Storytelling in Spanish

Helen and SarahSarah Belaradj, Primary Teacher, Goldenhill Primary School, Stoke-on-Trent and Helen Thomas, Primary Consultant, Stoke-on-Trent Local Authority  

Using the familiar Key Stage One story of Handa’s Surprise, pupils at Goldenhill Primary School in Stoke-on-Trent enjoyed reading this story in Spanish in a very interactive and progressive way over a series of lessons.

To begin with, their Spanish teacher, Miss Sarah Belaradj introduced the animals in the story using a series of flashcards and games, such as Stations, Splat the Word and Hot and Cold, to name but a few.

Once the pupils had gained familiarity with the basic word vocabulary for the animals, the fruits were introduced through a food tasting session led by Mrs Helen Thomas. This was highly engaging as the pupils were able to taste some of the exotic fruits that appear in the story while furthering their linguistic progression at the same time, as they had to express an opinion about what they had tasted, e.g. Me gustan los aguacates pero prefiero las mandarinas. (I like avocados but I prefer mandarins). In an effort to help embed this learning further, the pupils then learnt a song to express their opinions about the exotic fruit, “Me gustan las frutas” (I like Fruit), to the tune of La Cucaracha:

Me gustan los plátanos, las guayabas, los mangos y las piñas.
Me gustan los aguacates, las mandarinas y las frutas de la pasión!

(I like bananas, guavas, mangoes and pineapples.
I like avocados, mandarins and passion fruit.)

Handa's SurpriseThe food tasting session also gave rise for the classroom teacher to talk about Healthy Eating as part of the PSHE curriculum and broadened the children’s experiences of tasting a wider range of fruits. 

In the following lesson, the story itself was read to the children and they were able to join in by responding with some of the gestures they had learnt for the various vocabulary items. Because this story is very visual and children will have often encountered it in Key Stage One, it is an ideal choice for children starting to learn Spanish.

Progressing on from the story-telling itself, the children then enjoyed some drama, acting out the various animals, fruits and characters that appear in the story. Face masks of the animals in the story were downloaded freely from Sparklebox and were used alongside flashcards for the fruit. Simple props were used for the main characters, e.g. a tray to represent the basket.

See a copy of the script below:

Handa: Hola, me llamo Handa. He cogido siete frutas para mi amiga, Akeyo.
Speaker 1: Es un plátano amarillo y delicioso.
Speaker 2: Es una guayaba dulce.
Speaker 3: Es una naranja redonda y jugosa.
Speaker 4: Es un mango rojo y maduro
Speaker 5: Es una piña con puntiagudas hojas.
Speaker 6: Es un aguacate verde y cremoso
Speaker 7: Es una fruta de la pasión sabrosa.
Monkey: Soy un mono. Adoro los plátanos amarillos y deliciosos.
Ostrich: Soy una avestruz. Adoro las guayabas dulces.
Zebra: Soy una zebra. Adoro las naranjas redondas y jugosas.
Elephant: Soy un elefante. Adoro los mangos rojos y maduros.
Giraffe: Soy una jirafa. Adoro las piñas con puntiagudas hojas.
Antelope: Soy un antílope. Adoro los aguacates verdes y cremosos.
Parrot: Soy un loro.Adoro las frutas de la pasión sabrosas.
Goat: Mandarinas…
Handa: ¡Hola Akeyo!         
Akeyo: ¡Hola Handa!
Handa: Tengo una sorpresa para ti.
Akeyo: ¡Mandarinas!         
Handa: ¿Mandarinas?
Akeyo: ¡Adoro las mandarinas! 

As you can see, there are enough different characters in this play for the class (of 30) to split into two (with some children playing more than one part). The pupils then acted out the play to each other and rated each others progress. This proved both highly motivating and introduced an element of competition which led to some fantastic performances.

All in all this was a thoroughly enjoyable choice of story to ensure enjoyment, challenge and linguistic progression.

Although this story was translated by the class teacher from English into Spanish, a bilingual version of the book is available through various language resource companies: ISBN 18526951


For resources and a scheme of work based on Handa's Surprise visit West Sussex Grid for Learning.

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