El Puente Bilingüe Montessori Spanish Lessons – Week One

When you make something from seemingly nothing, to share that “something”, and witness it help someone is a feeling like no other. What started as an idea 6 years ago, has now become something tangible. Spanish language learning materials from El Puente Bilingüe have hit the learning shelves this week!

Pictured here, on the 2nd shelf from the bottom, are boxes which contain Spanish language learning materials that are Montessori-inspired. They will be available to schools in the U.S. and Canada by summer of this year.

This week I began teaching a few elementary-aged students Spanish with a Montessori approach. I obtained permission from their parents to take photos of them as they learn, and to share those images with you as I share our journey and offer more information about my Montessori Spanish language learning materials.

Something often overlooked in the language classroom, yet heavily relied upon in the “real” world, is the use of constructivism in order to learn another language. That is to say, constructing one’s knowledge through questions, research, projects or other forms of processing, is a very powerful way to learn any subject, including languages. Pictured below are various student activities of this nature. Some involved use of my materials, and some did not. But all of them involved using a Montessori approach to teaching and learning. The captions under each photo offer an explanation of what students worked on.

Day One: After an oral assessment that aided me in knowing how much, if any, Spanish these young scholars knew, I got them started on an activity that they can do on their own as a choice activity in future learning sessions. Here, students learned how to explore a preschool bilingual book about the weather and determine meanings of Spanish words through context and prior knowledge. They then created their own flashcards to take with them. If these students were in a Montessori school, they could have access to their own flashcards in the classroom and build an ongoing activity to revisit between works, and between each Spanish lesson.
On this day, these students had a 10-minute lesson on greetings and farewells, which was directly from the prerequisite guidebook. They were given three choices of ways in which to practice, and they elected to make a poster for the classroom about greetings. They were asked to show meaning of the phrases through drawings.
Once they finished working on their poster, they began to test their skills a bit, using El Puente Bilingüe matching cards. They worked well with one another, using process of elimination and memory, as I observed and made notes. Next time we meet they might start the session by working on this activity or using the flashcards, not pictured here.
When I met with this young scholar I found out that for now he will best be served through pictures, drawing, stories, music and activities. I also found out that he has a base of some basic vocabulary to build upon. Our focus was on completing a task that called upon use of Spanish. Since he knows several colors but needed help with a couple, we made little books about colors in Spanish. On each page he wrote the name of a color in Spanish and I asked him to represent that color with a drawing of a “círculo”, “cuadrado” or “triángulo” with colored marker. I learned that he knew what those words meant, or perhaps was able to understand through cognates. We may not get to use my materials for awhile, but I will definitely be able to use Montessori methods to build on his skills and natural curiosity.

This first week was a success. I was able to gauge where my learners are at, and work out some next steps which I noted in their student progress records and in the skills log sheet for the class. I have very distinct learners, all beginners, but with different needs and interests. It is going to be so much fun to see each learner thrive!

To learn more about El Puente Bilingüe and how to harness the power of a Montessori education for language learning, please see my post about this methodology as well as how elementary students can best learn Spanish.

Create from a place of joy, and your creations will bring joy to others.