Train Rides

This morning, students in PK4 danced to our newest class song called Chumbala Cachumbala, and then went through the “How are you?” daily routine. Next, I asked in Spanish, “What is this?”, pointing to images of different currencies from various Spanish-speaking countries (but also including the US dollar as a reference point). After several responded “money”, I then asked, “And what is money for?” One brilliantly intuitive soul shouted out, “To buy stuff!”, and following a half second of complete shock–[they just understood what I said in Spanish! Holy Moses, that’s awesome!]–I proceeded to give a few examples. 

This is where the fun actually began. I called a student over, and gesture-narrated that they were allowed to choose a stuffed animal from a bin. Just when they were about to walk away, I said, “No-no-no!” and gesture-explained [this all happened in the target language] that s/he needed to go to the ‘bank’ and pay me dinero/money to purchase said stuffed animal. (I had a ton of faux bills that we had seen the previous week.)

After everyone had had a turn and began playing with the little animals and finger puppets, I slyly asked a student if he would like to buy a car (our ‘cars’ are cardboard boxes and go both rápido/fast and lento/slow). When our ‘cars break down’, I attach masking tape to one end, and the student takes the roll part of the masking tape and ‘pulls’ the cardboard car to the garage/mechanic to be fixed. Obviously.

Anyway… said student bought the car (after going back to the bank to take out more faux money), and the others quickly began to understand what was happening: EVERYTHING IS FOR SALE TODAY!!! 

When we ran out of cardboard cars, I offered train rides (sometimes public transport is faster, anyway. All of those red lights and traffic, you know; you can start to see, perhaps, why we started with red and green lights back in August).

Now just so you fully understand, ‘train rides’ have become ‘A THING’ in PK4 Spanish as of late. Students got free rides the first day, but since then, they have had to pay for their pretend tickets. Students climb on top of my long tables after paying–and we push the tables and students verrrrry slowly across the room. I say, “¡última parada!” (last stop!), and then they have to get off.

Today, this idea was extended: as the train had a maximum of four passengers (plus the stuffed animals), we ended up making multiple runs… meaning, one stop was at la playa/the beach!! Students got little colorful blankets, pretended to sun themselves, and played with their stuffed animals. Whenever they are on the train–zooming along at five feet per hour–they wave to their friends/amigos in the room, shouting, “¡Adiós!” and sometimes blowing kisses (besos).

One student was not interested in la playa/the beach, and I whispered in English, “Do you want to go back to the toy store?” He said yes, so the train–which is now becoming more of a subway/metro–traveled back to the toy store (with the stuffies). At some point, our 30 minutes was up, and I began wondering how to make a bell sound to ring for next week so that students could indicate where on the tram line they want to get off with pull-cords. Hmmm. They might need to be Pull-Cords of the Imaginary Variety.

Point being, I hope this gives you a glimpse into The Microcosm/ World Known As Spanish Class. Not every day runs quite so smoothly, but today the pieces fell together quite nicely, experiential learning was had by all, and your children spoke gobs of Spanish to me. Kudos! Have a lovely evening!

P.S. Yesterday, we watched a very silly Pocoyo cartoon about monsters. Your child is welcome to watch it again at home HERE.