When people hear that I’m a Spanish teacher, or that we speak Spanish at home with our kids, I am immediately asked for resources that I recommend to introduce their kids to Spanish. When searching for bilingual books, you will find millions of books written- or translated into- Spanish. The huge majority of these books are at a language level that only Spanish-speakers would benefit from. How could an English-speaking parent read “Curious George” in Spanish, if neither she nor her child understands the language?
You will also find thousands of picture dictionaries… and one word per page boardbooks… and textbooks. There are also terrible translations (Azul el sombrero, verde el sombrero being my biggest pet-peeve!). What my friends are looking for are none of the above. They would like simple stories that teach a little Spanish (but are not too advanced that the parents can’t read or understand them!): here are my best recommendations. Continue reading
Posted in Belize, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Europe, Guatemala, Honduras, Language, Literature, Mexico, Panama, Spain, The Americas
Tagged fiction children's books, spanish
A trip to the Rio Napo, Ecuador in 1996.
Last year, my kids and I studied a different biome each month. When looking at biomes, the world is generally divided into 5 major types: aquatic, deserts, forests, grasslands, and tundra. The plants and animals in each biome have adapted to their environment with special features that help them survive. Under the forests category, it is sub-divided into different types of forests, such as tropical rainforests, temperate forests, and boreal forests. Because I have visited parts of the Amazon as well as Costa Rica, I was excited to share what I had learned and they were really excited to take a closer look. We took a month to read books, watch films, and do some art projects related to tropical rain forests. Here are the resources we used. Continue reading
Posted in Africa, Animals, Around the World, Belize, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Games and Toys, Geography, Ghana, Guatemala, Honduras, Indonesia, Madagascar, Panama, The Americas
Tagged biomes, education, educational technology, on-line activities, rainforest, science
Make a mola: a fantastic example of folk-art from Panamá! Beautiful Panamá: the tropical and mountainous isthmus with coasts on the Caribbean and Pacific that connects the Americas. Off the northern coast of Panamá, there is a string of idyllic islands (an archipelago) called the San Blas Islands. The Kuna Indians were driven out of Panamá by the Spaniards in the 1500′s, and took their boats to live on these islands. They continue to live there today, hunting, fishing, and maintaining traditions. One of Panama’s best-known handicrafts is the mola, intricate reverse-applique handwork made by the Kuna, and now an important symbol of their culture. The layers of brightly-colored fabric form animals or geometric shapes, and are used to decorate the blouses of Kuna women. In fact, the most outstanding designs take hours of complex sewing to complete and is a source of status, and a display of artistic expression and ethnic identity. In the following intricate craft, your kids can make similar designs out of construction paper.