|K||This term, students in kindergarten learned that while Pato flew south for the winter, Oso had no intentions of leaving whatsoever; in fact, he was quite content to hibernate in his cueva/cave until the warm temperatures returned. While he slept, kindergarteners imagined what types of provisions he might be storing with him. Oso took a break one day from his busy schedule of siestas to report that he ate REAL eggs for his winter breakfasts. Students did not believe at first, and thus a thorough inspection took place. |
From shaking and then hearing the yolk jiggle inside, to cracking the eggshell and seeing a beautiful spider web pattern form, to finally smashing it, at last kindergarteners realized that it was most definitely not de plástico (¡Rompe el huevo!/break the egg!). Later on, students compared and contrasted the size and color of US money with Euros, and then ‘bought’ juguetes/toys, peluches/stuffed animals, or comida/food with their earnings; heard Ven a la carrera (Pocoyó) and Suéltalo (Frozen); and finally, received a real, live phone call one day, which informed that Pato was on his way home and eager to share his adventures with everyone. From talking parrots and not-so-scary dragons, to erupting volcanoes, magical lightning bugs and a shark that ended up eating the treasure, Pato had quite the story to share. What a great quarter!
|1||This term, students in first grade played a variety of games to escape the ugly winter doldrums. In one, the teacher pretends to give a boring addition lesson, while one first grader is secretly given permission to ‘act out’ and be silly. For example, students can sit in their chair upside-down, take a sombrero and maracas from the toy shelf and start dancing, or even hide underneath the table. When the teacher looks at her list of students and decides to call on the one student who is acting out, she ‘finds’ said first grader and demands, “¿Qué haces?” (What are you doing?), to which s/he responds, “Nada” (Nothing). Students also played Spanish Bingo, Simon Says, Hot Potato with practice counting backwards from ten, and Pato-pato-oca. |
The latter quickly morphed to “Tomate-tomate-tocino” (tomato-tomato-bacon) for the sheer delight of being able to make ‘sopa de tomate’, or tomato soup, when someone was tagged and sent to the ‘soup’, and as an extension, first graders learned a rhyme to accompany the game: “Bate-bate-la sopa de tomate” (Stir-stir-the tomato soup). Students also listened to the ever-popular Rompe Ralph (Wreck-It Ralph) theme song, and learned that rompe means break. To illustrate this point, the class made an inedible soup with broken rotten eggs, slime, baking soda, vinegar, and food coloring (¡Qué asco!/Gross!; ¡Chévere!/Cool!). Adiós, winter blues!
|2||This term, students in second grade spent time reading postcards from their beloved stuffed animal friend Pato and learning about all of the places he traveled. First, he flew to Argentina and saw Iguazú Falls; then he went to Machu Picchu in Perú (students were able to explore a 360⁰ panoramic views of the Incan ruins online at www.airpano.com); and finally, he visited an active volcano in México named Popocatépetl (“poe-poe-KAH-tay-peh-tle”). Second graders practiced pronouncing the mouthful of vowels, and decided that should it erupt, the threat of red hot lava rushing toward him would surely encourage Pato to return home. |
Imagining the very real perils of this possibility, they had fun creating a soft chanting-beat with the words “Peligro/danger” (i.e., the boys repeat peligro-peligro-peligro, while the girls repeat danger-danger-danger; and then they switch words). When Pato finally returned, the class celebrated with a “Play Day” to welcome him back to the Spanish Cave. In-between the numerous snow days this quarter, students also took several translation tests; watched a new Señor Wooly song called Las excusas; posted a ‘brick’ to the Spanish Word Wall Castle; and made comecocos, or fortune tellers, using tijeras/scissors and green or yellow paper. Note: Next year, Pato needs to have a serious chat with Punxsutawney Phil…
|3||This term, students in third grade presented scripted partner-dialogues; learned two more rhymes in the target language, to add to their collection (“¿Qué te pasa, calabaza? ¡Nada, nada, limonada!” and “Espejito, espejito, que está en la pared, ¿quién es el hada que más le gusta a Usted?”/Mirror, mirror on the wall); tweeted their favorite books, movies and activities on the faux Spanish twitter page outside of the Cave (e.g., @señoritapato; me encanta bailar); circled words that they recognized in the Spanish version of Pepita Talks Twice (Pepita habla dos veces), which students had already read in their regular classroom; […]|
posted a ‘brick’ to the Word Wall Castle; compared the difference between “¿Qué quieres [hacer/jugar/comprar]?” (What do you want to do/play/buy?), and then had fun ‘purchasing’ items with fake dinero/money from the toy shelf; watched a multi-lingual video of Let it Go (in 25 languages), as well as the translated version of “What Does the Fox Say?” (¿Qué dice el zorro?); discussed the term gibberish after seeing a short clip of a girl speaking gibberish in multiple languages; and made Fold-It Books, where they literally folded a book out of colorful paper, pasted in paragraphs in the target language of a silly Pato story, and then illustrated each page with relevant drawings. In spite of all the snow days, it has been a busy quarter!
|4||This term, students in fourth grade focused their energies on two specific goals each class (¿Cuál es la meta?/What is the goal?). Generally speaking, the goals tend to be to repeat a certain linguistic structure as many times and in as many relevant contexts as possible in the town simulation. For instance, “¡No puedes hacer eso!” (You can’t do that!), “Quiero comprar eso” (I want to buy that), and “¿Por que?” (Why?), can easily be incorporated into almost any conversation. Moreover, students who take piano lessons were permitted to play songs from memory for the citizens of Epicville or Marlow Mayhem on the classroom teclado/keyboard. Excellent performances resulted in several very affluent musicians (propina/tip). |
In addition, fourth graders learned that Wikipedia has a wonderful translation feature on the sidebar; deduced what names of BrainPop videos were using common sense and logic (e.g., La gran explosión/The Big Bang); participated in a Virtual Word Search; rehearsed and then presented dialogues in the target language in front of their peers; generated their own linguistic discussions as they helped each other translate their pen-pal letters from Mexico, and worked on rough and final drafts of their letters, attaching tiny gifts of appreciation for their new friends (e.g., origami, beaded bracelets, stickers, etc.). Gracias for another outstanding quarter.
|5||This term, students in fifth grade continued with their daily board work translation exercises, and wrote back to their pen-pals. They also began discussing and preparing for their Latin American Program. Because fifth graders chose to write the plays this year, they were given class time to brainstorm adventures for their characters and to incorporate facts about their Spanish-speaking countries into the plans. This resulted in complex, wildly creative historical fiction plots focusing on the most famous of stuffed animals in the Spanish Cave: Pato. |
Later—after the stories had been converted to script-form—students broke off into small groups and began rehearsing both individually as well as in front of their peers. Fifth graders worked on taking their time, reading between the lines, and adding relevant actions, and are beginning to understand how to add humor and advanced expression to their roles. As the culminating program of their Lower School Spanish experience approaches, students’ excitement is on the rise; please come join us on Friday, May 2, 2014 @1:30pm in the Community Room.