A Far Away Galaxy

Drone footage credit to mixkit.co, but I made the video. 🙂

The Firefly

Language has always been a story for me. You can go macro, the story of the world–or micro, the history of a single word. Or you can travel to another galaxy! With 7,000 languages on our planet, the possibilities are endless. My dissertation actually traced the evolution of the word, “luciérnaga” (firefly/ ‘lou-see-AIR-nah-gah’) in dictionaries, from its first appearance in 1251 through present day.

The definitions varied over the centuries, dependent on our collective scientific and cultural knowledge. Before we knew much of anything about entomology, many believed that those tiny lights flashing on and off in the night were… magic or sorcery. When there was a mini ice age in Europe for a few hundred years, a huge gap ensued: luciérnaga was absent from Spanish dictionaries, presumably because the lightning bugs all traveled closer to the equator, and were no longer a part of daily life.

Point being, I love language(s) and I love sharing my joy for words and communication with students. The cinematography above is meant to emphasize that your children do not merely study language in my class: they live it. They experience words and immersion and culture and all of the things. Words are everywhere, and it is my job to help them discover the *magical or linguistic/scientific* (however you view language) light and spirit within each child.

The firefly’s light flashes on and off, but it is always there.

Resumen, 22-23 (Grade K)

QUARTER SUMMARIES will be posted here at the end of the term. Until then, this page will be a scrambled egg mess of notes.

Term
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), and the Bottle Dance (Paraguay). 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.
2
3
4

August

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.

September

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.

October

Welcome Back 2022-23!

Image Credit: Xomatok

My Dear Friends, Fellow Linguists, and Citizens of the World:

Welcome back! As we look forward to the start of another school year, I thought I would share a quick post of frequently asked questions. For any new families, I am the Spanish teacher for grades PK-4.

NOTE: Students typically address me as “Maestra” (‘my-ACE-trah’/teacher) or Señorita M., (Miss M), but I am also called “Spain” and “Español” (Spanish) from time to time. Feel free to clarify this at home with your child.

  1. What is the painted staircase image about?
  2. Why did you start with that?
    • I wanted to start here because if there is any conversation that you have with your child(ren) about Spanish class before school begins, please remind them that–much like climbing an enormous staircase or mountain–language-learning is a journey. Fluency does not occur overnight. It is a process where, after many successes, failures, and moments of uncertainty, coupled with much determination, grit, and hard work, progress is made. If your child can learn just one new thing each day in class, they will be well on their way.
  3. What curriculum do you use?
    • I use a variety of curricula to teach language. From gesture- based storytelling methodologies (such as AIM and TPRS), to culture projects, geography, center work, science experiments, soccer games, theater, and more, we cover a lot of territory in Spanish class. For more info, see THIS PAGE.
    • ASIDE: You may also hear about “Pato” (duck), a mischievous stuffed animal duck of mine with a big personality (and squeaky voice), who is always on some silly adventure.
  4. How much Spanish do you speak in class?
    • My goal is to speak Spanish 95-100% of the time; however, I can get sidetracked with sharing cool culture projects in English and adore goofy English/ Spanish wordplays (especially as mnemonic devices to ingrain vocabulary!). This year, we are physically dividing the space, so “English” tidbits will be taught in the hallway outside of my classroom, and everything else inside my room will be in Spanish.
  5. Do you only teach about Spain?
    • Definitely not! There are 21 official Spanish-speaking countries. Students in grades 1-4 become familiar with these country names and participate in Culture Projects throughout the year.
  6. What can I do at home to help support my child?
    • Encourage, encourage, encourage!
      • Point out the names of Spanish- speaking countries on t-shirts tags, fruit stickers, can labels, warranties, manuals, and bilingual signs out in public.
      • Make/ bake RECIPES from Spanish-speaking countries.
      • Visit the children’s world language section at the library.
      • Listen to Spanish tv and radio, for the sole purpose of appreciating foreign sounds– no comprehension necessary.
      • Change the voiceover on movies to Spanish (and subtitles to English).
      • Explore Little Passports & Universal Yums!, which are fun, educational, world-culture subscription boxes that your child might enjoy.
      • Incorporate the language and culture into your daily life!
  7. If I want to learn Spanish alongside my child, what resources do you recommend?
    • More than anything, learning another language is about developing the habit. Working on an app regularly is a great way to start. Last year, I organized an independent study “Adult Class” for parents and faculty. Feel free to check out those resources and posts HERE.

And last but not least, for anyone wondering why you should learn another language, please read THIS for a hearty laugh.

Enjoy the rest of your summer and see you soon!

Fondly,

Your Resident Linguist ❤

~aka Maestra aka Señorita M. aka Spain


Spanish Class: The Return of Pato

Summer Packet 2022

PREVIOUS YEARS: Summer Packet 2021Summer Packet 2020Holiday Packet 2020Summer Packet 2019Summer Packet 2017Summer Packet 2016

My Dear Friends, Fellow Linguists, and Citizens of the World:

Summer is a great time to get out of the routine — to refresh and reenergize the mind, body, and spirit. That said, parents frequently ask me what they can do at home to supplement their child’s language study, particularly during the summer months and if they don’t speak the language themselves.

Before getting started, it is important to recognize that reaching a level of true proficiency in a language takes time. As a result, I strongly urge you to make sure that any enrichment activities you do at home are more fun than not: language-learning is a joyous process, and motivated, excited kids will accomplish more than you ever thought possible when they want to do something.

Second, in lieu of babbling on for ninety-seven more paragraphs, I am going to give you a roadmap to my website, so that you can find and explore exactly what you are looking for. If you need an actual roadmap/ travel guide and are planning to visit a Spanish-speaking country, check out THIS PAGE (my latest project, still in its infancy!).

Part 1: Resources

Not sure what your child learned this year in Spanish class? Check out the following links! Each page has resources by grade level of songs/ projects your child has worked on in Spanish class, as well as Quarter Summaries of the year.

  • Adult ClassDuolingo Language Challenge Posts
  • To read about my professional interests, click HERE.

Part 2: Language

Input is absolutely CRUCIAL here! If you don’t hear any Spanish, it is very unlikely that you will learn how to speak it. This input can come in countless forms. You can do the same activity every day (e.g., wake up and listen to ONE song in Spanish before breakfast); or keep it fresh, mix it up, and do something different every day. Either way, build the language into your daily routine, so that something feels “off” when you don’t do it. This input can be:

  • listening to songs, either playing in the background on your device while you do another task, or actively listening for words you know;
  • watching cartoons/movies or TV shows in your target language (Spanish voiceover with English subtitles);
  • working on an app, the Spanish Wordle, or a Guess the Language game for a few minutes every day;
  • playing a scavenger hunt out in public, noticing bilingual signs and Spanish translations when you go shopping;
  • traveling to the library to check out the world language section (go to the kid’s one! the adult one is full of grammar books! boring!! LOL);
  • traveling virtually —
    • for a playlist of Scholastic read-alouds in Spanish, click HERE;
    • for fairy tales in Spanish and English, click HERE;
  • traveling in real life, either to a Spanish-speaking country or to a restaurant or city with a lot of Spanish speakers.

Part 3: Culture

A friend once taught me that you don’t just learn to speak a language, you also have to learn to speak the culture. Bilingual speakers (and hyperpolyglots, of course) do not merely code-switch; they also culture-switch when bopping between languages. To that end, students can expand their perspective taking in countless ways, including but not limited to the following:

Conclusion

Wow! There are so many pieces that go into learning another language and culture! If you are looking more for themed activities, feel free to check out the Spanish Summer Packet from last year, LINK HERE.

And if your family would rather focus on, well, Family!, know that as in past years, all activities above are 100% optional. Have a wonderful summer, and I can’t wait to see you in the fall!

Gracias,

-Your Resident Linguist ❤

Resumen, 21-22 (Grade K)

Term
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.

The Bread Castle

There are moments in your life when you have to make serious decisions. And then there are moments in your life when the PSA (Professional Stuffed Animals) in your classroom have to make serious decisions.

One of the latter waddled along and had to choose this morning.

Let me explain. You see, students in kindergarten have been working hard to learn all of the names of the 21 Spanish-speaking countries. We start in Chile and work our way north, travel a little west to Mexico, sail through the Caribbean, and then fly over to Spain and Equatorial Guinea.

They jump on a “floor map” and say the countries aloud, and we add a new country or two each day. After a while, they get pretty good at it–at which point, I introduce The Timer and we go for both speed and accuracy. Most have mastered South America at this point in the year–Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Venezuela–and so recently, we have moved onto the second map, starting with Panama.

This activity is especially challenging for younger children because the majority–understandably–have very minimal background knowledge here; many kindergarteners have never heard the word Mexico before, so they are grappling with a lot all at once (word in English; different pronunciation in Spanish; location on the map; concept of another country; etc.). It is my job to make this information not only accessible, but also memorable to students. Enter Pato, my Professional Stuffed Animal Duck.

Point being, students reached “Panama” on the floor map last class. I love geography and travel, and how we can layer on culture so much more easily when students already have a place in their brains for the names of these Spanish-speaking countries.


Ahem, maestra! F-o-c-u-s! Right. So anyway, Pato started explaining that he LOVES Panama, and when asked why, he proceeded to describe his diet: pan (bread), pan (bread), pan (bread), and more pan (bread). What about special occasions, Pato? ¡Pan y papas fritas! (Bread and french fries.) Oh my.

After a long tangent about how it is pronounced, “pahhhhn” and not “tahhhhn”–ventriloquism requires that certain consonants be slightly mispronounced, so as not to move the lips. P’s become t’s, m’s become n’s, you get the idea.Pato continued.

“Why do I love it? It’s ‘cuz THERE’S A BREAD CASTLE IN PANAMA!” He was practically shrieking, he was so excited.

Pato, that’s not true at all.”

“Of course it is. Listen: TAN-ana [read: PAN-ama].” ASIDE: When I split apart the word and read it backwards now, the linguist in me sees, “loves (ama) bread (pan)”, which is quite funny in itself; however, the actual origin of the word Panama is derived from a Guaraní word that means, “the place of many fish”. But we’re not there yet.

Fast-forward to the following day. To the tune of Frère Jacques, I sang: Where is Pa-to, where is Pa-to? / ¿Dónde está? ¿Dónde está? ¡Dime, por favor! / ¡Dime, por favor! / Tell me, please! Tell me, please!

Young ducks require an enormous amount of rest, so it was not unexpected to find him sound asleep in his casa/house [read: a drawer in my desk]. What was unexpected was the stubborn, whiny response at 11:30am: an emphatic, “NO!”

Pato, everyone is here to see you. You need to get up now. It’s practically noon!” [this was all in the target language] This was the defining moment: a tough decision.

“Mmmfff.” He mumbled something unintelligible and rolled over. Uh-oh.

I motioned to the class to be very quiet, and proceeded to grab a flashcard with the word, “pan” on it. Attempt number two, in a quiet, sing-songy voice.

“Oh Pato, cariño, it’s time to get up now. I made your favorite: pan.”

He rocket-shipped out of bed at the last word. “PAN-PAN-PAN, ¡¡¡¡¿DÓNDE ESTÁ?!!!! I LOOOOOVE PAN! ¡¡¡ME ENCANTA!!!

Well, that was, umm, #Effective.

Thoroughly convinced that there was more pan hidden somewhere, he followed his nose beak and did, indeed, find a massive stack of high resolution images of pan. Loaves of bread, empanadas, medialunas [croissants], sliced bread, baguettes, Challah, bread rolls, the works.

And so, long story short, we built a BREAD CASTLE for Pato. Ours looked like this:


If you wanted to make your own Bread Castle (castillo de pan) at home, the tiny door route is pretty cool. DuPont Nutrition and Health has proven that any food is game here- you are not limited to pan!


Ultimately, the lesson here is that if Pato hadn’t made the decision to get out of bed, he would not have made an #AwesomeBreadCastle. He also would not have had another important decision on his plate (bad pun, since we’re talking about food, plates…): that is, what exactly do you do with a Bread Castle after you make one?

As I don’t have an answer to the latter yet, we may now conclude with the moral of the story:

So make sure to rocket-ship out of bed in the mornings. You never know what might happen.

NOTE: This post is sponsored by The Non-Existent Bread Castle Company of PAN-ama. Thank you for reading.

Center Work & Chickens

We left off last time with Pato (my stuffed animal duck) going on a treasure map adventure with pirates, rough ocean seas, and baking soda & vinegar volcanoes (fuerza/force). The initial idea was that he was traveling from one Spanish-speaking country to another, but the conceptual piece of this took a bit of time to sink in.

Since then, we have moved on to center work, where students “sign up for” centers/activities in the target language. Because literacy levels vary significantly in kindergarten, their written work is very simple–one word, plus their name; but they can always write more if they so desire.

At this point, kindergarteners can sign up for one of five centers. They write one (or more) of the following– “jugar/ play (“who-gar”); colorear/ color; pintar/ paint; construir/ build; volar/ fly” –depending on what they want to do that day; and if they want to switch centers, they just have to ask in Spanish (we only write for the first center they choose). Each activity has materials, and students are expected to use and ask for those materials in Spanish, or ask me how to say the word of the thing they need if/when they forget.

For example, if students sign up for “jugar/play”, they play with stuffed animals and food or little puzzle games. For “construir/build”, kindergarteners use large boxes and pieces of cardboard to “build” houses, and then decorate the inside with colorful blankets and sarapes. If they want to bring comida/food or peluches/stuffed animals into their casa/house, they have to pay for it with fake dinero/money (by buying it at our Argentina-style outdoor markets).

This week, we added “volar/fly” to the list. Here, kindergarteners bring me papel/paper and while I am folding them a paper airplane, they pick a flag on the wall (from the Spanish-speaking world) of where they want to travel. I have emphasized a few countries this week–Costa Rica (jungle pic); Colombia (pink dolphins); Argentina (waterfalls of Iguazu); and Perú (tesoro/treasure)–but they can choose any of the 21 Spanish-speaking countries. Next, students have to draw a flag (e.g., una franja azul/a blue stripe) on their paper airplane of where they are going, and… well, fly there! This morning, to emphasize the countries, I was asking where they were going to build a house (construir una casa) or paint (pintar) or play (jugar): in Peru? Argentina? Colombia?

There are also whole group routines at the beginning of class (with student-teacher helpers) who lead the lesson (por favor/please; gracias/thank you; pizarras/whiteboards; marcadores/markers; borra/erase). One class this week has also become wholly obsessed with pollos/chickens, so much so that I have to ask if the chicken is going to build or play or paint or fly or color! We did add a tortuga/turtle to the mix this morning, so there is hope on the horizon to move on from this phase, ha!!

Point being, their creativity never ceases to amaze me… I hope you are having a great day!

Kindergarten- Links

  • For a playlist of Scholastic read-alouds in Spanish, click HERE;
  • For fairy tales in Spanish, click HERE.

Year 2020-21

Summer Packet 2021

PREVIOUS YEARS: Summer Packet 2020, Holiday Packet 2020, Summer Packet 2019, Summer Packet 2017, Summer Packet 2016

My Dear Friends, Fellow Linguists, and Citizens of the World:

This summer, students are encouraged to continue their Spanish study by living the language, through whichever ‘access point’ they deem most exciting. It is important to tap into students’ interests here.

For example, if they like tech, work on a Spanish app consistently; if they like music, listen to songs in the target language; if they like art or science, check out the updated Culture Projects; if they like geography or travel, look at tags and stickers on clothing and fruits, and see how many Spanish-speaking countries they can find; if they like PE, complete the Camino For Good Summer Challenge (where you walk/bike/swim across Spain virtually and log your progress in an app, unlocking all sorts of fun along the way!).

Spanish class is all-encompassing, and as such, the goal is to make it fun so that students stick with it: language acquisition is a long journey, and it is important to enjoy the ride. For a plethora of links, resources, and ideas, keep reading!

NOTE: While the activities below are 100% optional, it is my hope that you and your family begin incorporating Spanish into your daily lives: small, frequent doses are the most potent and effective!


SPANISH & PE

  1. Camino For Good App– [virtual hike across Spain]
    • The idea is that you walk/swim/bike in your local area and each day you log your distance into the App. You will see your equivalent progression along the Camino Frances on the interactive map where you can get a real feel for the landscape and village life of the regions you pass through. The total distance of the Virtual Camino Frances is 485 mi/ 780 km.
    • As a way of keeping you motivated, the App has rich content in the form of over 2,000 photos, audio stories, local history and motivational quotes that get unlocked as you virtually travel through the 207 destinations along the way.”

SPANISH & FOOD

SPANISH & ART/SCIENCE

SPANISH & TECH

  • Work on a language-learning app consistently this summer. Make goals for yourself about how many points you want to earn, or how many levels you want to level-up, or how many days a week you will practice. Switch your device’s language to Spanish if you want to!
  • Watch cartoons and movies in the target language; the brain does an incredible amount of work when it is given the opportunity to sit back, listen, and absorb. Do not downplay the importance of this when it comes to language acquisition!

SPANISH & WRITING

  • Keep a Spanish journal!
    • Doodle words you remember in the target language. Write the words or sentences in different colors and with different pens/ pencils/ markers/ paints/ gel pens/ etc. each day.
    • Tell the weather: hace sol (it’s sunny); hace mucho calor (it’s hot); está nublado (it’s cloudy); está lloviendo (it’s raining). Temperatures in Spanish-speaking countries are often in Celsius (use an online converter to see what 98*F equals!).

SPANISH & DANCE/MUSIC

SPANISH & MATH

  • Cut out different currencies (money from other countries), and compare and contrast. Use a currency converter to see how much it would be worth in US dollars.
    • Make your own business! Decide what you will sell, and for how much (in pesos, euros, etc.). Display the items you create, build, or cook in a decorative way, so that your family will want to “buy” them.
    • Make a cash box and organize all of the money by country and by amount.
  • Learn to count to 20 in Spanish with this video.
  • Learn to count to 100 in Spanish with this video.

SPANISH & GEOGRAPHY

  • Look for names of Spanish-speaking countries on tags and labels of items around your house and at the store. Can you fill in the rest of the chart below?
    • Spanish-Speaking CountriesChile, Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Venezuela, Panama, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico (technically a territory), Spain/España, Equatorial Guinea.
    • Older students can read this Imports & Exports post to think about the journey of a product and how it got to you.
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SPANISH & NATIVE SPEAKERS

  • If you are a heritage or native speaker
    • Watch movies in Spanish and add the Spanish subtitles– it can be interesting to compare the translations, which are oftentimes done in different countries. For example, you might hear, “¿Cómo estás?” but read, “¿Qué tal?“. You can even guess the country with some vocabulary and phrases.
    • Keep a Spanish journal and write a paragraph or two about what you remember the most from each day.
    • Make a “NO ENGLISH” rule at home with your family. Anyone who breaks the rule (intentionally or inadvertently) has to put a penny (or dollar?!) in a communal jar, or do everyone else’s chores for the next 24 hours. Make it a game!

SPANISH & SUMMER CAMPS

  • Read this post about Summer Language Camps.
  • Or, alternatively, turn a section of your home into a Spanish-speaking country!
    • Choose a Spanish-speaking country.
    • Research, print out, and hang up colored images of your country’s flag, plus famous places, animals, and foods from there. Ask to paint a tiny flag of your country on your hand or cheek!
    • Label five items in your room with bilingual (Spanish & English) signs–you can use WordReference or Google Translate.
    • Make it fun! Last year, we built a rainforest in Costa Rica in my classroom, complete with jungle sounds playing on an iPad in the background. This year, we built the Alhambra fort in Spain out of cardboard we had painted red. Add music, food, different currencies, and more- see other categories for more ideas!

Spanish is more than a class; it is a journey, and I cannot emphasize this enough. While the destination–fluency–is ultimately our telos, or end goal, the journey is equally important, and we want this journey to be filled to the brim with experiences and memories, so that language has meaning embedded in the words. Because that is the point, right?!

That said, it is important to recognize that when hiking (~our language-learning metaphor), there is value in both moving and standing still: sometimes you need to keep moving–and learning–filling up your tank with new experiences and new information; other times, you need to stop, pause, and be still while the world keeps moving. And sometimes, you meant or wanted to keep hiking, but didn’t get to it. That is okay!

Sometimes life throws us curve balls. Sometimes the world seems crazy. Sometimes our plans go awry. But a friend recently reminded me that through it all, we are responsible for how we respond: we can always choose joy. Whether ‘moving or standing still’ on your metaphorical hike, focus on what you love and make joy a priority this summer. It is time for a much needed respite now, but I also can’t wait to see you again in the fall! Have fun and be well.

Gracias,

-Your Resident Linguist


Happy Summer!

Siempre hace sol / cuando hablas español” (it’s always sunny when you speak Spanish).

Resumen, 20-21 (All Grades)

This year, I changed schools and began writing blog posts about lessons, as opposed to quarter summaries. Our school also did a mix of hybrid learning, with some students 100% on campus and others learning virtually from home.

As a result, I struggled with finding the best way to organize my curriculum on paper, as well as trying to blog regularly and post for virtual students: much like the fireworks image above, my thoughts were everywhere. It was a year of intense professional growth. Below, you can read blips about what we did. My two favorite posts are at the top, namely, Yes to Pizza and Pato Who?.

Lava Lamps & Pirates (K)

WEEKS 3-4: After spending one lesson last week identifying objects that float and sink–and adding food coloring to plain water/agua (not vinegar/vinagre) to observe the ‘lava lamp’ effect–Pato decided that the day had come to learn to fly. He felt ready. Prepared. Brave. Courageous! A pulley system was therefore erected in class (arriba, abajo, de lado a lado/up, down, side to side), and kindergarteners helped him get over his fear of heights (¿Listos?/Ready?). At a certain point, he would shriek that he didn’t like it, and we would let him down; but he soon became accustomed to the idea (Sí me gusta/no me gusta/ para nada; yes, I like it, no I don’t, not at all). A series of P.E. lessons in Spanish class then ensued (combining action words from our beginning-of-class routine with other exercises to help increase the duck’s upper body strength). He was able to lift a marker by the end of the lesson, bench-press style. ¡Muy bien!

Today in class–and building on a genius idea from second graders–students helped hold up a zipline for Pato, so that he could practice flying while harnessed in. After a few runs, he had had enough; and so we returned to the class’s first mini-story of the year. The goal here is to combine vocabulary from all of the lessons, in a comprehensible and interactive way. The story included Pato floating on a boat in the water (read: a box big enough to fit one student) with caimanes/alligators all around. Students shouted, “¡Mira!/Look!” when they saw one (other students acting), as the teacher dragged the box-boat across the ocean, err, room. Rain, thunder, and wind sound effects were added in the background via noisli.com and a portable Bluetooth speaker, to complete the scene.

VIRTUAL LEARNERS are encouraged to rig up their own string zipline at home, and harness in their favorite stuffed animal to practice directions/action commands (arriba/up, abajo/down/“ah-BAH-hoe”, and ¡vuela!/fly!) in the target language. Materials needed: string (a taut line) and a cylindrical piece of pliable cardboard, such as a paper towel or toilet paper roll. They are also welcome to build their own cardboard box boat/barco with a sign that says, “BARCO/BOAT”, and continue practicing colors and numbers (0-10, forwards and backwards) in Spanish.


WEEK 5: On Monday, students used paper telescopes to look for tesoro/treasure, practicing the phrase, “¡MIRA!” (“MEER-rah”/Look!). Later, they watched Pocoyo: Piratas to understand these words in context. This was also the first time this year they’ve heard someone else speaking Spanish, other than their maestra.

To extend our class story, kindergarteners traveled outside this morning to help Pato search for ‘real’ tesoro/treasure. (It is assumed that he got past the alligators safely.) Students practiced saying, “¡Mira!” (Look!) again while picking up shells and small rocks and pretending that they had discovered TESORO (“tay-SORE-oh”)/treasure.

VIRTUAL LEARNERS are welcome to make paper telescopes (roll up a sheet of colored paper) and then create their own treasure hunt (real or imagined) at home! Painting rocks gold and then hiding them might be a fun activity. Drawing a treasure map on the inside of the telescope is another idea.

Newsletter 20-21, Oct.

Water or Vinegar? (K)

Week #2: This week, students in kindergarten experienced 95% immersion in the target language. They usually begin class with some sort of movement warm-up, either dancing as a group to the Wreck-It Ralph/Rompe Ralph song, or copying action words as the teacher does them (e.g., run, jump on one foot, raise your hand, etc.).

Next, they chat for a few minutes with Pato, my stuffed animal duck who–yes–wore his mask this week and–no–was not wearing his sock pajamas (like on the first day of school). He was still not wearing a school uniform, but at least he had on a yellow knit sweater as more appropriate attire. Several students complimented him today in Spanglish–“¡Pato is so GUAPO today! [handsome]”. One class also practiced counting to ten in Spanish (which most of them seem to already know how to do). The other class wants to teach Pato how to fly… [COMING SOON TO A THEATER NEAR YOU!].

Then, we launched into the project of the day with a song to review colors: “Azul, blanco, rojo, violeta, amarillo, anaranjado, verde y rosa [rosado]“. I pointed to crayons as I sang, so as to associate the proper color with each word, and then referenced the food coloring bottles that we had used last class with the coffee filters.

After smelling seemingly identical cups of clear liquid–water/agua and vinegar/vinagre [‘bee-NAH-gray’]–students responded in Spanish with either, “Sí me gusta” or “No me gusta” (I like it/I don’t like it/’no may GOOSE-tah’) and proceeded to ooooh and aaahhh when Pato added baking soda, droplets of food coloring, and vinegar to a bowl–resulting in a colorful volcanic eruption!

We repeated this experiment several times. Each time, I narrated what was happening and asked questions continuously; the class voted on which color should be added next, how many droplets, etc.

They ended class by writing their first Spanish sight word of the year on their whiteboards: Hola. Thanks for a fabulous week!

VIRTUAL LEARNERS, HERE is a video narrated in Spanish to help you follow along. Be sure to gather the materials for the coffee filter project (see below) and perhaps a bit of baking soda, vinegar, and a bowl so that you can do the experiment along with me!


Week 1: This week, students in kindergarten learned that “Señorita” speaks Spanish, which sounds a little different than English. They were not sure at first that they could follow the strange mix of sounds, but after a few “tests”, (toca la cabeza/touch your head, salta/jump, etc.), students realized it was not so difficult–even if it still sounded funny!

In terms of content, the class dove right in to reviewing colors and numbers in new contexts. Most knew that “uno-dos-tres” (etc.) and “rojo, azul, verde, amarillo” were Spanish words, even if they couldn’t all produce them. (NOTE: This is perfectly normal and a great place to start the year. The average person requires 70-150 repetitions to acquire a word or phrase before it goes into their long-term memory.)

All students followed along–frequently repeating words and phrases they heard in the target language–as we began a brief class activity. Here, students were individually asked a series of questions in Spanish about which food coloring “Señorita” should open first (azul/blue; rojo/red; amarillo/yellow; verde/green); how many drops she should add to the coffee filter (uno/one; dos/two; tres/three); and where the drops ought to fall (“over here or over there”/¿Por acá o por ahí?). They also met a Professional Stuffed Animal (PSA) named Pato, who is a silly duck with a very big personality; and listened to a song from Wreck-It Ralph in Spanish (see embedded video below).

To continue reinforcing colors and numbers in a meaningful context, kindergarteners will begin their own coffee filter project next class.

VIRTUAL LEARNERS are encouraged to do the following:
1) listen to the Wreck-It Ralph/Rompe Ralph (‘rom-pay Ralph’) song in Spanish;
2) get a head-start on next week by checking out THIS POCOYO episode exploring the opposites big/small (grande/pequeño); and 
3) gather materials for the individual project next week. You will need: one white coffee filter and a box of food coloring (red, yellow, blue, green), and something to protect the table (from food coloring stains). I will be creating a step-by-step video for virtual learners this weekend to guide them through the process in Spanish.

*The Weekly Spanish Challenges are also an option for anyone feeling extra motivated!

Newsletter 20-21, Aug.

Remote 19-20, T3 (PK, K)

Continued Learning Assignments below.

SPANISH ACTIVITY, 5/19/20- JK, K

  1. Zoom Party! Check Seesaw for login info.
  2. Check out the Spanish Summer Packet 2020 for 50 ideas of what to do over the summer, especially when your kids start saying, “I’m booooored!”
  3. HAVE AN AMAZING SUMMER! ❤

SPANISH ACTIVITY, 5/12/20- JK, K

  1. Watch the video on Seesaw.
  2. Watch THE PATO SHOW, #9.
  3. Build a castillo/castle out of any material, and then post a photo of it to Seesaw.

EXTRA CREDIT-

  1. HERE is a sneak peek at 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!!

SPANISH ACTIVITY, 5/5/20- JK, K

REQUIRED–

  1. Watch THE PATO SHOW, #8.
  2. Video your child saying, “¡No comprendo!” OR
  3. Make a sign that says, “¡No comprendo!” (I don’t understand!) and hang it somewhere in your house.

EXTRA CREDIT–

Join Lower School and Summit in learning about Cinco de Mayo this week!

  1. Watch my videos on Seesaw: PART 1 and PART 2.
  2. Put on some traditional Mariachi music, and then–
  3. Post a video/photo/craft on Seesaw.

SPANISH ACTIVITY, 4/28/20- JK, K

REQUIRED–

  1. Watch THE PATO SHOW, #7.
  2. Video your child saying, “¡No quiero!” (“no key-arrow“) OR
  3. Make a sign that says “¡No quiero!” (I don’t want to!).

EXTRA CREDIT–

  1. Visit THIS LINK (see “Spanish Activity, 4/23/20- 1,2,3“).
  2. Do the same dance video activity as Lower School last week.
  3. Email me or post your dance video to the journal feed on Seesaw.

SPANISH ACTIVITY, 4/21/20- JK, K

OBJECTIVE: This week, the goal is to include both language and culture. If this feels like too much for your family, please email me!

REQUIRED–

  1. LANGUAGE: Watch the THE PATO SHOW, #6. It is about bread and butter and more low-key than other episodes. If it is adventure you seek, watch Episode #5 (see Extra Credit below)!
  2. This video has more instructions, with my smiling face. 🙂
  1. CULTURE: There is a mountain/montaña in Peru near Machu Picchu that looks like a rainbow! It is called Vinicunca, which means “Rainbow Mountain”.
  2. Respond to the activity on Seesaw with a photo of your rainbow creation.

EXTRA CREDIT–

****If you want to know what happens next to “Evil Pato”, you can watch this video here: THE PATO SHOW, #5. If you did not like “Evil Pato”, you may skip this.


SPANISH ACTIVITY, 4/14/20- K

  1. Watch THE PATO SHOW, #4.
  2. Watch it again and this time, count how many times you hear the word, “policía” (police).
  3. Finally, send me some feedback by describing your favorite part of the video!

SPANISH ACTIVITY, 4/7/20- K

  1. Watch THE PATO SHOW, #3.
  2. Make a big, colorful sign that says “Fiesta” (party) and on the other side that says, “Siesta” (nap), and take a picture of what you feel like doing now.
  3. Finally, send me some feedback. You can:
    • Record them when they watch the video.
    • Send messages of what they learn from the video (e.g., FIESTA/party is not the same as SIESTA/nap!).
    • Predict what is going to happen next.
    • Ask your child to find something s/he knows in Spanish from the house (might be harder–production is the last step in language acquisition).


SPANISH ACTIVITY, 3/31/20- K

  1. Watch THE PATO SHOW, #2.
  2. Listen for the question, “¿Dónde está Pato?” (Where is Pato?)
  3. Choose ONE thing that you are always losing.
  4. Make a short video of yourself looking for that thing in your house and/or outside.
  5. Make sure you ask, “¿Dónde está……………?” at least three times in the video. You can say it in a normal voice, a loud voice, a soft voice, a silly voice, or a lot of different voices… really, any kind of voice you like! Have fun!

**You can extend this activity by playing Hide and Go Seek with someone–counting in Spanish (uno, dos, tres, cuatro, cinco) and then asking aloud, “¿Dónde está…………… [John, Fred, Lisa, etc.]?”


SPANISH REQUEST, 3/19/20- JK, K

If you choose to do one of the culture projects, PLEASE share a video or photo here with our community to inspire everyone! The projects are from Spain and Mexico this week:

  1. Hang up a hammock in your house
  2. Make an amate bark painting
  3. Grow your own crystals
  4. Make/cook tapas in your kitchen
  5. Build a fort in Spain with pillows and blankets
  6. Go on a hike, Camino-style.

More information for all projects can be found HERE.

Also, please respond to the activity when submitting any work. This helps keep everything organized. Thank you!

SCHEDULE NOTE, 3/19/20- JK, K

Spanish classes will be held on Tuesdays during Continued Learning. Because we did not have class this week, I have written a LETTER WITH SOME IDEAS of how to continue your Spanish study. Everything is optional. Please enjoy!

OTHER NOTES, 3/19/20-JK, K

**Students in JK-2 should watch two 4-7 minute cartoons in the target language this week–preferably on separate days. HERE is a list of links, including Pocoyo, Perro y Gato, and Caillou in Spanish. Listening to SONGS in the target language counts, too. Just make sure you don’t sing the English lyrics over the Spanish if it is translated!

Note that it would be beneficial to build into your home schedule that children watch these shows at a specific day and time, for example, 2x per week, when you are preparing breakfast or dinner and need a few minutes alone. The more predictable the routine, the better.

Continued Learning (Remote)

Radio Broadcast- Summary

CLICK BELOW TO LISTEN!

NOTE: It is in both Spanish and English!

This week, I will give a variety of options for grades JK-5, to ease into the idea of continued learning. While students are required to complete the Spanish language assignment below (independent work), they are also encouraged to try one of the optional mini culture projects. The latter are fun, hands-on, offline activities that families can work on together.

This is not meant to be a burden on you, but rather to emphasize the importance of family in the Hispanic community, and to remind us to be grateful for this extra time we have together.


Language

Grades JK-2

**Students in JK-2 should watch two 4-7 minute cartoons in the target language this week–preferably on separate days. HERE is a list of links, including Pocoyo, Perro y Gato, and Caillou in Spanish. Listening to SONGS in the target language counts, too. Just make sure you don’t sing the English lyrics over the Spanish if it is translated!

Note that it would be beneficial to build into your home schedule that children watch these shows at a specific day and time, for example, 2x per week, when you are preparing breakfast or dinner and need a few minutes alone. The more predictable the routine, the better.

Grades 3-5

**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 below as well. Be sure to add English subtitles on BrainPop and “Pollito Tito” (CC/closed captioning in bottom right hand corner).

Native Speakers

**NATIVE SPEAKERS in ALL grades can watch the “Pollito Tito” video below for pura diversión. In addition, native speakers in grades 3-5 should watch a BrainPop video in Spanish on a topic of their choice this week. (Be sure to add subtitles to read along.) In their Spanish notebook, students can journal about the video they saw, or do a free write (e.g., continue a story they were writing, write about how they’re feeling, etc.).

Hear/read more stories at THIS LINK.

Culture

Each week, I will highlight a few different Spanish-speaking countries in my posts, with accompanying facts and mini-projects. Read through the ideas, see what materials you have on hand, and have fun! For all culture projects, be sure to find a good song on THIS PAGE to listen to while you are working/playing!

If you want to “create a country” in a corner of your house–bedroom, playroom, part of the living room, your closet, etc.–like I have in my classroom, make sure to add a big sign with the country name, and check out THIS PAGE for more cultural ideas. Post on Seesaw (grades JK-3) or email me a photo (grades 4-5) if you want to share.


Mexico

Project #1: HAMMOCKS!

The Yucatan in Mexico is known for its hammock culture. Here, 2/3 of children sleep in hammocks instead of beds, and there are even hammocks in hospitals! For this challenge, string up your own DIY hammock with a sheet and twine/rope. Attach it to your bedpost, a chair, or even a tree outside. Be sure to ask your parents first so that you choose a safe place.


Project #2: AMATE PAINTINGS!

Amate bark paper is a traditional folk art and beautiful type of paper made from the bark of fig trees in Mexico. An easy way to create one at home is to crumple up a brown paper bag and use colorful paints to create something like THIS. Scroll down here for step-by-step instructions. If you have any figs to chew on, eat some while you are painting!


Project #3: GROW CRYSTALS!

The Giant Crystal Cave is a cave connected to the Naica Mine in Mexico with massive crystals. The average person can only stay inside for ten minutes because there is 99% humidity, whoa! For this challenge, grow your own crystals at home with Epsom salts, food coloring, and a bowl. Turn off the air conditioning if you want to enhance the cave simulation, haha! Skip to 5:23 in the video below to learn more.


Spain/España

Project #4: MAKE TAPAS!

An exciting part of traveling is getting to see and try different types of foods. What is “normal” to you is “strange” to others, and vice-versa. In Spain, tapas—also called pinchos when pierced with toothpicks—are found in many restaurants. They are snacks arranged in small dishes, and have an interesting history: a long time ago, many people were illiterate, so travelers going from one inn to the next could not read the menus; instead, they were given little plates to sample different types of food before ordering their meal.

Pretend you are in Spain and recreate tapas in your own kitchen. There are countless options, so find a few that you like, and have a little fiesta, or party. Some ideas include mixed olives and cheese; skewers with pickles; fried baby squid; mushrooms sautéed in garlic and oil, etc.—see more options HERE. Enjoy!


Project #5: BUILD A FORT!

La Alhambra is a famous fort/palace with beautiful gardens in southern Spain. Many students enjoy trying to build this fort during class time out of cardboard, so why not make one at home? Build a huge fort tent out of blankets, pillows, and chairs, based on La Alhambra. Ask your parents where in your house would be a good place to build it (so that you don’t have to take it down right away or get in trouble).

Draw or print out a Spanish flag to wave, put on Spain’s National Anthem or your favorite song in Spanish, and get to work! This could become a really comfy place to watch Spanish cartoons or study Duolingo. NOTE: The video is historically-based, and more for older students.


Project #6: GO ON A HIKE!

The Camino de Santiago is a 500-mile hike across northern Spain. It takes about 30 days to complete on foot. You carry everything you need in a backpack, and follow the arrows and shells so you don’t get lost. For this challenge, put arrows and shells all over the house, leading to your learning space or bedroom, like it is the Camino de Santiago. Feel free to pack a bag and go on a mini-hike with your parents walking around the block, if you feel like it. Be sure to wear comfortable shoes!

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Thank you so much for reading! Hope you are having a great week.

Fondly,

-Señorita M.

Resumen 19-20, T1-T2 (K)

Year Recap

PROJECTS: floating and sinking objects; volcanoes with baking soda and food coloring; building Popsicle stick boats with flags; watching Pocoyo; paper airplanes flying to Spanish-speaking countries; pirates and searching for treasure; coffee filter design project with food coloring; choice centers; copy Spanish sight words; favorite colors; numbers 0-10; country recognition; THE PATO SHOW; optional culture projects during Continued Learning.

READING/SIGHT WORDS: jugar, colorear, pintar, construir, tocar el piano, volar [un avión de papel], limpiar, dibujar, cantar, hablar, dormir, bailar, trabajar, ver, hola, clase, soy, quiero.

WRITING: Hola, clase. Soy ____. Quiero ____. (Hello, class. I am/this is ____. I want to ____.)

CULTURE:

  • Argentina- food poster/flags/soccer & Southern Lights
  • Spain- abanicos & siesta
  • Mexico- Day of the Dead & piñatas
  • Costa Rica- rainforest
  • Venezuela- Catatumbo Lightning & Angel Falls
  • Bolivia- Salar de Uyuni
  • Puerto Rico- Coquí frog
  • Peru- Vinicunca/Rainbow Mountain

Trimester Summary

Kindergarten- Trimester 1 ended with a conversation about Day of the Dead in Mexico. Students were so interested in this that we continued our ‘culture trip’ around the Spanish-speaking world. When, for instance, students signed up for the ‘volar/fly’ center, I made them paper airplanes, on the condition that they brought me the color paper and size they wanted, and told me where they were going.

Initially, the options were only España/Spain and Mexico, and they had to draw the flag colors on their planes, but we branched out after that. Where will you be flying today? Argentina? We added Bolivia after a brief cultural lesson on the largest salt flat in the world there, Salar de Uyuni, and to clarify to Olivia (as opposed to Bolivia) that I was not making fun of her name! 

Venezuela was added to the list when students wanted to contribute something to the LS Spanish museum; that day, we went outside and collected pebbles, leaves, and sticks, and made a mini replica of Angel Falls, one of the highest waterfalls in the world. The other class wanted to print out pictures of lightning for a center (imprimir/to print), so I showed them Catatumbo Lightning in Venezuela. K.A ended up seeing the images, and asked about it the following day.

Costa Rica became a fad after classes contributed to the rainforest simulation in my closet. All of these countries are labeled and have specific locations in my room now, so students can ‘travel’ to Bolivia to paint (pintar) or simply fly their airplane/avión in said direction and shout out key words like, “¡Mira!” (Look!) or “¡Ayúdame!” (Help me!) when it does something neat or lands up too high to reach. Granted, not all students have taken to plane-flying, but there is a high percentage of both classes that participate and/or have participated this trimester. These countries are all sight words as well.

While kindergarteners do not necessarily have a conceptual grasp of what a country is, they do know that people in faraway lands like Argentina, Spain, Mexico, Costa Rica, Venezuela, Peru, and Bolivia speak Spanish. This is the overarching goal. Any extra facts they recall or bring home are icing on the cake. (NOTE: As a bonus, many also know that they do not speak Spanish in Polonia/Poland– thank you/ dziękujęAlejandro, aka Alex!) Last but not least, and at some point back in the fall, students also made their own piñatas and abanicos (fans).

In the linguistic realm, it should be noted that as a group, students’ reading and writing skills are improving daily. They read to me in Spanish on a regular basis, and most can write at least several words in the target language now without consulting any reference materials, i.e., sight word cards. Kindergarteners enjoy pointing out similarities and differences between English and Spanish, especially with regards to phonetics. Great work this term!


August Summary

Kindergarten– Students jumped into several science experiments to start the new year. First, kindergarteners made baking soda and vinegar volcanoes, but with neon food coloring! Students had fun smelling the two identical-in-appearance (but not so much for smell) liquids: agua/ water and vinagre/ vinegar. Immersion slides to the periphery when hands-on projects excite the senses; students barely noticed that I was speaking another language!

Later, they chose from eight different food coloring bottles to create beautiful designs on coffee filters; used their imagination to “see” what was in-between the dots; and drew a scene around said image. At this point, the goal is for students to comprehend the language and work on answering questions; although well-intentioned, please refrain from pressuring your child to produce language at this stage. HERE is a blog post that explains why in greater depth.


February: Palabras de alta frecuencia para kínder: pintar, tocar el piano, volar [un avión de papel], limpiar, dibujar, colorear, cantar, jugar, construir, hablar, dormir, bailar, trabajar, ver. Pregúntele a su niño(a) cuál es su actividad favorita en la clase de español. Aparte: “trabajar” y “ver” son nuevos, o sea, la mayoría no sabe pronunciarlas de momento.

November Update/Trimester 1: Los del kínder han logrado un montón este trimestre: desde un gran empiezo al año escolar con objetos que flotan y se hunden y volcanes con bicarbonato y colorante alimentario, hasta pintar, construir barcos, ver episodios de Pocoyó, jugar y aún darle un baño a Pato hoy (juego de palabras aquí–quieres lavar los platos o lavar a Pato?? jaja), volar a México y España, limpiar las mesas y la pizarra, colorear, tocar el piano, escuchar y bailar a música española, aprender sobre El Día de Los Muertos y escribir cada día en la lengua meta… ¡guao! Sigo estar impresionada con 1) la rapidez con la cual los niños aplican el idioma a la vida cotidiana y 2) su habilidad de crear en general: siempre hay más ideas para explorar. ¡Gracias!

Country Presentations

Today, kindergarteners and third graders had a special presentation about Mexico [from Regina and Isabella’s mom and grandmother]. In it, students learned that the Aztecs were warriors, or guerreros, who needed to eat very good food to keep them strong. Corn tortillas provided just the strength they needed, and this food acted as their main source of energy, especially when combined with chili, meat, beans, and vegetables. They also saw a short video about Mexico that you are welcome to revisit at home.

Students learned that making homemade tortilla shells is very easy. All you need is warm water and ground corn (flour) to create the dough/masa. Knead it together into small rounded balls, press it flat in a tortilla press, cook it on a cast-iron skillet, and… time to eat!

During the presentation, childen ate quesadillas, and then balled up the dough and put it in the press (one at a time) to make (and eat) their own Mexican tortillas. Later, they were given a surprise treat of Mexican candy, Paletón de Cajeta (a goat milk caramel lollipop). What a lovely and informative presentation–thank you so much for your time! ¡Mil gracias!


HONDURAS

This morning, first graders heard a special presentation about Honduras [from Marcelo’s mom]. She intertwined authentic realia and artifacts, photos of the colorful guacamayo and orchid (national flower), and videos of Tegucigalpa and Lenca weaving to give insight into this beautiful Central American country.

She also told a Mayan legend about the hummingbird; explained the flag’s significance (blue represents the water on each side of the country; the five stars are for the five original Central American countries); talked about the Mayan calendar (see photo of glyphs below); and ended by teaching a Honduran folkloric dance to students. There was a brief Q&A as the class came to a close. Thank you so much for your time! ¡Mil gracias!


VENEZUELA

Yesterday, Junior Knights had a combined art and Spanish class so that they could hear a special presentation about Venezuela [from Eva’s mom]. Class began with a brief discussion about, “What is culture?” and children deduced on their own that they speak Spanish in Venezuela (quote: “I think they speak Spanish there because Eva speaks Spanish, and that is Eva’s mom!”). Excellent!

In the presentation itself, students learned about animals native to Venezuela, including the cabybara and the most poisonous snake in the world; saw a video emphasizing how tall the famous waterfall Angel Falls actually is; made arepas; heard about the water balloon fight tradition for Carnaval; folded their own paper hats and reenacted a parade to celebrate their own mini Carnaval; and received a goodie bag of Venezuelan treats. Thank you so much for your time. ¡Mil gracias!

Resumen, 18-19 (Grade K)

Term
AUGThis month, kindergarteners met “Pato”, a very lovable and silly stuffed animal who speaks Spanish but forgets how to say a lot of things… a lot of the time.  However, he always has a new idea up his sleeve (wing?).  For example, one week, kindergarteners took turns hoisting him up-up-up to the sky on a yarn pulley so that he could learn how to fly.  This skill became particularly relevant and useful after a tremendous baking soda and vinegar volcanic eruption forced him to flee for safety.  Kindergarteners crinkled their noses after getting a chance to smell the vinegar and then gasped as the powder turned into a foamy mess.  

Students also had fun lining up as a class “tren/train”, repeating “el cacahuete/peanut” and dancing to the beat (part of a rhyme kindergartners will learn later on), and stopping periodically to fill up the gas tank.  They also learned how to say, “Tengo sed/I’m thirsty” to get a drink from the water fountain; responded to action and animal commands in the target language; giggled as they read the translated version of ¡No, David! by David Shannon, responding “¡Qué problema!” to each page when David misbehaves; and worked on a design project that involved food coloring, paper, and coffee filters. Gracias for a great month.
SEPTThis month, kindergarteners began an ocean unit. First, and whenever they wanted to go get a drink (Tengo sed/I’m thirsty), students were required to bring back a cup of water to the classroom from the water fountain. In this way, they managed to fill up a plastic container (más agua/more water); underneath the clear plastic was a printout of sea creatures, making it appear to be the ocean—especially after adding a few drops of blue food coloring. Later, kindergarteners hypothesized whether or not items would float or sink (flota/floats; se hunde/sinks), and later built group boats out of Popsicle sticks (barcos/boats), complete with paper flags! To test their craftsmanship, students put the boats in a bowl of water (2.A) and kiddie pool outside (2.B) and watched as they… ultimately sank, ¡qué problema! Students also made catalejos/spyglasses with orcas and octopi and fish at the end of the telescopes, pretending to be pirates, and saw a very relevant episode of Pocoyo: Pirates.

To shift away from constant trips to the water fountain, a new song was introduced: “Tengo hambre” (I’m hungry). Afterwards, students broke off into groups and used tiny, lightweight, wicker-type balls to knock down “fish”, or GI Joe men standing on pictures of sea creatures. Then they shouted, “¡No me comas!” (don’t eat me!), and giggled as a ravenous tiburón/shark (read: manila folder with scary shark pictures) ate up all of the knocked down “fish”.

Kindergarteners also searched for “tesoro-tesoro-tesoro-TREASURE!” at the bottom of the sea; watched a few more episodes of Pocoyo; and, lastly, built a submarine out of chairs to keep them safe from any other hungry sharks (grande/big; pequeño/small). Gracias for a great month.
T1This trimester, students in kindergarten experienced immersion in the target language through a variety of multi-sensory and scientific activities. From hoisting their stuffed animal friend Pato up-up-up to the sky on a yarn pulley so that he could learn how to fly; to crinkling their noses at the smell of vinegar and gasping as baking soda turned it into a foamy, volcanic eruption mess; to a design project that involved food coloring, paper, and coffee filters; to building group boats out of Popsicle sticks, complete with paper flags; to floating and sinking objects and pirate adventures with spyglasses; […]

to searching for treasure, swimming away from hungry sharks, building submarines, singing along with Elmo to Para bailar la bamba and making sailor hats and boat steering wheels; to fort building, fruit markets, and writing Spanish sight words for the very first time; and finally, to making a class video of their ocean unit and learning about molinillos, a wooden tool used to stir chocolate in Mexico (bate, bate chocolate, tu nariz de cacachuate/stir, stir the chocolate, your nose is a peanut!), kindergarteners certainly gave it their “all”. Gracias for a great first trimester.
NOVThis month, students in kindergarten spent a class learning about El Día de los Muertos/Day of the Dead, and were thoroughly fascinated by a silent film about the holiday—so much so, in fact, that each class ending up watching the three-minute video on repeat for a minimum of thirty minutes. To tap into the essential question of their regular classroom, kindergarteners made superhero masks to demonstrate their own personal poder, or power; learned a po-der-o-so/powerful clapping rhyme; and built card houses, until the power of various forces (esp. air and breath) knocked down the delicate constructions.

Students at first thought that agua/water was not powerful, until they considered hurricanes. K.B also made a planetarium of stars underneath one of the tables in the Spanish room—the power of the beauty of the night sky? Finally, they began a structured free play unit, where students chose and wrote down a Spanish sight word; this determined their activity for the day (e.g., colorear/color; jugar/play). Many kindergarteners tilted their heads, a bit perplexed, when trying to match the “who-garr” pronunciation with a word that starts with “j”; their understanding of the phonetics world has officially been turned upside-down!
JANThis month, students in kindergarten continued with their free play unit, with a special focus on math in the target language. Here, class begins with a Buenos días (good morning) song and answering the question, “¿Cómo estás?” (how are you?) with muy bien/very good, bien/good, mal/badtengo sueño/I’m sleepy, tengo sed/I’m thirsty, tengo hambre/I’m hungry, or me duele/it hurts (~head, knee, etc.).

Next, kindergarteners make a class bar graph of who wants to do what—colorear/color, jugar/play, pintar/paint, dormir/sleep, construir/build, or leer/read—and practice counting the votes (from cero/zero), working to isolate numbers and identify them out of sequence. Students note which is the tallest column, and sometimes even try to add all of them together to see the total. Granted, this number is slightly skewed and does not represent the number of students in class because they are allowed to choose more than one activity. Next, kindergarteners proceed to write their preferred sight word on the board before launching into said activity. Students heard Corre, perro, corre (Go, Dog, Go) over several classes as well (¿Te gusta mi sombrero?/Do you like my hat?; Sí me gusta/yes, I like it; No, no me gusta/no, I don’t like it).

Students also hum and sing along with Feliz Navidad, Rompe Ralph, and Para bailar la bamba playing in the background, many times without even realizing they are doing so! Please feel free to add these songs (links on my website) to your car playlist and see if your children notice, just for fun!
MARThis month*, students in kindergarten were encouraged to add more depth to their center work. The sight word, ir/to go (pronunciation: ‘ear’), for instance, became an entire week’s activity. Steps 1-5 as follows: build an airplane out of chairs (construir un avión); draw a plane ticket with name, destination, and a picture of the flag of said destination; pack a bag with clothes and toys; order jugo/juice, agua/water, and/or fruta/fruit from the stewardess (yours truly); and land after a tiny bit of [feigned] turbulence. Some students traveled to Mexico and the Alhambra in Spain (la fortaleza/the fort), while others ventured as far as China, and one even went to Colorado for the skiing—read: taped paper skis onto her sneakers and pretended to ski down the Lower School hallway.

Another week, kindergarteners wanted to play with the [fake] dinero/ money in the Spanish classroom, but had to think up ways to earn it—money is not free for the taking; you must be willing to work/trabajar. As a result, some students tidied the classroom, while others felt inspired to set up small businesses after seeing photos of the popular street markets/mercados or ferias in Argentina. Students set out blankets on the floor, and sold everything from art supplies to stuffed animals. A few even started making paper wallets to hold their cash. Nice!

In the culture realm, kindergarteners made abanicos, or hand-held fans, and learned that due to the extreme heat, daily siestas/naps are part of the culture (Spain). They also practiced basic steps to the Tango. This is a ballroom dance from Argentina, but was taught with the American T-A-N-G-O style because the Argentine variations are too difficult for this age. Additionally, they sang along with and danced to A mí me gusta bailar el ritmo vuelta, a Merengue group dance, and took a day to play a game called Tingo-Tingo-Tango (Colombia).

Finally, students watched a few new episodes of Pocoyo (including Pocoyo: Despierta; Pocoyo: El baño de Loula); mimicked the movements in two silly videos about animal sounds in Spanish that have more than a billion hits online (Pollito Pío: Original/ Venganza); were intrigued by a calming flower/flor mindfulness activity; practiced saying, “¡Sorpresa!” (surprise) when their teacher came to pick them up; and worked to master their trickiest sight word yet: “y”—which means ‘and’ but is pronounced like the English alphabet letter “e”.

Resumen MAR., 18-19 (PK-3)

Grade
PKThis month*, students in PK worked on a variety of culture-based projects to point out that Spanish is spoken in many different places (and not “just” Spain and Mexico). For example, one day, they made and played güiros—an instrument from the Caribbean—out of paper and toothpicks, and tried to identify this unique sound in the song, La cucaracha (the cockroach).

Another day, to connect with their classroom nature unit, they discussed where salt comes from, and then tasted salt and made watercolor reflections of the sky based on photos of the largest salt flat in the world, Salar de Uyuni (Bolivia); during the rainy season, a thin layer of water over the salt allows the sky to be reflected perfectly, which is especially gorgeous during sunrises, sunsets, and starry nights.

Pre-kindergarteners ‘traveled’ to Costa Rica the following week, and made Morpho butterflies with tissue paper, while listening to a song called Mariposita (little butterfly); these creatures are naturally bright blue in color and found in some parts of South America as well. Finally, students learned a popular rhyme from Mexico (Bate, bate chocolate, tu nariz de cacahuate/stir, stir the chocolate, your nose is a peanut!), and saw a video about how the tool used to stir the chocolate—un molinillo—is carved out of wood.

Students also played musical chairs, where the person who ‘gets out’ has to answer a question in Spanish; played duck-duck-goose (pato-pato-ganso); read Itzi Bitzi Araña (Itsy Bitsy Spider, to go along with the song); saw several new Pocoyo episodes (Pocoyó: MercadoPocoyó: Supermercado; and Pocoyó: La ducha de Pato); and continued with their regular classroom routine–i.e., passwords to enter the Spanish room, songs, action commands, and circle time. 

*Note that my definition of “month” here is not necessarily aligned with society’s views on temporality
KThis month*, students in kindergarten were encouraged to add more depth to their center work. The sight word, i/to go (pronunciation: ‘ear’), for instance, became an entire week’s activity. Steps 1-5 as follows: build an airplane out of chairs (construir un avión); draw a plane ticket with name, destination, and a picture of the flag of said destination; pack a bag with clothes and toys; order jugo/juice, agua/water, and/or fruta/fruit from the stewardess (yours truly); and land after a tiny bit of [feigned] turbulence. Some students traveled to Mexico and the Alhambra in Spain (la fortaleza/the fort), while others ventured as far as China, and one even went to Colorado for the skiing—read: taped paper skis onto her sneakers and pretended to ski down the Lower School hallway.

Another week, kindergarteners wanted to play with the [fake] dinero/ money in the Spanish classroom, but had to think up ways to earn it—money is not free for the taking; you must be willing to work/trabajar. As a result, some students tidied the classroom, while others felt inspired to set up small businesses after seeing photos of the popular street markets/mercados or ferias in Argentina. Students set out blankets on the floor, and sold everything from art supplies to stuffed animals. A few even started making paper wallets to hold their cash. Nice!

In the culture realm, kindergarteners made abanicos, or hand-held fans, and learned that due to the extreme heat, daily siestas/naps are part of the culture (Spain). They also practiced basic steps to the Tango. This is a ballroom dance from Argentina, but was taught with the American T-A-N-G-O style because the Argentine variations are too difficult for this age. Additionally, they sang along with and danced to A mí me gusta bailar el ritmo vuelta, a Merengue group dance, and took a day to play a game called Tingo-Tingo-Tango (Colombia).

Finally, students watched a few new episodes of Pocoyo (including Pocoyo: Despierta; Pocoyo: El baño de Loula); mimicked the movements in two silly videos about animal sounds in Spanish that have more than a billion hits online (Pollito Pío: Original/ Venganza); were intrigued by a calming flower/flor mindfulness activity; practiced saying, “¡Sorpresa!” (surprise) when their teacher came to pick them up; and worked to master their trickiest sight word yet: “y”—which means ‘and’ but is pronounced like the English alphabet letter “e”.
1This month*, students in first grade began class by putting their shoes in the center of the circle and tapping their feet to the names of each of the Spanish-speaking countries they knew (instead of jumping on the map, for a change). They also had fun singing the “Buenos días” song (good morning) and explaining how they were feeling that day.

To enter the room, prior to any of this, they were required to repeat the fruit or vegetable password of the week (that is, naranja/orange, plátano/ banana, zanahoria/carrot, espárrago/ asparagus, melocotón or durazno/ peach, arándano/blueberry, cebolla/onion). Students’ end-of-class routine was to try and clean up before their teacher arrived and then wait, crouched down in line with the lights off, so that they could jump up and shout, “¡Sorpresa!” (surprise), once their teacher returned—the surprise being that they had cleaned up on time.

In the linguistic realm, in order to build their noun vocabularies, first graders focused on completing the sentence, “Necesito…” (I need). First graders presented at the class podium in front of their peers (¡Hola! Buenos días. Soy X. Hoy quiero X. Necesito X. ¡Próximo!/Hello! Good morning. I’m X. Today I want to X. I need X. Next!), and some of these new nouns quickly became class jokes. For example, one girl uses the word, “cobija” (blanket) at home with her Spanish-speaking nanny, and as a result, took this opportunity to teach it to all of her classmates, repeating, “Cobija-cobija-cobija-cobija-cobija” nonstop whenever anyone asked her.

In 1.A, the word, “Chocolate” (‘cho-koh-lah-tay’) reduced everyone to giggles. The ‘chocolate’ piece came about after learning a Mexican rhyme (Bate, bate chocolate, tu nariz de cacahuate/stir, stir the chocolate, your nose is a peanut!), and seeing a video about how the tool used to stir the chocolate—un molinillo—is carved out of wood. It is absolutely gorgeous.

After first graders asked how to say, ‘fox’ in Spanish, they learned that ‘zorro’, or fox, was also the name of a fictitious character who used to save people in trouble (that took place in the Mexico/California region), and would carve the sign of the “Z” wherever he went to let the villains know he had been there. Students watched the black and white introduction and theme song to this show from 1958; some were even overheard afterwards declaring, “¡Soy Zorro!” (I’m Zorro!).

Later, they played Musical Chairs and a game from Colombia called Tingo-Tingo-Tango, and calmed down with a “siesta” (nap) after hearing about this custom in Spain—all of the businesses really do shut down in the middle of the day! Last but not least, they enjoyed marching around to Spain’s National Anthem; watched Pocoyó: Piratas and El perro y el gato; and—as you already know—cooked and tasted fried plantains (patacones or tostones), which are eaten in many Spanish-speaking countries.
2This month*, students in second grade had fun adjusting to a new daily routine: at the door of the Spanish Cave, after one student says, “Dime la contraseña” (tell me the password), the other responds with the fruit or vegetable of the week (that is, naranja/orange, plátano/banana,  zanahoria/carrot, espárrago/asparagus, melocotón, durazno/peach, arándano/blueberry, cebolla/onion). To start the month, they took a day to welcome seventh graders and listen to Powerpoint presentations of mini-stories that students had written in the target language. After phasing out their center work (e.g., quiero trabajar en la máquina del tiempo/I want to work on the time machine; quiero jugar baloncesto, ajedrez/I want to play basketball, chess; quiero ser una espía/I want to be a spy), second graders launched into several new culture projects with the question and song, “¿Adónde vas?” (Where are you going?).

First, they “went” to Salar de Uyuni (Bolivia) and tasted sal/salt—and azúcar/sugar, just for fun!—because it is the largest salt flat in the world. The interesting thing, is that during the rainy season, a thin layer of water over the salt allows the sky to be reflected perfectly, which is especially gorgeous during sunrises, sunsets, and starry nights. Second graders recreated these symmetrical reflections with watercolors by folding papers in half.

Later, students began assembling paper cubes to build a replica of “El Castillo”, a pyramid in Chichen Itza (Mexico), which is famous for its extraordinary mathematical calculations: every year, exactly on the equinox, a shadow of a tail appears on the side of the pyramid, which aligns perfectly with a snake head. While recreating the shadow itself would be difficult, second graders worked together to try to build the pyramid as a class. They also tasted fried plantains (patacones or tostones) that first and third graders had made (a popular snack in many Spanish-speaking countries), and were encouraged to make them at home. Last but not least, they played a game called Tingo-Tingo-Tango (Colombia).

More recently, second graders have been building their vocabularies by playing Policías y ladrones (Cops and Robbers) outside: quiero ser un policía/I want to be a police officer; ¡a la cárcel!/go to jail!; no quiero ir/I don’t want to go; ayúdame/help me; soy inocente/I’m innocent; libertad/freedom; no evidencia/no evidence; juez(a)/judge). 2.A also took a day to act out a very exciting pirate play in the target language, with kings, queens, a boy named Target and a pirate named Jimmy, a shipwreck during a terrible storm/tormenta, and an evil forest allergic to maíz/corn. It has been an exciting few months. 
3This month*, students in third grade had more than a few discussions about phonetics and language in a more general sense, as opposed to “only” Spanish. There are, after all, about 7,000 languages in the world! These conversations touched on word loans—tacos, tortillas, quesadillas, and deja-vu, for example, have all been borrowed from other languages; there is no word in English for “taco”.

This led to more talk about untranslatable words; there are many words with no English equivalent, such as pisanzapra in Malay (the time needed to eat a banana), or 木漏れ日 (komorebi) in Japanese (the light that filters through the trees). It is easy to describe these concepts with English words, but there is not a single word that encompasses either concept. Third graders also watched a video by an actress, Amy Walker, who travels geographically around the world and says the same thing in 21 different accents—from England and Russia to New Zealand, South Carolina, and New York; they later practiced identifying languages on a “Guess the Language” online game to hone their ears. At one point, English was spoken with such an unfamiliar accent that students guessed it was Czech!

Third graders continued adding to their Spanish vocabularies via center work, and spent a chunk of time presenting in front of their peers in the target language in mini-speech form. Their confidence has grown tremendously since they began this practice near the end of January. They also heard several jokes in the target language, some of which were in Spanish and others with Spanish and English wordplays—e.g., Seven days without tacos makes Juan weak. Students are also required to say the password upon entering the Spanish Cave: after one student says, “Dime la contraseña” (tell me the password), the other responds with the fruit or vegetable of the week (that is, naranja/orange, plátano/ banana, zanahoria/carrot, espárrago/asparagus, melocotón, durazno/peach, arándano/blueberry, cebolla/onion).

In the culture realm, students learned a bit about El Camino de Santiago, a 500-mile hike and pilgrimage across northern Spain (that their teacher completed last summer); cooked and tasted fried plantains (patacones or tostones), which are eaten in many Spanish-speaking countries; and used photos in the Spanish classroom to inspire various projects during center time. For instance, some students tried to create a replica of an underwater art museum in Mexico in a fish tank with florescent paper fish, rocks, and flowers, which was amazing… until the tank started leaking; others made dozens of Coquí frogs (Puerto Rico) out of green paper; and still others opted for pick-up soccer games (fútbol) outside, as soccer is a hugely popular sport in many countries.
4Apparently, did not write an update.
5Apparently, did not write an update.

Resumen, 16-17 (PK-5, Q2)

Grade
PKThis month, students in PK met several of the most beloved stuffed animals from the Spanish room, including Pato/Duck, Oso/Bear, and Tiburón/Shark.  Getting down to business right away, it became apparent that Pato needed to learn how to fly, as any young duck ought to.  Running up a ramp [book on an angle], jumping, and lifting off did not go as planned, however, since Pato has the attention span of a fly—[not entirely his fault, as the space between his nonexistent ears does consist of fluffy white stuffing]—and, in the case that he did lift off, got scared and failed to flap his wings.  A pulley system was therefore erected, easily hoisting our hero off the ground and high, high, up to the sky. 

Tired of the yarn harness cutting into his feathers, Pato opted to go sailing after a while, only to encounter a terrifying, four-foot-long shark in the ocean—who was ravenous for a “sándwich de pato”.  While seriously distressing, this proved a wonderful impetus to learn how to fly—as in, immediately—or: to build a house at the bottom of the ocean, cover it with a blue blanket, and hope that the shark mistakes it for a lumpy wave.  Right…  In the end, the two become amigos/friends, and the shark wants to learn how to fly (since Pato is obviously an expert in this field). 

Adventure #2 begins with Pato lifting weights (read: a pencil, then a marker) in order to increase his wing-strength (fuerte/strong) and be able to lift his new friend, the shark.  In addition, students also hummed along to the beginning and end-of-class songs, responded to basic action commands, and said how they were feeling each day in the target language.  Gracias for a great month!
KThis month, students in kindergarten reacquainted themselves with several of the most beloved stuffed animals in the Spanish room, including Pato/Duck, Oso/Bear, Conejito/Bunny, Patito/Ducky, and Ardilla/Squirrel.  After a summer of scrounging on crumbs in the Spanish room, Pato was, not surprisingly, beyond famished, and discovered in a gigantic bag full of plastic eggs.  Because the eggs happened to fit his head quite perfectly (just like a helmet), he decided to build a tobogán/slide with the class and cruise down at top speed—with the helmet, of course: safety first.  Conejito likewise nestled himself inside a plastic egg, and whoosh, down the slide he went! 

It should be noted that he kept a miniature cell phone inside the egg in case of an emergency, and did call initially because it was rather dark inside the shell and he was a bit scared.  All of this led to Pato covering himself with plastic eggs (armor, obviously), jumping aboard a stuffed-animal-sized winter sled with Oso, and requesting that kindergarteners pull the sled across the table—there was a long piece of yarn attached to the sled—so that they could “go skiing”. 

In-between these wild adventures in the target language, kindergarteners practiced acting out their password cards, made duplicates of said cards for their lockers, and held onto their sombrerosPato is bound to be up a tree or scuba-diving at the bottom of the ocean the next time you see him.  Life is far from boring with bilingual stuffed animals roaming the Spanish room…
1This month, students in first grade chose individual professions passwords, and then practiced acting out each one.  Later, they read the daily letter from Pato, wrote what they wanted to do on the miniature whiteboards (Quiero colorear, Quiero jugar//I want to color, I want to play), and then traveled to said isla, or island.  First graders will continuously add new islands—aka sight words—to their repertoire throughout the year.  These ‘play days’ will also be interspersed with ‘project days’, which build community, expose students to other cultures and perspectives, and/or reinforce sight words with a fun, hands-on assignment. 

The first project day was based on Don Quijote, the 900-page, 400+ year-old Spanish literary masterpiece by Cervantes.  In a nutshell, the adventures begin when Don Quijote goes crazy from reading too many books and decides to become a knight in shining armor like the ones he reads about.  First graders became so excited about the novel that one project day turned into a week—and the Spanish classroom transformed into a stage, where student actors and actresses acted out multiple chapters.  They even made a two-tone copy of Picasso’s famous black and white painting depicting the two main characters.  Impressive!
2This month, students in second grade chose new identities, that is, Spanish names.  Because a majority of students wanted the same names, they had to choose a second name to help differentiate one from another.  This means that not only is there a “Sofía Isabel” in class, but also an “Isabel Sofía”—just to keep us all mentally on our toes (neurons?).   Second graders were also given cuadernos/notebooks in which to record important vocabulary, such as their new names and individual passwords.  It should be noted that the latter are primarily sea creatures, but with a dinosaur, bumblebee, and fox thrown in there just for fun. 

In fact, “fox” is “zorro” in Spanish, which led to a fun mini-lesson about Zorro, the fictional character from Mexico (now California) who “defends the commoners and indigenous peoples of the land against tyrannical officials and other villains” (Wikipedia), and makes sure to mark the letter “Z” wherever he goes.  Second graders seemed to get a kick out of the black-and-white 1958 theme song introduction to the show.  Finally, students practiced and presented a silly dialogue with puppets in the target language, which emphasized the importance of expression: ¡Oye-oye-oye-oye!/¿Qué?/Pues, nada/¡¿En serio?! (Hey-hey-hey-hey you!/What?/Well, nothing/Seriously?!).
3This month, students in third grade learned that they have been selected to join the world-renowned Spanish Acting Company.  A quick tour of the Walk of Fame—Hollywood squares with students’ names printed in the stars—confirmed this fact.  As participants, third graders will perform in multiple shows throughout the year, as main characters and audience members.  The importance of each role was emphasized here.  Performed as theatrical plays, each story will include both fiction (creative, student ideas) and nonfiction (cultural, historical facts). 

The first story begins with the following: Evil Orange lives in Neuschwanstein Castle, Germany (Deutschland/Alemania).  One night, he laughs his notorious, evil cackle, and sails to Puerto Rico.  The adorable Pato lives there and is nestled in bed with his favorite stuffed animal, Patito, dreaming of raindrops on roses and everything nice, when Evil Orange proceeds to kidnap Patito.  Oh no!  Evil Orange brings Patito back to Neuschwanstein Castle, and… you’ll have to tune in next month to find out what happens next.  “Duh-duh-duhhhhh!”  Third graders also practiced acting out their passwords in a timed setting, trying to associate a specific action with each word; began recording key vocabulary in their Spanish notebooks; and saw pictures of bioluminescence—their nonfiction fact of the month.
4This month, students in fourth grade learned that they will be participating in a yearlong town simulation.  Their first stop was Argentina, where fourth graders explored the history of Yerba Mate, or ‘the friendship drink’ of South America via photos and physical cultural artifacts, and later were able to taste the strong, somewhat bitter (but delicious!) tea.  Then, it was time to travel again: after grabbing their passports, boarding passes, and luggage from the Locker Bay; removing their zapatos/shoes for the infamous TSA security screening process; watching a bilingual ‘safety instructions’ video; enjoying snacks—goldfish and water—from the stewardess during the flight; and experiencing a tiny bit of turbulence, students finally arrived in Madrid, the capital of Spain. 

Then, it was only a matter of deciphering the puzzling (but authentic) city map, a quick trip on the Metro (Subway) and a three-hour train ride (Renfe) through the Andalusian countryside (see all the olive trees?!), before students settled in what is to be their new home: Granada, España/Spain.  The intense summer heat of southern Spain was reflected (bad pun) in the covered streets—colorful sheet canopies high above protect the city from the urban heat effect.  Students left their baggage at the hotel, noticed the famous Moorish palace (La Alhambra) across the street (beautiful!), and set about their first set of business: deciding where to live and drawing up floorplans of the inside of their new homes.  Yay!  Fourth graders also practiced acting out their passwords, in order to associate a specific motion with each word.
5This 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!

Grade
PKThis term, students in prekindergarten learned several songs in the target language (Buenos días; Tengo hambre; La araña pequeñita; Sí me gusta/No me gusta; Te amo; Adiós, amigos); were introduced to numerous stuffed animals from the Spanish room; practiced responding to action commands; listened to stories; made miniature piñatas; and participated in class conversations.  Because the class is 100% immersion, each student picks up different vocabulary each day, and may or may not share those words at home.  Please keep in mind that the focus at this stage is comprehension—any verbal production is going above and beyond!  Gracias for a great quarter.
KThis term, students in kindergarten reacquainted themselves with several of the most beloved stuffed animals in the Spanish room, including Pato/Duck, Oso/Bear, and Ardilla/Squirrel.  Over time, kindergarteners began to understand that the stuffed animals are quite silly, and as a result, most classes begin with a humorous mini-story that naturally leads into a hands-on class activity—e.g., vinegar volcanoes, disappearing ink, food coloring, dyed paper, fort-building, etc.  In-between activities, students jam to the theme-song from Rompe Ralph (Wreck-It Ralph) and watch PocoyóGracias for a great quarter.
1This term, students in first grade read and translated the daily letter from Pato (at times needing to correct the duck’s careless grammar); submitted written requests expressing what they wanted to do in the target language; and listened to two very silly songs… repeatedly: “¿Puedo ir al baño?” (Can I go to the bathroom?) and “La invitación” (The Invitation).  First graders also spent a good portion of September studying and acting out various chapters of the 900-page, 400+ year-old, Spanish literary masterpiece, Don Quijote de la Mancha by Cervantes, and even made a two-tone copy of Picasso’s famous black and white painting depicting the two main characters in the novel (i.e., Don Quijote and Sancho Panza).  Gracias for a great quarter.
2This term, students in second grade chose new identities, or Spanish names, as well as sea creature passwords; rehearsed and presented silly mini-conversations in the target language with puppets; danced to Madre Tierra by Chayanne; and learned about Zorro, the fictional character from Mexico [now California] who “defends the commoners and indigenous peoples of the land against tyrannical officials and other villains” (Wikipedia).  Later, second graders created a class story with Zorro as the main character.  The story required full audience participation—choral responses, gestures, actions, and student actors—and took over a month to tell.  Gracias for a great quarter.
3This term, students in third grade learned that they were selected to join the world-renowned Spanish Acting Company.  A quick tour of the Walk of Fame—Hollywood squares with students’ names printed in the stars—confirmed this fact.  As participants, third graders fact in multiple shows throughout the year, as main characters and audience members.  Each story, or theatrical play, includes both fiction (creative, student ideas) and nonfiction (cultural, historical facts) elements.  The first story of the year was about Evil Orange, who lives in Neuschwanstein Castle in Germany, and kidnaps Patito, the adorable stuffed animal belonging to the equally adorable Pato.  Hence began nine weeks of Adventures in Stuffed Animal World!  Gracias for a great quarter.
4This term, students in fourth grade learned that they will be participating in a yearlong town simulation.  After a brief layover in Argentina—primarily for the purpose of tasting Yerba Mate, or ‘the friendship drink’ of South America—fourth graders grabbed their passports, boarding passes, and luggage, and finally arrived in Madrid, the capital of Spain, following a somewhat turbulent flight.  Then it was only a matter of a quick trip on the Metro (Subway), and a three-hour train ride (Renfe) through the Andalusian countryside (see all the olive trees?!) before students settled in what is to be their new home: Granada, España/Spain.  Later, they bought houses, and, well… got to work!  Gracias for a great quarter.
5This term, 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, first familiarizing themselves with each of the three plays as a class.  Next, fifth graders split off into groups, and began focusing in on their assigned play.  Specifically, students have been working on using appropriate vocal intonation and expression; facing the audience; memorizing their lines; and beginning to brainstorm prop, music, and costume ideas.  Gracias for a great quarter.

Resumen, 16-17 (PK-5, Q1)

Grade
PKThis term, students in prekindergarten learned several songs in the target language (Buenos días; Tengo hambre; La araña pequeñita; Sí me gusta/No me gusta; Te amo; Adiós, amigos); were introduced to numerous stuffed animals from the Spanish room; practiced responding to action commands; listened to stories; made miniature piñatas; and participated in class conversations.  Because the class is 100% immersion, each student picks up different vocabulary each day, and may or may not share those words at home.  Please keep in mind that the focus at this stage is comprehension—any verbal production is going above and beyond!  Gracias for a great quarter.
KThis term, students in kindergarten reacquainted themselves with several of the most beloved stuffed animals in the Spanish room, including Pato/Duck, Oso/Bear, and Ardilla/Squirrel.  Over time, kindergarteners began to understand that the stuffed animals are quite silly, and as a result, most classes begin with a humorous mini-story that naturally leads into a hands-on class activity—e.g., vinegar volcanoes, disappearing ink, food coloring, dyed paper, fort-building, etc.  In-between activities, students jam to the theme-song from Rompe Ralph (Wreck-It Ralph) and watch PocoyóGracias for a great quarter.
1This term, students in first grade read and translated the daily letter from Pato (at times needing to correct the duck’s careless grammar); submitted written requests expressing what they wanted to do in the target language; and listened to two very silly songs… repeatedly: “¿Puedo ir al baño?” (Can I go to the bathroom?) and “La invitación” (The Invitation).  First graders also spent a good portion of September studying and acting out various chapters of the 900-page, 400+ year-old, Spanish literary masterpiece, Don Quijote de la Mancha by Cervantes, and even made a two-tone copy of Picasso’s famous black and white painting depicting the two main characters in the novel (i.e., Don Quijote and Sancho Panza).  Gracias for a great quarter.
2This term, students in second grade chose new identities, or Spanish names, as well as sea creature passwords; rehearsed and presented silly mini-conversations in the target language with puppets; danced to Madre Tierra by Chayanne; and learned about Zorro, the fictional character from Mexico [now California] who “defends the commoners and indigenous peoples of the land against tyrannical officials and other villains” (Wikipedia).  Later, second graders created a class story with Zorro as the main character.  The story required full audience participation—choral responses, gestures, actions, and student actors—and took over a month to tell.  Gracias for a great quarter.
3This term, students in third grade learned that they were selected to join the world-renowned Spanish Acting Company.  A quick tour of the Walk of Fame—Hollywood squares with students’ names printed in the stars—confirmed this fact.  As participants, third graders fact in multiple shows throughout the year, as main characters and audience members.  Each story, or theatrical play, includes both fiction (creative, student ideas) and nonfiction (cultural, historical facts) elements.  The first story of the year was about Evil Orange, who lives in Neuschwanstein Castle in Germany, and kidnaps Patito, the adorable stuffed animal belonging to the equally adorable Pato.  Hence began nine weeks of Adventures in Stuffed Animal World!  Gracias for a great quarter.
4This term, students in fourth grade learned that they will be participating in a yearlong town simulation.  After a brief layover in Argentina—primarily for the purpose of tasting Yerba Mate, or ‘the friendship drink’ of South America—fourth graders grabbed their passports, boarding passes, and luggage, and finally arrived in Madrid, the capital of Spain, following a somewhat turbulent flight.  Then it was only a matter of a quick trip on the Metro (Subway), and a three-hour train ride (Renfe) through the Andalusian countryside (see all the olive trees?!) before students settled in what is to be their new home: Granada, España/Spain.  Later, they bought houses, and, well… got to work!  Gracias for a great quarter.
5This term, 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, first familiarizing themselves with each of the three plays as a class.  Next, fifth graders split off into groups, and began focusing in on their assigned play.  Specifically, students have been working on using appropriate vocal intonation and expression; facing the audience; memorizing their lines; and beginning to brainstorm prop, music, and costume ideas.  Gracias for a great quarter.

2016-17

September: This month, students in first grade chose individual professions passwords, and then practiced acting out each one.  Later, they read the daily letter from Pato, wrote what they wanted to do on the miniature whiteboards (Quiero colorear, Quiero jugar//I want to color, I want to play), and then traveled to said isla, or island.  First graders will continuously add new islands—aka sight words—to their repertoire throughout the year.  These ‘play days’ will also be interspersed with ‘project days’, which build community, expose students to other cultures and perspectives, and/or reinforce sight words with a fun, hands-on assignment.  The first project day was based on Don Quijote, the 900-page, 400+ year-old Spanish literary masterpiece by Cervantes.  In a nutshell, the adventures begin when Don Quijote goes crazy from reading too many books and decides to become a knight in shining armor like the ones he reads about.  First graders became so excited about the novel that one project day turned into a week—and the Spanish classroom transformed into a stage, where student actors and actresses acted out multiple chapters.  They even made a two-tone copy of Picasso’s famous black and white painting depicting the two main characters.  Impressive!


September: This month, students in second grade chose new identities, that is, Spanish names.  Because a majority of students wanted the same names, they had to choose a second name to help differentiate one from another.  This means that not only is there a “Sofía Isabel” in class, but also an “Isabel Sofía”—just to keep us all mentally on our toes (neurons?).   Second graders were also given cuadernos/notebooks in which to record important vocabulary, such as their new names and individual passwords.  It should be noted that the latter are primarily sea creatures, but with a dinosaur, bumblebee, and fox thrown in there just for fun.  In fact, “fox” is “zorro” in Spanish, which led to a fun mini-lesson about Zorro, the fictional character from Mexico (now California) who “defends the commoners and indigenous peoples of the land against tyrannical officials and other villains” (Wikipedia), and makes sure to mark the letter “Z” wherever he goes.  Second graders seemed to get a kick out of the black-and-white 1958 theme song introduction to the show.  Finally, students practiced and presented a silly dialogue with puppets in the target language, which emphasized the importance of expression: ¡Oye-oye-oye-oye!/¿Qué?/Pues, nada/¡¿En serio?! (Hey-hey-hey-hey you!/What?/Well, nothing/Seriously?!).

Resumen, 15-16 (Grade K)

Term
1This term, students in kindergarten met several of the most popular stuffed animals in the Spanish room, including Pato/Duck, Oso/Bear, and Changuito/Monkey.  Over time, kindergarteners began to understand that the stuffed animals are silly—quite silly, indeed: Changuito is constantly hiding, Pato wears a sock for pajamas and a nightcap, and Oso tries to sneak in a nap whenever possible.  As a result, most classes begin with a humorous mini-story that naturally leads into a hands-on class activity—e.g., disappearing ink, vinegar volcanoes, dyed paper, a REAL egg whose fate was to be smashed, floating and sinking objects, monsters, art projects, etc.  In-between activities, students jam to the theme-song from Rompe Ralph (Wreck-It Ralph) and watch Pocoyó.  Gracias for a great quarter.
2This term, students in kindergarten began learning the names of all the Spanish-speaking countries on the tape-floor map.  However, because Pato insisted on teaching, there were constant wordplays and distractions.  For example, after tasting a [plastic] pear in Peru, he decides that he doesn’t like it, exclaiming, “EKK! [wah-door]” (Ecuador), and then traveling through the door/puerta to the next country.  Later, he doesn’t know which way “Venez-WAY-lah” (Venezuela) is, and gets thirsty in Nicaragua (“knee-car-AGUA”). 

In the end, kindergarteners were teaching Pato.  In addition to el mapa, students responded to action commands in the target language; began recognizing sight words in Spanish; learned about Angel Falls in Venezuela; and worked on student-led, multi-disciplinary projects (e.g., building life-size forts and art museums, sledding indoors on large plates, or bracelet and quilt-making).  Gracias for another memorable quarter.
3&4This semester, students in kindergarten let their imaginations run wild.  What began as responding to action commands (verbs)—“Run!  Jump!  Fly!”—gradually evolved into acting out any word, from keys and vegetables to a blossoming class flower (aerial view, with shoes in the center and reverse sit-ups).  Later, verbs and nouns were tied together via reenactments of the daily morning routine—brushing teeth, putting on clothes, washing face, riding or biking to school, greeting teacher, and even earning stickers for completing math problems in the target language! 

In Project Land-ia, kindergarteners combined droplets of food coloring to create beautiful designs; had fun with more floating/sinking experiments; went on a plastic insect treasure hunt; created a life-sized spider web out of yarn; pulled Pato up and down on a pulley system; ‘traveled’ to Spain/España in a boat (i.e., a box dragged across the ocean—rather, floor—on the tape floor map by yours truly); were introduced to the Salsa (dance); created a school, movie theater, and house for Pato, and a hospital for Stan (a paper pet dog of Pato, who speaks Stan-ish, and was injured [crumpled] one day when he tried to run away and someone grabbed at him).  Finally, students have been working on both reading and writing Spanish sight words.  Gracias for a fabulous year.

Resumen, 14-15 (K)

Term
1This term, students in kindergarten let their imaginations run wild.  Straightforward, one-dimensional stories evolved into highly complex sagas, growing longer and more complicated from one week to the next.  A new week merely indicated a new chapter. 

From magia/ magic on the SMART board (the rubber- duck witches/ brujas took full responsibility), to disappearing and reappearing fantasmas/ ghosts, to a scary dragon who kept threatening our hero Pato with updates on the state of his voracious appetite, to a spinning disco ball with colorful lights that created exciting shadow effects on the auditorium ceiling and make the oscuridad/ darkness not so terrifying, to a treasure map that led to a box filled with balloons, to a REAL egg whose fate was to be smashed, to a cluster of grapes that turned out to be a bottle of purple paint—so that’s why Pato is sporting a purple beak these days…—the linguistic journey [clearly] never ceases to be original. 

In addition to storytelling, kindergarteners also played Roca-papel-tijeras (Rock-paper-scissors) in the target language, watched the theme song video from Rompe Ralph (Wreck-It Ralph), and read a special book for Halloween: Bruja, bruja ven a mi fiesta/Witch, Witch, Come to My Party.  Gracias for beginning the year on such a fast-paced and wonderfully creative note.
2This term, students in kindergarten listened intently as their dear friend Pato took on more of a leadership role, for better or worse.  His first idea for a project actually turned out quite well.  One afternoon, he invented a game: after drawing a rectangle on a piece of paper, dividing the shape into columns and filling in the mini-rectangles with bold, vibrant shades, he stood up the corresponding markers on each narrow quadrilateral.  A single spurt of water resulted in an impressive domino effect of the markers, and left an even more impressive design on the paper: smeared colors, lines, and water all mixed together. 

Later, kindergarteners had the opportunity to create their own beautiful marker/ water patterns, and then cut out snowflakes from the dyed paper.  His second idea—to learn the names and locations of Spanish-speaking countries on the tape floor map in the Spanish Cave—was successful for kindergarteners, but not necessarily for the highly unfocused [divergent thinker?!] duck.  Chile?  Well, it’s a good thing I’m wearing my warm Christmas sweater!  Argentina?  Arrr, I’m a pirate!  No, Pato, in Spanish it’s pronounced ‘Ar-hen-TEE-nah’.  A pirate (arr) and a chicken (hen) drinking tea (tee)?  Cool!  (Nah.)  What about Uruguay?  You mean the circle?  I got an A+ on shapes in Math class: triángulo, círculo…  Well, at least kindergarteners understand!
3This term, students in kindergarten continued learning the names of all of the Spanish-speaking countries on the tape floor map.  However, because Pato insisted on teaching, there were constant wordplays and distractions.  For example, after tasting a [plastic] pear in Perú, he decides that he doesn’t like it, exclaiming, “EKK! [wah-door]” (Ecuador), and then traveling through the door/ puerta to the next country.  Later, he meets a bee in “Colom-BEE-ah”, doesn’t know which way “Venez-WAY-lah” (Venezuela) is, and gets thirsty in Nicaragua (“knee-car-AGUA”).  In the end, kindergarteners were teaching Pato… 

When they had mastered the bulk of the map, students transitioned to acting out their individualized password cards—“Hmm… how can I become a basket/cesto?  A fort/fortaleza?  A fairy/hada?”—and enjoyed ‘stopping’ in the country of their choice when it was time to change action commands.  In-between the numerous snow and cold days, they also learned a song about ten little fish/diez pececitos; read Los hechizos de Chela La Lela (Batty Betty’s Spells); played Spanish Bingo; watched Pocoyó: El gran tobogán/ Pocoyó: Loula huele mal; and elected either to play/jugar or color/colorear on activity days (juguetes/toys, peluches/ stuffed animals; papel/ paper, marcadores/ markers, crayones/ crayons).  Gracias for another memorable quarter.
4This term, students in kindergarten circled back to the class stories from the beginning of the year, but this time, focused on incorporating student actors and actresses into the plots.  The quarter’s most exciting story stretched itself out over the course of several classes: as our rubber-duck protagonist finds himself face-to-face with a giant knight in shining armor, he must think quickly to devise a plan of escape.  How about hiding out in his very own house?  In theory, this was an ingenious idea, but in practice, he found his house —aka an empty box— already inhabited by kindergarteners… who refused to let Señor Bearington/Paddington in when he knocked!  Eventually, a compromise was reached: the ‘house’ was flipped upside down and transformed into a boat, whose skipper invited the duck-fugitive aboard. 

Amidst background waves crashing against the sides of the ship (www.noisli.com), the Uruguayan flag waving back and forth, and a determined teacher dragging the box-turned-boat across the room (with kindergartener and Señor Bearington/Paddington inside), the characters finally arrived on the coast of Uruguay.  Phew!  Later on, students the Rompe Ralph and Pollito pío songs; heard a new song in honor of the baby chicks that lived in their regular classroom (Los pollitos dicen pío pío pío); read the book Crow and Hawk; and practiced reading and writing Spanish sight words for their Play Day options.  Gracias for a terrific year.

Resumen, 13-14 (K)

Term
1This term, students in kindergarten let their imaginations run wild.  Straightforward, one-dimensional stories evolved into highly complex sagas, growing longer and more complicated from one week to the next.  A new week merely indicated a new chapter. 

From a loud alarm clock brriiiiing that catapulted Pato across the Spanish Cave, to disappearing ink on the SMART board, to rubber duck witches materializing out of thin air, to an evil bat-ghost kidnapping a flower and bringing her to a tower in a faraway land (and, of course, the quest to rescue said flower), to Pato conquering his fear of heights and fear of the dark, to a short video about castañuelas/ castanets, to hungry dragons, parachute fun, leaf collecting, Shadow Tag, and a cluster of grapes that turned out to be a bottle of purple paint—so that’s why Pato is sporting a purple beak these days…—the linguistic journey [clearly] never ceases to be original.  Gracias for beginning the year on such a fast-paced and wonderfully creative note.
2This term, students in kindergarten continued creating wildly imaginative stories.  However, instead of just passively listening to the comprehensible input, they began playing a more active role in the plots.  For instance, in one adventure, the suspense of a crocodile on the point of devouring Pato led to a tangential activity, where students had fun simultaneously opening and closing hard cover books at different speeds, mimicking the scary jawbone action (abre/open; cierra/close).  The consequent delay of his demise allows our beloved stuffed animal to discover a treasure chest full of balloons, and as a result, proudly parade around with a green bag of air—until he chances upon a box of thumbtacks. 

He is wisely advised by the anxious kindergarteners to not touch, but in the end, curiosity kills the source of entertainment.  Students also drew out the sequence of events in La casa adormecida/The Napping House; played a detective hide-and-seek game; traveled outside to the playground, shouting, “¡Tobogán!” as they slid down the slide; and [repeatedly] listened to the theme song from Wreck-It Ralph¿Cuándo te volveré a ver? (When Will I See You Again?), after Pato decides to head south and escape the polar vortices.  Finally, kindergarteners had several activity days, in which they could either jugar/play or colorear/color.  Gracias for another brilliant quarter!
3This term, students in kindergarten learned that while Pato flew south for the winter, Oso had no intentions of leaving whatsoever; in fact, he was quite content to hibernate in his cueva/cave until the warm temperatures returned.  While he slept, kindergarteners imagined what types of provisions he might be storing with him.  Oso took a break one day from his busy schedule of siestas to report that he ate REAL eggs for his winter breakfasts.  Students did not believe at first, and thus a thorough inspection took place. 

From shaking and then hearing the yolk jiggle inside, to cracking the eggshell and seeing a beautiful spider web pattern form, to finally smashing it, at last kindergarteners realized that it was most definitely not de plástico (¡Rompe el huevo!/break the egg!).  Later on, students compared and contrasted the size and color of US money with Euros, and then ‘bought’ juguetes/ toys, peluches/ stuffed animals, or comida/ food with their earnings; heard Ven a la carrera (Pocoyó) and Suéltalo (Frozen); and finally, received a real, live phone call one day, which informed that Pato was on his way home and eager to share his adventures with everyone.  From talking parrots and not-so-scary dragons, to erupting volcanoes, magical lightning bugs and a shark that ended up eating the treasure, Pato had quite the story to share.  What a great quarter!
4This term, students in kindergarten experienced the world from a duck’s perspective.  However, it should be noted that this is not merely any duck, but rather the world-renowned, forever young, mischievous yet adorable stuffed animal Pato.  Examples detailing his thought processes as follows: When Patito noisily sipped a large glass of water (consequently filling the plastic rubber duck cavity with liquid), Pato invented a game that resulted in a domino effect of markers, and beautiful water patterns and designs (chorro de agua/ spurt of water).  When Pato learned how to play Roca-papel-tijeras (Rock-paper-scissors) and Pollo-pollo-arroz/ Chicken-chicken-rice, he asked to combine the two activities by making a mini-menu booklet, which later inspired an in-class restaurant simulation. 

When Pato tripped over a hairdryer and—believing it to be a monster caught in a spider’s web—began running for dear life, kindergarteners began to understand his unique point of view.  Oh Pato, we love how you think!  In addition to the lessons in perspective-taking, students also heard a new song in honor of the baby chicks that lived in their regular classroom (Los pollitos dicen pío pío pío); played Spanish Bingo; watched a few Pocoyó episodes; and read a book called El artista que pintó un caballo azul in order to inspire their own charming drawings.  Gracias for an amazing year.

Resumen, 12-13 (K)

Term
1This term, students in kindergarten let their imaginations run wild.  Straightforward, one-dimensional stories evolved into highly complex sagas, growing ever longer and more complicated from one week to the next.  A new week merely indicated a new chapter!  From the infamous pelefante winding up in jail week after week, to parties celebrating his release (thanks to a flying duck-reindeer), to magic tricks with disappearing marker ink, to chicken soup cooking adventures, to spinning disco-ball planets and a pato- marciano trying to adjust to the strange environment here on Earth, to crocodile encounters, pizza and popped balloons, the linguistic journey never ceases to be original.  To tame the madness, students heard a scary—but “normal”—book in Spanish at their Halloween party (Bruja, bruja ven a mi fiesta).  Gracias for such a fun and productive quarter!
2This term, students in kindergarten continued creating imaginative class stories.  Here, the celebrated pelefante makes the acquaintance of many lively characters (in both dreams and waking life)—from a duck with a magical cape, to a witch casting silly spells, to muttering Chinese and Russian ducks who don’t speak Spanish, and a big, bad shark who doesn’t want to share a buried treasure.  Kindergarteners also chose brand new passwords, began logically stringing action commands together (e.g., freeze like ice, melt into a puddle, jump over the puddle, then swim through the water), and heard two books in the target language: The Runaway Tortilla and Cómo el Grinch robó la Navidad/How the Grinch Stole Christmas.  Gracias for another fun-filled quarter!
3This term, students in kindergarten shifted from passive to active participants in class.  Instead of simply listening to stories and acquiring language (input), kindergarteners became physically involved in the stories and began producing a lot of Spanish (output).  For example, after the good shark finds the treasure before the bad shark, he offers to share all of the toys/juguetes with everyone in class; therefore, students had a play day, and practiced requesting names of toys they knew in the target language.  They also lined up all of their chairs in a row one day, and created a large sofá on which everyone could lounge—chaquetas/ jackets were the ‘cushions’. 

When kindergarteners began responding to action commands, the sofá became a train with one person ‘left behind’, shouting “¡Espérame!” (Wait for me!).  Kindergarteners also played Hide and Go Seek in the Spanish Cave; read and later colored the book, Jugando a las escondidas con Zog (Playing Hide and Go Seek with Zog); received brand new, sea creature passwords; learned that Salsa is both a food and a dance; practiced opening and closing hard and soft cover books at different speeds (abre/open; cierra/close); and performed their action words all around the school—through the tunnels, in the Upper School hallways, over near the Admission’s Office, and beyond.  Gracias for a fantastic quarter!
4This term, students in kindergarten chose new sea creature passwords, and then practiced their action commands all around campus, exploring the tunnels, playground, and Upper School hallways in the target language.  Integrating with their regular classroom content, students also practiced springing out of their ‘huevos’/eggs and hatching into pollitos/baby chicks.  Later, they placed themselves in the chicken’s position, and imagined what it would be like inside the shell… probably dark!  One day, they tried to watch a chicken/animal sounds video called Pulcino Pío, but Pato kept getting scared whenever Señorita turned out the lights. 

To help him overcome this fear, students taped paper wings onto glow sticks and made luciérnagas/ lightning bugs (luz/ light).  Next, kindergarteners traveled to the auditorium and flew around their pink, green, and orange glowing fireflies in the pitch black environment.  They also gaped at the colorful shadows on the ceiling high above and whispered, “Oscuridad” (darkness) whenever the disco ball light was turned off.  Even in the darkest of dark rooms, Pato felt safe and calm with all of his friends around, and decided that darkness doesn’t always have to be terrifying.  In addition, students played Spanish Bingo, Sombra/Shadow Tag, and Pato-Pato-Oca/Duck-Duck-Goose.   Gracias for an amazing year.