Me gustan los colores. ¿Sabes porqué?

I use Martina Bex’s curriculum for 6th-8th grade. In Unit 8 one of the target structures is “sabes.” I use a song called ¡Colores Colores! with my little students, and it fits well with this unit. It is a children’s song written for a younger audience, but I created resources to use the premise of why you might like a color.

The packet includes:

  • Lesson plans (2-3 days of class)
  • Lyric activity (match the color to the profession in the song)
  • 2 readings- The first reading is about a child asking their family members why their grandmother likes the color purple. Each family member gives a different reason, and then questions the reader which one of the reasons seems correct. The second is the grandmother giving her reason.
  • Creative writing activity where students write their own verse

You can purchase the plans and resources HERE.

Screenshot 2017-03-06 18.51.57

(**Side Note- This is based on a true story. My grandmother LOVES the color purple. So when I was thinking of a story to go along with this song, I immediately thought of her. I had to call her to ask because I had never asked why. It was because she remembers as a child going to church all the ladies who wore beautiful hats. Her aunt would come to visit and she had a big purple hat that was so beautiful next to her white hair.)

NEW & UPDATED Señor Wooly March Madness Bracket

Because of the AWESOME videos released during SEÑOR WOOLY WEEK, I updated my bracket to include the new videos along with adding Me Duele which was not included in the original.


1) Each of the students fill out their own bracket (just like a March Madness tournament bracket).
2) Each day we watch the videos from that round, and then the students vote by secret ballot.
3) We call out the votes, and reasons for each vote.
4) Each class votes and the video with the most votes moves on to the next round, and is added to the large classroom bracket.

For more information and examples of teacher’s who have done the same with popular music see previous post.

How did I divide the songs?

1) I divided 24 videos into 4 subcategories: Older videos, Newer Videos, Animated Videos and Wild Cards
2) There were 6 videos in each category. I chose my favorites and/or favorites from previous years in each category, and they got an immediate pass to the second round.

Stories in K-2 classroom (Building Blocks for how I plan a K-2 lesson)

So, how do I plan a lesson for my Kindergarten – 2nd grade class?

Here is my first post about Building Blocks of my lessons- TPR.

Here is my second post about Building Blocks of my lessons- PQA.


Methods that I continually use throughout a lesson.


Story-asking is a very big part of Teaching Proficiency through Reading and Storytelling (TPRS). If you have had training in TPRS at conferences like NTPRS or iFLT, then you know the method.

Here are some blogs that explain it better than I can. Some of these links include DEMO videos.

Martina Bex: Story-asking

Julie Baird: Story-Asking

TPR stories: Story-asking

(AWESOME resource for LOTS of information)



Here are the differences:

TIME/ATTENTION- Most story-asking in my upper elementary and middle classes last for 20-30 minutes. I do not attempt this with my younger students. I started to take stories and divide them into mini-stories that can be combined into 1 BIG story. I gave an example in my post El Rey no tiene una boca of how I divided that story. These mini-stories take between 5-10 minutes. The rest of the class, I do CI activities like songs, games, PQA, TPR etc.

FEWER OPTIONS- When I do story-asking with my older students, I ask for lots of details. I, also, ask more open ended questions or questions that need a longer answer. Why does the character do this? What does the character say? Where does the character go?

With my younger students, I don’t ask as many questions. I ask for a name sometimes. Many times, especially in Kindergarten, I ask an EITHER/OR question. Did the character go to Pizza Hut or Dominos? I stay away from open-ended questions and long answers because most students don’t have the language yet to express that kind of answer. I also keep to a tighter script with fewer details. Lots of times “story-asking” can be more “story-telling” like you will see in the example below. I start a story by telling students the set-up.  Then, they get to choose the details in the next parts of the story.

PROPS/VISUALS- I try to do this with all my classes but I am very deliberate about providing visuals for my younger students. There are student actors or puppets for everything. If I have a mask or wig to help then I use those, too. If the character is moving to a new location, then that student actor or puppet must move. Reoccurring structures (quiere, tiene, va a, le da etc.) all have a gesture that I do and have the class do with me when telling the story. I have a set of location posters that a student will hold up during the story. I also will take pictures or have a student worker take pictures as we tell the story for students to see when retelling the story another day.

CLASS PARTICIPATION – I like to have all my students participate during a story. I like to have my students mimic the characters. One character begs for the other character’s pizza. First, I have the actor do it. Then, I have another student beg in the same way. Then, the whole class begs. Anytime I use a frequently used structure the whole class does the gesture and says it with me.

  • My older students have jobs while telling a story (drawing the story, summarizing the story, taking pictures,  etc.). When you have time, check out Bryce Hedstrom and Ben Slavic posts about classroom jobs.

VOTING – This goes along with class participation because it includes the whole class in a story. At the end of a story, I give students two options for the ending. I will put a motion to the ending. Then one by one each student votes for the ending using Spanish (points for using Spanish) OR they can just do the motion. I will repeat back their answer for the class. It is very similar to what I described in the LE DA game I learned from Leslie Davison.



This is going to be very detailed, so consider yourself warned!
I am sharing my style with you. It is not the only way it can be done.


STORY SCRIPT (Part 1 of “El Rey no tiene una boca.”)

Hay un rey. El rey tiene un problema. No tiene una boca. ¡Qué lástima! No puede comer. No puede hablar. No puede cantar.

There is a king. The king has a problem. He doesn’t have a mouth. What a shame! He can’t eat. He can’t talk. He can’t sing.

TELLING THE STORY IN CLASS (what actually happens)

“Clase, hay un rey.” I write “el rey” on the board and translate because it is a brand new word. I choose a male student, and I have a crown for him to wear. Then, I gesture and say “Siéntase,  rey” for him to sit on the teacher stool as a place of honor. “La clase dice -Hola, rey.-” The class responds. “Oh clase, más formal” Es un rey. La clase dice –Hola  rey-” We bow formally to the king and say -Hola- in our most snobbiest accents.

“Clase, El rey tiene un problema.” The class responds with the automatic response we established earlier in the year. “DUM DUM DUUUMMM,” I whisper dramatically and slowly for effect. “Clase, el rey tiene un secreto.” I make sure everyone is engaged. I might call on individual students to ensure everyone is listening. “Eric, el rey tiene un secreto.” Then,  I list all the things that the king has. “El rey tiene ojos. Los ojos son cafés.” “El rey tiene una nariz.” “El rey tiene pelo. Tiene pelo rubio.”

(Dramatically) “El rey … no tiene … una boca.” I pause. I act shocked and repeat it a couple times either to the whole class or addressing individual students to fish for dramatic reactions

“Clase, ¡Qué lástima!” This is usually already posted as a rejoinder, but if not, I write it on the board to introduce or remind students what it means. “La clase dice -¡Qué lástima!” The class responds.

If I haven’t posted “puede” and “no puede” before, then I write them on the board now and translate. These are not new words to my students because I have introduced them at the beginning of this unit. I have a stack of signs/flashcards of infinitives that students recognize. (They know “come” means “he/she eats” so I have a sign with “comer” and someone eating.)

“Clase, ¿El rey puede comer?” (holding sign of COMER) The class responds “NO.” One student might say “¡Qué lastima!” If they don’t then, I prompt them by saying it myself. “Clase, el rey no puede comer.” I act shocked and repeat dramatically with examples. “Caroline, el rey no puede comer… chocolate.” SHOCKED “Toby, el rey no puede comer…pizza.” SHOCKED “Clase, el rey no puede comer… ¡EL HELADO!” SHOCKED. “Clase,¿el rey está contento o está triste?” The class responds and I have my actor be sad.  I also compare students who can eat chocolate or pizza to the king. I have those students act out what they can do.

I then go through a sign or two of actions he can do.  “Clase, ¿El rey puede escribir?”(holding sign of ESCRIBIR)  The class responds. “Sí clase, el rey puede escribir porque tiene… “The class responds “manos, brazos, dedos etc.”  I have the actor playing the king act out by pretending to write or really writing something on the board. I might have other students write. The whole time I am narrating. “El rey puede escribir. Caroline puede escribir. etc.”

“Clase, ¿El rey puede bailar?”(holding sign of BAILAR)  The class responds. “Sí clase, el rey puede bailar porque tiene… “The class responds with different answers “piernas, brazos, manos, etc.” I will have my actor dance then, I will have other students dance and then the whole class. “La clase puede bailar. Toby puede bailar. Yo puedo bailar.”

“Clase, ¿El rey puede hablar?” (holding sign of HABLAR) The class responds “NO.” One student might say “¡Qué lástima!” If they don’t, then I will prompt them by saying it myself. “Clase, el rey no puede hablar.” I act shocked and repeat dramatically with examples. “Caroline, el rey dice -Hola- “No, porque no puede hablar.” “Patrick, ¿El rey dice -Tengo hambre.-” “No, porque no tiene una boca… No puede hablar.” I try to keep asking and giving examples until the class is finishing my sentence. “El rey … NO PUEDE HABLAR.”  Each time it makes sense, I will throw in a “¡Qué lástima!”  Hopefully, students are starting to do that for me. I will continue to compare students who can eat chocolate or pizza to the king. I will have those students act out what they can do.


Then, I am done for the day. I don’t go any further than this. Sometimes I will even break this story up with a brain break or other activity if it is going on for too long. I don’t always extend each part if I feel like I need to keep it moving. If the class is responding well, then I will extend it.

When the story is done, I usually do an up and moving activity because, for the most part, students have been sitting through this activity.

The next class time I will review part one and continue the story into part two.

How I plan a K-2 lesson… Building Blocks- PQA

So how do I plan a lesson for my Kindergarten – 2nd grade class?

Here is my first post about Building Blocks of my lessons- TPR.


Methods that I continually use throughout a lesson.

Personalized Questions and Answers (PQA)

PQA is a great way to get in repetitions of your vocabulary especially in 1st and 2nd person. It’s BIGGEST benefit for me is the class environment it creates. You get to know your students. Students get to know you. They see that you care about them, and it makes the content more personal and compelling.

There are LOTS of ways to do PQA. Some teachers are so good at it that they get all their content from these conversations. I am not really that teacher. I am confessing that PQA is not my strength. So this is how I personalize in my K-2 lessons in a way that works for me. All these ideas are from other teachers, but I don’t really remember who. (If you know, then message me and I will give them credit.)

Here is how I do PQA in my classroom with K-2.

  1. DRAWING- I have students draw their answers on a half sheet of paper then I collect them. As we go through the unit, I discuss 2-3 papers at a time each lesson.As we get closer to the end I stop telling them who the paper belongs to and they have to guess who I am describing. **TIP- if your students’ drawings are too hard to interpret you can make it a game to guess or as they draw, walk around and write at the bottom of their drawing what it is they are drawing.
    • For example, in the “El Rey no tiene un boca” I have a half sheet that has “PUEDO” (I can) on one side and “NO PUEDO” on the other side. Students draw something they can do and something they can’t do.


  1. 4 CORNERS- I place signs for designated places in my room for 2-4 different possible answers to a question. I have a series of questions that students answer by going to that part of the room that matches their answer. OR I ask each student individually (dramatically of course). Then the student goes to that part of the room or adds their name to a chart. To keep it novel you can have the class start to guess what each student will choose. I usually do this when I have already asked half the class. I like to stop and count the number of people in each group or ask students more questions if their response is unexpected.
    • For example, Series of questions- What do you like on your pizza? Students go to the “Yo quiero” (I want) or the “No quiero” for each ingredient.
    • One question- What is your favorite sport? Football, Soccer, Baseball or Basketball
  2. POP-UP PQA– (A lot like “pop-up grammar”) It is short and quick. Maybe I’m in the middle of an activity like a story or MovieTalk. I’ll ask a question that relates to what we are discussing.  I stay with the question until the class checks out. That may be 4-5 questions with one student or it may be 1-2 questions with multiple students. Then I move on. I might check in with students as we continue to compare their answers to what is going on in the activity.
    • Let’s say a character in a story goes to the beach. I stop and ask if a student likes the beach. Did you go to the beach this summer? Where? Did you go with your family? Did you swim in the ocean? Do you like the mountains or the beach? Later on I might say something like “The character goes to Daytona Beach, not Panama City Beach like Caitlin did this summer” or maybe the PQA can make an appearance. “The character goes to Daytona Beach and sees Justin because that is Justin’s favorite beach.”


**NOTE- I do not have all the answers but I can tell you what I know so far, and I also want to share some of the people that helped me on this road.

GREAT RESOURCES for PQA (If you have other good resources then let me know and I will add them to the list)

Ben Slavic– one example of PQA “Circling with Balls”

Bryce Hedstrom– PQA activity  “La Persona Especial”



How I plan a K-2 lesson… Building Blocks- TPR

I have had some emails the last few weeks about Elementary Curriculum and Lesson Planning. If you are one of those people, you are not alone. I do not have all the answers but I am 10 years into this journey so I can tell you what I know so far. I invite you on my journey that is far from over. I also want to share some of the people that helped me on this road.

So how do I plan a lesson for my Kindergarten – 2nd grade class?


Things that I continually use throughout a lesson.

Total Physical Response- (TPR) created by James Asher

TPR is a great way to increase vocabulary for actions in a game like setting. It is a play on Simon Says but everyone wins! Here is the research and explanation from Berty Segal Cook.

I have a running list of words I teach in 1-3 small sessions of TPR in every K-2 class. It is a great brain break and a way to reenforce words you want to use in a song or a story. THESE TPR SESSIONS ONLY LAST ABOUT 5 MINUTES. Sometimes is is a 30 second break in the story to remind them of what a character is doing. It can be more if you are doing mini-situations with them.

TIPS to keep it novel.

  1. Don’t forget to add adjectives. (Walk slowly, quickly, Jump high, Jump low, Sing sweetly)
  2. Comparisons (Walk like a monster, walk like a baby, walk like an elephant, Look at Patrick. Patrick you walk. Class, walk like Patrick, Dance like Barney)
  3. Numbers and Combinations (Jump 4 times, Eat 13 pizzas, Dance and write, Dance Write and eat pizza, Lift 2 hands, Jump and say “Shoe”)
  4. Mini-situations- The class is happy. The class dances. The class jumps. etc. The class is tired. The class is thirsty. The class wants water. The class drinks lots of water. The class drinks lots of water and sits down. There is an insect in the water. The class says “How disgusting!” (other examples: The class builds a snowman, the class makes snowballs and has a big fight. The invisible ball

Erica Peplinski (a MUST follow for elementary TPRS/CI teachers) has a list of TPR terms along with other resources like books to read aloud and MovieTalks to reinforce the TPR terms. LISTA ACTIVA

Jason Fritz (EL REY) does a great job with this because he makes the actions into mini stories and also he divides the classes into countries to compare and contrast.


Michel Baker has a great series of blog posts about Jason. ENJOY!






Celebrating Señor Wooly Week

If you haven’t heard, it is SEÑOR WOOLY WEEK!!!! There are surprises each day for subscribers starting today with the release of the video “NO LO TENGO.”

My students LOVE Señor Wooly, and the subscription to his website is money well-paid! So I thought we would enjoy Señor Wooly week to the fullest at my school.

So I created the SEÑOR WOOLY TOURNAMENT BRACKET which includes the bracket in PDF form, an editable Word document, and ballots for voting.

I got the the idea from the people below who have done this with Popular Spanish Music:

**  Bethanie Drew


**  Mis Clases Locas

How did I divide the songs?

  1. I divided 20 videos into 4 subcategories: Older videos, Newer Videos, Animated Videos and Wild Cards
  2. There were 5 videos in each category, so the math doesn’t quite work. So, I chose my favorite from each category, and it got an immediate pass to the second round.
  3. The second round has a choice of 3 videos instead of 2.
  4. There are technically 21 videos, but my students have never seen Me Duele in my class.  I took that one out because it made the math easier.

Now what…

  1. Each of the students fill out their own bracket (just like a March Madness tournament bracket).
  2. Each day we watch the videos from that round, and then the students vote by secret ballot. **The second round has 3 videos to choose from instead of 2.
  3. We call out the votes, and reasons for each vote.
  4. Each class votes and the video with the most votes moves on to the next round, and is added to the large classroom bracket.
  5. If everything goes as planned, we will have a CAMPEÓN Friday afternoon.

My students are really excited! I can’t wait to see who wins.



El Rey no tiene una boca

ONE OF MY FAVORITE STORIES comes from the “Elementary Awesomeness” session with Leslie Davison at iFLT 2016 in Chattanooga. I originally heard it from her at NTPRS 2014 in Chicago. My version is a little different. You can see her version at the end of this post.

** Note- I never tell a full story in one class time with 1st graders. It would take too long. So I divide the story up into mini-stories that make one big story. Sometimes I have 3 parts, sometimes 4. It just depends on my little people and what they can handle. I like to divide this story into 4 parts because I introduce the word PUEDE in the story. So when I establish the main character and their problem I introduce PUEDE, and we spend time on what he can and can’t do.

1st grade Target structures:

tiene una boca– he/she has a mouth

no puede– he/she can’t

escribe- he/she writes

Here is the my version of the script without the circling and personalization. I used actors and props. All the details are from my 1st graders.

PART 1- Hay un rey. Se llama Felipe. Felipe tiene un problema. Tiene pelo. Tiene una nariz. Pero no tiene una boca. ¡OH NO! Felipe no puede comer. No puede comer pizza, tacos, o chocolate. No puede hablar. No puede cantar. ¡Qué lastima!

PART 2- Felipe busca la boca. De repente ve a George Washington. ¿Felipe habla con George Washington? ¡NO! Porque no puede hablar. George Washington no comprende y le da una hamburguesa a Felipe. A Felipe no le gusta la hamburguesa. No quiere la hamburguesa porque no puede comer. ¡Qué lastima!

PART 3- Felipe busca la boca y de repente ve a un minion. ¿Felipe dice “¡Hola!”? ¡NO! Porque no puede hablar. Pero Felipe tiene una idea. Felipe puede escribir. Felipe escribe “No puedo hablar. Quiero una boca.” Pero hay un problema. El minion no puede leer. ¡Oh no! El minion no comprende y le da una banana a Felipe. El minion dice “BANANA” A Felipe no le gusta la banana. No quiere la banana porque no puede comer. ¡Qué lastima!

PART 4- Felipe busca la boca y de repente ve a Pikachu. ¿Felipe dice “¡Hola!”? ¡NO! Porque no puede hablar. Felipe puede escribir. Felipe escribe “No puedo hablar. Quiero una boca.” ¿Pikachu puede leer? ¡Sí! Pikachu puede leer y le da una boca a Felipe. La boca es muy pequeña y anaranjada. Felipe puede hablar. Felipe le dice “¡MUCHAS GRACIAS! ¡TENGO UNA BOCA!” Felipe puede comer. Felipe come la hamburguesa y la banana. Felipe puede cantar. Felipe canta “Cabeza, Cabeza, La cabeza tiene pelo. Pelo, pelo, pelo la cabeza.”


Here is Leslie Davison’s version that she shared with “Elementary Awesomeness” group at iFLT 2016. (with her permission)