|1||This term, students in third grade began with a fútbol/ soccer unit. Here, the focus is on creating a Spanish-only environment and immediate application of key phrases in meaningful contexts (e.g., Por acá/over here; pásala/pass it; soy portero(a), soy arquero(a)/ I’m goalie; ¡apúrate!/ hurry up!; casi/almost; hace mucho calor/it’s really hot; no manos/no hands; suelo/ground; ¿Qué?/ What?; Yo dije…/I said; agua/water. If anything, shouting Spanish as opposed to merely speaking it certainly builds confidence!|
When the skies decided to downpour during Spanish (¡tormenta!/storm!) and fútbol was not an option, students worked on gesture-telling legends from Spanish-speaking countries (AIM methodology). Here, third graders repeat lines and associate a gesture or movement with each word or phrase in a story. The first legend was from Cuba and about a mouse that knew how to bark. The second legend was from Peru and had to do with a haunted house and gold treasure.
In-between soccer and legends, the curriculum touched upon a few cultural points of interest. Third graders took time to learn about endangered languages (Peru); tapas, Spanish omelettes/tortillas españolas, and ‘señoras’ (Spain); and Catatumbo Lightning (Venezuela). Gracias for a great term!
|2||This term, students continued playing soccer, but kept adding to the daily routine, which included reading aloud the Padre Nuestro (“Our Father”) prayer before games; watching the Chócalas, gatito video; and more vocabulary and music (esp. Que Viva España/long live Spain!).|
As the weather shifted, third graders likewise shifted to indoor activities, which included playing a challenging “Guess the Language” game to help with “ear training”. Later, students began working on the Duolingo language-learning app, trying to correlate the number of XP earned with kilometers on a route through South America and Spain (El Camino). Their first goal marker was a beautiful national park in Chile, called Torres del Paine (silver); their second goal, Futaleufú Rafting (gold); and so on and so forth. This geographic parallel fit in nicely with a map review from last year, wherein third graders jump on and name all 21 of the Spanish-speaking countries.
Third graders also transferred relevant soccer vocabulary phrases into center work stations from last year. A big hit for Lower School was THE TRAIN: students studied a [real] map of the metro system in Madrid, and pushed their classmates around the room on my tables [with wheels], stopping at various locales (el supermercado/supermarket; el banco/ bank; la fábrica/factory; el cine/movie theater; etc.). To expand upon this, they learned a bit about the extreme railways and train-buses of Bolivia (image below). Finally, students heard a legend about Yerba Mate Tea (Argentina)–the ‘friendship drink’ of South America–and had the opportunity to taste it. Gracias for another great term!
|3||This term, third graders learned how to Salsa dance. This is a highlight of the third grade Spanish curriculum, and this year’s class was truly outstanding: not only did students absolutely master the basic step, they were also able to dance it to the beat, with a partner, without looking at their feet, and even with a turn/spin–bravo! Students discussed and demonstrated how both the music and steps differed from the Tango (Argentina), which they had learned in second grade.|
Due to their strong enthusiasm for Salsa dancing, the class continued with center work so that those who wanted to continue dancing, could; and those who didn’t, could “sign up for” and pursue other projects. The overarching idea here is that students use a common pool of working vocabulary to communicate in spontaneous linguistic interactions; they search out opportunities to use the language in meaningful contexts. This can be very challenging for some students, and less so for others, depending on their own personal comfort level with the language, and willingness to take [linguistic] risks during class time.
Meanwhile, students also learned about the cultural references in the fourth grader’s Spanish play [e.g., Don Quijote (Spain); Rainbow Mountain (Peru); Amazon River (Peru)]; saw the live performance; and began to get excited for their own play next year! They continued working on the Floor Map and played a card game called Mano Nerviosa to practice isolating numbers out of order. It was an exciting quarter!
|4||This term, students in third grade started rehearsing for a Spanish News Show (las noticias/ the news). They added new lines each day, working to dramatize the parts and find a balance between silly and witty. The end result was overly dramatic and quirky, to say the least, but students had great fun with it and created memorable lines (quiero ir al parque/I want to go to the park; ¡no puedes hacer eso!/you can’t do that!; seguridad/security; está nublado/it’s cloudy).|
They also tried their hand at the Spanish Wordle; continued working on Duolingo from time to time; and discussed various cultural differences: from money conversions (dollars to pesos), meal times (siesta), weather forecasts (Fahrenheit to Celsius), and time zone differences, to the 24-hour clock (aka military time) and distances (feet to kilometers)–plus the LANGUAGE itself!–there are so many pieces that go into learning another language and culture. Third graders also reviewed and acted out the history of Cinco de Mayo in Mexico, after which they learned how to cook plantain chips in class–and ate them, of course, to celebrate the impossible becoming possible! (Mexican victory over the French)
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