Quarter Update, 22-23 (K)

1This term, students in kindergarten began with daily language warm-ups outside of my classroom. (This is the official “English/ Spanish/ Spanglish” zone, as opposed to the “Spanish-only zone” inside my room.) Here, students focused on memorizing basic phrases, such as: yo hablo español (I speak Spanish); yo hablo inglés (I speak English); yo no hablo español (I don’t speak Spanish); yo no hablo inglés (I don’t speak English).

Inside the classroom, students began the year with a coffee filter project, that reviewed numbers and colors in Spanish and in context, but was also a collaborative project with their art class (Chihuly Sculptures). They turned out beautifully! Later, kindergarteners began learning the names of Spanish- speaking countries on my Floor Map. They jump on the map, and then we do a short artistic or scientific project (something highly visual, to aid in comprehension) that relates to a cultural point of said country. For example, so far, kindergarteners have done projects on the following: Coffee Filters (Chile), Southern Lights (Argentina), Punta del Este (Uruguay), Andean Condor (S. America), the Bottle Dance (Paraguay), and Salt Flat (Bolivia). They also tried to outline the Andes Mountains and all of South America with blocks and dominoes. Wow!

As the quarter came to a close, kindergarteners started a storytelling unit. Here, they integrate cultural knowledge and a common pool of vocabulary to tell creative class stories in the target language. More on this later! Gracias for a great term.
2This term, kindergarteners continued building their daily warm-ups dialogue outside of my classroom, layering on expression and intonation, in addition to pronunciation and meaning. ¡Hola! Hi! ¿Cómo estás? How are you? ¡Estoy muy bien! I’m very well! Yo hablo español. I speak Spanish. Yo hablo inglés. I speak English. Yo no hablo español. I don’t speak Spanish. Yo no hablo inglés. I don’t speak English. ¡Qué problema! What a problem! Está bien, estoy aprendiendo. It’s okay, I’m learning.

Inside, students learned [many to mastery!] the names and locations of all of the Spanish- speaking countries in South America on the Floor Map: Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, and Venezuela. They continued doing a small class project for each country, including Rainbow Mountain and La Rinconada (Peru), Galápagos Islands (Ecuador), Colorful Town (Colombia), and Ice Cream (Venezuela). Once kindergarteners got comfortable with the content, they had fun playing with words, such as the day Pato searched high and low for the door/ puerta leading to Ecua-DOOR! Where could it be?! For Colombia, there was also a special parent presentation about Christmas traditions there. Thank you so much!

Last but not least, the class was introduced to Center Work. The Spanish class routine rotates every other lesson–(more or less, dependent on holidays and whatnot)–in that some days are Project Days (per country), and other days are Center Work. On the latter, students can continue with the same country project from the day prior, or pursue another interest.

Currently, open centers [aka sight words] include: colorear/ to color, jugar [‘who-GARR’]/ to play [with stuffed animals], construir/ to build [with boxes], trabajar/ to work [with money/ dinero], volar/ to fly [paper airplanes], and pintar/ to paint [fingerpaint on the whiteboards & make a print]. They sign up verbally with me re: what they want to do; however, unlike in other classes, students can switch centers as frequently as desired in Spanish–because the more they switch, the more they have to practice speaking the target language! Some students will change four times in a day, just to keep talking with me, while others will stick with one center (e.g., painting), but go more in depth and learn the names of the paint colors, or say, “¡Mira!/ Look!” when they want someone to look, or request “más papel, por favor” (more paper, please), etc. When they know all of the colors in Spanish, we start substituting to add more words, and pretend that the pink is not rosado/ pink, but rather chicle/ bubble gum! The goal is an immersive, experiential environment; and students have done a great job this quarter!
3This term, students in kindergarten began gesture-telling a story about an adorable teacup pig named Cloudy Sparkles. Here is the story in Spanish: Hay un cerdito. Es bueno. Se llama Cloudy Sparkles. Hay un zapato. El Sr. Zapato es el enemigo. Es malo. El cerdito vive en Chile. Su casa es pequeña pero perfecta. El Sr. Zapato vive en Puerto Rico. Su casa no es grande. ¡Es enorme! El cerdito tiene un coche. El coche va rápido. El Sr. Zapato tiene un coche. El coche va rápido. Una noche, está lloviendo. Está lloviendo mucho. El cerdito dice, “Quiero trabajar”. ¡Pero hay un problema! El Sr. Zapato toma sus botas rojas y ¡las lleva a Puerto Rico! ¡Oh no!

Translation: There is a little pig. He is good. His name is Cloudy Sparkles. There is a shoe. Mr. Shoe is the enemy. He is bad. The little pig lives in Chile. His house is small but perfect. Mr. Shoe lives in Puerto Rico. His house isn’t big. It’s enormous! The little pig has a car. The car goes fast. Mr. Shoe has a car. The car goes fast. One night, it is raining. It is raining a lot. The little pig says, “I want to work”. But there is a problem! Mr. Shoe takes his red boots [the little pig is wearing super cute red boots in the picture] and brings them to Puerto Rico! Oh no!

Each class, we added another sentence and gestures for any new vocabulary (this helps with recall by storing the words in another part of the brain). In case you can’t stand the suspense, one class has informed that Mr. Shoe doesn’t tell the truth about where he hid the four red boots–he says they are in Puerto Rico but they are actually hidden in PANama in a Bread Castle (pan means bread in Spanish); but in the end, he becomes good! I like how they think, and this is likely what will happen in the fourth quarter as the plot progresses.

Anyway, kindergarteners also continued learning more countries on the Floor Map. Back in January, we completed South America and moved onto Central America. Here, there was a Panama Canal lesson, in which I showed the long way around South America with boats, and then the short way with the canal; students went outside to the sandbox to “build” [dig] it as a team. Admittedly, the map has lost some steam this term, as the mere quantity of unfamiliar places overwhelmed some [understandably so]. I usually push this as far as I can in kindergarten, and when they “tap out”, we stop and leave the rest for first grade.

Finally, kindergartens added more vocabulary and sight words to their Center Work stations, and practiced writing “¡Hola!” each day on the whiteboard. Many requested to make more Worry Dolls (Guatemala), after they saw PK4 making them and remembered from last year. Students also practiced counting and solving basic addition problems in the target language, listened to Spanish songs–Para bailar la bamba, No se habla de Bruno (from Encanto), and attended the fourth graders’ Spanish Play, which they loved! Gracias for a great term.
4This term, kindergarteners focused on gesture-telling their class story (click to hear audio) about a teacup pig named named Cloudy Sparkles. Students were challenged to read along with the words, to start building their literacy skills–and several could read the story independently by the end of the year! Bravo! To conclude this unit, kindergarteners used air-dry clay to sculpt and later paint a character from the story (e.g., the pig, a shoe, the bread castle, etc.).

Students also reviewed the Spanish-speaking countries on the Floor Map; counted backwards and forwards 1-12 and 12-1; and practiced writing and identifying more sight words in the target language. For the Spanish Teacher of the Day, kindergarteners got a dose of a third grade unit–playing a game of fútbol (soccer) in Spanish and painting their faces by country team (Argentina vs. Spain/España). They loved listening to the song, “Vamos, vamos, Argentina…“. Last but not least, kindergarteners learned a chocolate clapping rhyme the last week of school (Mexico). 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- English/Spanish. We will tell a semester-long story in Spanish, adding only a sentence or two each day. The words in the sentence will be reinforced via science experiments involving all of the senses; class activities; games; songs; videos; and ‘free choice’ center work days.
  • Chile- Floor Map: Intro to Floor Map. Vinegar/baking soda vs. water volcanoes, to prep for Dot Day project.
  • Dot Day, Day 1: Floor map, Chile and Argentina. Coffee filters plus food coloring (color/number review)–and how all of this relates to their Dot Day art project!
  • Dot Day, Day 2: Floor map, Chile and Argentina (timed). Coffee filters plus food coloring (color/number review) and WATER with goteros.
  • Argentina- Lights: Floor map, Chile and Argentina. Even more colors! We did THIS LESSON to make a connection with Argentina on the floor map.


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

  • Uruguay- Hand: Floor map. Project on La Mano de Punta del Este to make a connection with Uruguay on the floor map. Started to build Andes Mountain range out of blocks on map.
  • Andes Mountains: Project on La Cordillera de los Andes to make a connection with South America on the floor map. Also Atacama, Chilean desert.