|K||This term, students in kindergarten began stringing their action word commands together to create miniature role-plays and to continue creating class stories. Previously, kindergarteners would be instructed to “fall down” as a command. Now, one student spins around, becomes dizzy, and falls down, at which point the other student runs over and asks if s/he is okay. Pretend injuries always serve as excellent story starters, and moreover, incorporate kindergarteners into the stories as active actors and actresses (with “lines”–or cued responses–in the target language) instead of just passive audience members. Gracias for another great quarter.|
|1||This term, students in first grade learned the names of all of the Spanish-speaking countries in South and Central America by jumping on the tape floor map in the Spanish room. People tend to think that only Mexico and Spain speak Spanish, when in reality, there are over twenty countries with Spanish as their official language. First graders also helped create several class stories, and heard a couple of books in the target language. While class stories include vocabulary students already know, books in the target language incorporate “out-of-bounds” words and force first graders to intuit (via pictures and intonation) the storyline. You see, it is all about stretching the linguistic mind…|
|2||This term, students in second grade worked on their public speaking and leadership skills in the target language. For example, instead of the teacher saying, “Dime la contraseña/Tell me the password” as students entered the Spanish room, the Star Student did. Once inside, one student at each table would ask his/her group, “¿Qué quieres hacer?/What do you want to do?”, and the other group members would answer, “Quiero jugar contigo/I want to play with you”, or “Pues, déjame ver, no sé/Well, let me see, I don’t know”. |
Later, each group presented to the class entirely in Spanish. As their confidence with the language developed, second graders also had to ask and answer a basic question–one question and answer per table: ¿Qué día es hoy?/What day is today? Hoy es jueves/Today is Thursday. ¿Qué tiempo hace afuera?/ What’s the weather like outside? Hace sol/It’s sunny. ¿Cuál es la fecha?/ What’s the date? Es el ocho de marzo/It’s March 8th. ¿Qué hora es?/What time is it? ¡Es hora de jugar!/It’s time to play! Gracias for a great quarter!
|3||This term, students in third grade began a storytelling unit. On Mondays and Tuesdays, the teacher produces language for third graders to absorb and digest (via highly imaginative class stories). Stories help students to synthesize all of the vocabulary they have been acquiring and put it in a meaningful context. More importantly, students’ creative minds make for some very memorable characters—from the grey hippopotamus HWMNBN (He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named), to a Lego-man named The Lady in White, to an evil dentist and his pet bird, to the ghost named Steve who really wants to eat some sausage and bacon, third graders let their imaginations run wild. |
On Fridays, students are responsible for producing language in a more flexible, free-play type of environment. They also changed their passwords several times this quarter, and learned the names of the Spanish-speaking countries in South and Central America by jumping on the tape floor map in the Spanish room.
|4||This term, students in fourth grade learned the names of the Spanish-speaking countries in South and Central America; wrote back to their pen-pals in Oaxaca, Mexico; and re-birthed their pueblo/town from the first quarter. A typical day in the pueblo begins with fourth graders stating where they want to work—at la juguetería/the toy store, el banco/the bank, la tienda de arte/the art store, el cine/the movie theater, la escuela de danza, arte, música y karate/the dance, art, music, and karate school, or la librería/the book store. |
Later, students travel around town, taking out money from the bank, waiting in line, buying items, returning products, stopping by the casino to play a card game, getting temporarily thrown in the calabozo/dungeon for speaking English, and practicing a lot of spontaneous Spanish in practical, real-life situations. A new money system was also instituted, in which students lose money for speaking English and earn money by speaking Spanish. Congratulations and thanks go to all of the citizens of Legoville for bringing the word p-u-e-b-l-o to life.
|5||This term, students in fifth grade spent the first half of the quarter studying and rehearsing their lines for the fourth legend of the year: El hijo-ladrón (Guatemala). They also wrote back to their pen-pals in Oaxaca, Mexico. Later on, fifth graders were assigned their official performance groups for the Latin American Festival on Cinco de Mayo (May 5th). |
Students will work in-depth on one legend until that time, using a genre-specific lens (action movie, thriller, comedy, musical, or drama) to guide their decisions regarding music selections, gestures, humor (or a lack thereof), and costumes/props. Fifth graders have really hit the ground running and are off to a great start. You can definitely feel the buzz of creative energy!