Year 2013-14 (5)

Quarter 1: This term, students in fifth grade chose a class mascot to be the main character in their class stories. From this point, creativity took the reins… Hunt: A crazy scientist, aka Pocoyo, takes the pato-bailarín as his prisoner, but the dancing duck grabs the flag of Spain, knocks him down and escapes in a pink shoe to South Sandwich Islands. Byerley: Enemies of the beloved Snurkey (and the Butler) are established in the form of an evil team—Darth Vader, Turkal, Professor Coco-Mantequilla and Barney. One night, Snurkey is hungry while watching the Barney Show. He ends up entering the ‘pixeled void’ and eating Barney, thereby destroying one-quarter of his enemies. Still hungry (and presumably scared for his own personal safety), he escapes to the Arctic Circle. Fifth graders also selected a Spanish-speaking country to represent as ambassador/embajador(a); practiced identifying banderas/flags from the Spanish-speaking world; sang along with the bilingual song Wavin’ Flag—played at the 2010 World Cup—before traveling outside for Spanish soccer games (fútbol/soccer); had their first free-write of the year (with partners); and signed a Language Pledge promising not to speak English within the walls of the Spanish Cave. Gracias for an exciting start to the year!

Quarter 2: This term, students in fifth grade spent a good deal of time recycling and reviving vocabulary from years past. Whether it was through creative short stories (both spoken and written), Señor Wooly song-lyric videogame challenges, Class Wordles, animal password cards, daily online weather forecasts (comparing temperatures in other ciudades/cities and países/countries), songs-that-get-stuck-in-your-head-and-don’t-leave (Botas perdidas/Lost Boots), class plays, or translation exercises on their miniature whiteboards, fifth graders had fun combining old and new information. They also had a few class discussions about meta-linguistics, and tried to define “Language” itself—not an easy task. Later, students used their detective skills to identify and label twelve paragraphs written in different languages and alphabets. Last but not least, fifth graders chose new identities (or Spanish names) for the New Year, and began discussing the presentation format of their Latin American Festival program, scheduled for the beginning of May. Mark your calendars!

Quarter 3: 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.

Quarter 4: This term, students in fifth grade continued rehearsing for their Latin American Program, and really honed in on the details (e.g., big or small facial expressions and bodily gestures, squeaky and/or deep growling voices, and movement with purpose). Students also practiced performing the plays sans props, and then offered positive and ‘constructive criticism’ feedback to their peers following each presentation. After working on transitions and polishing their acting skills, they had a wonderful dress rehearsal in front of the entire Lower School. Their final culminating program for parents and friends that Friday was an equally huge success. Congratulations to all—you were spectacular! Subsequently, fifth graders reviewed songs from years past (Ave María, Botas perdidas, Wavin’ Flag); watched the newest Sr. Wooly videos; had fun reciting their lines from the Spanish plays in different contexts; got a taste of language-learning the traditional way—via grammar—to prepare students for Middle School and beyond; and practiced naming all of the Spanish-speaking countries in the world by jumping from one to the next on a tape map on the floor of the Spanish Cave. The majority of fifth graders already knew all of the countries, so the goal was more time-oriented for this grade level: Can you jump on and name all of them in less than fifteen seconds? Gracias for a great year.