEASE provide a link back to my blog if you found something useful or when referring to this content.  The use of small items requires close parent or teacher supervision at ALL times. Thank you and enjoy your visit!

Alyssa's Background Information
Alyssa is 3 years and 8 months old.  She is an eager learner. She is reading at a first or second grade level if not higher (not formally tested yet).  She LOVES learning new languages.  She is currently trying to learn Spanish and Sign Language.  She enjoys reading, music, dancing, singing and drawing (really any and all art projects) just like many or most other children.  Sonrisas Spanish School curriculum includes all of the mentioned items above - it just makes sense for us to review this curriculum.

Review Disclosure
This curriculum was donated to our classroom at no cost in exchange for an honest review on my blog.  The review will be posted upon completion of this curriculum unless the company requests differently.  The opinions expressed are my own and have not been influenced by anyone.  I will be occasionally posting about our experiences with this curriculum so please check back often to hear what I have to say. 

Day One Sonrisas Spanish School
Curriculum Information
Our first day using Sonrisas Spanish School curriculum was a BIG hit today! Sonrisa means "smile" and Brooks and Blue Lindner have worked hard to organize a curriculum with content that will make your children or students smile. They want foreign language learning and acquisition to be fun! I know Alyssa has been smiling ... in fact as I was typing this earlier today, I heard her upstairs singing today's songs and dancing with her daddy.  I have a baby monitor turned on so I can hear everything happening when I am not in the room. Sonrisas is a standards-based Spanish curricula for preschool or elementary students in pre-k through 6th grade. We are reviewing the first level which is primarily for pre-k and kindergarten.  The curriculum can also be used for older students depending on their previous exposure to the language. This curriculum is meant to be repeated and used for two years.  Repetition of concepts is very important in language learning as we all know.  The curriculum can be used in preschools, daycares, elementary schools, as extra-curricular or after school programs, as a supplement to any program, and with homeschooling families or coops. I must also say that the organization and format of the lesson plans can be easily followed and are pleasant on the eyes.  The creators of this curriculum also incorporate Gardner's theory of multiple intelligences into their lessons and activities (you can read about it in their manual or here at their blog). What more can you ask for - right?  

Previous Knowledge
Alyssa still remembers Spanish vocabulary that I taught her a long time ago which has been reinforced continuously through the use of games and activities.  She has already been exposed to the colors, numbers, months, and days of the week along with several other vocabulary words. Today's concepts were a review for her but she REALLY enjoyed EVERYTHING!

Scope and Sequence
Click on the link to see the Scope and Sequence with samples for Level 1.  After viewing the scope and sequence, if anyone has any resources including games, activities, charts, visuals, etc. that could be used in conjunction with this curriculum please let me know. I have a membership to Education Cube Inserts and plan on using their resources for games and activities. I hope to post ideas soon! If you are also a member check back later to see how I use the inserts.

Lesson One
Props Used:
1.) A Girl Puppet (for reading and games)
2.) Maracas (music activities)
3.) Sombrero (time for Spanish/other activities) 
4.) Train whistle: Days of the Week Song
5.) Pointers and funny glasses for calendar chart reading
6.) Small Pocket Chart from Target with the calendar phrases:
     Hoy es ...
     Ayer fue ...
     Manana sera
a.) I cannot get my computer to type Spanish accents so please  ignore the spelling accent errors. 
b.) This is a bit advanced for her now, but as the lessons progress I think she will catch on quickly.
c.) The Spanish charts below are posted near our school Calendar time area.  
7.) Calendar Charts: Days of the Week, Months of the Year, and Colors
a.) I actually plan on changing the days of the week chart hopefully sooner than later.  I am looking for a colorful train template with the Days of the Week in Spanish (Sparkle Box has an editable train template - but I am having a hard time with the file. Twinkl also has an editable train template but I cannot get it to work either. Please help someone!  If anyone can get this to work I would LOVE a copy of the files with the train carriages starting with Monday and the engine smoke having the words Los Dias de La Semana (with accent marks of course). Thank you!  This would become our new Days of the Week chart or visual for Spanish class.  Any other link suggestions or resources would be greatly appreciated.
Company Suggestion: You could also create colorful calendar charts and visuals to assist educator during Circle Time.
b.) I do teach Alyssa the other Spanish words for orange, pink, and brown.
c.) I wish that the Days of the Week chart seen above started with Monday instead of Sunday.
d.) I will add on a number, season, and weather chart of some sort soon (most likely from Sparkle Box Language Resources or from a Twinkl).  I was recently reading Julie's blog, The Adventures of Bear.  She posted a math activity using materials from the Twinkl website.  After exploring their website, I found Spanish resources available too. Thank you Julie for posting this helpful resource on your blog!

We are planning on using this curriculum 2-3 times per week for 30 to 60 minutes depending on the lessons. It is important with any curriculum to develop a consistent routine and Brooks and Blue encourage you to do the same thing for your Spanish lessons. I will be working hard to provide a consistent routine for Alyssa. We actually lost track of time because we were enjoying the lesson so much. Therefore, I am not sure how long our lesson actually lasted today. I will have to pay more attention to that in the future.  I plan on following the format as mentioned in the manual even if we do an extra day a week. For example, I will continue Lesson 1 on Wednesday. But, then I will start Lesson 2 on Friday and finish it on Monday. I am planning on doing Spanish on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday unless otherwise noted.  Hopefully, all will go as planned.  If not, I will change Spanish lessons to Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Greetings and Roll Call
I walked in the classroom wearing my sombrero yelling Hola in a very excited voice! Alyssa immediately wanted her own sombrero (this was to let her know it was time for Spanish class).  I told Alyssa good afternoon in Spanish and we shook hands. We then discussed who was present (Alyssa, mommy, and the dogs) and who was not present (daddy). She ended up taking off the sombrero because it bothered her neck - I may cut off the ties or not tie it at all. I actually took mine off too after all the singing and dancing because my head was sweating. LOL! This was just an idea I read about somewhere on a Spanish teacher's blog. The sombreros were found at Hobby Lobby.   

Calendar and Circle Time
At this time Alyssa is learning calendar concepts while participating in songs and playing games.  Everything is done orally to improve communication and language acquisition.  The curriculum encourages you to speak Spanish 90% of the time (thank goodness I have a degree in Spanish - I am not fluent ... but it does help).  She LOVED dancing to the songs on the CD's and her favorite song so far is track # 6 on the Sonrisas CD.  We added in the maracas and moved are hips side to side when singing "Cha, Cha, Cha." We chose several songs from both of the CD's and we used the props above to make learning more enjoyable and active. Another favorite song of hers was track #2 on the Sonrisas CD. Click on the links below to hear song samples on the CD's: Sonrisas CD or Canciones Culturales. We did the recommended game and I encouraged Alyssa to back up each time we threw the ball to each other asking the appropriate lesson question.  We were practicing distance throwing and catching skills at the same time (we sat and stood up).
Thoughts and Ideas: We also brought the puppet in at this time to play the game. Another thing that you could do is lay out family photos and toss the ball on the photos. Your child can say the family member's name using different voices or intonations with the phrase Me Llamo ... (the child acts as if they are the person in the photo speaking).  You could do the same thing with story character dolls or pictures (any doll for that matter).  
1.) I definitely need to spend time learning the lyrics to the songs ahead of time so that it will be easier for me to teach them to Alyssa during Circle Time.
2.) It might help if I wrote the lyrics to the songs in Spanish on pocket chart sentence strips to familiarize ourselves with the words.  This will serve as a guide for us both in the beginning. 
Company Suggestion: Create a big book with song lyrics as part of the curriculum price.
3.) Typing the season and weather poems for the student to see as I read aloud may also be helpful when learning this information. I will also use weather and season visuals when reciting the poems.  See Sparkle Box and Twinkl resources above. I have another website with resources but have to look up the information before posting it here.  
Company Suggestion: Add a FREE special linked website for curriculum users containing resources made specifically to accompany the lessons. The enlarged weather and season poems or song lyrics could be added to this section.  Additionally, the calendar concept visuals could be added. 
4.) I need to teach Alyssa how to blow the train whistle without covering it with her entire mouth. 
5.) She uses the charts during calendar song time (with and without special pointers).  She is dancing in the second picture. 

Story Time
Unfortunately, I will be using the library and the interlibrary loan exchange to obtain necessary books for story time because I cannot afford the books at this time (although it would be awesome to eventually have a library of Spanish books). One of our libraries charges for this service and I was happy to find out that the library closest to us does not. This may slow down our lessons since we might have to wait for books to become available. I will use other Spanish resources or activities to fill in the wait time. I will also keep my eyes open at our Half Price Bookstore. We have already spent the bulk of our curriculum money on previous purchases. Although I do highly recommend making it easy on yourself if you can afford it by purchasing the storybook set available through the Sonrisas Spanish School website. I checked out the first two books from our local library ... then I realized that the book for lesson one was not the correct book (it was by the same author and the cover looked very similar however the title was A mi manera (My Way): A Margaret and Margarita story. I was VERY LUCKY and found the correct book at Half Price Bookstore for an extremely reasonable price. I contacted the company for a second book recommendation for lesson two since I was unable to get the book. I found the second recommendation at the library.   
We snuggled up in the bean bag chair. I introduced the book for the week and we read it first for enjoyment since she seemed to be so intrigued by the book. She did repeat several of the key vocabulary words in the book. I will ask questions in Spanish during the next reading since there is only one book suggestion for this lesson. Here is a picture of Alyssa engaged in the book after story time. She was reading the English parts and apparently "the puppet" from our game activity was trying to read the Spanish parts. She did very well reading both - LOL!
1.) I would love more than one book suggestion for the first two lessons.  Most lessons have more than one book recommendation. 

Art Time
Alyssa completed her self-portrait and labeled it on her own. She used the white board to learn how to label the portrait.  I modeled how to draw a self-portrait on the white board and labeled my picture (I jumped the gun before I realized that was part of the next lesson). She already knows the parts of the face so as she drew her picture she was telling me the Spanish words for her facial features. Her handwriting is looking better every day. She was in a hurry to label it because daddy was on his way home and she wanted to show it to him. There are several pictures below of the self-portrait activity.
1.) I am not sure what we will do for art on Wednesday since Alyssa completed the first and second day art activities during the first lesson. There is no other suggestions listed, but I might come up with an additional activity. We'll see!
2.) Company Suggestion: In regards to using Spanish 90% of the time it may be helpful to include Spanish vocabulary phrases or signs for art projects online as a FREE resource accessible to educators and parents.

P.S. I love that she added a heart and a belly button to her drawing. She learned how to draw people from the Handwriting Without Tears Curriculum (Mat Man Lesson). I noticed later that she was missing arms so I will ask her in Spanish if she has arms during the next lesson and we'll see if she adds them or not. She originally labeled her picture with her name in pink and then added the complete sentence after viewing my model on the board. I am not sure why she drew her hair black and brown but she told me that the pink was her pony tails.  Her pony tail holders were white. 
1.) I should have given her a mirror so that she could see her reflection and draw what she sees. 

We had to say our good-byes in Spanish although Alyssa did not want to stop the lesson.  We ended the lesson by giving each other a high five!  Then, Daddy came home and it was Alyssa's turn to be the teacher! 

Homeschool Connection (Home Report)
This was so much fun! Alyssa shared her work with daddy. She actually made him go through most of the lesson (including songs and calendar time).  Talk about keeping him involved! I am surprised she did not have him create his own art project (although that may happen later at some point).  Her daddy was so happy to see her learning Spanish and having fun while doing it.  He is also thankful and appreciative for the opportunity to review this curriculum. Learning a second language is top on our list of educational goals.  Jeff, my husband, also wants to learn Spanish so I think this may become a routine for us if he is not too tired after a long day's work at the fire station or at the construction site. He did have a hard time with us not using English during lessons with him, but he saw that Alyssa caught on very quickly so maybe that will encourage him to do the same.  He kept asking me for translations ... I continued to speak in Spanish and began using gestures or drawings to communicate with him. I wish I actually had taken some pictures of him participating. It was so cute! Alyssa made him wear the sombrero and hold the maracas. She tried to get him up to dance but he was exhausted. 

Homeschool Families
Homeschooling families can also choose to use this curriculum to teach their students or family Spanish.  Click on the link above to see why.  Here is the link to the FREE lesson plan for the first lesson if you would like to try it with your child.  It doesn't include calendar time activities.  See what you think and let me know in the comment section. I would LOVE to hear your thoughts soon! 

More Information
For more information about this curriculum visit any of the links above or click on the Facts and Questions. Don't forget to sign-up for their newsletter or if you have any other questions please contact them. Let them know that you heard about their curriculum from my blog.  Don't forget to check out their blog too!

Please check back later to hear more about our experiences with this curriculum. I hope to hear from you soon!

Thank you, 
Tracey M.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Sonrisas Spanish School Arrived Today!!!!!

It's here! The newly released version of the Sonrisas Spanish School Level 1 Curriculum for preschoolers and kindergarteners has arrived in our mailbox today.  I was given the opportunity to use and review this curriculum with Alyssa. Alyssa and other young children are at the prime age for learning a second language ... having such a natural ability to learn new languages.  I have a Spanish degree ... even though I am not 100% fluent ... I want to give her the gift of being bilingual by adding a foreign language program to our curriculum.  She is a very eager learner and has already caught on to what little I have taught her over the years.  She is fascinated with the language and communicates in Spanish at times already.  I wanted to motivate her with meaningful activities so that she can appreciate the language and communicate freely.  The package arrived yesterday and I have already started digging into and reading the teacher's manual in preparation for our new journey. Please stay posted to hear more about our experiences with this curriculum. I plan on keeping you informed. This curriculum includes music, art, and literature activities along with other activities that seems to encourage movement and communication.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Library Reading Program

Alyssa participated in the local library's summer reading program. She really wanted to win the bike for her age group (Bike #1). She independently read aloud for an hour not too long ago and wouldn't come down for breakfast until she read all the books that she picked out for the day. She constantly read every chance she got ... she worked so so hard.  She talked about the bike with the ANGEL backpack every single day!

I am proud to say that SHE ACTUALLY WON!!! I was so happy for her ... I cried! I think I was the only parent that cried.  LOL! Now, she can finally learn how to ride a bike. She has been telling everyone that she read lots and lots of books to win it. I am glad that she understands why she received the bike.  She set a goal and reached it!

Thank you Canyon Lake Pilot Club for donating 10 bikes to the library for this program! We all appreciate it!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Alyssa is 3 years and 7 months old

We don't do school time every single day at this point, but here are a few things we are doing. I plan to start VERY soon whether I am organized or not ... I have realized that I am the type to organize and reorganize over and over again. It will be a project that I am constantly working on and trying to improve as the year progresses. I tend to have too many organizational ideas and cannot afford to put it all together as planned due to finances. 

Language Arts
Alyssa independently read Goldilocks and the Three Bears by Jan Brett the other day. She continues to read MANY books on her own. I am so proud of her ... she struggled with a few words in the book which is to be expected at her age. She still has a LOVE for reading and enjoys school time. Still begs! She spent a whole hour reading aloud when she woke up this morning. She is participating in a summer reading program at the local library. They are giving bikes away to children that read the most. Unfortunately the documentation is limited ... so I am hoping parents will be honest. Alyssa wants the bike with the Barbie backpack on it ... she describes it to me on a daily basis.  She has known the basic sounds for all the letters for quite some time now. We are currently working on additional sounds. She has mastered many including the sounds for the letter "y." Her handwriting has improved and she enjoys writing short sentences on her whiteboard. Last night she wrote, "I Love mommy, and Daddy, and dogs."It was so cute! She has also been writing sentences that contain her sight words or word family words. She continues to use the whiteboard to write the numbers 1 through 20.  She stops at 20 for some reason even though she knows more numbers exist. I noticed the other day that she was explaining how to write the numbers as she wrote them on the board ... apparently she is playing teacher and I am the student. I LOVE it! Reading sight words seems to be pretty easy for her so we have been focusing on how to spell them.    

She has been exploring all of my math manipulatives. She seems to be intrigued with learning addition lately. We are also playing lots of math games. She loves Dice in Dice Addition! I placed two die in a spill-proof paint container. She shakes the container and looks at the bottom to add the two numbers. She uses her abacus when she needs help solving problems. 

I know that we do more but I just wanted to touch base with my readers.
I made the choice to start using curriculums to cut down on planning time and time spent on the computer researching ideas and themes. I have made some recent purchases via Ebay.  I am currently preparing for the new school year. Alyssa and I have already tried several lessons from different curriculums and she is doing well with what I bought. I have some reservations, but will continue using them as long as she is interested and enjoying it. I hope to post our curriculum choices soon. I am also supposed to be receiving a Spanish curriculum to review in July.    

Speaking of reviews, I have been writing and editing my "candid" review for Time 4 Learning. So many things have happened since we started our trial month ... I am late posting it. My niece from New York visited me for a week, my husband went to the ER room after a ceiling fell on him while putting out a fire, and then he broke a tooth while eating dinner ... on the SAME day. During our trial, Alyssa was sick and we left for a week long vacation. 

I better start preparing lunch. I hope you are all doing well and would LOVE to hear from you. Have a GREAT day!