|K||This term, students in kindergarten increased their Spanish vocabularies through a variety of songs, books, and games. First, they learned and/or reviewed the song, Tengo hambre, Señor (“I’m hungry, Señor”). But one day, Señor – a puppet in the Spanish room – was accidentally misplaced, and students spent the entire period watching the invisible Señor fly above everyone’s heads and cause mischief, all in the target language. Kindergarteners enjoyed this so much that several classes were spent discussing the invisible puppet’s location and what he was doing at the moment (flying in a rocket ship, dancing, eating a banana, etc.). Invisible animals always keep you on your toes. |
Recently, students also learned a short bilingual song (Adiós, amigos), and listened to several books in Spanish (i.e., ¿Quién está durmiendo? and David se mete en líos). Finally, students played a game called Busca el murciélago (“boose-kah-ell-moor-see-A-lah-go”), where kindergartners hide and then look for a bat (the animal) in the classroom. It is a hot/cold type of game that is fun for all ages. As the Q & U wedding approaches, special emphasis has also been placed on using good manners in the target language. Gracias for another great quarter.
|1||This term, students in first grade added a bit more formality to their daily routine. At the start of each class, the teacher took attendance, addressing students as señores and señoritas (plus their respective last names). After taking attendance, a weather reporter (dressed up in cape and tie) asked the class, ¿qué tiempo hace afuera? – or, what’s the weather like outside? Students then proceeded to answer using expressions from the entire year and even negating some to state the opposite (e.g., it’s not sunny outside). First graders have also been learning the days of the week in their regular classrooms, so on occasion they are tested in the Spanish room (to read and pronounce the words). |
Curricular integration allows students to realize that Spanish exists outside of the Spanish room. To further this thought, students were required to ask the teacher certain questions and their peers other questions in the target language during class. Spanish needs to be woven in and around the students’ worlds, not just alive in the occasional dialogue between student and teacher. As a final culmination to the quarter, the two first grade classes competed against one another in a noun challenge competition. This was timely, as students had just discussed nouns, verbs, and adjectives in their regular classrooms. Each class listed over fifty nouns in the target language. Congratulations to all!
|2||This term, students in second grade worked on acquiring practical language. “Practical” in this sense refers to “usable language”, or high-frequency words/phrases that students hear and speak every day. Second graders present dialogues and perform various role-plays in Spanish using this practical language in front of the class (public speaking). A typical conversation might go as follows: I’m bored. What do you want to do? I don’t know. What do you want to do? I don’t know. What do you want to do? Well, let me see… I want to read a Harry Potter book. What do you think? I think that’s silly. I don’t like Harry Potter. |
Students quickly realize that what they study in Spanish class is a mirror image of the language used in the real world. As a result, they begin to apply the target language outside of the classroom – at lunch, recess, or even in the hallway. All the while, second graders are gaining valuable communicative skills: asking questions, providing answers, expressing personal opinions (such as likes and dislikes), negating sentences, and conjugating verbs. Understanding grammatical technicalities is not the emphasis at this point. Right now, the objective is to converse naturally with their peers in a foreign tongue. And what could be more fun than that?!
|3||This term, students in third grade intensified their study of the famous “PAN” (or “BREAD”) song. That is, after begging to listen to and sing along with this song every single class – for the entire class – students easily memorized all of the lyrics. One student actually found a class singing and acting out the lyrics on YouTube, and after viewing it, third graders agreed that they could put together a much better video. As a result, students auditioned for and then began rehearsing a dance piece choreographed for the song. |
When some of them finally tired of it, the class took a break from rehearsals and transitioned to storytelling. With their richer vocabularies, third graders were able to spend the bulk of January inventing an extremely imaginative story about a dragon living on the tiny Pacific island of Tonga. Students will return to filming the final “PAN” song product, but for now, they seem quite content drawing elaborate maps (of the story’s setting) and stretching their creative minds to push the plot forward. Gracias for an exciting quarter.
|4||This term, students in fourth grade developed a working Spanish town (pueblo) in the classroom. It all began with a toy store, art store, and library, so that students would use the language not only with the teacher but also their peers. Students took turns working in each location: ¿En qué te puedo ayudar?” (How can I help you?). The customer would then reply, “Yo busco… /A mí me gustaría…” (I’m looking for…/I would like…), the object of course dependent on where s/he was shopping. |
Partway through the term, fourth graders learned a new Señor Wooly song called, Anita, ¿adónde vas? (Anita, where are you going?). If students did not answer the question when asked, or if they spoke English, they were temporarily sent to the calabozo (dungeon) – and thus, the pueblo birthed a new business of sorts. More recent additions have included the following: a candy store, hotel, bank, restaurant, theater, and fortune teller. As a result, students have shifted their attention to the financial realm, specifying what items each business offers, and how much they cost (in euros). Students seem to appreciate the interactive, kinesthetic nature of the pueblo, probably because it so closely parallels the workings of the real world. Moreover, it is a nice extension of their classroom popcorn business. Gracias for a fabulous term.
|5||This term, students in fifth grade really honed in on the details of good acting. Beginning with La casa embrujada, students first performed as an entire group. To emphasize how both people and objects should come alive onstage, one student was even assigned to play the kitchen stove (“sizzle, sizzle”). Next, students broke off into groups and began rehearsing. Their focus changed slightly each week: Create movement with purpose! Expression matters! Always face the audience! Students had several dress rehearsals in the Spanish classroom, and then moved up to the LS Assembly room to be videotaped with props. Fifth graders also graded each others’ performances with rubrics. |
Most recently, students have experienced a schedule change for Spanish: instead of two large blocks of time for Spanish each week, fifth graders have had Spanish for shorter periods of time, five days a week. This is a trial run; it will be interesting to see if this makes a difference or not in students’ learning. During this time, students have been introduced to their third Latin American legend this year: El collar de oro (The Gold Necklace). Next term, fifth graders will be rehearsing this legend and beginning to prepare for their end-of-the year debut on Cinco de Mayo. Expect more details about this to come home in April.