Back to School

Yay! It’s my favorite time of year. Nothing better than new notebooks, a fresh pack of markers, some new shiny tabs! I miss back-to-school shopping. There was always something so promising heading off to your first day of school, your backpack full of new binders, neatly organized.

Get back into the groove with some Spanish or Study Skills lessons to stay on top of your classes this year!

Happy Back-to-School time!

Spanish Lessons for Kids (2) “What’s on your plate?”

Concepts learned:

Food vocabulary
Food categories
Phrases: “Mi comida favorita es….” My favorite food is….
“Mi fruta favorita es…..” My favorite fruit is…
“Mi verdura favorita es….” My favorite vegetable is….

Colors

 

Supplies Needed:

A few paper plates
Markers, Crayons, or colored pencils

Lesson Specifics:

Give each student his own paper plate.  Ask questions like, “Qué es esto?”, What is this?  “Porqué lo usas?” Why do you use it? “Qué color es?” What color is it? Etc.

Then ask the children, what are your favorite foods?  Give them the Spanish words for each food and use it in a sentence.

Example: “What’s your favorite food?”  Qué es tu comida favorita?”

–Apples!

“Manzanas! Me encantan las manzanas!”  Apples!  I love apples! “Qué color es la manzana?” What color is an apple?

–Red

“Roja! Sí, la manzana es roja!” Dibuja una manzana en el plato.  Draw an apple on your plate.

I love lessons like this because you are teaching so much more than one concept! If you want to add to it, also incorporate shapes!

Spanish Lessons for Kids (1) Balloon Faces

Are you teaching Spanish lessons to younger children and find yourself wondering, “How do I do this??”

When I first started teaching children I felt like that all the time.  I’d never really been around young children and I was at a loss at what to do.  Then I realized, young children want to have fun and learn, get them moving, creating, talking, dancing while you teach.

So for this lesson what you’ll need are:

1. Balloons (any color, and make sure no one is allergic to latex)

2. A magic marker

3. A good set of lungs

Blow up the balloon, tie securely, and help children draw parts of the face on the balloon.  Make sure they are big enough so everyone can see.  If you like you can label the parts of the face.

Ask the children, “Cómo se llama?” and have them give Mr. Balloon Face a name.

Next ask the children, “Dónde están las orejas de “Mr. Balloon Face”?  You can also help by pointing to your respective body part.

Toss the balloon to each child and give them a chance to answer a few of your questions.

This method also works well to teach emotions.

For emotions, blow up several balloons and help the children draw faces for “triste”, “feliz”, “enojado”, etc.

Make a game by tossing a random balloon and asking the child the emotion.

Subjunctive What??

As you’ve probably noticed…Spanish has a million verb tenses.  Okay, not really a million, more like 14.  Perhaps one of the most common (0r confusing) is the Subjunctive tense.  It’s a little difficult to explain because we don’t have a subjunctive tense in English, only a Subjunctive Mood.  The Subjunctive, tense or mood is used to express doubts, wishes, and conjecture….when we think something might happen, but it may not.

Subjunctive Mood (English):

I hope that we can go the the beach this weekend. (We may or may not)

See how were not using a different tense in English to express doubt?  Just the good old present tense.

Subjunctive Tense (Spanish):

-We use this tense to express:

Wishes

Emotions

Needs

Doubts/desires

Impersonal Expressions (weird name, but IEs are expressions where there is no particular subject, but a general statement, i.e. “It is best that we leave now so we’re not late.”)

To form the Subjunctive Tense in Spanish we use the opposite verb endings:

AR Verbs

yo- e
tú- es
él- enosotros- emos
uds.- en

IR/ER Verbs

yo- a
tú- as
él- a
nosotros- amos
uds.- an

We also (generally) have two verb phrases joined by “que”:

(Yo) Espero que ellos lleguen temprano.
I hope that they arrive early.

Formula: Subject 1 Verb 1 (present tense) + que Subject 2 Verb 2 (subjunctive tense).

The reason for this formula is:

There is NO doubt that I want them to arrive early (that’s why Verb 1 is in the present tense)

BUT I don’t know if they will be early or not (that’s why Verb 2 is in the subjunctive tense)

 

Hopefully that’s not too much of a brain-scrambler! More to come soon!

 

Preterite vs. Imperfect

Spanish has two past tenses.  I know that sounds weird…how can that be?  Well, I’ll tell you.  In Spanish, the Preterite tense is used when we have a completed action in the past, with a specific time frame.

Example:

Last night we ate spaghetti. (Last night is my time frame and we know it’s a completed action because I can’t ‘un-eat’ my spaghetti).

Español:

Anoche comimos los fideos (noodles).

The other past tense, the Imperfect is used for an ongoing action in the past, where there is no specific time frame.

Example:

We ate noodles every Friday last winter.

Here I know I’m using the Imperfect because this was an ongoing action in the past….every single Friday last winter.

Español:

Nosotros comíamos los fideos cada viernes el invierno pasado.

For more examples and practice visit my store at:

https://meganmoody.selz.com

Holes in Education

I have tutored for over six years now.  In that time I have worked with students from 12 months old to adults in their seventies. In this time and with this experience I have learned many things. Now, mind you, some of these things may be a matter of opinion, but I believe they are important.

– No two students are the same

– Textbooks are generally for the birds, and best used as references

– When it comes to grammar explanations, textbooks generally leave students dumbfounded and confused

– The average student needs an English grammar lesson to be able to identify parts of speech in a foreign language

– Immersion is extremely important, as is an excellent foundation

Why are there these ‘holes’ ? Honestly, I don’t know for sure, but here’s my good guess:  the general education system. I understand there are certain subjects that every student needs to learn, i.e. math, reading, etc. But the concept of a general education is beyond ridiculous. No one person is exactly like another. And what does a general education do? Take all the pressure off the parent and put that pressure on the teacher.

Oh don’t worry about teaching Timmy the alphabet, or phonetics, or even basic manners…..Mrs. Smith will do that for you. And for the parents of her other 29+ students. And we wonder why we have a problem.

Now, this wasn’t meant to be a rant. Truly, I wanted to mention some ‘holes’ I have noticed only to say, perhaps as a parent you can ask your student, ‘how are things going?, are you struggling with something, can I help?’

idk d.o. i.o.

If I asked, “What is an indirect (or direct) object pronoun?”  Does that sound like foreign language itself?

You‘re not alone, but I’m here to help!

If I have the example:

She gives me the gift.

She= subject

Gives= verb

Me= indirect object (the person receiving the action)

The gift= the direct object (the thing we‘re talking about)

In Spanish our indirect object pronouns are:

Me

Te

Le/Se

Nos

Os

Les/se

Our direct object pronouns are:

Lo/la

Los/las

Order:

Subject, indirect object pronoun, direct object pronoun, conjugated verb