Creative Expressions: Mini Story and Activities

Creative Expressions: Mini Story and Activities: As I type this short story, I still wonder why I was ashamed to let others know that I was a field laborer.  I felt like I was different, a...

Mini Story and Activities

As I type this short story, I still wonder why I was ashamed to let others know that I was a field laborer.  I felt like I was different, and that people would laugh at me.  Or worse yet, maybe, they would feel sorry for me.  I always felt so ashamed, and I wish I hadn't.  This is who I was, and I didn't want people to know who I really was.  I was so uncomfortable in my own skin.


Extracurricular Activities

My older sister and I were both in the high school band.  I was a freshman and she was a junior at the school.  Summer band practice would start three weeks before the first day of school.  When we received our letters indicating the schedule for band practice, my sister told me that we would have to rush from the cotton fields, take a bath and be ready to drive into town so that we could make band practice on time.  My mom had already made arrangements for one of our aunts to drive us to practice.

While I was bathing for the first band practicie, I remember that every bone in my body ached.  My face was red with sunburn and it hurt when I talked or smiled.

My hands were sore with blisters and cuts from the cotton plants.  As we were driving into town, I told my sister I hurt all over.  She told me to ignore the pain and I would be ok.

I held out my hands and asked, "How can I play my clarinet with the blisters on my hands!"

My sister replied that once I got started the pain would disappear.  This was the first time I'd had to go through this ordeal and I wondered how my sister had survived the three years that she had been in the high school band.

Sure enough, I had problems putting my B flat clarinet together and I cringed as I placed the instrument in my mouth.  I pretended that my sunburned face did not hurt and I ignored the pain I experienced with every note that I played.  When other band members asked if I had spent a lot of time at the beach, I just nodded and smiled.

We practiced playing our music inside the band hall and another reality hit me as the band director announced that we would be practicing our marching in the football field for the next two hours.  I discovered a new pain as I lifted each foot to march as our band director had taught us.

I remember looking at my sister with the pain in my eyes.  She never complained and continued with the assigned tasks from our band director.

During our drive home, I realized that this would be the ritual for the next two or three weeks.  My admiration and appreciation for my sister increased as she modeled the level of endurance necessary to pick cotton and participate in our high school marching band.

At the crack of dawn the next morning, my sister and I followed the early morning ritual of cotton field laborers.

Discussion and Writing Prompts:

1.  Why do you think the writer was embarrassed about the fact that she was a field laborer?  Explain your answer and opinion in a well elaborated essay.

2.  Why do you think the writer's older sister had not explained how difficult it was going to be to participate in the high school band and work in the fields?  Explain your answer and opinion in a well developed essay.

3.  Illustrate a picture depicting the pain from working in the fields.

4.  Using a Venn Diagram, compare and contrast the similarities and differences of working in the fields and marching in the high school band.  Write about the comparisons and contrasts in a well developed essay.

5.  Create a collage with pictures and adjectives symbolizing the difficulties of working in the fields and turning right around and participating in band practice.



Creative Expressions: The Red Cotton Picker

Creative Expressions: The Red Cotton Picker: To this day, cotton fields lure me still as if in the lull of a dream. I could see the white cotton fields in the background.  I wa...

The Red Cotton Picker

To this day, cotton fields lure me still as if in the lull of a dream.

I could see the white cotton fields in the background.  I was amazed by the whiteness of the cotton and the bright green cotton plants.  It always felt good noticing that the cotton plants were not high enough to cover my whole body; it was difficult to breathe when the plants climbed way over my head.  These cotton plants were perfect for picking.

I was standing on the porch in the early morning admiring the perfect cotton fields when I saw a bright red cotton picker drive up and park by the side of the street next to our house.  The cotton picker looked redder because of the starkness of the white cotton that was piled in the back.  I had never seen a red cotton picker; the ones I had seen were all green.

I smiled and breathed a sigh of relief as I noticed my father climb out of the cotton picker cab.  He was such a young man at the age of 27 and he had such a zest for life.  I watched as he walked briskly toward the porch of our house where I stood.

When he approached me I jumped into his arms and asked, "What are you doing here?"

"I'm home from work.  I never left you.  I want to make sure that you understand that you will no longer have to pick cotton in the hot sun.  I have come to take care of you," my dad answered.

I laughed as only a four-year-old can as I was whirled in my father's arms.  I was relieved to discover that he had never left me.  All of my relatives that kept telling me everyday that my dad was never coming back were wrong.  My dad had gone to work and was now back home.

He released me from his arms and I landed on my feet, only to run into the house to tell my mom, sisters and brother that Dad was home.

I felt my heart expand with glee as I saw my mom standing by the doorway looking at my father.  My mom was not smiling; she still had that sad look on her face that had been there ever since Dad had left.  Why wasn't she happy to find out that he was home?

"Mom, look at Dad!  He's home, and he never really left.  He just told me himself.  Everyone else lied to you about Dad.  He's come back to take care of us."

I forced my eyes back from my mom to my dad.

Reality and disappointment entered my heart as I rubbed the sleep out of my eyes at the crack of dawn.

I was reminded that my dad was dead and he was not coming back to me.  I peeked outside the bedroom window to make sure that a red cotton picker was not parked by the side of the road of our house.

I backed away from the window with a deep sadness, then began dressing in my red pants and pink shirt to face one more day of picking cotton in the hot sun.

My dad would not be joining us.

Discussion/Writing Prompts:

1.  What are three symbols in this short story, and what do they represent?  Illustrate these symbols and write about them?

2.  What is the symbolism of the dream itself?  Why is the narrator having this specific dream?

3.  Illustrate a title page for this short story.

4.  What colors are represented as symbols in the story?  What emotions do they represent?  Combine these emotions to colors in a well developed essay.

5.  Write about one of your dreams or illustrate it with captions or subtitles.



Creative Expressions: Don Tomas

Creative Expressions: Don Tomas: I have never understood why Don Tomas made such an impression on me, but he did.  I often think about his, his physical characteristics an...

Don Tomas

I have never understood why Don Tomas made such an impression on me, but he did.  I often think about his, his physical characteristics and wonder what happened to him.

Don Tomas

The dark, wrinkled hands and face caught my attention as I looked up to see who was handing me a piece of pan dulce (sweet bread), a marranito (gingerbread pig).  I was shy about taking the piece of bread from the old man.  In all my seven years of life, I had never seen a man who was so dark and so wrinkled.

I looked at my mom as she said, "Agarra el pan, mija.  Don Tomas lo trajo para ti.  (Take the bread, my daughter.  Mr. Tomas brought it for you.)"  I took the bread but I kept watching Don Tomas as he climbed on the truck that was taking about fifteen of us to the cotton fields.

I couldn't understand why this man was so dark and why his skin was so wrinkled.  He wore a straw cowboy hat, a beige shirt with a blue jean jacket and pants.  Then I noticed that he was wearing large knee pads.  I could hardly wait to get to the cotton fields so that I could ask Mom some questions.

I munched on my pan dulce as I stared at Don Tomas.  He smiled at me, which made his skin wrinkle even more.  I refused to smile at him because I wasn't quite sure if I could trust this old man.  I didn't understand why this viejito (little old man) was paying so much attention to me.  I began to munch on my marranito as we traveled to the cotton fields early in the morning.

We picked up our cotton bags and belongings was we arrived at the fields and began climbing off the truck.  I looked at the hundreds of rows of cotton and began to feel tired as I saw how long the rows were.  Mom gave me my hat so I could protect my face from the sun.

I felt silly in my cotton picking clothes.  Mom would make me wear a long-sleeved light pink shirt and red pants with socks and tennis shoes.  She always told me that I needed to protect my skin from the dangers of the hot sun.

I felt guilty for wishing that I were old enough so that I could be at school with my older sisters.  I did not want to be at the cotton fields with all the old cotton pickers.  They kept telling my mother how cute I looked and asking how young I was.  My mom would tell them that I was only seven years old, but she could not afford a baby sitter.  Even though I was seven, I knew I was going to have to help my mom pick cotton and I was not happy about it.  Cotton picking was hard work, even at the age of seven.

As I followed my mom to the opposite end of the field, away from the truck, I complained about how long the cotton rows were.  I told my mom that it would take us all day to pick just one row of cotton.  Mom said that we would pick two rows at a time really fast so that we could get a  lot of cotton into our sacks.  This meant more money to buy food on the weekend.

We finally reached the end of the rows of cotton and everyone began select which cotton rows they wanted to pick.  As I stood there contemplating the long, hot day, I could see that everyone was already beginning to pick.  I refused to wear the oversized gloves that Mom gave me because it was hard to pick cotton with them.  Mom gave me a stern look and told me to start picking.  The gloves were
supposed to protect my hands from the sun and the harsh cotton plant branches.

I looked at Don Tomas who miraculously stood beside me as he said "Com on Paulita, the day will be over before you know it."  I blushed a deep red when I realized that Don Tomas had heard me complaining to my mom.

Don Tomas dropped down to his knees and began to pick cotton very quickly.  I stood there at the end of our rows and watched his fast fingers picking cotton and dropping it into his cotton sack.  I had never seen anyone pick cotton so fast,  Mom forced me to look away as she called me to start picking.

I began to pick cotton and asked Mom, "Why does he kneel down to pick cotton?

"His back hurts," was my mom's response.

I felt sorry for Don Tomas Tomas because he seemed so old and so alone.

I continued picking slowly and asked Mom,  "Why is he by himself?  Doesn't he have a family?"

My patient mom answered, "I don't know, but he probably has a wife and older children.  Picking cotton is hard work and maybe he does not want to bring his wife and children."

I looked at Mom with my big, brown eyes and asked,  "Why don't they come help him; he's all by himself!  If they pick cotton together, they will take more money and he won't be alone."

Mom told me, "He chooses to  come by himself.  Now you start picking so that we can fill our cotton sacks!"

I sighed as I looked at our empty cotton sacks.  It wasn't long before I asked my next question.  "Why does the old man wear those things on his knees?"

Mom continued picking as she answered.  "Since he picks cotton his knees, the pads protect his knees from pain.  They are called rodilleras.  (kneepads)"

"Well, why can't he pick cotton standing up like the rest of us?"

"i told you that his back hurts.  He is an older gentleman and he has picked cotton for a long time.  His back hurts too much if he bends all day to pick cotton and the kneepads help."

"Will we have to wear kneepads if we pick cotton for a long time?"  I asked.

My mom answered, "Mijita, you will not be in the cotton fields all your life, if you get an education.  If I had an education, I could have an easier job.  Someday, if both of us go to school, we will be able to get good jobs and we will not have to worry about rodilleras."

By this time, Don Tomas was way ahead of us.  He moved quickly even though he picked cotton while on his knees.

I looked at my small burlap sack and told Mom that I had already filled it and wanted her to put my cotton into her cotton sack.  Mom told me to just leave the burlap sack beside her.

"But what will I do with the cotton that I pick?"  I asked her.

"Walk all the way up to where Don Tomas is and start picking there.  Just make motoncitos (little bunches) and I will pick them up as I pick and travel toward you."

This sounded different to me so I began walking away from my mom and closer to Don Tomas.  As I approached him, I stopped and stared.

Don Tomas winked at me and smiled as he said, "Come on little one; you and your mom will fill up a big cotton sack that will weigh many pounds before you know it."

I lowered my covered head and continued to pick.  Don Tomas was ahead of me in seconds.  I watched him as I removed my hat and wiped my forehead.  It was no later than 9:00 AM, but I could already tell that it was going to be a blistering hot day.  I continued to pick cotton and tried to imitate the quickness of Don Tomas.  Mom smiled and shook her head as she looked at me.  It was on my knees picking cotton like Don Tomas.

I lifted my head to look at my mom and told her, "My back hurts and kneeling makes me feel better."

Kneeling while I picked cotton made me feel grown up.  I picked for a while longer and asked mom if I could go get some water.

My mom told me to go ahead and gave me a jar so that I could bring some water back with me.  All I can remember is the excitement about getting out of picking cotton for as long as I could.  I was hot and tired.

I began to walk toward the truck and realized I would have to pass by Don Tomas.  I was shy about doing that.

Sure enough, as I walked by Don Tomas he asked "Para donde vas, Paulita?"

I told him I was going to get some water.  Don Tomas never looked up as he talked and picked cotton.

It took me a while to get to the water truck, but that was the whole point.  The water gave me an excuse to get away from the cotton fields.  I was exhausted and the long, hot day loomed ahead of me.  I climbed the truck and removed the lid from the drinking keg, knowing there would be a huge piece of ice in the water.  I could hardly wait to drink the cold water.  I drank slowly and prepared a jar of water for my mother.

I enjoyed my walk back toward my mother and felt shame because everyone was picking cotton faster than my mom and she had been left far behind.  This made me sad as I lifted the jar of water to her.  I folded my arms in front of my chest and looked down at the ground out of respect for my mother.  When she lowered the jar from her mouth, she asked that I take some water to Don Tomas.  As I turned toward Don tomas, who was way ahead of us, my mom asked that I show him respect.

I approached Don tomas shyly and told him that my mom has asked me to bring him some water.

His brown eyes, almost hidden in his wrinkled brown ace, showed a twinkle as a smile spread across his face.  "Me le das las gracias a tu mama.  (Give my thanks to your mom for me.)"

Don Tomas kept smiling as I crossed my arms across my chest and lowered my eyes toward the ground.  As I waited for Don Tomas to drink the water, I guessed that he must be at least 60 years old.  I felt sorry that he had to pick cotton even though he had a bad back.

"Ten, Paulita, (Here, Paulita,)" said Don Tomas.  "Deja agua en el jarro para que tomes mas agua mas tarde.  (Leave water in the jar so that you can drink water later.)  El dia va ser bien caliente y tenemos que trabajar.  (The day will be very hot and we have to work.)"

I went back to my mo and decided that I was going to pick cotton and work hard just like Don Tomas so that my mom would not have to work in the cotton fields when she was 60 years old.

Throughout the years, I continued picking cotton and so did Don Tomas.  He continued to being me pan dulce at least once a week.  I brought him water whenever I could and shared Mom's delicious tacos with him.  In our own quiet way, Don Tomas and I  became special friends.  I respected his tolerance for picking cotton with a bad back and his elderly age.  I sensed that Don Tomas and I were kindred spirits.  One day after many years of picking cotton together, Don Tomas just stopped coming to work.  I missed his friendship.  Most importantly, I never forgot that I needed to get an education so that my mom and I could stay out of the cotton fields. 

Discussion and Writing Prompts:

1.  Do you think that Don Tomas pays special attention to Paulita?  Why or why
     not?  Support your answer in a well developed essay.

2.  Using a Venn Diagram, compare and contrast Paulita and Don Tomas.  How
     were they different and how were they alike?  Write an essay comparing and
     contrasting the two characters.

3.  Illustrate the likenesses and differences between Paulita and Don Tomas by
     using a Venn diagram.  Draw the two characters and list the characteristics of
     each one.

4.  What did Paulita think would change her mother's lives and hers?  What
      would keep them out of the cotton fields and poverty?  Explain your answer
      using data regarding people in poverty.

5.   Illustrate the encounters between Paulita and Don Tomas.  Write a sentence
      or two below each picture showing their conversations.  What did the dialog
      between the characters tell you about each one?


Creative Expressions: Summer Vacation in the Cotton Fields

Creative Expressions: Summer Vacation in the Cotton Fields: When I was a kid, I always wanted our family to take a vacation to Disney World, but we were too poor.  Instead of going to Disney World...


Summer Vacation in the Cotton Fields

When I was a kid, I always wanted our family to take a vacation to Disney World, but we were too poor.  Instead of going to Disney World, I spent my summers in the cotton fields helping my mother earn money to feed all five of us.  I became an avid reader as soon as I learned to read English which was at about the age of seven.  I read about family vacations, so I created special summer trips in my mind as I picked cotton.

Summer Vacation in the
Cotton Fields
Every year, on the first day of school, I could count on my teacher’s first assignment.  We had to write about how we spent our summer vacation and then read what we had written to the rest of the class.  It never mattered what grade I was in, the assignment was always the same; and it was nothing that my classmates or teachers could relate to.

Every summer I would pick cotton, but nobody else in my class picked cotton.  They all had something exciting to read to the class.  Some had gone to Disney World with their families, others had gone to the big cities of San Antonio, Austin or Houston to visit relatives, while others had stayed on South Padre Island for most of the summer.  I couldn’t even begin to relate to those experiences.  Some summers, Mom would save enough money to take us to visit our father’s relatives in Mexico.  None of my classmates ever talked about visiting relatives in Mexico.

I was so embarrassed about picking cotton and visiting relatives in Mexico that I lied about what I did during my summer vacation.  I would write that I had spent most of my summer on South Padre Island.  That was how I explained the tan I’d gotten from spending time in the cotton fields.

I wish I had had then the pride in my culture as I do now.  I wish I could have just told my teachers and classmates that I had picked cotton and visited my relatives in Mexico.

Now that I am an adult, I am sharing my cotton picking life stories and lessons with pride and joy.  I realize that my experiences were unique and helped me become the woman that I am today.  Picking cotton was hard, but my mom turned it into a fun and learning experience.  It was definitely nothing to be ashamed of, but I did not know any better.

Visiting Mexico helped me understand my dad’s culture and gave me an insight about another country.  The trips to Mexico that Mom insisted we take helped me appreciate people that are different from me.

As a child and young adult, I was so ashamed that I lied about who I was.  I am proud of the fact that I am no longer ashamed.  I can let the whole world know that being different is a good thing.  To this day, I do not fully understand why I was ashamed of my life.  I understand that I am proud of every experience that made me different and helped me become the special person that I am.
 Discussion and Writing Prompts:

1.  Write an essay about something that you have lied about and wish you hadn’t.

2.  Illustrate a cover that you would use with this story.

3.  Do you think that her classmates would have understood about picking cotton and visiting relatives in Mexico?  Why or why not?  Explain your answer in an essay.

4.  Select a tradition from your culture that you think is unique.  Why do you think others would have difficulty understanding this particular tradition?  Write an essay explaining your point of view.

5.  Create an interview with questions that you would like to ask the narrator of this story.  Be able to justify why you would ask each particular question.

These stories will be provided and writing prompts will be provided on this blog free of charge on a weekly basis.  These stories and prompts can be provided to you in Spanish for a minimal fee.  Other bilingual activities can be reviewed and purchased at http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Store/Creative-Expressions

We can customize products, if you cannot find what you like.  Feel free to contact us at creativeexpression@outlook.com



Stories and Activities

I am one of the Teacher-Authors at Creative Expressions for Teachers Pay Teachers.  I have wanted to be a writer all of my life, and I thought creating        educational products would nurture that passion, fulfill that need.  It provided a creative outlet, but it didn’t fulfill the need of writing on a daily basis.  My sister and I decided using the blog as a platform for creative writing with some activities would help nurture my spirit for creative writing. 

We will be providing a short story with discussion and writing prompts on a weekly basis.  If you would like additional activities, please let us know.  The stories can also be provided to you in Spanish with activities.   

Again, just let us know at creativeexpression@outlook.com and we will provide them for you for a minimal fee.  

You can find additional bilingual educational activities at www.teacherspayteachers.com/Store/Creative-Expressions


Early to Rise

I knew it was early.  I could hear the roosters crowing and my mom whistling one of her favorite Mexican tunes.  She rolled the dough to make fresh flour tortillas for our breakfast and lunch in the cotton fields that day.  It was 5:00 AM when I heard Mom say it was time to get ready for the day.

I could feel the pain as I tried to move my sunburned body.  Every bone ached as I tried to get out of bed.  My hands were lobster red and hurt as I tried to move my fingers.  There were scratches and blisters on my hands from the day before.  I could hear Mom’s whistling in the background.  How could she be so happy when I was so miserable about having to pick cotton?

I washed my face with cold water and brushed my teeth so that I could feel better about the day.  My cotton picking clothes consisted of bright red pants and a pink long sleeved shirt with socks and tennis shoes.  I knew I would have to wear a sun bonnet to protect my skin against the sun.  I focused on not complaining as I got myself ready for the long day ahead.

After getting dressed, I had to go to the kitchen to help pack our lunch.  Mom had enough food for an army.  There was hot coffee in a thermos to drink while we ate breakfast tacos and there was Kool-Aid to drink with our lunch tacos.  Mom was a great cook and her meals definitely made the long, hot day more bearable.

Once the breakfast and lunch tacos were packed, I went to the front porch of our house to fold my burlap cotton sack and make sure that I had my gloves to protect my hands.  As I sat there, I could see the foreman’s bright blue truck turn into our driveway.

I climbed into the back of the truck and looked for a corner so that I could avoid the cold morning air once the truck started moving.  The drive was about thirty minutes long.

I climbed off the truck as soon as we reached the cotton fields.  As I placed the sun bonnet on my head, I knew that I could count on the same painful ritual the next day.

As I bent to pick cotton, every bone in my body screamed to remind me that the only way to change the morning ritual for me was to get an education so that I could get out of the cotton fields.

I could hear Mom whistling her happy tune as she began to pick cotton.
 Discussion and Writing Prompts 
  1. Why is the mother so happy and the daughter miserable and in so much pain?  Compare and contrast their outlook on life using a Venn diagram.  Explain your opinion and beliefs in a well-developed essay.
  1. Is the family in the story rich or poor?  Write an essay explaining your answer and/or opinion.
  1. Illustrate one of the scenes in the story.  Provide a title and subheading for the picture.
  1. What is the main idea in the story?  Create a five sentence paragraph explaining the main idea of the story.
  1. Create a character sketch of the daughter or mother.  Write a character sketch or draw a picture supporting your character sketch.     


Back to School Sale at Teachers Pay Teachers on August 3 - 4, 2015

The BTS Sale is on August 3 - 4, 2015, with a 28% savings.  Let me bring you up to date on what is happening at Creative Expressions.

First of all, you need to remember to rate our products so that we can know how to improve our store and resources.  Also, you get free credit points that you can use when purchasing items at Creative Expressions or any other store at TpT.

Secondly, our bundles are always at 30% discount to save you more of your hard earned money.  They are at an additional 28% discount during the BTS sale.  Review our bundles so that you can purchase resources at a huge discount.

Last but not least, if you cannot find certain items at our store, feel free to send us an e-mail.  Ask us to customize materials specifically for your classroom.  You can leave a message on this page or e-mail us at


Diana and I hope that you will enjoy shopping at Creative Expressions during this huge sale.  

Stay connected during the great 2015-2016 school year.

Hasta luego,


Spanish Teaching Materials

It is a rude awakening when first year Spanish teachers enter their classrooms for the first time.  Based on my experiences, most teachers receive basic supplies such as a pair of scissors, a few pens, pencils, and a few dry erasure markers with eraser and not much else.

It takes so much more to begin and maintain effective teaching materials in a Spanish classroom.  If a teacher has 20 to 30 students per class, several materials are necessary for a simple hands on activity.  Markers, scissors, glue, colors, pens, pencils, construction paper, staplers, and computer paper are needed, for starters.  Basic supplies, provided for a teacher at the beginning of the school year, don’t even begin to cover the maintenance of supplies for one hands on activity per week much less the entire year.

All teachers need teaching materials, but Spanish teachers need specialized materials to set up an effective teaching classroom.  These materials are not typically provided by most school districts.  Therefore, teachers end up paying for these items out of their own pockets.  Would we ask a surgeon to purchase his own surgery equipment?  No, but we do expect teachers to buy their own materials.  This is a hardship for any Spanish teacher much less one who is teaching Spanish for the first time.  Teachers have to make their own teaching materials which means they have to purchase the supplies to make them, or they have to purchase custom made materials.  Either way, they pay out of their own pockets.

Another hardship for Spanish teachers is that these materials are not found in many educational stores.  Usually, the Spanish materials sold in Spanish are developed using a different Spanish dialect than the one spoken in a particular area.  Spanish teachers lag behind other teachers in getting materials because Spanish is considered an elective.

With 23 years’ experience, I can suggest what every Spanish teacher might need to establish an effective teaching environment for the students. Therefore, I am recommending that every Spanish teacher possess a Spanish Materials Back to School Kit consisting of the following:

1)      Calendar:  This is a “must have” for all Spanish teachers. The Spanish/English calendar should be large enough to include the days, weeks and months.  It should include special phrases that include:  Today is ___________________.  Yesterday was ____________________, Tomorrow is ________________________.  Special phrases would also include:  The temperature is ______________.  The day is ___________________.

2)      Spanish/English Labels: All Spanish teachers need labels with the names of classroom items in both languages.  Some examples are:  door/puerta, windows/ventanas, desk/escritorio, table/mesa, etc.  These labels need to be cut and laminated.  All of these materials take time to prepare.

3)      Poster with Essential Spanish/English Sentences: Spanish teachers should have a poster with essential Spanish/English sentences such as:  May I go to the restroom?  May I go to the nurse’s office? May I get a drink of water?  Many students come into our classrooms knowing only one language, and it is important to have a list of Survival Sentences in both languages.

4)      Welcome Back to School Letter:  This special touch is not mandatory, but definitely important.  Sending the letter home allows the Spanish teacher to form a strong first impression for parental outreach purposes.  The letter should be written in both Spanish and English since parents may know only one language.

5)      Classroom Rules List: The list should include the classroom rules in both Spanish and English. These classroom rules should be listed on a large laminated poster and placed in plain view so that the students are clearly aware of the expected behaviors in the classroom.  

6)      Classroom Supply List:  Parents will appreciate these lists to be included with the Welcome Back letter to ensure that all children bring classroom supplies, if the supplies are affordable. Having additional classroom supplies available for students who are unable to afford their own supplies is crucial.
Well, based on my personal experience, these are the items that should be part of any Spanish Teacher’s Back to School Kit. I hope that you find this information helpful. 

I would love for you to leave a note or comment if you think that I have missed anything that should be included in the kit.

Happy Teaching,

Paula Ramirez and Diana Gonzales
Creative Expressions


1st Annual Gonzalez Family Reunion

Our first family reunion was held on June 20, 2015, and it was so much fun.  All of us helped to find different addresses for different members of the family.  Family members made invitations, and others put them in envelopes and stamped them.  The results were phenomenal.  The actual reunion was held at my brother's ranch and home.  That was a beautiful decision because my brother and his wife have a beautiful and large home with a pool.  There are large, old shade trees on the property as well.  Only family members with health issues did not attend the Gonzalez Family Reunion.

The meat and basic side dishes were provided by my brother and his wife.  Drinks were purchased by one of our cousins and his family.  Hundreds of peaches were included by another one of my cousins and his family who live in the Hill Country of Texas.  Everyone helped with favorite side dishes and desserts.  The most popular dessert was provided by my aunt's family.  They managed to get the reunion invitation on a huge cake.  Even though we didn't want to eat it because it was so beautiful, the cake was delicious.

One of my sisters prepared a PowerPoint presentation of a variety of family pictures.  After a healthy meal, all of us walked outdoors to take recent family pictures.  Everyone had a lot of fun as jokes were hurled back and forth as we posed for pictures.  During the reunion all phones were out, as well as iPads, to take more pictures.

There were several activities such as swimming, volleyball, and dancing.  But talking and catching up with different family members was the most popular entertainment.  All of us were having so much fun that we decided to make the Gonzalez Family Reunion an annual event.
Most of us are already making plans for next year.

Hasta luego, 


Happy Father's Day Cards in Spanish and English

I promised anyone who followed Creative Expressions on TpT a free resource in Spanish.  When I was in the classroom I always needed cards with Spanish phrases.  I figured it would be nice to create free cards in English and Spanish so that students can learn new vocabulary.  If teachers want to allow students to color and/or decorate the cards and take them home to their father or father figure, I would make it easier by providing free cards.  Load them down while you can.  Let me know what other fast and easy products I can provide for you free of charge.  Be sure to become a follower of Creative Expressions before you make a request.  I will try my best to figure out how I can help you.  Have a great week!!


Hasta luego,


Summer Resources


Summer is almost upon us, and I am wondering what kind of Spanish or bilingual product I can create to help students that are learning Spanish.  I recognize the fact that many students and parents actually want something to focus on during the summer months to avoid regression. 

I know students do not want to forget the basics such as colors, seasons, days of the week, numbers, and greetings.  I think the best thing to do is to put all my first semester lessons together in a bundle and sell them as a Summer Splash for Beginning Spanish Students.

A bundle of this type should help students to avoid regression of basic Spanish skills.  The flash cards in these lessons should also help students with fluency.  It would be good to include at least the present tense conjugation units, also.

Look forward to the Summer Splash unit within the next two weeks!!!

Hasta luego,


Cinco De Mayo

Cinco De Mayo is upon us, and we need to celebrate.  Many students will be learning about this Mexican holiday; even though, it is being celebrated more in the United States by Mexican-Americans and other Hispanics.  Many Hispanics view Cinco De Mayo as a time to expose others to Mexican culture and traditions.

Many people confuse Cinco De Mayo with el 16 de septiembre, Mexico's independence from Spain.  El Cinco De Mayo is celebrated because of the Battle at Puebla in 1862.  Mexico was in heavy debt with Britain, Spain, and France.  Mexico negotiated with Britain and Spain, but France decided to invade Puebla, Mexico because of the debt.  The French were led by Napolean III.  Mexico was led by General Zaragoza, and they were the victors at Puebla.  Benito Juarez was the President of Mexico at this time.

El Cinco De Mayo is celebrated in Puebla, but it is not a federal holiday.  Teachers provide informative articles for the students, fiestas, parades, pinatas, and Mexican foods to help students learn about the holiday and Mexican culture.

I used to love celebrating el Cinco De Mayo with my students when I was teaching, and I would search for activities to help students understand the holiday.  

I have created some Cinco De Mayo cards for your use in our Creative Expressions store......Enjoy!


Novel Guides in the Classroom

Novel guides are one of the most wonderful resources to use in a classroom.  A teacher can use a novel guide to teach so many things such as the love of reading, the analysis of figurative language, vocabulary, and literary elements.

Teachers and students can read the novel together and watch their teacher model the love of reading while enjoying the novel together.  When teachers decide to read a novel in a classroom, they usually have their hearts invested in this particular novel.  When the passion is there, it is much easier to hook students into reading the novel also.  Many students love to read in class because they feel like they are doing nothing, but listening to someone reading is an essential skill.  Students are learning when they are listening, but sometimes are having too much fun to convince themselves that they are learning.

While reading a novel, the analysis of figurative language evolves naturally.  Discussion questions are a natural development of the reading process.  The questions can be as basic as:  What are the names of the characters?  Discussion questions can also be posed at a higher order thinking skill such as:  How would you handle a similar crisis that the main character handled in this novel?  Compare and contrast the two ways of handling the crisis.

A vocabulary lesson can easily be put together by providing students with an activity like Window Panes.  A student writes the vocabulary word, the definition, uses the word in a sentence, and draws a picture of the vocabulary word.

Literary elements such as theme, setting, and characters can be the most fun.  Different graphic organizers and borders can be used to help students identify and apply the literary elements.

Novel guides can be fun for teachers and students.  Vocabulary building, literary analysis, and discussion questions are some of the activities and concepts that can be explored while reading a novel.


28% Sale at Creative Expressions

Hello Everyone!

There will be a huge sale at TpT Creative Expressions on February 25th, Wednesday.

Browse through our store and purchase for the rest of the year. We have The Revenant Novel Guide and Jefferson's Sons Novel Guide.  The Novel Guides are in English only.


We have subtraction and addition word problems on task cards in English.


There are new reading passages in English and Spanish with activities in both languages.


Last but not least, do not forget your conjugation packets!!!


Remember, that rating of our resources will get you free credit points.  

If, our resources do not meet your expectations, remember to contact us at creativeexpression@outlook.com

Become our follower and receive a free Spanish activity on a monthly basis!!!!

Happy Shopping,


Free Spanish Valentines

Our new year, 2015, is moving too quickly for my taste.  There are so many things that I enjoy doing that there are not enough hours in the day for me to do everything that I want to do.  I do hate feeling rushed.  Is that how life always has to be?  Rushed? I prefer a more relaxed approach to life. 

Regardless, Valentines Day is upon us, and I am determined to be  present for the moment.  In fact, that is my new goal...to be more  present for the moment instead of worrying about what I need to do next.

Moving into our new home is right around the corner.  Mom has her own room with bath and walk in closet.  Santos and Paco have their own area, and so do Domingo and I.  Paquito has his own area and patio.  I can hardly wait because our goal for our new home is to be more organized to make all of our lives more comfortable.  We should be in our home by Valentine's Day.  I will share pictures on my blog.

Back to Valentine's Day!  Enjoy your hearts and Spanish sub-headings. 

Feliz Dia De San Valentine!!!!