|K||This term, students in kindergarten shifted from passive to active participants in class. Instead of simply listening to stories and acquiring language (input), kindergarteners became physically involved in the stories and began producing a lot of Spanish (output). For example, after the good shark finds the treasure before the bad shark, he offers to share all of the toys/juguetes with everyone in class; therefore, students had a play day, and practiced requesting names of toys they knew in the target language. They also lined up all of their chairs in a row one day, and created a large sofá on which everyone could lounge—chaquetas/jackets were the ‘cushions’. |
When kindergarteners began responding to action commands, the sofá became a train with one person ‘left behind’, shouting “¡Espérame!” (Wait for me!). Kindergarteners also played Hide and Go Seek in the Spanish Cave; read and later colored the book, Jugando a las escondidas con Zog (Playing Hide and Go Seek with Zog); received brand new, sea creature passwords; learned that Salsa is both a food and a dance; practiced opening and closing hard and soft cover books at different speeds (abre/open; cierra/close); and performed their action words all around the school—through the tunnels, in the Upper School hallways, over near the Admission’s Office, and beyond. Gracias for a fantastic quarter!
|1||This term, students in first grade continued hearing mini-stories in the target language. Because the majority took place in space—from ball games sans gravity, to plastic bugs literally taped to a spinning disco-ball planet (which created colorful insect-shadow-outlines on the wall)—students allowed their science backgrounds to inform and guide the plots. |
First graders also practiced reading sight words in the target language; chose new passwords based on if they were an el word or a la word (‘boy’ and ‘girl’ words, respectively); created costumes out of the cloth in the Spanish room in order to dress up as their passwords; played Spanish Bingo and a “¿Qué es esto?” (What is this?) game; talked about Spanish diminutives (perro/dog🡪 perrito/puppy; gato/cat 🡪 gatito/ kitten); defined similar-sounding words (e.g., fiesta/party and siesta/nap); and made aviones de papel/paper airplanes.
|2||This term, students in second grade began a storytelling unit. Instead of multiple, unrelated mini-stories each class, however, second graders ended up creating a quarter-long tale about a red Martian and a purple Martian. Essentially, the red Martian steals all of the purple Martian’s money, and tries to escape in his getaway vehicle, but the car breaks down, and he has to buy a new one. The new one is too small, so he goes to a witch for some shrinking powder, but the witch is evil and the powder turns him into a bat. When the witch is chasing after the bat, she raises her magic wand to cast a spell, but drops her bag of potions in the process; the magic dust falls down, down, down… and lands in the Spanish Cave. To be continued… |
When they were not talking about magic potions and the like, students learned the basic dance steps to the Tango, Salsa, and Merengue; practiced saying, “Voy en segundo grado” (I’m in second grade) for their speeches (public speaking); participated in a scripted class conversation with their peers; played a game called, “Busca el murciélago” (Look for the Bat); read their action commands on the SMART board, instead of hearing them aloud; enjoyed watching several episodes of Pocoyó; and chose new passwords based on if they were an el word or a la word. Gracias for a great term.
|3||This term, students in third grade continued with their storytelling unit. Sample plots include: Developing an epic plan for Pato to get his juguete favorito/favorite toy back from his enemy; calling a superhero (Naso: Súper-Pato, el rey/the king; Lipowski: Mermaid Man), when the epic plan suddenly became not so epic; and the night Pato had a horrible nightmare/pesadilla—rhymes with quesadilla—about Justin el castor/Justin the Beaver. To clarify the latter, beavers like to eat patos, and Justin the Beaver specifically wanted a Pato sandwich. |
Third graders also worked in small groups and later presented a mini-play to the class; focused on internalizing gerunds via a new ‘actions’ routine (¡Estoy saltando!/I’m jumping!); read ¿Quién está durmiendo?/Who Is Sleeping?, El misterio del queso/The Cheese Mystery, and Debajo de las olas/Under the Waves; made Spanish fortune tellers, or comecocos; identified words they recognized in various picture and chapter books, which boosted their confidence with the language; and selected many impressive words for their new personalized passwords, including sarcophagus, griffin (the mythological creature), and artichoke. Gracias for an amazing quarter!
|4||This term, students in fourth grade took some time to deconstruct the Spanish structures that they already know. This was accomplished primarily via ‘wall word searches’. That is, fourth graders had to first find the relevant signs on the walls of the Spanish Cave, and then piece together the answers for a variety of translation exercises. The two class sections also had a friendly competition, in which students became word detectives, pouring through both translated and culturally authentic texts, searching for (and later recording) as many words and phrases as possible that they recognized in the target language. |
Fourth graders also focused on deciphering the difference between “Voy a hablar/I’m going to talk” and “Estoy hablando/I’m talking”; wrote back to their pen-pals in Mexico, and glued candy hearts with Spanish words onto the letters—e.g., AMIGO/friend; and worked on two short class plays. The first play was a formal meeting with an unexpected visitor, while the second was more mystery-themed (the aftermath of a toy store robbery). Finally, fourth graders made Spanish fortune tellers, or comecocos, to practice uncommon color shades for the outside flaps (primrose/prímula), and the challenging phrase, “Voy a ir” (I’m going to go), for the inside flaps. Gracias for another great term.
|5||This term, students in fifth grade put their theatrical skills to the test. In lieu of the password routine, fifth graders were assigned lines in a class script, which they practiced together each period. Once students had mastered their lines, they began adding expression and personality, which really allowed the plays to come to life. Fifth graders also started analyzing the verbs and vocabulary they know from a grammatical perspective; putting this information in chart form helped to organize their knowledge in a mathematical way, and point out subtle patterns in the language. |
In addition, students learned a little bit about linguistics and where sounds originate; listed pairs of rhyming words in Spanish, and then wrote original raps with these words to an instrumental background beat; presented a short story in the target language to their peers; and continued playing fútbol/soccer matches outside when the weather cooperated. Their March homework challenge was to watch a movie in Spanish (Spanish voiceover with English subtitles). Gracias for another great term.