Las Hojas Estan Cambiando (The Leaves Are Changing): Part One

by Maria · 6 comments

Photo Credit:  Steven Deplo

We are delighted to introduce a fantastic new contributor to Multilingual Living: Maria Hawkins!

Maria is a former public school teacher who now homeschools her children in English and Spanish.  We asked Maria if she would be willing to share her teaching and language knowledge to create Spanish language lessons for us to utilize at home (or the classroom) with our children.  She agreed!

Here is her first series of lessons titled, Las hojas estan cambiando (“the leaves are changing”).  A perfect series of lessons for this time of year in the northern hemisphere where things are getting chilly and the leaves are definitely falling.

Las Hojas Estan Cambiando (The Leaves Are Changing): Part One

As the weather changes this time of year I find even my homeschooling kids are ready to reinvigorate our daily rhythms and routines.

Lucky for me the approach of fall brings with it a plethora of subject matter for us to jump into.  And what better way to practice your Spanish than to use the changes happening all around to learn and have fun along with us.

One thing we all notice this time of year is all the changes in the environment and weather.  The leaves start to change colors and fall off, the weather gets cooler and farms all around are filled with the bustle of the fall harvest and two of our favorite crops: apples and pumpkins.

Throw in Halloween/Day of the Dead as winter approaches and there is lots to discover.  For each of these themes there is new vocabulary, books to read, and poems and songs to enjoy.

Overall suggestions:

  1. Write each new word you encounter on a 3×5 card and have the kids help you illustrate the opposite side.  This will give you a working set of flashcards to use as you work through the activities.
  2. Songs and poems are also a great way to practice your Spanish as they often involve a fun rhyme that makes them easy to remember.  Try writing out your favorites on large paper, have the kids add picture clues, and leave them up on the wall.  You can start each meal with singing your favorite song or reading your favorite poem.

Go to the next page to jump into the activities!


Otoño esta aqui/Fall is here

For the first activities we’ll start with the season of fall and all the changes it brings to the world around us.  The weather changes, the fall harvest arrives and its time to use a whole new set of clothes.

Activity#1 – un dia de lluvia/a rainy day:

pocoyo un dia de lluvia – pocoyo a rainy day (video)

In this video Pocoyo is trying to figure out what to do with an umbrella.  Its a fun way to talk about how the weather is changing and some things you might use in the fall because of the rain and cooler weather.

After you watch the video let your kids imagine that its raining just like in the video and play with botas de lluvia, impermeables and paraguas while they practice their new vocabulary.

Some helpful vocabulary:

el viento – the wind
la lluvia
– the rain
los nubes
– the clouds
– cloudy
las botas de lluvia
– rainboots
el impermeable
– raincoat
los pantalones/los pantalones largos – pants
el suéter
– sweater
la camisa con mangas largas
– long sleeve shirt
el paraguas
– umbrella

Activity #2 – las hojas estan cayendo/the leaves are falling:

the leaves are falling (video)

In this video you learn a fun song about fall leaves and some new vocabulary.  Using the leaves you collect outside (or using paper leaves you make at home) see if you can follow along with her.

Start by just following the actions and then see if you can follow along with the song rhyme as well.

Some helpful vocabulary:

lanzar – to throw
– to crumple
– to rustle
– to hide
el arbol
– the tree
las hojas
– the leaves
– dry
– to fall

Activity #3 – dar un paseo – take a walk

To practice your new vocabulary after watching the two previous videos head outside, to a park, or just around your neighborhood, and see what signs you can discover that tell you fall is here.  Now is a great time to play a game of “veo veo” or “I spy”.

Some example sentences:

Yo veo una hoja amarilla. I see a yellow leaf.
Yo veo una nube gris.
I see a gray cloud.
Yo veo hojas secas en el piso.
I see dried leaves on the ground.
Yo veo un hombre con un paraguas.
I see a man with an umbrella.

Play as long as you can and then head home and enjoy a warm cup of chocolate (hot chocolate).

Libros/books to support your learning:

El libro de las Estaciones por Alice Provensen – This is a great book to use to talk about the changing seasons.  The story leads the reader through the seasons by following some children as they work and play through the year.  The illustrations are filled with details and great to use to talk about the different activities and changes that go with each season and go even beyond what is covered in the text.

The weather/El tiempo por Gladys Rosa-Mendoza – This bilingual board book teaches words related to weather.  Although it is just one or two words per page it is an easy way to introduce the subject.

El otoño por Nuria Roca – A simple book about fall with colorful illustrations.  Great way to support and continue immersion in fall vocabulary.

Mi Pequena Enciclopedia de Estaciones – This is part of a series of mini-encyclopedias which focuses on the seasons.  The text is approachable and the pictures are clear and helpful.

El Primer Otono de Clifford por Norman-Bridwell – This story follows Clifford as he experiences fall for the first time.  A fun way to practice colors and all the fall vocabulary in a different way.

Veamos el otono por Schuette This bilingual book looks at fall from a scientific lens and walks you through all that happens during the season.

Otoño por Tanya Thayer – This book has colorful pictures of all the characteristic changes of fall and has simple text that is easy to follow and understand.

Songs and poems to add to your learning:

Play music in the background when you are busy around the house and practice these songs and poems  together when you start Spanish time.

Songs/las canciónes:

Que llueva (audio)

Que llueva, que llueva
La Virgen de la Cueva
Los pajaritos cantan,
Las nubes se levantan.
La luna se levanta.
¡Que sí, que no,
que caiga un chaparrón!

Cae la lluvia (mp3 audio)

Cae la lluvia alrededor
en los techos, en la flor
Cae la lluvia en mi nariz,
manos, pies y estoy feliz.
Brilla el sol alrededor
en los techos, en la flor
Brilla el sol en mi nariz,
manos, pies y estoy feliz

Poems/ los poemas:

El otoño ya comienza otra vez, by Viviana Lasover

¡cómo me gusta saltar entre las hojas
que poco a poco comienzan a caer,
sentir al viento haciéndome cosquillas
en la cabeza, las manos y los pies!
Ya no me mojo, no juego más con agua
y un abrigo me tengo que poner,
porque termina el verano y el otoño
con su aire fresco ya comienza otra vez.

Otoño, by Cristina Muscarsel

Otoño llegó marrón y amarillo
Otoño llegó hojas secas derramó
Otoño llegó marrón y amarillo
Otoño llegó y el frío nos dejó

Keep an eye out for the next section when we’ll explore the farm in fall and especially focus on the harvest of apples and pumpkins.

Maria Hawkins grew up in New Mexico immersed in both Spanish and English. She has her National Teacher Certification in early childhood education and has taught in both bilingual and monolingual public schools. She currently keeps busy homeschooling her three bilingual children, teaching weekly Spanish classes for kids, and leading a Spanish Playgroup to support local bilingual families.

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Monica October 21, 2010 at 7:37 pm

THIS IS SO AWESOME!!! I love, love, love it!

Great mini lesson plans, Maria. I can’t wait to share and am looking forward to your future contributions.




2 Maria H October 28, 2010 at 9:43 pm


Thank you for the enthusiastic support. It feels good to be plugging into this community and I really appreciate the feedback.



3 Adela October 22, 2010 at 12:25 pm

I love this ……… I am currently bilingual homeschooling and we are doing an Otoño theme. This is a wonderful resource. Please keep them coming!


4 Maria H October 28, 2010 at 9:45 pm

How great to hear from a fellow homeschooler! I am excited to hear that the lessons will be helpful to you. Please let me know if there are subjects or themes you would be especially helpful and I’ll try to keep that in mind for future posts. Hope you enjoy the rest of the Otoño series.


5 Adriana Ross October 25, 2010 at 6:37 am

These activities are great – muy sencillos! The only draw back is that I live in the southern hemisphere. But I am looking forward to the very next rainy day!
Thanks for the inspiration and I’m looking forward to seeing more.


6 Maria H October 28, 2010 at 9:48 pm

Ahhh! I have been there. We lived in Hawaii for 7 years and it was always such a stretch to talk about changing seasons (not to mention I missed them!) I would have my family send me boxes of leaves and my students would make “fall trees” around the room to get us in the spirit.

Hope a rainy day finds its way to you soon and thanks for the support.



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