|K||This term, students in kindergarten reviewed and expanded upon their large base of knowledge from last year. At this point, they are working with a lot of vocabulary, and the trick is to keep all of it on the tip of their brains. To accomplish this, students helped create several silly stories about two of the rubber ducks that live on the toy shelf in the Spanish room. Good storytelling will always involve a wide range of vocabulary, so it seems the ideal way to review old words while at the same time sprinkling in more challenging phrases. |
Kindergarteners also responded to action + object commands, asked and answered basic questions in the target language, read a scary book about Halloween, and played or colored (their choice). Informal, creative play in Spanish class is stressed in the younger grades to encourage language immersion versus rote memorization. Gracias for a great quarter! “Therefore, you best of men, don’t use force in training the children in the subjects, but rather play. In that way can you better discern toward what each is naturally directed.” –Socrates
|1||This term, students in first grade immersed themselves in a world of fantasy and adventure. Beginning as princesas and príncipes, students were paid in Monopoly money (or dinero) for superb behavior at the start of each class. But the amounts were intentionally random, so as to insert a few all-important expressions into the curriculum (e.g., “I want more money!”). With this dinero, students proceeded to buy toys from the toy shelf in the Spanish room. The biggest difference from last year is that students are now asking questions about what they can and cannot do or have, versus stating what they want and assuming they will receive a positive response. |
Students have also started sounding out and identifying more words and expressions on signs around the Spanish room, which is wonderful to see. A typical Spanish class involves deciding what the weather is like outside each day (by reading the window signs), asking and answering questions in the target language (both as a class as well as individually), listening to the famous “¿Puedo ir al baño?” song, searching for hidden juguetes (or toys) as part of the clean-up routine, and whispering a secret password as they exit the Spanish room. It has been a fun term!
|2||This term, students in second grade truly experienced language. Whether they were balancing rulers (reglas) on their heads and noses, venturing outside to collect more leaves (hojas) than the other class, flying paper airplanes (aviones de papel), or simply conversing with their peers in Spanish, students began to understand that being able to translate a word or phrase is just as important as having a context for that word or phrase. The root of language is experience! “Leaf” is both a combination of odd geometric shapes (letters) as well as a crunchy, red thing on the ground in the fall. |
The overarching goal this quarter was to begin getting more specific in their requests. Instead of, “Can I have that, please?”, students worked on replacing “that” with an exact noun and understanding the noun as a tangible thing, not just a word. Second graders also worked on stringing together longer phrases and having extended conversations: ¡Quiero dibujar! ¿Puedo tener una regla y una hoja de papel, por favor? Or perhaps more comprehensibly in English, “I want to draw! Can I have a ruler and a sheet/leaf of paper, please?” Students’ drive to learn a lot and have fun at the same time is great to see. Gracias for an exciting quarter.
|3||This term, students in third grade achieved verbal mastery of basic object vocabulary, multiple idiomatic expressions, and simple verbs. As a result, students come to class eager to apply their knowledge via lively, informal discourse between the class and the teacher. Every few weeks, third graders took a break from the routine and did something completely different. |
Whether it was memorizing tongue twisters to present in front of their peers (public speaking), computing math problems in the target language (fastest answer wins!), or listening to songs in Spanish, students seemed to enjoy the change of pace. Presently, third graders have begun learning a song entitled “PAN” (or “BREAD”), which can be found at www.senorwooly.com under MUSIC. If you have a spare minute, it is worth checking out at home with your child; the tune is catchy and sticks in your brain. Gracias for a fantastic quarter.
|4||This term, students in fourth grade focused on two aspects of learning a foreign language: linguistics and culture. Students first worked on the art of translation. This was accomplished individually, with partners, and in choral translation as a class. Some days, students worked hard just translating the written word, honing in on the details. Other days, fourth graders translated and then acted out extended readings, phrase by phrase. They took the role of reader, translator, or actor, and then rotated parts so that everyone had an opportunity to participate. Even audience members had required, cued responses. |
Partway through the term, fourth graders entered the world of dance. Because the Cha-Cha, Rumba, and Salsa all originated in Cuba, and because dance in general is an important part of Hispanic culture, fourth graders learned the basic dance steps of those respective Latin rhythm dances. One day, girls and boys even “danced together” (without touching hands, so as not to spread cooties), so they could see how the footwork fit together. Gracias for a great term.
|5||Students in fifth grade will learn about many different Latin American legends this year. This term, fifth graders spent the bulk of their time studying and rehearsing their lines for two of these legends (that have been converted into plays). The first was called The Mouse Who Knew How to Bark (or La ratona que sabía ladrar), and was based on a legend from Cuba. The second was called The Haunted House (or La casa embrujada), and was based on a legend from Peru. |
“Studying” a legend involves the following: listening to a summary of it in Spanish several times, in order to build up students’ vocabularies; drawing out the legend so they can visualize it onstage; translating the script together as a class; rehearsing in groups with a student-director in charge; and later performing the legend in Spanish in front of the class. During this process, fifth graders also learned and practiced the basic dance step for the Cha-Cha (a rhythm dance that originated in Cuba), to add a dose of culture to the curriculum. It has been an exciting quarter. Gracias.
|6||This term, students in sixth grade spent the majority of September and October playing soccer during class time. Students were required to speak in the target language only, and worked on acquiring practical, high-frequency words and expressions on a daily basis. Sixth graders also commanded their peers in the language, narrated what was happening as it happened (more difficult than one might imagine), and then, as the weather worsened, stayed indoors to create and present stories in the target language. Pop quizzes ensured that students kept key vocabulary words and expressions on the tip of their brains at all times. It has been a fun quarter!|