Quarter 1: This term, students in third grade practiced a new routine to begin class (Luces, cámara, acción, redoble por favor/Lights, camera, action, drum roll please); learned three Spanish tongue twisters (Pito, pito colorito; Pepe Pecas; and Q-U-E-S-O/cheese); and worked on pronouncing a very long word in the target language: Otorrinolaringólogo/ENT doctor. Third graders also made comecocos, or fortune tellers, for the twofold (yes, a very bad pun!) purpose of using numbers out of order and reviewing infinitives from last year, and later created flip cards that said, “¡Estoy jugando!/I’m playing” on one side and “¡No me molestes!/Don’t bother me!” on the other. After verbally answering the question, “¿Qué quieres hacer?/What do you want to do?”, students proceeded with the activity of their choice (e.g., jugar/play, pintar/paint). Within a matter of seconds, however, they were ‘interrupted’ by the teacher, who asked repeatedly and nonstop, “¿Qué haces?/Whatcha doin’?”, until said student answered the question aloud. Students pushed this comparative investigation of infinitives and gerunds even further via Play Days and translation exercises. Because third graders referenced the walls of the Spanish Cave when they got stuck, the latter seemed tantamount to being literally inside a word search… talk about a virtual experience. They wrapped up the quarter with several songs, new and old—Yo me llamo, El banco, Botas perdidas. Last but not least, students chose Spanish names. Gracias for a great start to the year!
Quarter 2: This term, students in third grade had fun studying the metamorphosis of shapes that the mouth undergoes when pronouncing Spanish vowels. After trying to enunciate a few lengthy but vowel-rich words—such as electroencefalografista—students tried their hand at an even more challenging rhyme (A, E, I, O, U, ¡el burro sabe más que tú!/A, E, I, O, U, the donkey knows more than you!). When the sounds began to mush together, third graders just laughed, content with their theoretical understanding of Spanish phonetics. Students also rehearsed and presented several humorous dialogues, which led one afternoon to a tangential discussion about the term Spanglish. For whatever reason, third graders became fascinated with the idea of mixing languages, so much so that they insisted on [repeatedly] practicing the lines of their class mini-play in English, Spanish, and Spanglish. When they were not engrossed in a world of meta-linguistics, students reviewed passwords from previous years (e.g., animals, foods, months of the year); ‘passed notes’ to their neighbors to practice their writing skills; created a Class Wordle of all the words they know in the target language; read ¿Quién está durmiendo? (Who Is Sleeping?); and learned about La Tomatilla, a huge tomato fight and tradition that takes place in Spain every August. Gracias for another brilliant quarter!
Quarter 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!
Quarter 4: This term, students in third grade practiced answering questions in the target language (e.g., ¿Te gusta comer hamburguesas con queso o con cebollas o con queso y cebollas?/Do you like to eat hamburgers with cheese or with onions or with cheese and onions?); learned about the history behind Cinco de Mayo, and then acted out the story with live actors and actresses (colina/hill; lodo, mud); held a mini-auction (Note: Popular items included Waddles, the stuffed animal duck that sings lullabies, and a chicken that zips up into an egg and unzips back into a chicken [what?]); created a crazy class story about two witches who turn a famous dancer’s next door vecino/neighbor into a Monstruo de papas/Potato Monster; did a book word search, recording all of the words they recognized in the target language and tabulating the results; wrote and illustrated their own comic strips, making certain to include at least one word or phrase in Spanish in each box; had a ‘kinesthetic discussion’ about el/la/los/las (the) categories and deduced that most el words end in -o, while most la words end in -a; and finally, 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. Gracias for a beautifully creative year filled with laughter and fun.