|K||This term, students in kindergarten experienced the world from a duck’s perspective. However, it should be noted that this is not merely any duck, but rather the world-renowned, forever young, mischievous yet adorable stuffed animal Pato. Examples detailing his thought processes as follows: When Patito noisily sipped a large glass of water (consequently filling the plastic rubber duck cavity with liquid), Pato invented a game that resulted in a domino effect of markers, and beautiful water patterns and designs (chorro de agua/spurt of water). When Pato learned how to play Roca-papel-tijeras (Rock-paper-scissors) and Pollo-pollo-arroz/Chicken-chicken-rice, he asked to combine the two activities by making a mini-menu booklet, which later inspired an in-class restaurant simulation. |
When Pato tripped over a hairdryer and—believing it to be a monster caught in a spider’s web—began running for dear life, kindergarteners began to understand his unique point of view. Oh Pato, we love how you think! In addition to the lessons in perspective-taking, students also heard a new song in honor of the baby chicks that lived in their regular classroom (Los pollitos dicen pío pío pío); played Spanish Bingo; watched a few Pocoyó episodes; and read a book called El artista que pintó un caballo azul in order to inspire their own charming drawings. Gracias for an amazing year.
|1||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.
|2||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.
|3||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.
|4||This term, students in fourth grade played Spanish Monopoly; bought mansions and created a handmade map of the town; discovered that the map is authentic and of downtown Buenos Aires, and that the main street, or Avenida 9 de Julio, happens to be one of the widest in the world (with a whopping sixteen lanes of traffic); opened up a café, and then sipped and learned about the traditional friendship drink and famous tea of Argentina, called Mate; and extended their understanding of the word ‘pueblo’: The town does not only exist within the four walls of the Spanish Cave, but also beyond it… and thus a parque/park (in which to play fútbol/soccer) was borne. |
Not long after, fourth graders learned of a dramatic new development. The town had suffered a desastre natural/natural disaster, and as a result, no longer exists. Following the initial shock, fourth graders began to wonder—what if your friend has a sweater and you don’t? Rationally minded individuals suddenly become desperate, even when la fuerza/the force—illustrated by a ping-pong ball levitating above a hair dryer—is on their side. Thankfully, the Red Cross/La Cruz Roja was able to collect and donate $50,000 to all citizens affected before things got too out of hand. Students read the generous letter and began planning how to spend the cash (needs vs. wants). Gracias for an incredible year.
|5||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.