Resumen Q4, 11-12 (K-5)

KThis term, students in kindergarten let their imaginations run wild.  Straightforward, one-dimensional stories evolved into highly complex sagas, growing ever longer and more complicated from one week to the next.  A new week merely indicated a new chapter!  A few plot examples include: a frog who wanted to catch a praying mantis with his sticky tongue; a scam artist cockroach who helped a pig steal the Angry Birds’ eggs; the reappearance of el pato malo (the bad duck); a magical Cinderella key used to unlock a jail cell; the day Lady Gaga placed a gigantic telescope against the window inside her Harry Potter-like castle; a flying book that transformed into a peacock wearing blue shoes after the main character was startled by a loud clap of thunder; and a Martian who was forced to stop at multiple stoplights out in space while driving to Earth in his flying car. 

Kindergarteners also traveled around the border of the front field of the school to learn the word tree/árbol; created an assortment of shapes out of Popsicle sticks and pencils; and went fishing for objects in a “pond” in the Spanish room to review basic nouns in the target language.  What a wonderful year it has been!
1This term, students in first grade worked on their public speaking skills in the target language.  After one person at each table asked, “¿Qué quieres hacer?/What do you want to do?”, the others answered individually in Spanish, “Quiero [jugar]/I want [to play]”.  To extend their responses, students learned the word “con/with”.  For example: “Quiero jugar con mi amigo Peter/I want to play with my friend Peter; Quiero jugar con mi amiga Jane/I want to play with my friend Jane; Quiero jugar con los patos/I want to play with the ducks”. 

Later, students interviewed each other and recorded what they wanted to do that day and what they wanted to be when they grow up.  The rest of the quarter—after the daily password routine—was spent on free play days.  Informal, creative play in Spanish class is stressed in the younger grades to encourage language immersion versus rote memorization.  “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
2This term, students in second grade played a hide-and-go seek game with their password cards; read and later presented scripts to the class entirely in the target language; had a wonderful linguistic discussion comparing various languages and alphabets; identified the distinct beats of Salsa and Tango music, and then learned the basic dance steps to each one; simultaneously all forgot their passwords one week (Se me olvidó/I forgot); practiced interrogating their peers in Spanish (¡Contesta la pregunta!/Answer the question!); and finally, mastered a challenging question from a Señor Wooly song (¿Dónde estabas a las tres de la tarde ayer?/Where were you at three in the afternoon yesterday?).  Students spent the last week talking about how to incorporate Spanish into their summer plans.  For a plethora of ideas and resources, please visit my website.
3This term, students in third grade took time to pull apart and break down memorized sentences/expressions into individual words and transferrable units—essentially, deconstructing language.  They were also challenged to translate in the opposite direction, from English to Spanish, instead of Spanish to English.  Stopping to think about how language is structured led to many valuable discussions throughout the quarter which, in turn, helped students to make a slew of connections. 

Different light bulbs were turning on every day.  For instance, although third graders had accepted that “el/la/los/las” all mean “the” in Spanish, they never knew the logic behind it (i.e., masculine and feminine nouns).  Near the end of the term, students used their in-depth knowledge of the language to create and present original dialogues and stories to their peers.  Kudos to all for a job well done!
4This term, students in fourth grade continued honing their language skills while working in the pueblo.  Fourth graders focused on expanding their conversations to longer, more involved exchanges; breaking down complex ideas into basic linguistic structures for the purpose of communicating an idea (versus being “poetic” or “academic”); expressing different points of view; and taking risks with the language.  The latter implies that students do not rely solely on the information or vocabulary given, but instead are willing to experiment grammatically in order to make the language their own. 

Likewise, the pueblo itself has the ability to grow into and become “its own”.  For example, perhaps the most thrilling week of the quarter occurred when the addition of a tax collector changed the generally amiable ambiance to one of revolt and strikes (huelgas).  Citizens were charged with taxes (impuestos) for anything and everything.  The pueblo lives and breathes because of days like these; the town is both real to students and realistic by nature.  As a result, students are emotionally involved.  They are not merely translating vocabulary words; they are, very literally, living the language.  Gracias for an incredible year.
5This term, students in fifth grade presented two dress rehearsals for their peers prior to the actual Latin American Festival.  Complete with a wide variety of music selections (from James Bond to Handel’s “Messiah”) and a strong command of the target language, the performances were all highly successful.  Fifth graders spent the last portion of the year using their legend vocabulary to create an imaginative plot in Spanish.  The class decided to base the action around a friendly walrus and his arch-nemesis, Garfield.  Finally, students were challenged to present an original story in Spanish in groups of two.  Gracias for a fantastic year.