All throughout college, I had tutored students informally through the Spanish Club, but I was never paid for it and all my students were in college, currently taking a Spanish grammar class. Well, last week I had my first experience as a formal tutor, and my student was an 8 year-old girl named Grace. She had never taken Spanish classes formally, so I was basically teaching her from scratch. I was nervous at first about how I would teach her, but I brainstormed some fun activities for her to do that would keep the subject exciting to the point where she wouldn't get frustrated and that she would want to continue learning the language.
For my first class, I taught her the numbers 1-10, the colors and various zoo animals. I incorporated all three topics into two activities: paint by numbers and connect the dots. Each picture for each activity was an animal so that she could learn a different animal while learning the numbers and colors. I then numbered each section of the pictures and included a key that had the numbers and colors in Spanish. With the connect the dots activity, I had her say out-loud each number as she drew. This way she could aurally hear the numbers as she sees them, hopefully making it easier for her to remember them.
I also helped her with pronunciation by going over the sounds of the alphabet. I then had her place a pencil in between her teeth so that she could practice rolling her "r's." She then said, "Tres tristes tigres comen trigo en un triste trigal," which means, "Three sad tigers eat wheat within a dismal wheat field." It may sound silly at first, but this trick, which I hadn't learned until college, really helped me to roll my "r's." Hopefully with practice, Grace will be able to, too!
With a successful first experience as a formal tutor, I'm very excited for our next lesson together and am looking forward to teaching other students of different ages. I was definitely motivated to create even more fun games to keep Grace interacting with the material.