What do you do when you can't take a Spanish class for a long time? Like during the summer?
As with many skills, when long periods of time go by without being used, the part of the brain involved with the skill becomes less active, and begins to shrink. This is especially critical with a new language, as most students are not exposed to their new language in a regular manner. Luckily there are many things that you can do to help your son or daughter continue to use their language skills during the summer (even if you do not speak Spanish). Encouraging your son or daughter to spend 15-20 minutes, 3 to 4 times a week when possible, will have a major impact on their language retention over break.
Class website- My site has many free resources. Each time we changed topics in class, I created a new page on the website. These pages include cartoons, games, stories, and music that matched what we are doing (or did) in class. Before the end of the summer I will put up ‘ALL’ the topic buttons, so students can play on any of the pages I created this year over the summer. You can find all my resources below!
Sr.Wooly is a site made by a Spanish teacher that focuses on teaching frequently used words through hilarious songs, and games. Second and third grade students at my school love most of his material (even though it is geared towards older students). Some of the videos are also appropriate for 1st grade and Kindergarten. My kids love 'Puedo ir al baño' and 'Sé Chévere' both of which can be found on Youtube.
Sr. Wooly- https://www.senorwooly.com/
Duolingo is a free (and add free) site that allows users to practice new language skills in a fun, effective, and highly customized manner. Students complete mini lessons in a format similar to Rosetta Stone, answer questions, translate, and more. The program assesses your language ability, and the lessons change to match it. Your learner can earn experience points, badges, and compete against classmates in a fun way. I can also monitor student progress, and during the school year run a prize drawing each month for students that play. To participate go to my website and click on the link below with your classroom teacher's name and help your student register. All you need is an e-mail address! Duolingo is used in many classroom and is considered a safe site. Students can receive friend requests (so they can compete against friends to earn badges), however private messages cannot be sent via Duolingo. Parents should evaluate the site to before signing your son or daughter up to make sure it is right for your student. My own children love it when I play with them! An Android and Apple App are available to play on handheld devices. While this site is mainly used by 2nd and 3rd graders, I do have a few 1st graders that also love it.
Netflix adds more Spanish programming everyday. Many (if not most) of the original programming (both for adults and children) allows you the option to change the language (both spoken and subtitles) to other languages. This is an invaluable resource, as there is a lot of very compelling for young learners. Simply push the 'up' button on your remote, and click on the speech bubble to change your language!
Youtube is a great resource for Spanish TV shows, songs, stories, and movies. Try putting your son or daughter’s favorite show, story, or movie in the Youtube search bar, and add ‘en español’ after the title. For example, “Peep and the Big Wide World en español”. This year students really enjoyed the following Youtube cartoons: Pocoyo, Peppa Pig, and El Perro y El gato (no ‘en español needed after the last title).
Many DVDs include the option of changing the language in the options menu. Changing the spoken language to Spanish, and adding English subtitles is another great way to practice. This is also an option on many shows on Netflix. We recommend tailoring this activity to individual students. If your student is bored with this activity after 15 to 20 minutes, turn it off and be done with it for the day. However, if they are enjoying the movie, there is no need to stop early.
There is a lot of great music available for young Spanish learners. Some of my favorites include: Basho & Friends, Baila Baila, and Barbara Macarthur. All of these are available for download on Itunes and Amazon, however you can also find many of the songs free on Youtube. Another favorite available on Youtube is Kevin, Karla y La Banda (a group that takes music students know, into Spanish songs (Shake It Off, Hello, etc.). On the 'El Verano' page, I added our 'Youtube' play list for the year. Hit play, and 'enjoy' over 40 songs. ;)
Games- There are a lot of traditional games from different countries that are a great way to practice Spanish (your student will love to teach you if you don’t know Spanish). A favorite counting game this year is the Peruvian card game, “Mano Nervioso”. If you’re student can’t remember it, check out the rules at the first link. If you are in need of a new game for your student’s check out children’s games from around Spain at the second link.
Spanish Street Games
The World Around You-
Consider finding Spanish in the world around you a game for your family. Did they notice the Spanish on the aisle signs at Meijer, or on the back of their shampoo bottle? Eating out at a Mexican restaurant? Try practicing with the server if they speak Spanish. This is a great authentic way to practice.
As you can see, there are many resources available when your student is not too busy enjoying their time off. However you spend your summer, please know that your student did a wonderful job this year, and we cannot wait to see everyone in the fall.
Entering my 13th year in the classroom; I am a TPRS/CI Elementary Spanish Teacher. Passionate about TPRS/CI, Brain based learning, and using technology to bring the world to our students, and our students to the world.