Quarter Update, 22-23 (4)

1This term, students in fourth grade began with Daily Language Trivia outside of my classroom. (This is the official “English/ Spanish/ Spanglish” zone, as opposed to the “Spanish-only zone” inside my room.) Here, students learned basic facts such as: How many Spanish-speaking countries are there in the world? (21); How many languages are there in the world? (7,000); What are the top three most-spoken languages in the world? In what order? (Mandarin Chinese, Spanish, English); What about online? (English reigns!); etc.

Inside the classroom, fourth graders were transported to another world–or Spanish speaking country, at least. Immersion can feel like another world, though; sans words, you lose your personality, your sense of identity, your power to express yourself how you want to. Students did really well with this. First, they reviewed a Spanish News Show from last year and made a miniature volcano as a “news story” to tap into their science unit (Calbuco, Chile). Next, they learned about Easter Island all in the target language, and even made clay sculptures of the famous statues and Rongorongo tablets.

In the tech realm, students continued (from last year) working on the Duolingo language- learning app; but this time around, they are working as a team to earn a huge number of XP (points) over an eight week timespan, in what is called a Classroom Quest. All of this is in preparation and gearing up for the main event this year, THE SPANISH PLAY. Near the end of the quarter, fourth graders made and submitted audition videos for the play, and were given a broad overview of the plot. They are all excited to begin the work! Gracias for a great term.
2This term, fourth graders continued working on the Duolingo language-learning app, eventually completing the Classroom Quest after eight weeks of hard work–congratulations! Other than Duolingo, the bulk of their efforts was spent on preparing for THE SPANISH PLAY performance in February. Fourth graders began the quarter with a general plot overview, learning who the main characters were, and alternating parts until we found the right casting fit.

Following the official casting, students delved into the music and dance choreography–the play is actually more of a musical this year–and began rehearsing their lines as a class. There are so many layers when it comes to theater here: fourth graders are focusing on initially knowing what it is they are saying (Spanish words with English meaning); but also simultaneously fine-tuning their pronunciation for a different sound system [phonetics]; adding expression and intonation; coordinating movement, dance, and actions on stage with their lines; and mastering timing, as timing is everything! Oh, did I mention managing props and voice projection and mics? Theater really does have All The Things!

Each lesson/ rehearsal brought with it a different angle and focus–which helped keep the 15-page script fresh and exciting for fourth graders. They are deep into rehearsals at this point, and already looking forward to the final performance! For a plot overview, please click HERE. And mark your calendars for February 15, 2023. You won’t want to miss it!
3This term, students in fourth grade continued working on their Spanish Play. They hyperfocused on memorizing lines and smoothing out transitions between scenes–and had fun playing with last-minute ideas, to make it pop–such as a “fish” jumping in the ocean and being “caught” by several of the actors (hilarious!). In both the dress rehearsal as well as the final performance, fourth graders were absolutely brilliant. Wow! What a play!

Following a class celebration with dulce de leche (sweet milk caramel) and prizes from their Duolingo Classroom Quest work (stickers, bracelets, washable tattoos, pencils, pins, etc.), students adjusted to a new routine–prepping for Middle School Spanish. Here, they reviewed the Floor Map (for the map competition); practiced asking and answering questions in the target language; got back into a Duolingo routine; and had a few introduction to grammar lessons (verb conjugation overview). They also began inserting their play lines into new contexts and situations, which was so fun to see! Gracias for a great term.
4This term, fourth graders continued prepping for Middle School Spanish (and French). They added French to their Duolingo accounts, and spent a day or two trying on the new sounds for size–making linguistic connections all the while: “Hey, that makes sense! ‘Homme’ is like ‘hombre’ in Spanish! [man]”. In Spanish, they took some time learning about (and later applying) -ar verb conjugations, as well as paying closer attention to masculine and feminine noun articles (mostly definite (el/la), with a sprinkle of indefinite articles (un/una)).

To end the year, fourth graders spent the last few weeks of class creating their own original Spanish comic strips. In the background, they listened to (and talked about) translated pop song covers; and finally, took home a laminated sign of their choice from the classroom walls (a Spanish class tradition). Gracias for a great year!

August Notes

Objective: acclimating to daily routines, expectations, and an immersive Spanish environment!

  • Welcome Back!: intro to daily routine and general overview. We will spend the first semester preparing for the Fourth Grade Spanish Play. The lines in the play will be reinforced via class activities; games; songs; videos; and Culture Projects.
  • News Show: Soy fuerte & Soy valiente auditions. News Show Skit- vocabulary review from last year. Pato and the mini volcano (Chile- Calbuco).
  • Colorful Volcano: News Show Skit review. Top news is Chilean volcano. Class helps Pato make a miniature volcano model (with food coloring), all in the target language. ¡Lo hicimos!
  • Easter Island Intro: Language trivia. News Show. Why are we talking about Chile? Two reasons- the volcano (Calbuco) and Easter Island. Lesson on La Isla de Pascua and walking statues video, all in the target language. Facts and slideshow with pics and video in Spanish.
  • Easter Island, Day 1: skip News Show. Students have time to create air-dry clay sculptures from Easter Island (moai and tablets).
  • Easter Island, Day 2: skip News Show. Students have time to paint air-dry clay sculptures from Easter Island (moai).


Objective: begin to work on verbal output, increase speaking confidence in the target language.

  • Introduce Duolingo: Daily trivia. Introduced Duolingo language-learning app. Time to work on the app, work out the kinks/ any glitches, and record vocabulary in mini Spanish notebooks. Also overview of XP progress this year.
  • Cognates: Daily trivia/ Firefly backstory. Time to work on Duolingo app and record vocabulary in mini Spanish notebooks. Word search and lesson on cognates (words that look the same in English and Spanish).
  • The Theater: Daily trivia. Time to work on Duolingo app and decorate mini Spanish notebooks. Look ahead to SPANISH PLAY auditions. Teatro Colón in Argentina.
  • Auditions, Day 1: Time to work on Duolingo app. SPANISH PLAY auditions will be in video format. Read lines with exaggerated emotions. Combine in iMovie.
  • Auditions, Day 2: Time to work on Duolingo app. DAY #2: SPANISH PLAY auditions will be in video format. Read lines with exaggerated emotions. Combine in iMovie. Individual surveys for type of role in play desired (e.g., big/ small part, tech, etc.).
  • Auditions, Day 3: Time to work on Duolingo app. DAY #3: upload audition videos to Google Classroom, if you haven’t already. Casting bios. Preview of Spanish play!
  • THE PATO PLAY: Time to work on Duolingo app. Pato Play Plot Premieres!
  • No class: No sub available.
  • Substitute: Worked on Duolingo. Reviewed names of Spanish speaking countries (all 21). Spanish word search.
  • Substitute: Worked on Duolingo briefly. Bulk of time spent on writing “Casting Bios” for Spanish Play performance.
  • The PATO Play, for real: Apologies for being out! Ack! Time to revise Casting Bios from Friday (sub). Anecdote about year EVERYONE got violently ill before the production and we had to reassign parts the morning of. Lesson: be prepared! You will have an assigned part, but you will also be responsible for having a good idea of everyone else’s part, too. Down to business- overview of Spanish Play begins today, for real.


Objective for October: continue working on verbal output, increase speaking confidence in the target language.

  • No class: hurricane.
  • No class: hurricane.
  • THE PATO PLAY & Don Quijote: Overview of Spanish Play continues. Character list now includes: Narrator, Secretary, Pato, Oso, Everyone, Baby Chicken, Horse. Don Quijote review and interjection in musical.
  • THE PATO PLAY: Overview of Spanish Play continues.