|AUG||This month, kindergarteners met “Pato”, a very lovable and silly stuffed animal who speaks Spanish but forgets how to say a lot of things… a lot of the time. However, he always has a new idea up his sleeve (wing?). For example, one week, kindergarteners took turns hoisting him up-up-up to the sky on a yarn pulley so that he could learn how to fly. This skill became particularly relevant and useful after a tremendous baking soda and vinegar volcanic eruption forced him to flee for safety. Kindergarteners crinkled their noses after getting a chance to smell the vinegar and then gasped as the powder turned into a foamy mess. |
Students also had fun lining up as a class “tren/train”, repeating “el cacahuete/peanut” and dancing to the beat (part of a rhyme kindergartners will learn later on), and stopping periodically to fill up the gas tank. They also learned how to say, “Tengo sed/I’m thirsty” to get a drink from the water fountain; responded to action and animal commands in the target language; giggled as they read the translated version of ¡No, David! by David Shannon, responding “¡Qué problema!” to each page when David misbehaves; and worked on a design project that involved food coloring, paper, and coffee filters. Gracias for a great month.
|SEPT||This month, kindergarteners began an ocean unit. First, and whenever they wanted to go get a drink (Tengo sed/I’m thirsty), students were required to bring back a cup of water to the classroom from the water fountain. In this way, they managed to fill up a plastic container (más agua/more water); underneath the clear plastic was a printout of sea creatures, making it appear to be the ocean—especially after adding a few drops of blue food coloring. Later, kindergarteners hypothesized whether or not items would float or sink (flota/floats; se hunde/sinks), and later built group boats out of Popsicle sticks (barcos/boats), complete with paper flags! To test their craftsmanship, students put the boats in a bowl of water (2.A) and kiddie pool outside (2.B) and watched as they… ultimately sank, ¡qué problema! Students also made catalejos/spyglasses with orcas and octopi and fish at the end of the telescopes, pretending to be pirates, and saw a very relevant episode of Pocoyo: Pirates.|
To shift away from constant trips to the water fountain, a new song was introduced: “Tengo hambre” (I’m hungry). Afterwards, students broke off into groups and used tiny, lightweight, wicker-type balls to knock down “fish”, or GI Joe men standing on pictures of sea creatures. Then they shouted, “¡No me comas!” (don’t eat me!), and giggled as a ravenous tiburón/shark (read: manila folder with scary shark pictures) ate up all of the knocked down “fish”.
Kindergarteners also searched for “tesoro-tesoro-tesoro-TREASURE!” at the bottom of the sea; watched a few more episodes of Pocoyo; and, lastly, built a submarine out of chairs to keep them safe from any other hungry sharks (grande/big; pequeño/small). Gracias for a great month.
|T1||This trimester, students in kindergarten experienced immersion in the target language through a variety of multi-sensory and scientific activities. From hoisting their stuffed animal friend Pato up-up-up to the sky on a yarn pulley so that he could learn how to fly; to crinkling their noses at the smell of vinegar and gasping as baking soda turned it into a foamy, volcanic eruption mess; to a design project that involved food coloring, paper, and coffee filters; to building group boats out of Popsicle sticks, complete with paper flags; to floating and sinking objects and pirate adventures with spyglasses; […]|
to searching for treasure, swimming away from hungry sharks, building submarines, singing along with Elmo to Para bailar la bamba and making sailor hats and boat steering wheels; to fort building, fruit markets, and writing Spanish sight words for the very first time; and finally, to making a class video of their ocean unit and learning about molinillos, a wooden tool used to stir chocolate in Mexico (bate, bate chocolate, tu nariz de cacachuate/stir, stir the chocolate, your nose is a peanut!), kindergarteners certainly gave it their “all”. Gracias for a great first trimester.
|NOV||This month, students in kindergarten spent a class learning about El Día de los Muertos/Day of the Dead, and were thoroughly fascinated by a silent film about the holiday—so much so, in fact, that each class ending up watching the three-minute video on repeat for a minimum of thirty minutes. To tap into the essential question of their regular classroom, kindergarteners made superhero masks to demonstrate their own personal poder, or power; learned a po-der-o-so/powerful clapping rhyme; and built card houses, until the power of various forces (esp. air and breath) knocked down the delicate constructions.|
Students at first thought that agua/water was not powerful, until they considered hurricanes. K.B also made a planetarium of stars underneath one of the tables in the Spanish room—the power of the beauty of the night sky? Finally, they began a structured free play unit, where students chose and wrote down a Spanish sight word; this determined their activity for the day (e.g., colorear/color; jugar/play). Many kindergarteners tilted their heads, a bit perplexed, when trying to match the “who-garr” pronunciation with a word that starts with “j”; their understanding of the phonetics world has officially been turned upside-down!
|JAN||This month, students in kindergarten continued with their free play unit, with a special focus on math in the target language. Here, class begins with a Buenos días (good morning) song and answering the question, “¿Cómo estás?” (how are you?) with muy bien/very good, bien/good, mal/bad, tengo sueño/I’m sleepy, tengo sed/I’m thirsty, tengo hambre/I’m hungry, or me duele/it hurts (~head, knee, etc.).|
Next, kindergarteners make a class bar graph of who wants to do what—colorear/color, jugar/play, pintar/paint, dormir/sleep, construir/build, or leer/read—and practice counting the votes (from cero/zero), working to isolate numbers and identify them out of sequence. Students note which is the tallest column, and sometimes even try to add all of them together to see the total. Granted, this number is slightly skewed and does not represent the number of students in class because they are allowed to choose more than one activity. Next, kindergarteners proceed to write their preferred sight word on the board before launching into said activity. Students heard Corre, perro, corre (Go, Dog, Go) over several classes as well (¿Te gusta mi sombrero?/Do you like my hat?; Sí me gusta/yes, I like it; No, no me gusta/no, I don’t like it).
Students also hum and sing along with Feliz Navidad, Rompe Ralph, and Para bailar la bamba playing in the background, many times without even realizing they are doing so! Please feel free to add these songs (links on my website) to your car playlist and see if your children notice, just for fun!
|MAR||This month*, students in kindergarten were encouraged to add more depth to their center work. The sight word, ir/to go (pronunciation: ‘ear’), for instance, became an entire week’s activity. Steps 1-5 as follows: build an airplane out of chairs (construir un avión); draw a plane ticket with name, destination, and a picture of the flag of said destination; pack a bag with clothes and toys; order jugo/juice, agua/water, and/or fruta/fruit from the stewardess (yours truly); and land after a tiny bit of [feigned] turbulence. Some students traveled to Mexico and the Alhambra in Spain (la fortaleza/the fort), while others ventured as far as China, and one even went to Colorado for the skiing—read: taped paper skis onto her sneakers and pretended to ski down the Lower School hallway.|
Another week, kindergarteners wanted to play with the [fake] dinero/ money in the Spanish classroom, but had to think up ways to earn it—money is not free for the taking; you must be willing to work/trabajar. As a result, some students tidied the classroom, while others felt inspired to set up small businesses after seeing photos of the popular street markets/mercados or ferias in Argentina. Students set out blankets on the floor, and sold everything from art supplies to stuffed animals. A few even started making paper wallets to hold their cash. Nice!
In the culture realm, kindergarteners made abanicos, or hand-held fans, and learned that due to the extreme heat, daily siestas/naps are part of the culture (Spain). They also practiced basic steps to the Tango. This is a ballroom dance from Argentina, but was taught with the American T-A-N-G-O style because the Argentine variations are too difficult for this age. Additionally, they sang along with and danced to A mí me gusta bailar el ritmo vuelta, a Merengue group dance, and took a day to play a game called Tingo-Tingo-Tango (Colombia).
Finally, students watched a few new episodes of Pocoyo (including Pocoyo: Despierta; Pocoyo: El baño de Loula); mimicked the movements in two silly videos about animal sounds in Spanish that have more than a billion hits online (Pollito Pío: Original/ Venganza); were intrigued by a calming flower/flor mindfulness activity; practiced saying, “¡Sorpresa!” (surprise) when their teacher came to pick them up; and worked to master their trickiest sight word yet: “y”—which means ‘and’ but is pronounced like the English alphabet letter “e”.