Quarter 1: This term, students in second grade had fun learning about The Adventures of Pato—one of the most mischievous stuffed animals in the Spanish Cave. When necessary, they also helped discipline the sometimes quite rebellious and stubborn duck. One day, second graders watched as Pato created an enormous mess of toys, and then decided that he wanted to play with his stuffed animal friends instead. When he later asked to play, the class responded, “Pues, déjame ver… ¡no, no puedes!” (Well, let me see… no, you can’t!). Because he claimed he had to read the answer in order to understand it, the class spelled it phonetically on the board—“p(ways), day-hah-may-bear”. Naturally, his response was not to clean up his toys but rather, “A BEAR! Oh no! Run, everyone, run!” When they weren’t putting him in a time-out or teaching Pato to read, students learned about the Spanish literary masterpiece, Don Quijote; talked about el and la words in the target language; played a game called “Busca el murciélago” (Look for the bat); decorated a house and car for Pato; practiced reading action words on the board; rehearsed their lines in a Spanish play; and learned the basic step to two Spanish dances, the Salsa and the Tango. Gracias for a great first quarter.
Quarter 2: This term, students in second grade continued practicing the basic steps to the Salsa and Tango. When second graders felt confident, they presented this knowledge, as well as a Spanish mini-play, in front of an audience (Wintersteller: Upper School Spanish I class; Lipowski: Lower School Assembly). Subsequently, students continued hearing about The Great Adventures of Pato and teaching their friend that puedo (I can) and PlayDoh are not the same word. And then one day… Pato vanished. A week later, students read in a handwritten postcard that their beloved protagonist had flown south of the equator, to Argentina, in order to escape the polar vortices and drab, hoary landscape of winter in Ohio. In his absence, second graders took some time to get a feel for the South American country, looking at pictures of the famous Iguazú Falls (waterfalls) and typical Argentine foods (beef!), and listening to Argentine Tango music. In addition, they made and then colored ‘talking-bookmarks’ of either Don Quijote or an Aztec warrior; listened to Mayan, Náhuatl, and Quechua tunes (indigenous languages); watched the movie Wreck-It Ralph/Rompe Ralph in the target language (Spanish voiceover with English subtitles); and sang along with two very catchy Señor Wooly songs: “¿Puedo ir al baño?” (Can I go to the bathroom?), and “¡PAN!” (BREAD!).
Quarter 3: 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…
Quarter 4: This term, students in second grade approached their language study through a variety of games, creative class stories, and written activities. The students’ most-requested game was when the teacher pretends to give a boring addition lesson, and one second grader is secretly given permission to ‘act out’ and be silly. When the teacher looks at her list of students and decides to call on the one who is acting out, she ‘finds’ said second grader and demands, “Qué haces?” (What are you doing?), to which s/he responds, “Nada” (nothing). Later on in the quarter, students created a spooky plot around the word pesadilla/nightmare, which is not to be confused with quesadilla. While both classes had very different ideas, they agreed that including the powerful magical chant, “Abracadabra, pata de cabra, ¡chiquitipuf!” was a must. Students were tickled pink to learn that ‘pata de cabra’ means ‘goat foot’. In addition, second graders created their own comics; demanded the password from their peers (dime la contraseña o no puedes pasar/tell me the password or you can’t come in); practiced counting backwards from ten in the target language; pretended to buy items from the toy shelf with faux euro bills; and learned the names of all of the Spanish-speaking countries in South America by jumping from one to the next on a tape map on the floor of the Cave.