Remote 19-20, T3 (5)

Continued Learning Assignments below.


  1. Watch the VIDEO!!!
  2. Do one of the optional activities on the Summer Packet.
  3. Come to the Specialist Zoom party on Thursday, from 10-10:30am. Look for the invitation in your email and on Seesaw.



  1. Watch the video on Seesaw.
  2. Watch THE PATO SHOW, #9 and leave a comment on Seesaw about your favorite part.
  3. Keep working on Duolingo.


  1. HERE is a sneak peek to optional summer activities.
  2. Click on the Random Number Generator Link, input your range (1-46), and then click on the button. It will randomly choose a number for you; and you can do the corresponding activity. If you don’t like the activity, repeat the process to get a different number!!


OBJECTIVE: This is a CULTURE week! Today we are visiting Mexico.

  1. Learn about Cinco de Mayo from my videos: PART 1 and PART 2.
  2. Put on some traditional Mariachi music, and then–
  3. Post a relevant video/photo/craft on Seesaw.


If you want to listen to more Spanish–since there is not a new episode of THE PATO SHOW this week–here is a fun video.

Hear/read more stories at THIS LINK.


  1. Watch the video on Seesaw.
  2. This week, your assignment is to do something Spanish-related for FIVE (5) days in a row. You can do the same activity each day for five days, or you can mix it up, and choose a different activity each day from the list below.
  3. Have your own ideas? Let me know! You can post EACH DAY on Seesaw what you did (on the journal feed), or wait until the end of the week to respond to this activity and share a slideshow of all of your activities. Good luck! ¡Buena suerte! YOU CAN DO IT!!

Here are A FEW IDEAS:

  1. Write out 10 sentences in Spanish each day. They can be silly or serious!
  2. Cook/bake/make/eat a Spanish recipe.
  3. Work on Duolingo (or Memrise) for 10 minutes each day.
  4. Watch another movie with Spanish voiceover and English subtitles.
  5. Listen to the entire Spanish Summit playlist of songs HERE. You can’t leave the room–actually listen!!
  6. Video yourself shouting, “¡El chico come manzanas!” (the boy is eating apples!) or another sentence you know, and post it to Seesaw.
  7. Change the language of your iPad, phone, computer, and all of your devices to Spanish for 24 hours. Can you survive??!
  8. Count to 20 in Spanish (in your head!) when you’re brushing your teeth every morning. Look up the numbers if you don’t know them.** (See note below)
  9. Watch this inspirational Salsa VIDEO (and the dog dancing Salsa). Next, put on some fancy clothes, blast your favorite Spanish music, and make a short video of you dancing/jamming out to the song! The kids in the video are only 6 and 8 years old. Wow!
  10. Play the Language Game, and try to get a score higher than 50. Too easy? The best score for Summit so far this year has been 325. Try to beat it! Spend 20-30 minutes working on this. It will really improve your ear for language.
  11. Watch all of the Pato videos, and email me a paragraph describing which episode was your favorite and why.
  12. Learn about Worry Dolls from Guatemala in this short but cute VIDEO, and then try to make your own.
  13. Watch this video of the Camino de Santiago (a 500-mile hike through northern Spain) to see what it is like, and then go on a 20-minute hike outside. Think about how you learn Spanish best. What works for you? What doesn’t work? Do you learn best by listening, writing, or doing? Or something else?

**Too easy? Count backwards. Still too easy? Skip count forwards and backwards. Do mental math. Don’t just memorize numbers in order; make them meaningful. How do we use numbers in the real world? Count change in Spanish, say the total of the restaurant bill in Spanish, jump rope or play hopscotch in Spanish.  Numbers are everywhere…!


  1. Watch the video on Seesaw.
  2. Keep working on Duolingo! You guys are rockin’ it!
  3. Watch a movie in Spanish (Spanish sound/voiceover and English subtitles) this week.
  4. Post the name of the movie to Seesaw AFTER you watched it, and add a comment about what you thought.
  5. Be sure to check out “The Pato Show” if you haven’t yet, and SEND ME a short video of you doing something in the distance (doing a cartwheel, kicking a soccer goal in your backyard, etc.) if you want to be featured in future videos!!


Click on video below for The Pato Show playlist. Enjoy!


Respond to the activity on Seesaw. The Spanish Activity below will be posted on Seesaw at 8am Tuesday morning. Please log in to Seesaw to view and click on the “Activities” tab. NOTE: When I say, “Duolingo”, I am using that interchangeably with “Memrise”. I mean, whichever language-learning app you are using!

  1. Complete at least 9 lessons on Duolingo this week.
  2. Respond to this activity with a screenshot of your progress at the end of the week.
  3. Watch the Pato video below.


  1. Play the language-identification game 2 or 3 times. See if your ear has improved since we played last year in class.
  2. If you haven’t played this game before, choose the “easy” level and just have fun!
  3. Post a screenshot of your highest score to your journal feed.


Thank you to those of you who did your assignments last week! Instead of emailing, from now on I would like you to submit your work by responding to the activity on Seesaw. The TWO Spanish Activities below will be posted on Seesaw at 8am tomorrow (Tuesday) morning. Please log in to Seesaw to view and click on the “Activities” tab.

Do your best work. Not your fastest work. Not your laziest work. YOUR BEST WORK!!! ***And keep working on Duolingo (or Memrise) 3-4 times a week!


Activity #1- Videos

Activity #2- Songs

**Spanish Activity, 4/7/20- VIDEOS (Part 1)

  1. You have two assignments to complete this week. This is only ONE of them.
  2. Record another video (no letters this week).
  3. Be sure to introduce yourself (examples: Hola, yo soy ____ / Yo me llamo _______ / Mi nombre es______).
  4. Include TWO sentences with “Me gusta” and “No me gusta”.
  5. Include TWO more sentences with “Me gustan” and “No me gustan”.
  6. Add something extra that you just learned from Duolingo this week (not Google Translate).
  7. Post your video under this activity on Seesaw.

Remember, you can always do MORE than this!! “Connecting words” like because (porque), with (con), and more can be found on Veracross for Continued Learning. Above is just a guide to help those of you who do not know what to say, or who are tempted to use online translators to do your work for you (please do not–this is dishonest and against our Core Values of integrity and independence).

If you have questions about the assignment, please email me. If you have questions about Seesaw or technology not working, please email the Technology Department. ¡Gracias!

**Spanish Activity, 4/7/20- SONGS (Part 2)

  1. Listen to at least 3 FULL SONGS in Spanish on the ‘Songs Page‘ of my website.
  2. Choose your favorite.
  3. Respond to this activity with the link.
  4. Listen to this song at least 3-4 times a week, to get the lyrics stuck in your head!

**The goal here is to create a personalized class playlist of everyone’s favorite songs in Spanish. If you choose a song that was not on my website, you need to be very MINDFUL of the lyrics and images in the video. If the lyrics are not happy/good/ positive or the images are inappropriate, the video will be deleted. So choose a good song that has a fun beat!


1. Describe likes and dislikes.
2. Introduce negative sentences.


  1. Work on Duolingo (or Memrise) at least 3 times per week.
  2. Watch the video.
  3. HOMEWORKDo one of the following activities.
    • HANDWRITE me a letter in Spanish of 50 words or more and take a photo of it, OR
    • Video yourself speaking in Spanish to me for 20-30 seconds (like a letter, but spoken).
  4. For the letter or video:
    1. Include vocabulary from Duolingo (or Memrise).
    2. Include a “Me gusta” (I like) or “Me encanta” (I love) sentence.
    3. Include a negative sentence. For example:
      • No quiero = I don’t want
      • No necesito = I don’t need
      • No me gusta = I don’t like
      • No puedo = I can’t
    4. Connecting words:
      • pero = but
      • y = and
      • con = with
      • porque = because
      • también = also
  5. For the video, 10 seconds of talking and 20 seconds of “ummm” or silence does not count!! Try to make it flow. You can write it out and then video yourself reading it if that is easier.
    1. Send it from your school email address.
    2. Include your grade level in the subject line of your email.
    3. Attach photo or video.
    4. Click “Send”.

And HAVE FUN! If you love drawing, decorate your letter with doodles and make it colorful. Or be creative with the video. Zoom has an option to video like a green screen, so you could ‘video’ from outer space, if you wanted! For tech questions, email Mr. Santos. Remember, learning should be a combination of hard work and fun. If it’s not fun, you are doing it wrong. 🙂


  • Your letter OR video is due within 48 hours, meaning by THURSDAY, APRIL 2nd @11am
  • If you are not happy with your work, you can always re-do your letter or video and re-send it, but I will not accept any more work after Friday, April 3rd. Please explain in your email that it is a ‘re-do’ or ‘video #2″ if you choose to do this.


  • Still want more Spanish??! YAY! Check out the link to my website and–
    • email me your favorite song in Spanish;
    • cook something from the “Recipes” page
    • create your own country project based on something from this page HERE–also look on the sidebar or at the very bottom of the page (depends on what device you’re on) where it is organized by country
    • Catch Esteban or myself on Duolingo. I have almost 12,000 XP. He has 14,657 XP.
    • Check out BrainPop in Spanish below. Be sure to add subtitles in English for any videos.
  • For anyone interested who has read this far, here are two BrainPop links:

OTHER NOTES, 3/19/20

**Grades 3-5 should continue working on Duolingo at least three times per week, for 10 minutes a day. Students– there will be prizes for anyone who has earned more than 10,000 XP when we return back to school!

Advanced students who want a challenge may do any of the “Native Speaker” work HERE as well. Be sure to add English subtitles on BrainPop and “Pollito Tito” (CC/closed captioning in bottom right hand corner).

Newsletter 19-20, T1-T2 (5)

This trimester, Summit students began with a “News Show” in Spanish–“En vivo, desde México” (Live, from Mexico)–where they took turns being reporters, working tech, and dramatically presenting the weather (¡El tiempo!/the weather). Each week, they added a new commercial, which was usually a translated slogan of a well-known brand (WalMart: save more, live better/ahorra más, vive mejor; Nike: Just do it/Sólo hazlo; McDonald’s: I’m lovin’ it/Me encanta; etc.). The goal here was mostly to work on basic facts, such as days, dates, weather, but also to recognize how many things in our world have been translated.

The bulk of time leading up to winter break, however, was spent on museum exhibits. Here, fifth graders proposed an idea to research re: a cultural aspect of a Spanish-speaking country–and then got to work. Here is a list of sample projects. For student work, see THIS LINK.

  1. Alebrijes– Mexico
  2. Bullfighting– Spain
  3. Vinicunca/Rainbow Mountain– Peru
  4. Andean Condor– Andes Mountains, South America
  5. Marble Caves– Chile
  6. El Morro– Puerto Rico
  7. Nazca Lines– Peru
  8. Basilisk Lizard– Costa Rica
  9. Underwater Museum– Mexico
  10. Catatumbo Lightning– Venezuela
  11. New Year’s Eve– Spain
  12. Joan Miró artwork– Spain

Following this independent work, fifth graders came back together as a class and were introduced to a play in the target language. Here, they rehearsed lines, worked on expression (both stage placement as well as intonation), and practiced presenting to the class. One class, they even tasted Yerba Mate, a special tea from Argentina, because it was mentioned in the play. The goal each day was to work on Duolingo, split into groups for quality rehearsals, and then play “Spanish Soccer” outside, where students are only allowed to shout/speak in the target language (instinctive response). This rhythm was interrupted with field trips, assemblies, and more, however, which disrupted the class’s general flow and progress. As a result, fifth graders requested center work similar to last year.

It is not clear whether the plays increased their confidence with the language in general, or if they have just started working on Duolingo much more frequently at home, but regardless, something has clicked! Their letters to sign up for centers are beginning to show personality and expression and voice; this is wonderful. Students are learning to mix and match language, to play and manipulate it to say what they want.

Last but not least, students spent some time playing with accents and sounds. While 5B saw THIS VIDEO back in the fall, 5A watched it only a few weeks ago–and were blown away (Santa Anas winds, anyone?!). Since then, many have been working on improving their ear for language in general and becoming linguistic chameleons. Keep up the great work!

5.A CHAMPIONS: Jake H., 5720 XP: Abby, 5012 XP; Jack, 4914 XP; 5.B CHAMPIONS: Kawika, 3656 XP; 2728 XP; Amina, 2391 XP.

August Update: Students in this class also adjusted well to the new rule of, “Un-dos-tres, ¡no inglés!” (One-two-three, no English!). As with other grade levels, they began with a project in order to emphasize family, community, and working together as a team–as well as attention to detail and absorbing and understanding the target language by watching/illustration, as opposed to being able to translate every word. Their project was to design a stepping stone mosaic/mosaico with grout and colorful, glass tiles; the stones turned out beautifully, even after a mishap with a slight grout:water ratio issue in one class. Fifth graders also 1) began a theater/film unit–more info to come!; and 2) took a day to celebrate La Tomatina and make gazpacho (a delicious soup from Spain). Yum! Please read the document below if you are unfamiliar with this fun tomato-throwing festival. Students also have been working on Duolingo at the beginning of every class.

Newsletter 18-19, T2 (5)

December/January: This month, students in fifth grade became a bit fanatical about jumping on and naming all of the 21 Spanish-speaking countries on the tape floor map in a certain number of seconds. The Lower School record at this point is 8.32 seconds—wow! Students took an official test to demonstrate their mastery of the material. Fifth graders also began rehearsing their Spanish plays in the White Box Theater, playing with the new space and working to not back the audience. They took a day to create humorous commercials (Target/Espera más, paga menos/Expect more, pay less, McDonald’s/Me encanta, Crest toothpaste, etc.). Later, they delved into a mini-grammar unit, learning that nouns in the target language are organized as masculine and feminine, or “boy” (el) and “girl” (la) words. Students had fun racing to the board—markers in hand—and trying to find, translate, and spell words and short phrases correctly… before their opponent, of course. Finally, students listened to a few song covers in the target language. For example, HERE is the Spanish cover of Ed Sheeran’s “Perfect”.

NOTE: Due to Lessons & Carols rehearsals, holiday parties (Christmas and Valentine’s), and several long weekends, fifth graders have missed quite a few Spanish classes this past month. Because they only meet twice a week as it is, in January students began working to fill in these gaps by signing up for a language-learning app of their choice (i.e., Duolingo, Memrise, MindSnacks, FluentU), and spending three days a week, for five minutes each day on the app. If your child has taken a break from this practice, please encourage them to restart! […particularly because ALL of Summit will be participating in this Spanish App Challenge very soon, and there may be prizes down the road…]

November: This month, students in fifth grade began a theater unit. First, fifth graders heard a short legend in the target language, and then were assigned groups and given scripts to practice reading lines and acting out the legends: La casa embrujada/The Haunted House (Peru); El ratoncito que sabía ladrar/The Mouse Who Knew How to Bark (Cuba); and El collar de oro/The Gold Necklace (New Mexico). The goal here was not to memorize parts but rather to get into the routine of rehearsing in another language, as—fingers crossed—fifth graders will be presenting a formal program of Spanish plays at the end of the year for you in the target language. Both classes started reviewing their first official plays for the program this past week. You will receive more information and details/specifics about this event in the January newsletter.

Summit students also learned how to dance the Salsa after they started naming Spanish-speaking countries in the Caribbean on the tape floor map; the dance is particularly popular there. To inspire them for their cookie cutter design project, 5.B learned about the Night of the Radishes Festival in Oaxaca (Mexico), where enormous radishes are carved in the days leading up to Christmas.

App Challenge

Happy New Year! It is a new year, and a new you. Fifth grade is a fabulous class, but because we only meet twice a week, there is a lot of time during the week without Spanish (boo hoo!); so we are going to level up and try to change this for 2019.

That means that for all of January, I would like you to
1) find a Spanish language-learning app that you like;
2) sign up for it on the device of your choice; and
3) spend three times a week leveling up and learning Spanish at home on the app. It is much better to spend five or ten minutes each day learning a language than two hours on Saturday… so think more in terms of baby steps–five minutes a day is plenty.

We will beta-test these apps as a class, and vote later on about which one is the best and why. However, for January, I would like you to choose only one of the following. In February, you will have the opportunity to switch to a new app, if you so desire. Here are your choices:

1) Duolingo
2) Memrise
3) FluentU (there is a 15-day free trial)
4) MindSnacks

*Guess the Language is also a really fun and highly addictive game, but it is not just Spanish and therefore does not count for this homework challenge. Maybe it could be a prize/reward activity at the end of the week when you log three days in a row. Just a thought!

PLEASE NOTE that if you already speak Spanish at home, you are welcome to spend the five minutes a day, three days a week watching cartoons, movies, news, sports games, YouTube videos, etc. in the target language. Apps may not be developmentally appropriate here, as they are geared more towards beginner language-learners and not native speakers. The goal is to enrich your Spanish study at home and learn at your own pace.

If you have questions, we can talk more tomorrow. In the meantime, have fun exploring! I am excited to see what you choose. And one last note, please do NOT pay for any of these apps. We are beta-testing the free versions!

Newsletter 18-19, T1 (5)

October/Trimester 1: This trimester, students in fifth grade began by creating several wildly creative class stories, with plots about evil donkeys, broken down school buses, a serious Chick-fil-A vs. PDQ rivalry, stolen jewels from an art museum, and even a real courtroom trial (5.B). Here, fifth graders worked on answering questions about the stories and composing their own original sentences in the target language. Fifth graders also jumped on and named the Spanish-speaking countries on the tape floor map, and played a highly addictive, “Guess the Language” online game (LingLang) to strengthen and hone their listening abilities; being able to distinguish one language’s sounds and cadence from another takes time and is a skill that will only benefit their language study.

Cultural tidbits were sprinkled throughout the trimester: from sneezing iguanas (Ecuador), dangerous railroads (Bolivia), a painting of an inverted map (Uruguayan artist), and the frightening legend of the Chupacabra (Puerto Rico/5.A), to Pedro Infante’s famous “Cielito lindo” (ay yie yie yie, canta, no llores/ay yie yie yie, sing, don’t cry/Mexican singer), El Día de los Muertos/Day of the Dead class discussions (Mexico), and a tradition of saying, “Salud, dineroamor” (health, money, love) when a person sneezes (Colombia), fifth graders began to deepen their appreciation for different and new perspectives. Gracias for a great first trimester.

*Spanish-speaking countries on the tape floor map: Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Venezuela, Panama, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras.

September: This month, students in fifth grade practiced jumping on and naming Spanish-speaking countries on the tape floor map before they sat down each day (Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay). For their Summit mini culture project for Chile and Argentina, students “built” the Andes Mountains in three minutes with building blocks, and then watched as a terrible “mudslide” destroyed the mountain range—so that the next group could have a turn to build. For Uruguay, they traced a painting of a famous Uruguayan artist who wanted to define and identify Latin American art on his own terms, instead of in relation to North America and Europe; ultimately, the painting of an inverted map is about taking new perspectives and questioning tradition.

Fifth graders also continued working on their class stories. It is important to remember here that storytelling is the linguistic foundation of every culture: whether it is a simple conversation about where you bought your coffee this morning, or a more detailed narrative about how your two-year-old dumped juice all over the floor and then ran around the house screaming, we all partake in the timeless tradition of storytelling on a daily basis. Every conversation is a story—and sometimes the story leads where you least expect it.

That said, the story of 5.A. led to Señor Dorito escaping from jail with his two evil donkey friends in a broken down school bus (autobús roto). When fifth graders could not agree on an ending, they broke off into groups and wrote out their ideas—agreeing to disagree.

In 5.B, a slightly more realistic plot ensued, where Frito Bandito ‘rescued’ the imprisoned evil donkey and escaped, only to find himself in a courtroom in the next scene being tried for multiple crimes. In between the judge announcing, “Se abre la sesión” (court is in session), inkpad fingerprints presented as evidence, and an unexpected, but tearful confession, there was also a zumo y limonada/juice and lemonade break to ease the unspoken tension in the room.

Last but not least, students continued acting out their animal passwords, played Hangman/ Dunk Tank (tú ganas/you win), and learned part of the chorus to Pedro Infante’s famous “Cielito lindo” (ay yie yie yie, canta, no llores/ay yie yie yie, sing, don’t cry)—which managed to make its way into both class stories. They also watched the Frito Bandito commercial from the 1960’s, which can only be fully appreciated after you are familiar with the original [aforementioned] song.

August: This month, students in fifth grade worked to create an epic saga in the target language. These class stories are teacher-asked and student-led (agency), and tend to get rather creative rather quickly.  For example, for 5.A, this meant an extraterrestrial named Bobby who lives on the sun and whose ultimate adversary in life is Señor Dorito (yes, like the chips). For 5.B, this meant an intense rivalry between two classmates, where McDonald’s was pitted against Chick-fil-A/PDQ, which ended when both restaurants were closed—because their owners, the Kardashians, were on vacation with their evil donkey. Ahem. In other news, fifth graders also chose individualized password cards; responded to action commands; watched a YouTube video about the Bolivian railway system; and also learned that there are 21 Spanish-speaking countries and 400+ million Spanish speakers, but that Chinese is actually the most-spoken language in the world right now (English is number three behind Spanish). Gracias for a great month.

Newsletter 16-17, Sept. (5)

September: This month, students in fifth grade learned that their end-of-the-year Spanish Program will actually take place in February this year.  As a result, fifth graders launched into full-fledged rehearsal mode.  Their first play begins with two news reporters.  To make this more culturally authentic, students learned about and watched a short video clip of two famous reporters from the Spanish-speaking television network, UNIVISIÓN—Jorge Ramos and María Elena Salinas.  From there, they proceeded to unravel the complex mess of new Spanish vocabulary, stage directions, and what is hidden between the lines yet nevertheless crucial to express on stage.  For example, when Pato poisons Dora the Explorer on live television and the news reporters are undecided as to whether or not they should cut to a commercial, fifth graders must create an intense, unspoken tension in the room.  What?!  Daily oral assessments and weekly written quizzes ensured that students stayed focused and on top of the material.  Additionally, fifth graders randomly chose a number from 0-105, which became their age and consequent ‘role’ (i.e., mother, father, grandfather, cousin, etc.) in the Class Family.  This was to emphasize the importance of working together as a team and family, particularly in light of the aforementioned theatrical debut, scheduled for February 17, 2017.  Can’t wait to see you there!

Newsletter 15-16, Year (5)

Quarter 1: This term, students in fifth grade spent the bulk of their time immersed in the target language and ‘The Art of Storytelling’. Accordingly, students mixed culture and creative imaginations to create numerous class story-plays with student actors. From a cockroach/la-cu-ca-ra-cha who stole instruments from a Mariachi band and a peccary who lives in Costa Rica, to a microscopic world and an upset guinea pig (Oreo—canta, no llores/sing, don’t cry), the linguistic journey never ceases to be original. Gracias for a great quarter.

Quarter 2: This term, students in fifth grade assumed new ages and identities in the Class Family; chose individual passwords; acted out two Latin American legends in the target language (based in Cuba and Peru); participated in a mini-soccer unit; discussed the major differences between interpretation (spoken) and translation (written); learned about El Día de Los Tres Reyes Magos and Rosca de reyes; reviewed the basic Salsa and Cha-cha dance steps; heard a presentation about Guatemala from a visiting Upper School exchange student; and then talked about and received Worry Dolls (Guatemala). In addition, fifth graders also began brainstorming, rehearsing, and preparing for their end-of-the-year program. Looking forward to seeing you there!

Quarters 3 & 4: This semester, students in fifth grade began preparing for the Fifth Grade Spanish Program. After familiarizing themselves with each of the three plays, fifth graders were assigned a main part in one play and minor roles in the others. Since then, students have been working on using appropriate vocal intonation and expression; facing the audience; adding relevant movements; brainstorming creative costume ideas and what type of music might be fitting for certain scenes; gathering items for their prop boxes; and memorizing their lines. Students should be immensely proud of their dedication, grit, preparation, and linguistic and theatrical skills. As a result of all of their hard work, the upcoming theatrical debut (on Friday, May 20, 2016 @1:30pm) is sure to be a tremendous success. As the year wraps up, fifth graders will divide their time between a basic grammar review and soccer games, weather permitting. Gracias for a fabulous year and (sniff, sniff!), best of luck in Middle School!

Newsletter 14-15, Year (5)

Quarter 1: This term, students in fifth grade spent the bulk of their time on creative storytelling in preparation for the student-written Spanish plays performed at the Latin American Showcase (May 15, 2015 @1:30pm). Inspired by Argentine animals, abstract paintings, fuzzy photographs, troll-goblin statues and more, the stories evolve through question and answer type discussions and cannot help but grow a life of their own. As a result, characters such as Betsy la vaca (Betsy the Cow) and Boberto la berenjena genial (Bobert the Awesome Eggplant—who is actually a coatí) are wildly popular among students, and have gone on some crazy adventures involving one-thousand angry fruits, the International House of Thumbs, a golden plunger, a magical pink cape, and an army of chicken-soldiers, to name a few. Additionally, and in-between chapters, fifth graders also chose to be embajadores/ambassadors of a [specific] Spanish-speaking country; presented their own original stories in Spanish to the class; and traveled outside to play fútbol/soccer to work on instinctually responding in the target language. Gracias for a great quarter!

Quarter 2: This term, students in fifth grade advanced to Creative Class Storytelling 2.0, as the following plots clearly illustrate. Hunt: After the evil team steals the Sr. Wooly password, Sr. Wooly drives a lagoon blue Beetle car to his great-grandmother’s house and tries to call the police. However, another evil force—a group of Teletubbies whose leader happens to be Peppa Pig—has taken control of the police station. The evil Teletubbies travel through the vortex part of their máquina/machine to the planet Neptune. There, they see an enormous, spicy pepper who wants to eat them. The pepper succeeds, but then the seeds in his brain instruct him to jump and, well, the contents of his stomach are emptied. ¡Qué asco!/Gross! Byerley: As it turns out, the pollito-soldados (chicken-soldiers) are actually evil and try to kidnap Uni-maíz-io (lead singer of the band, “Dirección Equivocada”/Wrong Direction). Boberto saves her, though, so then the chicken-soldiers get angry and brainstorm another plan: this time, with a machine and their evil force/fuerza malvada, they bring Uni-maíz-io to the dark side. As Uni-maíz-io is trapped in the dark side, Boberto obviously needs to save his future wife, so his shouts, “¡Mi amor!” (My love!) in her direction. The power of true love rompe/breaks the dark side’s evil force, Boberto proposes again, and this time Uni-maíz-io says yes. Awww.

Quarter 3: This term, students in fifth grade began preparing for their Latin American Program. After familiarizing themselves with each of the six scripts, fifth graders were assigned permanent groups and plays. Since then, students have been working on using appropriate vocal intonation and expression; facing the audience and planning out where they want to stand on stage; adding relevant movements; brainstorming what type of music might be fitting for certain scenes; and memorizing their lines. They have had several combined classes, during which time groups present a previously selected and rehearsed scene, and their peers evaluate the performances [on a rubric], paying special attention to audience engagement. As the culminating program of their Lower School Spanish experience approaches, students’ excitement is on the rise; please come join us on Friday, May 15, 2015 @1:30pm in the Community Room.

Quarter 4: This term, students in fifth grade continued practicing for the Latin American Showcase. They also worked on brainstorming creative costume ideas, gathering items for their prop boxes, and editing the PowerPoint slideshows. Eventually, it was time: fifth graders wrapped up the final details for their program, and then performed the much anticipated theatrical debut. Students should be immensely proud of their dedication, grit, and linguistic and theatrical skills. As a result of all of their hard work, the show was a tremendous success. Congratulations!! The remainder of the quarter was divided between two main foci: grammar and soccer. Essentially, the former is taking all of the linguistic knowledge they have, and dividing it into categories—“Oh, so those are verbs/nouns/adjectives in Spanish.” Fifth graders let this new information digest out on the soccer field. Some days, however, students’ strong interest in linguistics superseded their desire to play: cue ensuing discussions regarding the intricacies of translation. For example: “Caras vemos, corazones no sabemos” means “Don’t judge a book by its cover”, but literally translates to, “Faces we see, hearts we don’t know”. Moreover, in order to make one of Dr. Seuss’ books rhyme, translators worked for an entire year translating the text—yikes! Machines can’t necessarily read between the lines, hence why some of my friends still have jobs (~as translators and interpreters). Gracias for a highly productive year.

Newsletter 13-14, Year (5)

Quarter 1: This term, students in fifth grade chose a class mascot to be the main character in their class stories. From this point, creativity took the reins… Hunt: A crazy scientist, aka Pocoyo, takes the pato-bailarín as his prisoner, but the dancing duck grabs the flag of Spain, knocks him down and escapes in a pink shoe to South Sandwich Islands. Byerley: Enemies of the beloved Snurkey (and the Butler) are established in the form of an evil team—Darth Vader, Turkal, Professor Coco-Mantequilla and Barney. One night, Snurkey is hungry while watching the Barney Show. He ends up entering the ‘pixeled void’ and eating Barney, thereby destroying one-quarter of his enemies. Still hungry (and presumably scared for his own personal safety), he escapes to the Arctic Circle. Fifth graders also selected a Spanish-speaking country to represent as ambassador/embajador(a); practiced identifying banderas/flags from the Spanish-speaking world; sang along with the bilingual song Wavin’ Flag—played at the 2010 World Cup—before traveling outside for Spanish soccer games (fútbol/soccer); had their first free-write of the year (with partners); and signed a Language Pledge promising not to speak English within the walls of the Spanish Cave. Gracias for an exciting start to the year!

Quarter 2: This term, students in fifth grade spent a good deal of time recycling and reviving vocabulary from years past. Whether it was through creative short stories (both spoken and written), Señor Wooly song-lyric videogame challenges, Class Wordles, animal password cards, daily online weather forecasts (comparing temperatures in other ciudades/cities and países/countries), songs-that-get-stuck-in-your-head-and-don’t-leave (Botas perdidas/Lost Boots), class plays, or translation exercises on their miniature whiteboards, fifth graders had fun combining old and new information. They also had a few class discussions about meta-linguistics, and tried to define “Language” itself—not an easy task. Later, students used their detective skills to identify and label twelve paragraphs written in different languages and alphabets. Last but not least, fifth graders chose new identities (or Spanish names) for the New Year, and began discussing the presentation format of their Latin American Festival program, scheduled for the beginning of May. Mark your calendars!

Quarter 3: This term, students in fifth grade continued with their daily board work translation exercises, and wrote back to their pen-pals. They also began discussing and preparing for their Latin American Program. Because fifth graders chose to write the plays this year, they were given class time to brainstorm adventures for their characters and to incorporate facts about their Spanish-speaking countries into the plans. This resulted in complex, wildly creative historical fiction plots focusing on the most famous of stuffed animals in the Spanish Cave: Pato. Later—after the stories had been converted to script-form—students broke off into small groups and began rehearsing both individually as well as in front of their peers. Fifth graders worked on taking their time, reading between the lines, and adding relevant actions, and are beginning to understand how to add humor and advanced expression to their roles. As the culminating program of their Lower School Spanish experience approaches, students’ excitement is on the rise; please come join us on Friday, May 2, 2014 @1:30pm in the Community Room.

Quarter 4: This term, students in fifth grade continued rehearsing for their Latin American Program, and really honed in on the details (e.g., big or small facial expressions and bodily gestures, squeaky and/or deep growling voices, and movement with purpose). Students also practiced performing the plays sans props, and then offered positive and ‘constructive criticism’ feedback to their peers following each presentation. After working on transitions and polishing their acting skills, they had a wonderful dress rehearsal in front of the entire Lower School. Their final culminating program for parents and friends that Friday was an equally huge success. Congratulations to all—you were spectacular! Subsequently, fifth graders reviewed songs from years past (Ave María, Botas perdidas, Wavin’ Flag); watched the newest Sr. Wooly videos; had fun reciting their lines from the Spanish plays in different contexts; got a taste of language-learning the traditional way—via grammar—to prepare students for Middle School and beyond; and practiced naming all of the Spanish-speaking countries in the world by jumping from one to the next on a tape map on the floor of the Spanish Cave. The majority of fifth graders already knew all of the countries, so the goal was more time-oriented for this grade level: Can you jump on and name all of them in less than fifteen seconds? Gracias for a great year.