Friday, January 30, 2015

Valentine's Day Blog Hop--Spanish style!!

When I was a kid, I loved Valentine's Day!

We used to make mailboxes out of old shoeboxes,

and overdose on candy hearts (somehow avoiding breaking all of our teeth in the process1)

Now I get to re-live Valentine's Day with my students and at home with my kids.  We take advantage of Valentine's Day to get crafty, learn new vocabulary, and review skills (with a fun, Valentine's Day twist!).  Take a look:

For the youngest students, I created a word book with a Valentine's Day theme.  There are two books included in the pack, one in English and the other in Spanish.  My son is working on the Spanish one:

He also loves to cut and paste!  Here he is putting a sentence in the correct order from the Valentine's Day Mixed Up Sentences packet.  For more advanced students, there is also a page that does not have the model sentence.

Here, my son is working to unscramble Valentine's Day themed vocabulary in my Valentine's Day Writing Pack.  The pack also includes writing prompts and templates and fun cut-color-and-send Valentines:

One of my best sellers has been my Valentine's Day "Main Idea" Task Cards.  These are such good practice for kids!!  Each card can be printed and laminated to be used in a Center, or just worked on individually as my son is doing here.

The last lesson packet is a quick Fact or Opinion review that works well as homework or Center work.  Both English and Spanish versions are included, as well as a cute graphic organizer.

I hope you can use one (or many!) of these ideas with your students!!!  Check out my TpT store to see these lesson plans in more detail.

Now it's time to hop on to the next blog to get even more ideas and freebies to celebrate Valentine's Day en espaƱol!!!

Hop on to the next blog!

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Incorporating Spanish into Everyday Life

Recently, I have become active on Instagram.  While it began as a place for me to record snippets of family life and teaching ideas, I have quickly begun to chat with others (whom I have never met in real life!) that share the passion for teaching their children and students to be bilingual.

Early this week, I was asked to share how I incorporate my mother language into everyday life. (#IMLD) While my mother language is, indeed, English, I chose to share how we incorporate Spanish (the minority language) into our life:  with food!

You may laugh, but my family is OBSESSED with food.  When my kids were toddlers, they preferred The Food Network to Sesame Street (and now their favorite show is Master Chef, Jr).  Playdates centered around making or consuming food.  Heck, (and I'm not kidding here!) one of the reasons we chose their elementary school was due to the immense garden (where the kids are able to plant and harvest the food), cooking lessons incorporated into the curriculum beginning in kindergarten, and a special "Wellness Chef" that visits the cafeteria to introduce kids to new foods.

our school's Wellness Chef, sitting in the garden at school

Looking back, it shouldn't surprise me, as the Spanish seem to be obsessed with food as well.  When I was living there, the second question people would ask me (after asking if I liked Spain) was, "and you like the food, right?"

"Si!!  Me encanta!!" said enthusiastically was the only acceptable answer.

Someone can call you "the milk" as a compliment....or an insult.  There are even enormous celebrations where people throw tomatoes at each other.  And these celebrations begin by climbing up a greased pole to grab a ham!

But I digress.  What Spanish food do we have in our home?

I always ask visitors to bring our favorite infusiones and drinks that I can't find here:

Here are some of the foods that we brought back from Spain (yes, I always bring back olives!  For some reason, even the inexpensive ones there are sooooooo much better than the fancy ones I find here):

But where are the lentils??  Why, we made the last of them a couple of evenings ago:

While I look forward to sharing with you other ways that we incorporate Spanish into our daily lives, enjoying it's food seems to be one of the best ways for my family!  What does your family do?

Oh!  and join me (@sra_casado) on Instagram if you'd like to see even more photos of Spanish food, or even check out the #IMLD project.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Why I want my children to be bilingual

Hola!!!  Bienvenidos!!!!
Well, this is my first post here at Sra. Casado Teaches Bilinguals.  I am super excited to share what I do at home and in the classroom to help my kiddos on the journey to becoming bilingual!  I also look forward to learning more about other families and teachers that share my passion for teaching children a second (and third, and forth…) language.
I thought that the best way to get started was to write about why my husband and I made the choice to raise our children in a  bilingual household.  We did not choose this path to reap the educational benefits (added bonus!), but, instead for personal reasons:
1.  To communicate with family:
Probably the most practical reason we decided to teach our kids Spanish was so they could have a relationship with family and friends in Spain.  Since they do not speak English, our children should absolutely speak Spanish!
2.  To learn about their roots:
Goethe once said, “There are two things children should get from their parents: roots and wings.”  One of my most important jobs, as a parent, is to provide my children with a foundation–to teach them who they are and where they come from.  I truly believe that you cannot separate yourself and your culture from your language.  As my boys develop their language skills, they will continue to learn about us, our families, and themselves.
3.  To learn about different cultures:
The world is becoming smaller every day.  When I grew up in the 70s, airplane travel and long distance calls were prohibitively expensive.  We moved across the country when I was 11 and it might as well have been to another planet.  The clothes were different, the music was different…. we even had trouble understanding the new accent!  While my BFF and I made a valiant effort to maintain contact, sending snail mail and once-every-two-month phone calls could not maintain a relationship.
Times are different now.  With the internet, face-time and cheap travel, my kids have seen more of the world than i had when I was 3 times their age.  I love how they can identify with kids all over the world and learn about how, while some things are different, many are similar.  I believe (and the research shows) that they are more open to learning about cultures because they speak a second language.
4.  To increase opportunities for work and travel:
While I certainly hope that when my kids leave the house, they will settle down near us and not move too far away, odds are that they will want to explore the world as their parents and grandparents have.  Learning a second language will open doors for them to do so.
5.  It’s fun!
Yes, it’s a ton of hard work to teach your kids a second language.  However, it’s really fun too!  I love finding new books, games, and tv shows that I have never heard of and experiencing them with my kids. Who knew that Frozen’s Let it Go could be as amazing in Spanish as in English?  And how awesome is it to have a “secret language” to use with your family when you don’t want others to understand?
Teaching your children a second language is certainly not an easy choice, but it was the right one for us.  How about you?  Why did you decide to go the bilingual route?