|1||This term, students in PK began with the same stop/go color game as kindergarten. 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). The next day, classes watched in awe as white spoons–upon being submerged in ice cubes and cold water–turned blue [temperature activated].|
We extended this color game by balancing ice cubes on the spoons, while responding to traffic light command colors at the same time. Students also colored with markers and added different colored ink stamps to their drawings; played a ‘find the color’ game in my classroom; paired action commands with the colors; colored paper airplanes different colors; and tried to do anything and everything we could think of!
In Storytime Land, PK students began hearing mini stories about The Adventures of Pato, my stuffed animal duck. One day, he was so hungry that he tried to ‘eat’ all of my plastic food and fit it inside his sock pajamas (#fail). Another day, he wanted to learn how to fly, so we rigged up a small zipline from one corner of my room to the other, and students took turns letting him ‘fly’. When that didn’t work, he switched to [paper] airplane travel, and flew to the beach for a picnic with his friends. Students even built him a house out of blankets and chairs one day. How sweet! Last but not least, they listened to Rompe Ralph (Wreck-It Ralph) and watched a few cartoons in Spanish (Pocoyo: Tráfico; Perro y Gato: Favoritos) for comprehensible input. It was a great start to the year!
|2||This term, after taking time to ease into an immersive classroom experience, PK students practiced acting out daily routines in the language. Here, everyone took turns answering the question, “¿Cómo estás?” (How are you?) by pointing to emoji faces on the board. I narrated and repeated everything they said and did in Spanish–and naturally, as the class caught on to my sense of humor, they would answer, “¡Cansado(a)!” (tired!), so that they could pretend to go to sleep and start “the routine”.|
This routine began very simply, with PK students “falling asleep” to a 37-second song, Los Solecitos. The first day, I passed out blankets and stuffed animals to students to cuddle up with, turned off the classroom lights, and sang lullabies in Spanish. I turned on the fairy lights, of course, so as not to frighten anyone. When it was “morning”, I turned back on the classroom lights and gently woke everyone up.
The next day, we added breakfast to the routine. The next day, we added “cars” (coches), in the form of chairs and cardboard boxes, to get to work. But they would break down– cardboard can only take so much– and there was so much traffic, that we decided to take the train instead (i.e., my tables on wheels)! Tickets did cost a little money, but it was worth it. (Read more about PK3 HERE and PK4 HERE.)
Students decided where they wanted to go each day, either la playa/the beach, la playa de noche/the beach at night, la selva/the jungle, or las montañas/the mountains; the links lead to relevant sound effects that I played on the board for each locale. Perhaps one of the most precious, adorable, and memorable moments this quarter was watching students “run away from” the waves at the beach [i.e., the wave video on my board]. For a week or two, the toy store was also open, where students could “buy” stuffed animals to bring to the beach at night and cuddle up with while they listened to Spanish lullabies.
|3||This term, students in PK added a Storytime component to their class routine. They also continued expanding upon the daily routine. For example, after taking the train to the jungle and mountains, they would go to the beach at night, fall asleep, wake up for breakfast, practice their good manners at the table while eating [plastic] food (por favor/please; gracias/thank you), pray before the meal, realize that they were all late to school, brush their teeth, run to the car, run back to get their backpacks/ mochilas and lunches, go to school, and listen to the teacher greet them and ask them how they were (review from second term), and then start to gesture-tell a story in Spanish. |
Each week, we added a sentence or two to the story, and would do projects or short activities around the vocabulary to ingrain the new words in their minds. The first class story was about a pato/duck, gato/cat, and zapato/shoe, mostly for the fun rhyming, but also because it was key vocabulary in the fourth grader’s Spanish play (that students attended later in the term). The second class story was about a Coquí Frog named Carlos, who discovers a lost fish in his Bread Castle. Yes, students helped to build a bread castle in my classroom. For PK3 and PK4, this was to teach the word pan/bread in a very interactive way; for older classes, it was to teach the country name Panama as a class joke. Click HERE for photos and to read more.
|4||This term, students in PK dove headfirst into Culture Projects. In addition to the Coquí Frog and Bioluminescence in Puerto Rico from the third quarter, students also learned about Worry Dolls and Sawdust Carpets in Guatemala, and hammocks 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 following week, students listened to songs from Encanto and learned that the movie takes place in Colombia, which is Spanish-speaking; as a short project, they had fun finger painting like this [extremely talented] street artist from Colombia.|
Students also had fun guessing where Pato was each class. To the tune of Frère Jacques, I would sing: Where is Pa-to, where is Pa-to? / ¿Dónde está? ¿Dónde está? ¡Dime, por favor! / ¡Dime, por favor! / Tell me, please! Tell me, please! And then ask follow up questions in the target language: is he in the Bread Castle? In Puerto Rico? In Mexico? His house? Do you think he will be despierto/ awake or dormido/asleep when we knock on the door?
One day, he wasn’t in su casa/his house, and we ended up taking the train (my table on wheels) OUTSIDE and DOWN THE HALLWAY! to the bus station (aka lunch tables near the courtyard), at which point everyone paid for a ticket, and we complained about traffic as yours truly drove the bus and made engine revving sounds, ha! Next, we walked to the parque/park (aka playground), and finally found Pato! In one class, he was in the office playing with his friend the dog [named] Chocolate/el perro Chocolate, and in the other class he was in the marsh grass beside the park; in both instances, he had no idea how to get back to my classroom, so it was good we found him! *No stuffed animals were harmed in this lesson.*
Naturally, Pato being perdido/lost related to our second class story, where a pececito/fish from Mexico gets lost in the Bread Castle which, of course, belongs to Carlos el coquí. (Fish song HERE.) As I write this, I am so sorry that I can’t figure out a way to summarize this more succintly. Somehow this makes sense to students… in Spanish… which is what I speak with them 98% of the time.
Anyway, it has been a truly AWESOME year, and I am so excited by how much Spanish your children are comprehending and producing! Do not worry if they are not speaking it to you (they probably don’t associate you with the language, unless you speak it yourself), but feel free to watch cartoons with them in Spanish and just generally encourage. Your support of the language program is greatly appreciated!
More popular song links: ¿Te Gusta El Helado De Brócoli?; ¿Te Gustan Los Milkshakes De Lasaña?; Pollito Pío: Venganza; Chumbala Cachumbala; Feliz Navidad; Contando del 1 al 20
Cartoons: Pocoyo: Misterio del monstruo; Pocoyo: La llave maestra; Legend of Golden Coquí