Spanish Professions & Labor Day

Labor Day always makes me think about work, or el trabajo, or professions, las profesiones. As my yoga teacher told us, work brings us dignity.  This is especially meaningful when we consider that most of the world doesn’t have professional, regular, or meaningful work.

So, I  have always been grateful to be a teacher, or maestra. I  want to keep teaching  people more: Spanish, life lessons, travel experiences, helpful hints, and then gratitude.

So—here are some useful, everyday Spanish vocabulary and expressions for the world of work.

Las profesiones

Un professor(a)- secondary teacher or professor

Un maestro(a)- an elemtary teacher

Un ingeniero(a)- an engineer

Un artista- an artist

Un deseñador- a designer

Un contador(a)- an accountant

Un abogado(a)- a lawyer

Un arquitecto(a)- an architect

Un médico(a)- a physician

Una enfermera- a nurse

Un banquero- a banker

Un financiero- a financial business man or backer

Many times native speakers will describe a woman as a médica, maestra, or a contadora.  But,  I’ve had some Latina friends and colleagues who call themselves by the masculine profession, as in Yo soy arquitecto. Spanish, like all languages, has plenty of rule-benders.

Conversational Q & A

¿Qué eres tu? What are you?

Yo soy . . . artista. I’m an artist.

¿De qué profesión eres? Of which profession are you?

Yo soy contadora. I’m an accountant.

¿Trabajas en que profesión? In which profession do you work?

Yo soy banquero. Or Yo trabajo en la industria de . . . .

**You don’t need an el, la, un, or una before the profession. Another rule.

Professions Q and A’s are fun to use with photos of professions as prompts, and in circulating activities or mini-dialogues.  More advanced students can play descriptive Jeopardy games.

Spanish Teachers Ideas & Lessons: AATSP Conference

I just got back from this year’s conference for the American Association of Spanish & Portuguese (AATSP) in beautiful Albuquerque, New Mexico.  It’s always fun to be around those who are also passionate about la lengua espaola. The AATSP draws on a diverse group of teachers and professionals, everyone from elementary school teachers to college professors were there.

Middle School Madness

I gave a workshop, Middle School Madness, on well . . basically everything you need to know about teaching middle school Spanish.  As usual, the middle school teachers in attendance were experienced, creative, and talented educators, not to mention just great, real people. (We middle school teachers do keep it real.)  We found that:

  • We want more games, even variations on old themes.  Quick and easy.
  • We still grapple with how to evaluate novice level writing.
  • We try to go for more writing ideas that are approapriate for our students.
  • We need to learn how to use the new AV technology like Audacity and podcasts with more facility.

I’m going to work on developing some of this to post in the coming week, so stay tuned.  Click here for some fun foreign language games.

Make a Spanish Father’s Day Card: el día del padre

In North America and in some Spanish speaking countries  Father’s Day, el día del padre, is right around the corner on June 21, or el 21 de junio. In Spain and in Mexico, Father’s Day is celebrated on March 19, el diecinueve de marzo, a Roman Cathol saint’s holiday.

Making a Spanish Father’s Day card will show an important man in your life just how much you respect and love him. Here is some Spanish Father’s Day vocabulary to get you started:

  • El Día del Padre= father’s day
  • Feliz Día del Padre= Happy Father’s Day
  • Te Quiero= I Love You
  • Te respeto= I respect you
  • Eres el mejor padre del mundo= You’re the best father in the world

Don’t be shy.  ¡Qué no seas tímido! Tell him how much you adore him.

Spanish Game: Prepositions & the Pool

Practice those Spanish prepositions, location words, with the pool!  Use basic Spanish prepositions and a picture of a swimming pool to play a great game full of repetition, but fun.

Goal: Learn Spanish prepositions well enough to recall and say or write them.

Materials: 1.  a list of basic Spanish prepositions.  See previous post on this site.  2.  index cards: one Spanish preposition per card.  Enough cards for entire group of students necessary; repeats are fine. 3.  a picture of a bright blue swimming pool on an 81/2″” by 11” piece of paper (Use plenty of Spanish to describe this.)  4.  Spanish prepositions song.  See previous post


  1. Practice saying, chanting, & singing the Spanish prepositions to the chant and song
  2. Pass out 1 Spanish preposition card to each student
  3. Place the swimming pool picture, la piscina, in the middle of the circle of players, en el centro.
  4. Teacher counts- uno, dos, tres.  Then all players reveal their card.  The teacher chooses the first player to say the Spanish preposition on the card, demonstrate it with la piscina, or even say a Spanish sentence with the preposition & the pool.  This player chooses the next player, and so on.
  5. Players all switch cards.

Once you have a class set of cards, the possibilities for card games are endless.  Use your own ideas, experience, and creativity to come up with even more.  Charades are fun and all sorts of races are exciting too.

Spanish Pool Lesson: Prepositions & the Pool

It’s time to go to the pool and jump in, or va a dentro.  The pool, or la piscina, is the best place to teach, practice, or review Spanish prepositions.  Those pesky little words, prepositions, that show location can be hard to remember.  In English there are about 50, such as at, around, about, behind, beyond, in, out.

Spanish Preposition Chant

Chants are the best way to remember short words.  Check out the chant below

en, debajo, dentro, fuera

delante, detrás, arriba, abajo

al lado, derecha, izquierda,

!las preposiciones!

*English translation

on, below, inside, out

in front of, behind, up, & down

besid, righ, left

the prepositions!

Spanish Pool Vocabulary

  • The pool= la piscina (la pees-eeh-nah) /la alberca
  • The bathing suit= el traje de baño (el traheh de banyo)
  • The towel= la toalla (la toaya)
  • The water- el agua (el awah)

Spanish Phrases

1.  Está . . . .  la piscina. He/she/it is  . . . the pool.

2.  Va  en la piscina. He/she/it goes in the pool.

3.  Nada en la piscina. He/she/it swims in the pool.

Use #1 to practice those preposiciones: Está al lado de la piscina.  Está delante de la piscina.  Está debajo del agua.

Spanish Mother’s Day Make a Card

Feliz Da de la Madre! It’s almost here on May 10th, or el 10 de mayo.  I can say with experience and authority as the mother of three, that home-made cards are the ones that are kept in the keepsake shoe box.  And won’t your mom be impressed with a Mother’s Day card in Spanish? Ages preK on up can do this. Here is some Spanish vocabulary for a card:

Spanish Greetings for Your Mother’s Day Card2-04-08_07b

  • Feliz Día de la Madre – Happy Mother’s Day
  • para – to
  • de – from
  • Mi Querida- my dear . . .
  • Madre – Mother
  • Mamá – Mom
  • Abuela – Grandmother
  • Abuelita – Grandma
  • Tía – Aunt
  • Te quiero – I love you.
  • Pienso en ti – I’m thinking of you.
  • Te extraño – I miss you.
  • Eres especial- You are special.

Use these expressions to create a special Spanish Mother’s Day card for Mom, Grandma, a favorite aunt, or a special friend.
Choose both greetings and your favorite quotes for your card.  Decorate with crayons, markers, photos, paints, and/or glitter.  She’ll love it

Click here for a few Spanish Mother’s Day card templates

Spanish Earth Day Activity: Recycling & Sorting

The great thing about teaching & learning Spanish is that a holiday or an important celebration can be used for so many different activities, and for several days before and after it passes. So, Earth Day, el Día de la Tierra, has more in store. Here is a hands-on Spanish Earth Day activity.

Recycling & Sorting Spanish Activity: Hands-

Recycling materials- plastic bottles, newspapers, magazines, boxes, glass bottles. Have one or two big tote bags full of it all.
Basic signs: PLASTICO, PAPEL, CARTON, VIDRIO. (plastic, paper, cardboard, glass)
Watch that can time students in seconds

Spanish Recycling Chant- Use your own beat and hand claps.  Students come up with the best beats!

  • Plástico, papel, cartón, y vidrio
  • Plástico, papel, cartón, y vidrio
  • Yo reciclo, yo conservo

1. Teach the recycling categories in Spanish, PLASTICO, PAPEL, CARTON, VIDRIO, using the recycling materials & the chant above.
2. Split students in to groups, and assign each group a pile or recyclable materials.
3. LANGUAGE TASK: Students are to sort the materials while they are timed. They are then to COUNT THE MATERIALS IN SPANISH & REPORT HOW MANY ARE IN EACH CATEGORY IN SPANISH.
4. The group that does the task completely in Spanish and the fastest wins.

**There are so many derivative activities: describing a material with color and shape, sorting and counting, home practice with counting and describing recycling materials at home, creating Spanish recycling fliers and mini-posters.

**See tomorrow post using an Earth Day Action Series: a sequence of short sentences using the same verb conjugation.

Spanish Earth Day- The 3 R’s. Las Tres R

April 21, 2009 · Posted in Preschool Spanish, Spanish Vocabulary · 1 Comment 

Earth Day, el Día de la Tierra, just has so much for Spanish learners!  A great start is with the three R’s of Earth Day, Reduce, Reuse, and Recylce. Reducir, Reutilizar, y Reciclar.  (**SEE THE FREE SPANISH EARTH DAY COLORING SHEET LINKED BELOW)

Back to Basics: Alphabet and Phonics

Going over the Spanish alphabet, el alfabeto, can never hurt.  The sooner learners recognize and then learn the relationships of the Spanish letters to the Spanish sounds, the better. Spell out each R word and then pronounce or even chant them.  Have contest of who can spell an R word the quickest, or say all three of them the quickest.

Spanish R’s

It’s obvious that the rr in Tierra gets the tongue roll, but a good emphasis on an r tongue roll for r’s at the beginning of words is important too.  The tongue gets a work out on el Día de la Tierra.

Here is one of my tongue twisters:  La cebra corre en la sierra.


Spanish Earth Day Vocabulary- El Día de la Tierra

Earth day is almost here, and it is also celebrated in the Spanish speaking world as el Día de la Tierra. What a great opportunity to teach, review, or practice relevant, current vocabulary with numbers, shapes, and colors, and even letters with the three R’s of Earth Day

El Día de la Tierra

El Día de la Tierra


Learners can describe plastic and glass bottle, boxes, magazines, and newspapers in Spanish, and then they can sort them into the categories of plástico (plastic), vidrio (glass), and papel (paper). They can go home and count the recycling items there, categorize them, and report on the numbers in class!

Free Spanish Earth Day Vocabulary

  • El Día de la Tierra= Earth Day
  • el 22 de abril= Aprill 22
  • the environment= el medio ambiente
  • biodegradable= biodegradable
  • renewable energy= la energia renovable
  • to reduce= reducir
  • to reuse= reutilizar
  • to recycle= reciclar

It’s vital that we all do something to save the earth, salvar la tierra, this Earth Day.

Click here for Spanish Día de la Tierra songs

Click here for Spanish Earth Day Signs

Click here for Spanish Earth Day Vocabulary Matching Sheet

Making Cascarones-Spanish Confetti Eggs

I remember making and buying cascarones, or confetti filled eggs, at my elementary school’s Halloween carnival in El Paso, Texas. We loved running around the Mesita School gym cracking the cascarones over each others’ heads.
Origins of Cascarones in Mexico
This is the time of year for more traditional casacarones. In 19th century Mexico, one of the few ways that young couples could show public affection was to crack a cascarn or two over each others’ heads at dances during carnaval before Lent, or Cuaresma.
Over time, children adopted the custom during Lent. Now everyone is in on the fun right before Ash Wednesday, and some break them out again at Easter, or Pascua.

Making Cascarone

It’s easier to do than it seems; time and patience are the key. MATERIALS: 1 dozen eggs, large bowl, fork, knife, pyrex dish, glue, tissue paper, confetti, egg dying kit, paint, stickers, glitter glue
Part I.
1.  Gently tap one eag on the small tip of it onto the counter until an area is cracked
2.  Carefully peel away at least a dime sized hole of egg shell and membrane
3.  Hold egg hole side down over a large bowl to drain its contents
4.  Rinse the inside of the empty egg shell without breaking it.
5.  Place in a pyrex dish.
*Repeat for as many cascarones as you’d like to make.
6.  Let the emptied and rinsed, intact egg shells dry overnight or for several areas in a safe place
Part II.
1. Use the Easter egg dye kit and dye the egg shells slowly and carefully.  Let them dry for a couple of hours.
2.  Decorate the egg shells with paint, stickers, or glitter glue . . . use your imagination.
3.  Fill each decorated egg half way full of confetti
4.  Glue a small piece of tissue paper over the hole in the filled egg shell
You’re ready to crack your cascarones over as many heads as you have confetti-filled eggs.  See this link for directions with photos.

un cascarón

un cascarón

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