Sarah Belaradj, Primary Teacher, Goldenhill
Primary School, Stoke-on-Trent and Helen Thomas, Primary
Consultant, Stoke-on-Trent Local
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
(I like bananas, guavas, mangoes and
I like avocados, mandarins and passion fruit.)
The 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
Speaker 3: Es una naranja redonda y
Speaker 4: Es un mango rojo y
Speaker 5: Es una piña con puntiagudas
Speaker 6: Es un aguacate verde y
Speaker 7: Es una fruta de la pasión
Monkey: Soy un mono. Adoro los plátanos amarillos y
Ostrich: Soy una avestruz. Adoro las
Zebra: Soy una zebra. Adoro las naranjas redondas y
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.
Soy un loro.Adoro las frutas de la pasión
Handa: Tengo una sorpresa para
Akeyo: ¡Adoro las
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
West Sussex Grid for Learning.