|PK||This semester, students in prekindergarten built the night sky—size-appropriate for stuffed animals—out of glow-in-the-dark moon and star stickers on blue paper; chose a stuffed animal to cuddle with under a huge blanket/manta; had the class electrician/electricista turn off the lights; whispered buenas noches/goodnight to their peers; and then pretended to fall asleep as they listened to Pato sing Estrellita (Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star). |
When the sun rose, students stretched, chatted, and then started the bedtime routine all over again! They also met Stan, the pet dog of Pato—“Why is he named Stan, Pato?” “Because he speaks Stan-ish!”—and played a few sports games together. In addition, students spent a week decorating their very own mini-piñatas; read Corre, perro, corre (Go, Dog, Go) and several David Shannon books, among many others; classified and sorted toys by color and size; and even ventured outside (yes, Spanish exists there, too!). Gracias for a fabulous year.
|K||This semester, students in kindergarten let their imaginations run wild. What began as responding to action commands (verbs)—“Run! Jump! Fly!”—gradually evolved into acting out any word, from keys and vegetables to a blossoming class flower (aerial view, with shoes in the center and reverse sit-ups). Later, verbs and nouns were tied together via reenactments of the daily morning routine—brushing teeth, putting on clothes, washing face, riding or biking to school, greeting teacher, and even earning stickers for completing math problems in the target language! |
In Project Land-ia, kindergarteners combined droplets of food coloring to create beautiful designs; had fun with more floating/sinking experiments; went on a plastic insect treasure hunt; created a life-sized spider web out of yarn; pulled Pato up and down on a pulley system; ‘traveled’ to Spain/España in a boat (i.e., a box dragged across the ocean—rather, floor—on the tape floor map by yours truly); were introduced to the Salsa (dance); created a school, movie theater, and house for Pato, and a hospital for Stan (a paper pet dog of Pato, who speaks Stan-ish, and was injured [crumpled] one day when he tried to run away and someone grabbed at him). Finally, students have been working on both reading and writing Spanish sight words. Gracias for a fabulous year.
|1||This semester, students in first grade worked on understanding the difference between a statement and a question in Spanish (quiero/I want vs. ¿puedo?/ can I?), through context cues and punctuation. Later, they were given age-appropriate worksheets in the target language and, via use of logic, sight words, and teamwork, had to deduce the instructions themselves! |
Additionally, students composed both silly and serious sentences; chose food nicknames; tasted Mexican candies; made Me gusta/I like collages; learned a soccer chant from Spain; earned (fake) euros for cleaning the classroom (limpiar/to clean); built an impressive 3-D model of part of Chichen Itza out of colorful paper cubes, in an “assembly-line” type of factory (Mexico); and had fun playing Hangman and Spanish Bingo. First graders also increased their clean-up routine productivity by imagining the trashcans as “Monstruos de la basura” (Trash Monsters), and then feeding the ravenous creatures with papers and scraps at the end of class. Gracias for a fabulous year.
|2||This semester, students in second grade continued with their daily journal entries. Here, they wrote about how they were feeling (emotions), included the day and date, and described the weather, paying special attention to accents, spelling, and punctuation. They also made sure to note which geography-level they were working on: levels one through three deal with naming the Spanish-speaking countries on the tape floor map, and level four involves flag identification (independent work). |
In addition, second graders had fun acting out their new animal passwords; built an impressive 3-D model of part of Chichen Itza out of colorful paper cubes (Mexico); talked about the concept of Spanglish; practiced reading their lines in a Spanish mini-play script; learned about Cinco de Mayo; and played a variety of games in the target language, including Charades, Pirinola, Bingo, Game Show, and Cops and Robbers. Gracias for a fabulous year.
|3||This semester, students in third grade began by helping the rest of Lower School build an impressive 3-D model of part of Chichen Itza out of colorful paper cubes (Mexico). One particular cube managed to attach itself to a Popsicle stick and grow a face—and thus was borne Cubby el cubo cubano (Cubby the Cuban Cube). In order to tell the story of present-day Cubby, however, it was necessary to travel back in time; through role-playing, third graders learned about the lost treasure and Spanish Fleet of 1715, and then used this story (nonfiction) as a point of origin for their own original story (fiction). |
Their adventure involved intimidating bodyguards, good and evil forces (e.g., the girl who poured a milkshake on Cubby, the paper cube!), the fact that Cubby lives in a printer and therefore could photocopy and clone himself, and a ridiculous and messy finale of soap and marshmallows that expanded in the (yes, real) microwave. Later, students went on another historical voyage to learn about endangered languages and how creoles/languages are formed, and as an extension, worked to create their own languages. Knuffle Bunny added some good food for thought here—is thinking language, pre-language, or merely wordless emotional stuff? Lastly, third graders chose class (food) nicknames; had a ‘masculine and feminine nouns’ competition; learned about Cinco de Mayo, and began their final class story of the year. Gracias for a fabulous year.
|4||This semester, students in fourth grade divided their time between working in the town and getting a healthy dose of grammar. In the latter, fourth graders ‘leveled up’ from one written translation to another, deepening their understanding of and making connections between Spanish etymologies and general syntax. After grasping the overarching idea (of both verb conjugations and nonliteral translations), students created their own quizzes to test one another, and then worked to apply this newfound knowledge in meaningful contexts. |
For example—in addition to the town simulation—they also rehearsed and presented (partner) stories with puppets, and invented their own class story about a bear named Jellybean who lives on Mars. Additionally, fourth graders talked about exchange rates and other currencies; learned about Cinco de Mayo; and wrapped up the year with a focus on how to ask questions in the target language. Gracias for a fabulous year.
|5||This semester, students in fifth grade began preparing for the Fifth Grade Spanish Program. After familiarizing themselves with each of the three plays, fifth graders were assigned a main part in one play and minor roles in the others. Since then, students have been working on using appropriate vocal intonation and expression; facing the audience; adding relevant movements; brainstorming creative costume ideas and what type of music might be fitting for certain scenes; gathering items for their prop boxes; and memorizing their lines. |
Students should be immensely proud of their dedication, grit, preparation, and linguistic and theatrical skills. As a result of all of their hard work, the upcoming theatrical debut (on Friday, May 20, 2016 @1:30pm) is sure to be a tremendous success. As the year wraps up, fifth graders will divide their time between a basic grammar review and soccer games, weather permitting. Gracias for a fabulous year and (sniff, sniff!), best of luck in Middle School!