Newsletter 19-20, T2 (3)

Third Grade- This trimester, third graders in 3B chugged along steadily with their Duolingo work, while 3A decided to take a break from the app back in December (but picked it up again in February).

3.A CHAMPIONS: Aylani, 694 XP; Celia, 507 XP; Marijka, 500 XP; 3.B CHAMPIONS: Kaden, 1197 XP; Zafirah, 1127 XP; Sebastian, 871 XP.

Culturally speaking, third graders divided into groups based on student interests. Here is a list of both class and individual projects they have worked on this trimester.

  1. Third graders inspired all of Lower School by transforming my closet into a Costa Rican rainforest, complete with green vines galore, Christmas lights, photos of animals that actually live there–and currently, REAL plants in the campus greenhouse. That are growing! In real life! Whose seeds third graders planted!
  2. Students in both classes were given the opportunity to eat a fried cricket. They had a mature class conversation about other cultures, perspectives, and traditions. In Mexico, there are 549 edible insects, and it is common to eat them and see them in markets.
  3. After watching this clip of the Landfill Harmonic documentary about a town in Paraguay, 3.B decided to make their own instruments out of trash and recyclable materials, and proceeded to share this information with the community at FMM.
  4. Third graders made a Popsicle stick model of the Train to the Clouds in Argentina (skip to 3:45 in video), for the LS art/science/history Spanish Museum.
  5. Students learned how natural chewing gum/chicle is made from the Sapodilla tree (Mexico), and then considered opening their own business; here, they tried melting Starbursts to create a similar, gooey chicle-like substance. Several students even painted criss-cross x’s on real bark to replicate how chicleros slash the trees to let the sap drain down. Ultimately, copyrights, patents, and other legal practices got in the way of an actual start-up–but it was fun while it lasted!
  6. Two students made a diorama museum exhibit of Yungas Road in Bolivia, one of the most dangerous roads in the world, out of natural materials.
  7. Another group got very excited about Worry Dolls, after listening to THIS short story, and not only made their own dolls to bring home, but also created houses and furniture for them!
  8. One student made a model of the Popocatépetl volcano in Mexico, and had fun creating eruptions with baking soda and vinegar.
  9. Three boys learned about the Boiling River in Peru. Afterwards, to see if water actually boils at 100*C (212*F), they used a tea kettle and glass thermometer. And yes- it does.
  10. Students tried to create a life-sized model of the Galapagos turtles (Ecuador). The turtles are HUGE!
  11. Third graders also talked about different currencies, and used an online currency converter to see how much their American dollars were worth in other countries.
  12. Back in November, students also looked at clothing tags and food labels, to see if they were made in a Spanish-speaking country. They found bananas from Costa Rica and Nicaragua, avocados from Mexico, shirts from Honduras, apples from Chile, and more. Feel free to keep the conversation going whenever you are grocery shopping or in your kitchen cooking. It is fascinating to note how global we really are.

Finally, third graders focused on team-building skills and building a stronger class community, by participating in both the Marshmallow Challenge as well as Policías y ladrones/Cops and Robbers games outside (from last year). While learning a language takes a tremendous amount of grit, strength of character, and independence, it is always more fun with other people!

*ASIDE: As you may already know by this other post, native speakers were recently given a list of ideas to supplement their language study. They also have personal journals/diarios in which they are aiming to write a page entry each class day, in lieu of the regular written work. So far, they are doing really well!

February: Para enriquecer su experiencia en la clase de español y desarrollar sus habilidades escritas, hoy los hispanohablantes de 3.A que se sentían cómodos con la idea de escribir una página entera en la lengua meta recibieron un cuaderno. Este cuaderno se quedará en clase y será un tipo de RJ, o diario (diary) en español. Los niños podrán expresarse a través de los recuerdos, momentos inolvidables, prosa, poesía, cuentos de ficción, etc. Algunos días será una escritura libre, mientras en otros habrá una tarea específica. De esta manera, espero que sea más relevante y significativo el curso. Me dio mucho placer leer sus entradas hoy- desde lo que ellos hicieron anoche y durante el fin de semana, hasta sus deseos y aún un cuento de estilo leyenda sobre un jaguar y un loro. ¡Esto va a ser el principio de algo genial!

February: Después de votar, fuimos afuera hoy para jugar “Policías y ladrones” y “Corazón/dulce”, del estilo de Freeze Tag. Si alguien sabe una buena traducción para “Freeze Tag”, avísame! ¡Feliz día de San Valentín!

February (3B): Hoy hablamos en clase sobre cómo el aprendizaje de otro idioma abarca mucho- desde la lingüística hasta la cultura. Mientras que yo creo que TODO ES POSIBLE, también hay que tener expectativas razonables cuando nuestra clase se junta solo una o dos veces a la semana.

En el ámbito lingüístico, los diccionarios suelen tener unas 100,000 palabras. ¡Esto es MUCHO! Hay palabras activas (que usas con frecuencia) y palabras pasivas (que reconoces pero o no entiendes perfectamente o no usas mucho). Existen muchas capas y matices de un idioma.

Y en cuanto a la cultura, qué significa exactamente? Música, deportes, comida, historia, terreno, monumentos, tradiciones, costumbres, etc. Dicho esto, no resulta la música-deportes-comida-historia-terreno-monumentos-tradiciones-costumbres-etc. solamente de ESPAÑA, sino de todos los 21 países hispanohablantes. Se puede estudiar estos asuntos 24 horas al día, 7 días a la semana y no saberlo todo. Es una tarea imposible. O sea, casi imposible, ya que todo es posible.

En fin, quería darles a los estudiantes un poco de perspectiva esta mañana: la meta aquí no es la fluidez en sí (no somos una escuela de inmersión); la meta es, aprender algo nuevo cada clase. Algunos aprendieron sobre churros con chocolate hoy (cultura), mientras otros trabajaban en mejorar su vocabulario–o de fútbol o de expresar lo que querían o necesitaban. Paso a paso, poco a poco, se ve el progreso.


Year Recap

CULTURE:

  • Spain- Gazpacho & La Tomatina; cathedrals/stained glass windows
  • Chile- Easter Island
  • Mexico- eating fried crickets
  • Paraguay- Landfill Harmonic (recycled instruments)
  • Argentina- Train to the Clouds
  • Costa Rica- rainforest
  • Bolivia- Yungas Road diorama
  • Peru- Boiling River
  • Guatemala- Worry Dolls; Sawdust Carpets (Easter)