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Planning and Prep for Your Sonrisas Lessons

The Sonrisas Spanish curriculum provides you with comprehensive materials and lesson plans for teaching elementary Spanish. Once you have the materials in hand, it is important to realize that a lot of work needs to be done in order to plan and prep for your classes. This post outlines some of the most important tasks that will ensure an effective and smooth implementation of the Sonrisas lessons.

Read the Introduction to Your Teacher Manual

The introduction to the teacher manual provides an in-depth look at the methodologies used to create the curriculum. Having this knowledge gives you a better understanding of how learners acquire language and how teachers can facilitate that process. The introduction also includes detailed instructions for exactly how to teach the different segments of the lessons. Having this knowledge before you teach is a much better approach than simply trying to wing it with the lessons plans. The introduction section to the teacher manual is similar taking a class on how to teach Spanish to children. We highly recommend a full reading of it.

Review the Lesson Overview Page

Each lesson in the Sonrisas curriculum includes a lesson overview page. It gives you a high-level view of the lesson you are about to teach. The overview page identifies the learning target and the performance targets for the lesson. The performance targets are the skills, vocabulary, and phrases that we want students to know how to do after the lesson. Having an awareness of the performance targets helps to focus your teaching.

Read the Storybook

Story Time presents a lot of learning opportunities for your students. The storybook helps to introduce the performance targets for the lesson. It also gives learners an authentic experience with Spanish—exposing them to different voices and styles in Spanish. Through the strategy of shared reading, you can extend your interpersonal communication with students through the illustrations and verse of the story. When you read the storybook ahead of time, you are able to plan out the places in the story where you will do this.

Make the Art Project

This is a very underestimated part of prepping for the Sonrisas lessons, but it can be effective in several ways. First, when you make the art project ahead of time, you become more aware of the steps required to complete the project, and therefore, you will be able to facilitate your students more effectively. Second, as you make the art project, you can plan the types of conversations that you will have with students as they work on the project. These conversations allow you to use the art project as comprehensible input (CI) and reinforce the performance targets for the lesson. Third, when you show students a finished model of the art project, this goes a long way towards them successfully completing it.

Learn the Songs from the CDs, Along with the Movement and Gesture, and Perform Them with Your Students

This is the most effective learning experience for students. This is opposed to simply playing the songs for them and saying, “everyone sing along.” Each song from the CDs includes accompanying movement and gesture. Learning the songs and their movement is perhaps the biggest task when preparing for the Sonrisas lessons. The movement provides the CI for the Spanish lyrics that students sing. It also engages those young, kinetic learners and connects the language to their bodies.

Plan Interpersonal Communication Through Lesson Activities

Each lesson includes a specific lesson activity which introduces the performance targets. You will find it listed on the overview page. You will find directions for how to do the lesson activity on the lesson procedure page. The lesson activities are designed to provide the opportunity for interpersonal communication between you and your students, and between the students themselves. Much of this communication is built into the activity, but it is a good idea to review the lesson activity and plan where you are going to engage students. You will also want to think about how you can extend your communication, through the activity, to connect to students’ everyday lives.

We know that when learners have the opportunity to engage in meaningful communication, using CI, that language acquisition occurs. This is the what the Sonrisas Spanish lessons are designed to do. When you take the time to plan and prep for them, you will be assured a rewarding teaching experience. Your students will be assured a fun, engaging, and effective learning experience.

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