Hi and welcome back to Attention-ology for K – 5 Teachers!
Let’s play “Spin the Globe” again and meet a Spanish teacher who is game for using multimedia tools and tricks to catch and keep students’ attention.
Look at that face! Luis Cortes (shown in my blog pic here) has a smile that shines and eyes that sparkle, as if to say, “Come on, it’s time to play and learn!” You just know when you talk with Luis that his students love him.
According to this Puerto Rican native, the interactive experiences Luis shares with the kids he teaches are his main draw…along with his effective blend of fun and seriously functional approaches to his subject. Luis travels from classroom to classroom serving up Spanish language instruction to children in grades K – 5.
“I don’t follow set traditions,” explains Luis. “Depending on what I’m teaching I’ll choose to use a video, a song, maybe a game to change-up the introductions to my lessons,” he says. “I don’t follow a set routine.”
Luis is certain that children love to be tricked. He uses playtime tools like Simon Says, a quick game that translates across cultures worldwide, to help students learn Spanish. “For example,” explains Luis, “if I’m teaching young children about sizes in Spanish, I’ll use the words grande, (Spanish for big) and pequeño, (Spanish for small). I tell the students to stand up at the word grande and be big, then to sit down at the word pequeño and be small. “We go faster and faster as we play,” continues Luis, “repeating the words to reinforce Spanish language comprehension.”
“It’s important to note,” Luis details his teaching strategies, “that my students and I play a game first. Then I ask them why we’re playing. That’s when I spell out what I want and expect the kids to learn.” Luis uses variations of games he learned when he was a child in Ponce, his hometown in Puerto Rico.
Some of Luis’ lessons are music to students’ ears. Maracas make a rhythmic accompaniment to El coquí, a popular Spanish children’s song
that Luis teaches when his students are learning about the rain forest. NOTE: Luis plans his Spanish lessons to coordinate with each grade level curriculum at any given time of the year.
The song is about a tiny melodious tree frog found only in Puerto Rico. To find the song, Google Puerto Rican children’s songs. Like Luis, I’ve taught this song to my young students, which is to say that other than Spanish teachers can use this entertaining and educational trick.