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

by Maria · 4 comments

Photo Credit: Steven Deplo

Maria Hawkins 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 families to utilize at home (or the classroom) with their children.  She agreed!

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

Make sure to check out her first post in this series: Las Hojas Estan Cambiando (The Leaves Are Changing): Part One.

La cosecha de otoño (Fall harvest)

For this section we’ll explore the farm in fall and especially focus on the harvest of apples and pumpkins.

If you are in a place where you can visit a farm (and its the right season for you to do so!) I suggest you try and take a day to go out apple picking, pumpkin picking, or both.  It is a great experience to help your kids see how farms work and a fun way to practice a lot of Spanish vocabulary at the same time.

And then there is the part that is the favorite of our family, eating the apples, the pumpkins, and all the goodies we make with them.

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. for the cooking activity you may find it helpful to label your ingredients ahead of time so its easier to use as you are baking.  Blank labels on the jars and canisters will be an easy way to practice the new vocabulary every time you use that ingredient, even after the activity.

Go to the next page to jump into the activities!

Activity #1

cancion manzanas y bananas/apples and bananas song (video)

This simple song is a great way to practice all the sounds of las vocales (the vowels) while being silly which is always an easy sell.  In the song you change the vowel of the word “comer” for each verse playing with the vowel sounds.

  • Practice this song a few times with the video and then jot it down to practice during the day.  Once you memorize the pattern its an easy one to use to practice pronunciation and also just fun to sing.

Please note that in the video there is an error in the test as it says “camar” for the first two lines when they are singing “comer”.  Be sure to note that when you copy it down for yourself.  The order is:

  • comer/manzanas/bananas – normal word
  • camar/manzanas/bananas – playing with the “a” sound
  • quemer/menzenes/benenes – playing with the “e” sound
  • quimir/minzinis/bininis – playing with the  “i” sound
  • comor/monzons/bononos – playing with the  “o” sound
  • cumur/munzunus/bununus – playing with  the“u” sound
  • comer/manzanas/bananas – normal word

Some helpful vocabulary:

  • tener – to have
  • hambre – hunger tengo hambre – I’m hungry
  • gustar – to like
  • comer – to eat
  • manzanas – apples
  • bananas/platanos – bananas

Activity #2: 
Hornear pan de calabeza
/Bake pumpkin bread
(recipe below)

Now that you have been reading and singing about fall and its bounty its time to enjoy something delicious.  This is a favorite fall recipe of ours and I hope you will enjoy it as well.  Be sure to use Spanish vocabulary while you are making the recipe and when its time to eat.

3 cups (tazas) pumpkin puree (bake one small sugar pumpkin, scoop out inside pulp and puree it)
3/4 cups unrefined sugar (azúcar)
1 cup plain yogurt (yogur)
2 Tablespoons (cuchara) ground flax seed (semillas de lino molidas)
2 teaspoons (cucharilla) vanilla (esencia de vainilla)
4 large eggs (huevos)
3 cups whole wheat flour (harina integral de trigo)
2 teaspoons baking soda (bicarbonato de sodio)
1 teaspoon salt (sal)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamen (canela)
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves (clavos)
1/2 teaspoon baking powder (polvo de hornear)

  1. Heat oven (horno) to 350F (177C)
  2. grease with butter (enmantequillar) the bottoms (los fondos) of two 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 x 2 1/2 loaf pans (moldes)
  3. mix (mezclar) pumpkin, sugar, yogurt, flax, vanilla and eggs in large bowl (recipiente)
  4. add (añadir) the rest of the ingredients
  5. pour (verter) into pans
  6. bake (hornear) 50-60 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean
  7. cool (enfriar) 10 minutes on wire rack then remove from pans

We usually enjoy a thick slice with a tall glass of milk (leche).  ¡Buen provecho! (Enjoy!)

Books to support your learning:

Calabazas por Jacqueline Farmer This book takes a look at pumpkins from all angles.  You learn about pumpkins as a fruit, how it is used traditionally, and where to go to find more information on pumpkins.

Vamos a recoger manzanas y calabazas por Amy Hutchings This fun book follows one families trip to a farm where they spend the day picking apples and pumpkins and then go home to bake pies and carve jack-o-lanterns.

Ana Cultiva Manzanas por Monica Wellington This book follows Ana as she harvests apples from the farm and then sells them at the farmers market.  It ends with a great vocabulary list and recipes for apple muffins and apple sauce.

El círculo de las calabazas – Historia de un huerto by George Levensen This books uses colorful photographs and rich text to illustrate the life of a pumpkin from seed to fruit and back again.

Sopa de calabaza by Helen Cooper This is the simple story of three friends (a duck, a squirril and a cat) that work together to make pumpkin soup.  More about friendship than pumpkins, but still a fun way to reinforce new vocabulary.

Tiempo de calabazas por Zoe Hall This is a simple story with collage illustrations where two siblings take careful care of their pumpkin patch so that they will have lots of pumpkins to carve on Halloween.

Songs and poems to add to your learning:

I must admit I don’t know any songs to go along with pumpkins or apples but Spanish music playing in the background is always a great way to boost your learning so go ahead and put on your favorite Spanish CD.  If you know if any songs that fit this theme please share them with me so we can use them next year.

Poem/ el poema:

El otoño regresó por Leticia Teresa Pontoni

El otoño regresó.
Y de nubes grises
el cielo se cubrió.
De hojas amarillas
mi árbol se ha coloreado.
Las nubecitas ya
El sol ya se escondió.
Mi pueblo está más triste.
Nadie pasa por mi calle
como en el verano.
Los pajaritos acallaron
sus voces.
El frío llegó.
Las flores se escondieron.
El otoño trajo la tristeza
a mi jardín.

Hope you enjoy these activities on these last days of fall as winter creeps closer and closer.  Hasta la proxima. (until next time)

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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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Monica November 20, 2010 at 7:04 pm

Another great lesson plan!
Thanks, Maria!


2 Daina February 16, 2012 at 4:16 pm

This pumpkin bread is our family’s favorite recipe now! We make it from our fall jack-o-lantern pumpkins… bake them, scoop out the flesh and mix in a blender with the wet ingredients. Canned pumpkin would probably be just as great.


3 Maria H March 1, 2012 at 9:26 pm


yea! So glad to hear you are enjoying it. We have a freezer full of frozen pumpkin from the fall that we will ration out for the next several months. I must admit we are pretty big fans around here too.



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