Sonrisas Spanish Blog

At Sonrisas Spanish School, we incorporate many techniques that we have been exposed to throughout our careers teaching elementary Spanish. Many of the teaching methodologies that we have observed and researched have influenced the development of our own teaching style. In our curricula, we have drawn upon the strengths and the most effective techniques of our different influences.

Our first experiences teaching foreign language were in ESL classrooms. There, we used two methodologies in particular to teach English, methodologies that we later found to be extremely effective when we integrated them into our elementary Spanish curricula. These two methods are Total Physical More >

The ACTFL integrated performance assessment guidelines require that assessments be authentic, meaning that students could encounter them in the world outside of the classroom. The examples they give are a brochure for a sports camp, a thematically-relevent, youth-oriented TV or radio show, TV comercials, public service announcements, songs by artists in the target culture, talk show or radio interviews, magazine articles, interviews, and advertisements, and personal letters or emails from people in the target culture.

I understand the importance of these authentic sources in assessing language skills, but I find the examples don’t apply well to early elementary Spanish students. They learn best More >

I have been teaching Spanish to children using children’s stories for 14 years. Sometimes, I still can’t predict when a particular book will captivate the imaginations of my students. This week I found one of those magical books that thrilled my students ages 7 through 12. I wasn’t totally surprised when my second and third graders loved it, but I’m used to my sixth and seventh graders looking at “children’s” books with a critical eye. This book made them laugh out loud and squeal (in Spanish, of course) with the discovery of patterns and foreshadowing in each picture. The book More >

In addition to the imaginary journeys my students take to Spanish speaking countries (see Sonrisas Spanish School: An Elementary Spanish Cultural Curriculum), we also do a short geography activity each day. I have el país del día written on my board, and a world map posted next to it. Each day I write the name of one Spanish speaking country on the board. (I’ll use Nicaragua as an example.) Then I choose students to answer about three geographical questions:

¿ Dónde está Nicaragua?

¿Está al norte o al sur de Los Estados Unidos?

¿Nicaragua es más grande o más chiquito que México?

¿Nicaragua es una isla?

I choose questions based More >