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Texas ISD School Guide
Texas ISD School Guide

Lessons & Classroom Games for Teachers

Activities on How to Teach English to Spanish Students in Elementary School
By:Sara Rajan

If you are teaching elementary Spanish-speaking students how to learn English, it is important to keep in mind, first of all, that the atmosphere the children are learning in must be comfortable and encouraging. Also consider each student's cultural background. A student from Mexico will have had different cultural experiences than a student from Spain. Furthermore, dialects and certain vocabulary words will be different for each culture. Try to create learning experiences with different Spanish-speaking cultures in mind to create a more personalized environment for the students.

Letter Writing
Have children practice writing letters in English to fellow classmates or family members. Allow the children to practice writing English by writing about what the children are learning in class, what was for lunch, what games were played in gym class or about favorite subjects. The children should even ask questions in basic English, such as "How are you?" or "What did you do today?" If the students are writing letters to a classmate, have the classmates respond to the questions. If students are going to school in a Spanish-speaking country, consider having the students write to pen pals from an English-speaking nation. This will give the students the opportunity to enhance language skills by writing directly to an English-speaking individual.

Role Playing
Instead of just assigning chapters from the language book or lecturing about the basics of the English language, have students get involved with the learning process. Allow students to pair up and take turns performing a scene in English in front of the class. For example, two students could spend a few minutes preparing a pretend phone conversation, or even pretend to be ordering food from a restaurant. This will prepare students for real-life situations.

"I Spy"
Play the game of "I Spy" in English. Start by asking questions in Spanish, such as "I spy something red." Students will then have to identify red objects in the classroom and share the names in English. To make the game more challenging, ask the questions in English.

Let children make a dessert or dish to share with the class. Depending on the form of English you are teaching, whether from the United Kingdom or United States, have students bring a homemade snack from that culture. The students must also, in English, describe the ingredients the students used to prepare the snack.

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