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Teaching Tips for Preschool and Elementary Spanish

This is the first part in a series of tips for teaching preschool and elementary Spanish. These simple yet practical tips are specific to teaching Spanish to young children, and they represent some of the “aha” thoughts that have come to us in our 16 years of teaching Spanish to kids. Read Part Two.

1. BE PRESENT—When you are teaching young children they demand, and they deserve, your total attention. Give it to them. You cannot be thinking about a song you heard, or the bills you have to pay, or what you are going to have for dinner. Look your students in the eye. Listen to them. Respond to them. Be with them fully in your classroom space. They will love you for it.

2. SEIZE TEACHABLE MOMENTS—Some of the most effective teaching can occur outside of your lesson plan. One of the greatest joys of teaching a foreign language is experiencing communication with your students in the target language. In any given class there are lots of opportunities for this to happen, both within and outside of your lesson plan. Seize those moments. Turn them into authentic, useful communication. Then repeat that communication every chance you get.

3. GET EXCITED—When your students see that you are excited about Spanish, they will be excited about Spanish. Get crazy. Have fun. Smile! Jump up and down. Basically, act like a fool—a fool for Spanish. Your students will think Spanish is the most fun class they have, and they will learn more effectively because of it.

Sonrisas Spanish School creates, publishes, and sells preschool and elementary Spanish curriculum and Spanish music for children. The Sonrisas Spanish School Curriculum can be used to teach Spanish to children at the preschool and elementary level, as well as home school Spanish. The Sonrisas Curriculum consists of fun, effective, standards-based lessons for the most effective language-learning experience for kids—one based on human-to-human interaction. Sonrisas is a proud member of both Nnell and ACTFL.

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