Quarter 1: This term, students in third grade discussed how ‘language is a sport for your mouth’, as phonetics is a major part of the third grade curriculum. Students then worked on memorizing several tongue twisters in Spanish so as to over-exaggerate the mouth-moving process: Pito, pito colorito; Pepe Pecas; A-E-I-O-U, el burro sabe más que tú (the donkey knows more than you); otorrinolaringólogo/ ENT doctor; Q-U-E-S-O, or ¿Qué es eso? ¡Eso es queso! (What is that? That is cheese!); and ¿Qué te pasa, calabaza? Nada, nada limonada (What’s up with you, pumpkin? Nothing, nothing lemonade). Third graders earned a class reward for all of their hard work—to make a donkey piñata in class. Later, and as part of an ongoing conversation unit, they worked on asking and answering two basic questions in the target language: ¿Qué quieres hacer?/What do you want to do?; Quisiera jugar…/I would like to play…; ¿Qué haces?/What are you doing?; Estoy jugando/I’m playing. Finally, students practiced their lines in a Spanish mini-play; watched several videos from the Señor Wooly site as a Halloween treat (El banco, Las excusas, and ¡PAN!); and began a storytelling unit about Pato el actor famoso/Pato the Famous Actor and an evil flower/flor malvada. Third graders had fun responding dramatically to certain key phrases in the story. Gracias for a great start to the year.
Quarter 2: This term, students in third grade continued developing their class stories. Plot: Pato is flying to the torre/tower in either Romania (Petersheim) or Croatia (Naso) in order to rescue his kidnapped stuffed animal Patito from la flor malvada/the Evil Flower. Unfortunately and en route, his avión/airplane crash-lands in the mar negro/Black Sea (Petersheim) or the mar mediterráneo/ Mediterranean Sea (Naso). In said body of water, Pato sees a multitude of sea creatures (estrellas de mar/starfish, medusa/jellyfish, etc.) and a yellow submarine, or submarino amarillo ♫. In one class (Petersheim), the submarine was not a threat to Pato; in the other (Naso), it was… uh-oh! Later on, third graders used some of this common pool of [story] vocabulary to create their own original comic strips. The final drafts were laminated for students to take home. Additionally, they listened to the catchy song Botas perdidas (Lost Boots) from last year; took some time to dance the Merengue in a circle with their peers (Bailar el ritmo vuelta), and compared and contrasted it with both the Salsa and Tango; and tried dulce de leche, a well-known milk caramel type of spread from South America. As a tangential conversation, students also learned about La Copa Mundial/World Cup and what the celebrations were like in Argentina this summer (non-stop horns for 24 hours straight!).
Quarter 3: This term, students in third grade accomplished a great deal. For starters, they finished their class story about Pato, a stuffed animal who became impatient with Señorita one day and decided to jump into a five-gallon bucket of real water when she wouldn’t stop talking on the phone. Next, third graders told a story not about Pato [gasp]. While the characters and locations varied from class to class, here is a general outline of the plot (Naso): One afternoon/una tarde, a mouse is eating cheese when an evil doctor grabs the cheese (una doctora malvada agarra el queso) and replaces it with mostaza/ mustard. The doctor drives a red Mustang to his secret cave underneath the Eiffel Tower. By means of “the force”, or la fuerza, the cheese also arrives in the cave. Mientras/meanwhile, the mouse sneezes and laments his string of bad luck. Both classes had fun using ‘la fuerza’ to levitate a short table and later a ping-pong ball (with a hairdryer). Third graders also watched the song-video “¿Qué dice el zorro?” (What Does the Fox Say?); practiced answering the question, “¿Cómo te sientes?” (How do you feel?); completed several translation exercises, and then identified how those verbs and nouns related to their class stories (conjugation patterns; masculine/feminine nouns); jumped on and named the Spanish-speaking countries on the tape floor map in the Spanish Cave; and finally, began researching one of these countries on the school iPads. Gracias for a terrific quarter!
Quarter 4: This term, students in third grade spent the first half of the quarter creating their last class story of the year. Plot (Petersheim): Wilbur the Pig lives in Mexico. Student X lives in a mansion in Spain (La Alhambra) and is very rich because he is a famous soccer player/futbolista. Student X is in possession of a magical necklace that Wilbur wants. In front of the mansion, however, are four knights/caballeros. Wilbur decides to ask his friends for help to get past the knights guarding the mansion. As a result, Pato sneezes on the first knight, causing him to leave to get a tissue. Bob, the second knight, is invisible and asleep, and therefore not too much of a concern. The third knight loves squirrels/ardillas, so when an audience member shouts, “Look! A squirrel!” he enthusiastically chases after it. The fourth knight slips on a banana peel that a nearby monkey places in front of him… and voilà: the line of defense no longer seems so intimidating.
In addition to storytelling, third graders made flag booklets, and were encouraged to collect stickers or tags on fruits, vegetables, and articles of clothing from Spanish-speaking countries (imports/exports). Later on, students learned more about La Alhambra, and then built a replica of the fortaleza/fort out of cardboard boxes and tables and colored in Moorish tiles with beautifully intricate geometric designs and patterns. Finally, they listened to Hai Kur Mamashu Shis (Yagan/English) and Tour the World (geography RSA animate video).