Newsletter 20-21, Aug. (3)

Week #1: Today in third grade, students first told me about their favorite places, and then I shared about one of my favorite trips, during which I hiked a famous 500-mile (877 kilometer) trek across northern Spain. The hike is called the Camino de Santiago, and takes about a month to complete (hiking about 10 hours a day). 

Students began ‘hiking’ around the room as they watched THIS VIDEO I made (“Spain, Part 1”). Naturally, they had to get their backpacks and water bottles–the Spanish summer sun is very similar to Florida’s, with 110*F temps!

Next, third graders learned that the trail is marked by [scallop] shells and arrows. When you see one, you know that you are on the right path! Students began creating a “Camino” around campus by drawing shells and arrows with chalk. We hiked up and down a few mountains (read: staircases) with our bags and water bottles, and then decided to retire to the hotel/hostel (their classroom!) for the evening.

Just for fun, their word of the day was, “La fuerza” (‘fwear-sah’), or the force, which third graders say to magically make the Promethean boards turn on again after they have fallen asleep (they time out periodically).

NOTE: Just so you know, we will be easing into an immersive Spanish classroom very soon, but I wanted to start the first day in English to get to know the students and for them to feel comfortable with me. Learning a language can be overwhelming, and experience has taught me that in a low-stress [but engaging] environment, students are more likely to want to learn and produce language. Learning should be a healthy combination of hard work and great fun!

VIRTUAL LEARNERS are encouraged to check out the video and photos at this link, and to create their own “Camino” (‘kah-ME-know’) at home. The arrows and shells are oftentimes made out of things in nature as well. You might outline an arrow using some rocks or palms or grass, or simply draw arrow and shell signs and hang them up around your house. Make sure they are all pointed in the same direction, so that you don’t get lost!

Virtual learners are also welcome to share with me via email their favorite place in the world (the beach, a city or country they’ve traveled to, a tree fort, their room, etc.). We will include this information in a project later on.