|1||This term, students in first grade alternated between Story Days and Activity Days. On the former, students tended to ask Pato was he was doing, and oftentimes he would invent a wild adventure (that coincidentally included Activity Day vocabulary). Once, though, he couldn’t get his beak out of a book, and students pestered him to share the story. Because it was either that or a time-out from Señorita, Pato began to relate the adventures of his hero, Don Quijote de La Mancha, to first graders. He started with the renowned windmill chapter, and conveniently, students were able to make connections with the windmills in this novel and the windmill in The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind. |
The class so enjoyed hearing about the Spanish literary masterpiece, that from that point forward, Pato focused all of his energy on the book. Students also translated the daily message; played Luz roja, luz verde outside; read two books in the target language; and practiced answering the question, “¿Qué quieres hacer?” (What do you want to do?), on Activity Days, with one of four choices: Quiero jugar/ I want to play; Quiero dibujar/ I want to draw; Quiero ir/ I want to go; or Quiero pintar/ I want to paint. Gracias for a fun-filled start to the year.
|2||This term, students in first grade continued adding and expanding upon their various activity centers. For example, one week first graders built structures out of Legos and/or popsicle sticks, and the following week, they deepened their understanding of ‘construir’ (build) by molding and later painting various structures out of air-dry clay. Partway through the quarter, first graders practiced using their new ‘connecting’ words to combine activities —y/and; con/with— and either read, wrote, or voiced their preferences aloud. |
Many students seemed to appreciate the official nature of submitting what they wanted to do in written form (e.g., “Quiero jugar con mi amigo Fred/I want to play with my friend Fred). In addition, they also chose new professions passwords to integrate with their regular classroom; read the daily letters from Pato and the book, El artista que pintó un caballo azul (The Artist Who Painted a Blue Horse); discussed the difference between amigo and amiga; made postre/dessert collages to practice asking for materials; played Spanish Bingo and Roca-papel-tijeras/Rock-paper-scissors in the target language; and were introduced to the witty ‘class conversation’ games that will reappear throughout the remainder of the year.
|3||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!
|4||This term, students in first grade participated in an interactive class drama presentation in the target language. In the story, a police officer was guarding a pile of stuffed animals, but decided to take a short siesta. Meanwhile, multiple thieves dressed up in silly disguises stole stuffed animals as well as the police officer’s key. All of the ladrones/thieves were sent to la cárcel/jail, but ended up playing with the toys there because the police officer fell asleep again. Students wrote out and made a goanimate.com video of this class drama on the SMART board. |
Later on, first graders ventured downstairs in the tunnels to hang up pictures of monsters and goblins on the wall, and searched for each others’ frightening creatures; read La Mariposa (The Butterfly); were introduced to the Sr. Wooly song ¿Puedo ir al baño? (Can I go to the bathroom?); had fun forming words and mathematical equations with their bodies; made boats out of Popsicle sticks, cinta/tape, and pipe cleaners (requested by color and quantity desired); and finally, made a bar graph of what they wanted to do—x axis, ideas; y axis, number of votes. Based on the data, students’ favorite activity was traveling outside to play Policías y ladrones/Cops and Robbers (descanso/rest or break, when out of breath; libertad/freedom, when escaping from jail). Gracias for a fantastic year.