Newsletter 14-15, Year (2)

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: ¡No puedes hacer eso!” (You can’t do that!). Second graders also played the “¿Qué haces?” (What are you doing?) class game from last year; learned how to say “I love/I’m lovin’ it” or “I don’t love/I’m not lovin’ it” via the McDonald’s tune in Spanish: (No) me encanta ♫; rehearsed a mini-play in the target language; played a hot/cold type of game called “Busca el murciélago” (Look for the bat), to integrate with their regular classroom bat study; learned about accent marks in Spanish; worked on experiencing pure boredom in order to associate the emotion with the word ‘aburrido(a)’; and wrote out what they wanted to do on their miniature whiteboards, commenting on each other’s ideas in Spanish. Additionally, students made a cultural analogy—Ohio:football::Argentina:Tango—and saw photos of an Argentine milonga band, heard the song La cumparsita to give them a sense of what Tango music sounds like, discussed the differences between Tango and Salsa, and then used all of their muscles to maintain good posture and take their first steps… T-A-N-G-O (American style Tango basic). Gracias for a great quarter.

Quarter 2: This term, students in second grade spent the bulk of their time reading, practicing, and later presenting humorous mini-dialogues in the target language. They worked on adding expression (‘talk with your hands!’) and vocal inflection so as to better understand the emotion behind the words. Here is a sample script: Estoy aburrido(a)./¿Quieres comer un tomate?/No, gracias./¿Quieres comer cinco tomates?/No me gustan los tomates./¿Quieres comer mil tomates?/¡Te dije que no! (I’m bored/Do you want to eat a tomato?/No thanks./Do you want to eat five tomatoes?/I don’t like tomatoes./Do you want to eat one-thousand tomatoes?/I told you no!). The last line is from the Sr. Wooly song, ¡PAN! (BREAD!), and is pronounced: ‘tay-DEE-hay-k-no’. Second graders had fun pretending to be frogs and jumping on every syllable to practice the tricky phonetic combination. Additionally, students made comecocos, or fortune tellers; taught Pato how to sound out words in Spanish (a rather exigent task, considering his general inability to focus on anything relevant); learned how to dance the Merengue in a circle with their peers, while shaking a pair of authentic maracas from the Dominican Republic (aka place of origin of the Merengue); and had fun jamming to a few of their favorite songs (Colores, colores; Botas perdidas; Billy la bufanda).

Quarter 3: This term, students in second grade were given a certain radical freedom—to choose any word in the universe as their new password. The results were impressive and not always literal. For example, one student choose, “Something” (algo) so as to cleverly include everything, while another decided on something more concrete but rather ephemeral: “Fireworks” (fuegos artificiales). Later, and as a creative thinking exercise, students tried to ‘become’ these words in their action commands. For the password, “pollo polaco” (Polish chicken), second graders clucked the Polish word for chicken [kurczak] as they strutted around the Spanish Cave. After practicing naming the Spanish-speaking countries on the tape floor map, students were assigned a country in which to park themselves after each action, and had twelve syllables—estacionamiento prohibido­—to get there. No one else was allowed to park in their space, rather, country, hence the translation, ‘No parking’. In-between snow/cold days, second graders also worked on reading a class script, (an extension of their mini-dialogues from the second quarter); learned about the concept of ‘Spanglish’; discussed the differences between translation (written) and interpretation (spoken); tried their hand at pronouncing a mouthful of syllables: La República Dominicana/The Dominican Republic (‘lah ray-POO-blee-kah-doe-me-knee-kah-nah’); and danced to the song Madre Tierra ♫ by Chayanne.

Quarter 4: This term, second graders transitioned to a storytelling unit, where student-created characters and culturally authentic settings created a unique blend of fiction and non-fiction. Plot: Bobby/Shù the grasshopper/saltamontes is flying in his paper airplane [or: surfing on his surfboard], when a sudden and violent thunderstorm causes him to crash off the coast of Brazil. Most unfortunately, he lands in a ‘no-parking/estacionamiento prohibido’ zone in the backyard of a gigantic butterfly who, up until the crash, had been sleeping quite peacefully. The blast jolts him awake and naturally initiates a few karate battles between the two insects. In fugitive-mode, our protagonist hightails it to La Tierra del Fuego (Land of Fire) archipelago off of Chile and Argentina, and then Monte Fitz Roy (Fitz Roy Mountain) in Argentina. At some point, he also disappears into a Time Machine Void to visit the dinosaurs. Oh no! Second graders had fun traveling around the globe [virtually] to check out the weather forecast in these places as well as other locations (chubascos/downpours; tormentas/storms; nublado/cloudy). Later on, students inspected real Argentine pesos and tried to wrap their brains around why money is worth different amounts in different countries; discussed military time; saw a video of a recent volcanic eruption in Chile (Calbuco); repeatedly listened to the songs Madre Tierra and ¿Adónde vas?; and played Policías y ladrones outside. Gracias for a fabulous year.