Resumen, 21-22 (Grade K)

1This term, students in kindergarten began with the same stop/go color game as PK3 & PK4. Here, students whispered “[luz] verde-verde-verde” (green light) and simultaneously tip-toed around the courtyard, gradually increasing in volume and speed to end with “¡[luz] ROJA!” (red light); later, we added azul/blue, at which light we danced (bailamos). Later, classes watched in awe as white spoons–upon being submerged in ice cubes and cold water–turned blue. We extended this color game by balancing ice cubes on spoons, while responding to traffic light command colors at the same time.

While PK3 & PK4 focused on colors, kindergarteners deepened this study by looking at different types of fuerzas/ forces. For example, students smelled identical looking liquids– agua/water and vinegar –and then combined the latter with baking soda and food coloring to see what would happen: a volcanic eruption! (They also covered the opening of the ‘volcano’ with a coffee filter and pretended it was a monster.) Other lessons about forces included: levitating ping-pong balls with a hairdryer; building houses with playing cards; using this Rube Goldberg video to inspire ramp building and cause/ effect scenarios; and hypothesizing about floating and sinking objects.

All of this led to Pato (my stuffed animal duck) fleeing from a [baking soda and vinegar] volcanic eruption to his boat and riding the wildly unpredictable ocean waves. When sharks surrounded the vessel, students and all present stuffed animals pretended to be pirates; telescopes and treasure maps (tesoro/ treasure; ¡mira!/ look!) pointed them toward an island far away from the scary sea creatures. Of course, it wasn’t too scary, since they made sure to listen to Tiburón Bebé/ Baby Shark and watch Pocoyo: Piratas. The quarter ended by dipping rocks in glue and gold glitter, so that students could make their own “gold” treasure from Peru, grazing over the surface of this project. Much of the first quarter in kindergarten is about building a strong sense of community and fun, with the focus on whole-class activities (esp. science experiments) and mini stories that incorporate key vocabulary.
2This term, kindergarteners shifted from whole-group lessons to more individualized work, via centers. Here, as with other grade levels, sight words are introduced, around which creative projects begin to form. For example, when students first learned the word, “jugar” (to play/ pronounced: “who-GARR”), they would practice writing the word and then have time to play with the plastic food/ comida and stuffed animals/ peluches in my room, in order to build a memorable experience around the word, “jugar“. When students wanted to use the fake dinero/money, I introduced the idea of street mercados/markets in Argentina, which are also common in many other Spanish-speaking countries.

As the class’ confidence grew, more centers were opened: colorear/to color [culturally relevant images were available here- from Joan Miró artwork and Costa Rican rainforests to pink dolphins in Colombia]; jugar/to play; pintar/to paint [papel/paper]; construir/to build [with dominoes, blocks, cardboard, tape, and blankets; mi casa/my house]; volar/to fly [paper airplanes]; patinar/to skate [slip-slide in socks on floor; remove zapatos/ shoes]; and so on and so forth. It might not sound like much initially, but students get accustomed to hearing their classmates say things like, “Hey, that’s my dinero!” “You have to take off your zapatos to come in mi casa.” “Can I volar to Chile? ¡Gracias!“–and as the center work expands in first and second grade, questions and sentences start falling out of their mouths, sometimes without students realizing it.

Kindergarteners also started learning some of the names and locations of the Spanish-speaking countries in South America on the floor map–namely, Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, and Bolivia. The second quarter is about building a framework and strong foundation for the future, meaning that we only scratch the surface of culture early on, but students do begin hearing country names and associating them with the Spanish language.
3This term, kindergarten continued adding more centers and sight words to their repertoire (dependent, of course, on L1 skills), and also learned the remainder of the Spanish-speaking countries in South America (Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Venezuela). Students had fun hitting the DOOR of my classroom whenever we said, “Ecuador” (“eck-wah-DOOR!”).

The extension this quarter–in Spanish class we are always spiraling ideas and adding more–was a story about a cute little teacup pig (named Rosie in one class and Mr. PigglyAirplane in the other), from whom is stolen four little red boots and a car. Oh my! The enemigo/enemy is the infamous Señor Zapato/ Mr. Shoe who takes everything una noche/one night when it is raining (está lloviendo). Each day, students helped read along with and gesture-tell the story in Spanish. Key phrases and vocab would have “offshoot” lessons, to make words extra memorable. For instance, when the class learns that Mr. Shoe lives in Puerto Rico, we took a day to learn about bioluminescence by playing with highlighters and a blacklight. This quarter was a nice mix of centers and storytelling.
4This term, students explored more culture, learning about Worry Dolls and Sawdust Carpets in Guatemala, and Chocolate and Cinco de Mayo in Mexico. In fact, for Cinco de Mayo, students got to decorate Sombrero-Piñata Cookies after taking time to act out the history of the holiday in class. The Piggy Story saga continued, and students gained true mastery of the floor map. One day, students took turns reading the story in Spanish to yours truly- wow! While not every student is literate by any means in kindergarten, it is important to expose them to the written word early on.

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