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 1)

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 first grade 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: 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); and differentiating between español/ Spanish and España/ Spain (language vs. place).

Inside the classroom, they learned about El Camino de Santiago, a 500-mile hike across Spain that their teacher completed a few years ago. Students got their mochilas/backpacks, botella de agua/water bottle, plastic food/comida, and faux currency from Spain (dinero/money; euros for Spain), and set out around campus–‘climbing mountains’ (stairs) and drawing shells and arrows with chalk to mark the trail.

Each class, we added something new; for example, one day, students pretended to sleep in their bunks at hostels (picnic table benches as bunks) after a long day of hiking, and would ‘awaken’ to the sound of the rooster in Spanish: “¡Quiquiri-quí!” (cock-a-doodle-doo). A highlight was the day we talked about how much your feet hurt after 10 hours of hiking a day (for 30 days straight), but that a ‘foot pool’ makes everything better–first graders dipped their toes into a small bucket of cool water to simulate this. They also made abanicos/ Spanish fans out of paper for the super hot days.

When stormy weather ensued (¡Tormenta!/ storm!), first graders eased out of this introductory unit and launched into center days–the heart of the curriculum. Here, students sign up for what they want to do each day (Quiero jugar, colorear, construir /I want to play, color, build), and then, well–do it! Currently, several are building boats out of Popsicle sticks to sail to faraway lands (preferably, Spanish- speaking countries!). This center work begins as a sight word review from last year, but picks up pace quickly. The goal, ultimately, is language in action- pairing memorable experiences with vocabulary. 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. 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 class activities; games; songs; videos; and ‘free choice’ center work days. Country focus on Spain. 
  • El Camino de Santiago: Clarify “Spain/España” (place) vs. “Spanish/ Español” (language)- an ongoing discussion. Symbols of El Camino de Santiago include arrows and scallop shells. Color paper shells. “Mini hike” around classroom, up and down mountains.
  • Shells/Arrows: Hike around campus, complete with backpacks/ mochilas and water bottles/ botellas de agua. Mark ‘the way’ with chalk arrows and scallop shells. Stop for snack and water breaks and stay at a [faux] hostel for the night.
  • Double Class: Continue with hiking unit. “España” anecdote (boy saying name of his homeland on plane). Practiced responding to “¡Tormenta!” (storm). Took volunteers to throw their zapatos. Outside hike, albergues, and gallos.
  • Abanicos: Continue with hiking unit. Students learned about abanicos/Spanish fans and made their own in class. The intention was to hike today as well, but the acordian style folding was a challenge for them, and the hike was shortened, if not cut altogether.
  • Foot Pool, Day 1: Continue with hiking unit. Students learn about Wonderful Foot Pools available along The Way. Pato especially appreciated these in the heat (so many feathers, you know). Naturally, they had to “scale four mountains” and stay the night at an albergue before dipping their toes (or feet) into a bucket of cool water. Splashing fun was had by all. Shoe tying at the end of class was A Thing. Mea culpa.

September

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

  • Double Class: yo hablo espa-ñol/inglés. Double combined class for first today. Practice hike inside and outside. First graders pretended to hike El Camino de Santiago in Spain/ España. They carried their backpacks (mochilas) and water bottles (botellas de agua) up and down FOUR huge mountains (montañas). I spied some expert climbers! As the sun began to set, they found a bunk at a local albergue and did not awaken until before dawn–to the sound of the rooster: “¡Quiquiriquí! ¡Quiquiriquí” (cock-a-doodle-do). Students had fun being overly dramatic with the mountain climbing!
  • Foot Pool, Day 2: yo hablo espa-ñol/inglés. First graders continued their 500-mile hike through Spain. Today, they scaled four more mountains/ montañas and slept at an albergue. The FL sun is just like Spain/ España– HOT! (hace mucho calor), so the simulation felt very realistic. Stopped to experience a “foot pool” (bare toes in water), since we ran out of time on Wednesday to do this. We brought along Pato today (and his miniature bag), as well as a pet vaca/ cow (I don’t remember why) and a lot of euros to “buy food” along The Way.
  • Tormenta/Storm!: yo hablo espa-ñol. Two problems: 1) no hiking and first day indoors, due to the “tormenta!!” (storm); and 2) you need a “pasaporte” (passport) to go to Spain! (stamped their hands). Had “indoor” day of El Camino, where students set up albergues, used the comida/food and dinero/money, and went to the “beach” (sand and water sensory station) at the end of the Camino. Began establishing indoor routine, as storms are in the forecast for the near future.
  • Centers, Day 1: yo hablo espa-ñol. Written work, the letter “m”. Centers, day 1 (quiero jugar/ quiero colorear). Establishing routines. Paid in faux euros if the class cleans up and lines up before the timer.
  • Centers, Day 2: yo NO hablo espa-ñol. Written work, the letter “c”. Centers, day 2 (quiero jugar/ quiero colorear/ El Camino). Establishing routines. Paid in faux euros if the class cleans up and lines up before the timer.

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 1)

Term
1This term, students in first grade learned about El Camino de Santiago, a 500-mile hike across Spain that their teacher completed a few years ago. Students got their mochilas/backpacks, botella de agua/water bottle, plastic food/comida, and faux currency from Spain (dinero/money), and set out around campus–‘climbing mountains’ (stairs) and drawing shells and arrows with chalk to mark the trail.

Each class, we added something new; for example, people who hike get their Camino passports stamped each night, so we did that one day; another time, students pretended to sleep in their bunks at the hostels (picnic table benches as bunks) with colorful sarapes as blankets. The scene was all too realistic, as one commented, “SHHH! We have to get up early to hike in the morning!” So true! A highlight was the day we talked about how much your feet hurt after 10 hours of hiking a day (for 30 days straight), but that a ‘foot pool’ makes everything better–first graders dipped their toes into a small bucket of cool water to simulate this.

After this introductory unit, students launched into center days–the heart of the curriculum. Here, they sign up for what they want to do each day (Soy __/I’m __. Quiero __/I want to __.), and then, well–do it! Some opted to continue hiking the Camino (caminar/to walk), while others were fascinated by Spanish currency and wanted to cut out bills (trabajar/ work). One week, many chose to ‘fly’ (volar) to different countries with paper airplanes outside. Whatever they choose, we incorporate language and culture into it all.

To make written work more interesting to six-year-olds, we rigged up a pulley system and basket (from the floor to the ceiling) to “send” me letters through the post (correos). Students also learned about Rainbow Mountain (Peru), and made their own tiny pieces of gold, with rocks, gold glitter, and a ton of glue! You can read more about this unit HERE.

Last but not least, Pato also made several appearances, one memorable afternoon being when he was casually floating on a raft in a bucket of water, when there was a STORM!!!! (¡tormenta!). Shhh! Don’t tell: it was first graders and yours truly turning on and off the water faucet! My poor stuffed animals…
2This term, first graders worked on developing a strong routine for their center work, incorporating new vocabulary and sight words each week (pizarras/whiteboards; marcadores/ markers; ¡Ya terminé!/ I finished!; borra, borra/erase, erase; sorpresa/surprise; ¿está aquí?/is she here? [the teacher]). They also chose Spanish names; took turns leading the class as ‘maestro(a)’/ teacher by asking, “¿Cómo estás?” (How are you?) to their peers; started class with a listening activity (¿Puedo ir al baño?/Can I go to the bathroom?; Botas perdidas/Lost Boots; Billy la bufanda/Billy the Scarf; or a 2-minute Bluey cartoon); and ended class with a clean-up song (Cada cosa en su lugar).

A very popular center this term was Train Driving 101 (i.e., Quiero conducir/ I want to drive), where first graders signed up for and then ‘drove’ my tables [on wheels] around the room–passengers (dos pesos, por favor/two pesos, please!), stuffed animal pets, train sound effects on the board, and crayons and coloring sheets to work on while on the train, all included. Speed limits were enforced. And there was definitely a bell.

In the culture realm, students learned all about La Alhambra (Spain), a fort/palace in southern Spain. In case you missed my post, you can read a funny story about this HERE. First graders also began jumping on and naming all 21 Spanish- speaking countries on my gigantic floor map (Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, Bolivia), and took a few days to explore the Fun Spanish app on their iPads.

At this point in the year, many students are comfortable with words such as: Quiero (I want) colorear/to color, patinar/to skate, volar/to fly, limpiar/to clean, construir una fortaleza en España [La Alhambra]/to build a fort in Spain, cantar/to sing, bailar/to dance, hablar en inglés o español/to speak in English or Spanish, tomar el tren/to take the train, conducir el tren/to drive the train, escribir en árabe/to write in Arabic, dormir/to sleep, etc.
3This term, first graders learned about the cultural references in the fourth grader’s Spanish play [e.g., Don Quijote (Spain); reviewed Rainbow Mountain (Peru); Amazon River (Peru)]. They were especially taken by the Don Quijote song, and wanted to listen to it repeatedly. The class acted out the famous windmill chapter (from the 900-page Spanish novel), with Don Quijote and Sancho Panza as well.

A highlight of the third term was the bullfighting unit. This began quite by chance, when I subbed for library one day and ended up reading The Story of Ferdinand. Students took turns pretending to be bulls and shouting, “¡Olé!” from the sidelines, while listening to Paso Doble music and imagining that they were in Spain. That real people and bulls can be badly injured or killed was not mentioned. Students were more invested in pretending to be toros/bulls, anyway. To read more about this lesson, click HERE!

To move on from the Train Unit, I brought in small tricycles from the playground to use as coches/ cars (¿el coche rojo/ negro /o azul?/ the red, black, or blue car?) that students could sign up to drive around the room (luz roja/ red light; luz verde/ green light). Students said, “¡Quiero conducir el coche rojo!” (I want to drive the red car!), and took turns driving, all while listening to this song on loop. Students definitely know the word coche/car now!

First graders also heard a Spanish read-aloud La primera luna llena de Gatita (Kitten’s First Full Moon); mastered jumping on and naming all 21 Spanish-speaking countries on the floor map; and worked on conversing more in the target language with one another (student> student, in lieu of only teacher>student). Gracias for another fantastic term!
4This term, students in first grade layered on more culture to their language study. Here, they learned about molinillos, a wooden tool used to stir chocolate, along with a “cho-co-la-te” clapping rhyme (Mexico); Worry Dolls when there was a massive tormenta/storm one day (Guatemala); and Sawdust Carpets for Easter (Guatemala).

In the linguistic realm, first graders transformed the top of my tables into a ferry (crucero/cruise ship, which conveniently rhymes with dinero/money), complete with a ship bullhorn sound effect. They would shout things like, “¡Espérame! Necesito dinero!” (wait for me! I need money!) as the ferry horn started and students imagined pulling out to sea. Naturally, I put realistic videos of dolphins jumping on the board, so that it seemed like they were actually in the ocean!

The overarching goal here is to pair memorable experiences with language, so students will pick up vocabulary relevant to a variety of simulated situations. Recently, “¡Me encanta!” (I love it!) and “¿Por qué?” (whhyyy?) have been popular phrases amongst students. I will update once more as the year draws to a close.

Working Vocabulary

My thoughts on Vocabulary Lists.

Working Vocabulary

  • Quiero eso (I want that)
  • ¿Dónde está? (Where is it?)
  • Necesito eso (I need that)
  • ¡Oye! (Hey!)
  • ¡Eso es mío! (that’s mine!)
  • Dime (tell me)
  • ¡Mira! (Look!)
  • Pues… (well…)
  • ¿Puedo? (Can I?)
  • Otra vez (again)
  • ¡Corre! (run!)
  • ¡Más rápido! (faster!)
  • ¡Vamos! (let’s go!)
  • ¡Espera! (wait)
  • ¡Espérame! (wait for me)
  • ¡Ayúdame! (help me!)
  • Necesito ayuda (I need help)
  • ¡Ten cuidado! (be careful!)
  • Tengo una pregunta (I have a question)
  • ¿Puedo ir al baño? (Can I go to the bathroom?)
  • ¿Cómo se dice, “___” en español? (How do you say, “___” in Spanish?
  • ¿Cómo estás? (How are you?)
    • Tengo hambre (I’m hungry)
    • Tengo frío (I’m cold)
    • Tengo sed (I’m thirsty)
    • Tengo calor (I’m warm)
    • Estoy feliz (I’m happy)
    • Estoy bien (I’m good/well)
    • Estoy mal (I’m bad)
    • Estoy cansado/a (I’m tired)
    • Estoy triste (I’m sad)
    • Estoy enojado/a (I’m angry)
    • Estoy confundido/a (I’m confused)
    • Estoy emocionado/a (I’m excited)
    • Estoy enfermo/a (I’m sick)
  • Hola (hi; hello)
  • Buenos días (good morning)
  • Buenas noches (good night)
  • Adiós (goodbye)
  • Hasta luego (see you later)
  • Hasta mañana (see you tomorrow)
  • Yo soy (I am)
  • Yo me llamo (my name is)
  • ¿Qué? (what?)
  • No comprendo (I don’t understand)
  • Yo dije que… (I said that…)
  • Sí / no (yes/no)
  • Por favor (please)
  • Gracias (thank you)
  • Me gusta (I like it)
  • No me gusta (I don’t like it)
  • con (with)
  • y (and; pronounced: “e”)
  • porque (because)
  • mi amigo/a (my friend)
  • maestro/a (teacher)
  • El papel (paper)
  • Las pizarras (boards)
  • Los marcadores (markers)
  • La cinta (tape)
  • Los boletos (tickets)
  • Los zapatos (shoes)
  • La comida (food)
  • Los peluches (stuffed animals)
  • El dinero (money)
  • Pesos (vs. dollars)
  • El agua (water)
  • El tren (train)
  • El coche (car)
  • Mi casa (my house)
  • ¿Qué quieres hacer? (What do you want to do?)
  • Quiero… (I want)
    • colorear (to color)
    • jugar (to play)
    • construir (to build)
    • pintar (to paint)
    • volar (to fly)
    • trabajar (to work)
    • conducir (to drive)
    • hablar (to talk)
    • ir (to go)
    • limpiar (to clean)
    • patinar (to skate)
    • dibujar (to draw)
    • cantar (to sing)
    • bailar (to dance)
    • ver la tele (to watch tv)
    • tomar (to take)
    • navegar (to sail)
  • ¿Adónde vas? (where are you going?)
  • Voy a México (I’m going to Mexico)
  • Voy a Chile para jugar con mis amigos (I’m going to Chile to play with my friends)
  • El supermercado (supermarket)
  • El banco (bank)
  • La fábrica (factory)
  • El teatro (theater)
  • El gimnasio (gym)
  • El museo (museum)
  • La iglesia (church)
  • El cine (movie theater)
  • ¿Cuándo? (when?)
  • ¡Ahora! (now!)
  • ¿Por qué? (why?)
  • No sé. (I don’t know)
  • Porque sí. (just because)

A Condo Inside the Alhambra?

During the month of December, students in first grade have focused their attention on Spain, or España. While this is part of the first grade curriculum, I decided to introduce the unit before Christmas because Party the Partridge rehearsals resulted in a few double [combined] first grade Spanish classes, and a focused project seemed the best route to take.

Anyway, as with most of my lessons, I give students a little information the first day, and then just keep adding more details each subsequent lesson. Initially, students learned that La Alhambra is a fort/palace in Spain that was built a LONG time ago. It is a beautiful fortress, with hand-painted tiles inside and stunning architecture on the outside.

First graders had the option of building the Alhambra (out of cardboard and blankets, based on a model); or coloring in different outlines and perspectives of the fort and surrounding gardens, or the tiles inside. Several builders found printouts of the Spanish flag and pasted them on the cardboard walls–which was great, considering that 1) I didn’t know I had the printouts (they were mixed in with other coloring sheets); and 2) they [correctly] deduced it as relevant iconography!

The next layer was to talk a bit about the Arabic language, and compare and contrast it with Spanish and English. Spanish and Arabic have a rich linguistic history, primarily due to the fact that Arabs ruled the Iberian peninsula for around 700-800 years. Even today, Moorish culture is strongly present in Southern Spain.

Students were introduced to the Arabic script, learning that Spanish and Arabic share some 8,000 words. Wow! Some even practiced copying the foreign symbols [alphabet] as part of the “writing” center (escribir/to write), while others handed out tickets to visit La Alhambra and/or drive tourists there on the class trains.


Image taken from La Alhambra article on Wikipedia (you can change the language on the sidebar).

Today, I received confirmation that the cultural piece had settled into students’ vernacular, when I overheard two boys arguing. The subject of their argument? “No, you can’t live in a condo INSIDE the Alhambra! That’s not allowed!” #TrueStory

During our last class before break this afternoon, several first graders also took turns with a plastic fishing pole, trying to “fish” in the gardens surrounding the Alhambra. If my memory serves me correctly, I don’t recall anyone actually fishing there when I visited (haha!), but we combine play and reality in Spanish class; and, honestly, who wouldn’t want to go fishing with a plastic fishing pole, loads of tape, and plastic food in a fake pool? I mean, seriously. Unless, of course, you just want to watch from your condo in–that is, across the street from–La Alhambra. Ahem.

In other news, most students can also name and identify on a map at least five Spanish-speaking countries in South America at this point (Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, Bolivia).

And last but not least, if you would like to get a better feel for Southern Spain, you are welcome to check out my narrative prose piece/essay on the topic HERE. Thank you so much for reading and have a MERRY CHRISTMAS and Happy Holidays!! See you in 2022!!!


The Post Office Pulley System

Post Office Drop Box (Spain/España). Post Office Drop Box (USA).

In class, we cover a lot of territory. I am constantly throwing culture, geography, grammar–first graders don’t know it’s grammar, but it is–songs, new vocabulary, and more at them, with confidence that they will catch at least one new thing each day.

In the last update, you learned that students simulated walking the Camino de Santiago (a 500-mile hike across Spain), and then traveled to Peru to see Rainbow Mountain and also make and pan for oro/gold (aka tesoro/treasure). ASIDE: six weeks later, I am still discovering specks of gold fairy dust glitter everywhere!

Rainbow Mountain; La Rinconada (highest city in the world); rock covered in glue and glitter to make “gold”.

As the weeks progressed, these culture projects morphed into optional centers: those that wanted to continue walking the Camino or sluicing sediment for gold could; and those that wanted to do something different also had that choice. My theory is that if students are interested and personally invested in an idea, they will be more likely 1) to retain the information; and 2) to apply that information to their daily lives, so that Spanish becomes a part of them, as opposed to ‘merely a class’.

First graders ‘sign up’ for these centers in one of two ways each class, via either speaking or writing. To build their confidence, we begin with written work: they will write, “Hi! This is So-and-So*. [Today] I want to build/play/work/walk [the Camino]/ sing/dance/draw/ fly/clean/paint/etc.” (¡Hola! Soy ___. Quiero construir/jugar/trabajar/ caminar/cantar/bailar/dibujar/volar/limpiar/pintar.) The focus as of late has been on “Quiero” (I want) and “y“. Note that the latter means “and” in Spanish, but is pronounced like the English letter “e”. *Students also chose Spanish names a while back, so sometimes they write their real name, and other times they will write their Spanish name. First graders are also now required to sign up for talking (hablar/to talk, speak). This has been extended recently to include specifying in which language–español/Spanish or inglés/English.

To make written work more enticing to six-year-olds, there were a few requirements: one, they had to glue or tape on a colorful stamp from a Spanish-speaking country (Mexico, Costa Rica, Argentina) to their notecard; and two, they had to drop it in a basket pulley-system (that went up to the ceiling and down again) in order to “send” it to me at the Post Office. When this got old, we switched to writing on pizarras/ whiteboards, which was conveniently also a vocabulary word in the “Bathroom Song” (¿Puedo ir al baño?/Can I go to the bathroom?), a classic for first grade.

For each center, there are recommendations and suggestions, but they are also open-ended to allow for student agency and creativity. For example, “construir” (build) began quite literally, with first graders building towers out of blocks; this progressed to building houses and forts out of cardboard and blankets.

One day, however, someone wanted to “build” a computer out of cardboard. Another day, the “building” center became more of factory, in which students “built” paper fans (abanicos) and then tried to sell them to others (fake pesos). Yet another day, someone found a “sewing” center card (coser/to sew), and asked how to do that: we used a hole-puncher to make a ton of holes on a piece of folded paper, and students wove yarn through the holes, making their own wallets to stash dinero/money. We have even had mini ice-hockey tournaments in one class, and dance choreography lessons in the other! I will hide the puck and force linguistic interactions here: ¿Dónde está el disco?/Where is the puck?! You must understand, EVERYTHING is about language in my class!

The center work builds from kindergarten to spiral vocabulary and, gradually, first graders begin to see that the sky is the limit when it comes to creativity. Vocabulary is scaffolded to be as versatile as possible here; learning “hold-puncher” is not as useful as learning, “I want/I need that” (Quiero/Necesito eso), especially as students switch centers frequently, based on their interests.

More recently, students have practiced leading the class as the “teacher” (maestro/a) by asking and reading, “¿Cómo estás?” with several possible answers:

  • feliz/happy; 
  • triste/sad; 
  • enojado(a)/angry; 
  • cansado(a)/tired; 
  • casado(a)/married (class joke); 
  • tengo hambre/I’m hungry;
  • tengo frío/I’m cold; 
  • muy bien/very good; or
  • mal/bad.

Students will watch 2-minute Bluey shows in Spanish at the beginning of class as a listening activity as well; here, they raise their hand when they hear a word or phrase they know. First graders really enjoy this! A newer song is called Botas Perdidas/Lost Boots; here, first graders sit under the tables to watch the song, as the singer looks for things under the table (debajo de la mesa), on top of the chair, etc.

Students also spent a day sorting flashcards (masculine/feminine nouns). This lesson usually comes about when I notice some getting sloppy with spelling; my goal is simply for first graders to pay more attention to words but also to expose them to grammar.

In class, it is a silly game, where there are “boy” words and “girl” words, and boys “get” ice-cream (el helado) but girls “get” pizza (la pizza), and then they try to figure out–detective work!–what the pattern is (“el” words are considered “boy” words; “la” words are “girl” words–but it is completely nonsensical in terms of the noun itself–merely a grammatical construction).

Last but not least, first graders were introduced to a language-learning app called Fun Spanish. This is also now a center option. Whew! Thank you for reading all of this. I did not intend for it to be so verbose. I hope you are having a great weekend!

Gold Fairy Dust

In class this afternoon, first graders came to Spanish and happened to notice that my classroom was–almost literally–coated in glitter: from the carpet to the tables, to even the teacher’s chin [I learned that after class], specks of gold fairy dust were everywhere.

BACKGROUND: If you have a child in kindergarten, you already know why–but a quick recap is that Pato had to escape from an erupting volcano, and used a boat, treasure map, and telescope to make his way to an island, which had a treasure chest full of gold there (convenient how these things work out in Stuffed Animal World, right?!).

Anyway, first graders collected tiny rocks, squished them around in glue, and coated them with gold glitter (the same activity as kindergarten), but LEVELED UP!! and alongside a much more culturally-based lesson.

Here, students learned that while the Camino (500-mile hike) is located in Spain, today we would be traveling to Peru, another Spanish-speaking country. We used Google Maps to locate Peru with respect to Spain, Mexico, our state, and more. In Peru, there is a place called Rainbow Mountain, or Vinicunca, that has a unique composition–14 different, colorful minerals–which make the mountain range appear like the inside of a jawbreaker.

A day or so away from Rainbow Mountain in Peru is [arguably] the highest city in the world, or La Rinconada, at a whopping 3 miles high! We did a little math, and that would be a student who measures 4 feet, standing on top of 4,183 of his/her own clones, going straight up. REALLY HIGH! This location is of interest because the town was built on top of a–you guessed it–GOLD MINE! First graders watched a 43-second video of how gold is mined, and then (as described above) created their own little pieces of gold to bring home. It was an exciting start to the week!


First Grade- 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?.

Quantum Leaps

LANGUAGE IS weird. Bizarre. Quirky. Odd. Let me clarify: yes, language encompasses all of those things–each and every language has its own particular quirks and oddities (in the grammatical sense)–but I am referring here more to language acquisition, or the process of how a child learns another language.

You see, much of my job as a language teacher involves talking. I talk and talk and talk, filling young minds with Spanish babbling: the different rhythms and cadence, the syntax, the intonation, the words that sound the same as English and mean the same thing in Spanish, the words that sound the same as English but don’t mean the same thing in Spanish, and the words in Spanish that don’t sound like anything in English. There is a tremendous amount of input that must occur before you can expect any output.

Students listen and absorb, absorb and listen, don’t listen and don’t absorb, don’t listen and do absorb, and then just when I’m about to lose all hope–because sometimes I feel like I’m having a conversation with the wall or an inanimate object–they don’t say anything. But on the day after that, THEY DO! It is a bit magical.

Initially, it is a word here or there. “¡Hola!” “Could I go to the baño, I mean, bathroom?” “Wow, that is really grande (big)!” These phrases gradually–and ever so casually–are elongated over time: “¡Hasta luego, maestra!” and “Tengo hambre” (I’m hungry). “Quiero pintar” (I want to paint).

And then on some days, the conversation lulls: silence returns, deafening in every sense of the word, a lonely desert stretching as far as the eye can see. Wind whips across the dunes: English abounds. My conversation with the Inanimate Objects resumes. What happened?, I wonder. Is language like the tides? Did Spanish just go back out to sea? I don’t understand.

This is the fabulously irrational cycle, the pattern-less pattern, the inconsistent chain or sequence of events of language acquisition which lead to circles and spirals that appear at first to be a child’s scribbles. Nonsensical and incoherent, we not only allow but in fact encourage and invite the scribbles–the practice–because we know it’s leading somewhere. This Somewhere arrived for students in first grade today. Note that while “Somewhere” does not equate to fluency, it is a definite mile marker on the yellow brick road of their journey to proficiency, and should be congratulated.

In other words, the amount of Spanish in meaningful contexts–and complete sentences, at that!–that I heard this afternoon was astounding. Stars and planets aligned, the tide came in, the “English desert” disappeared, and WOW! “Quiero eso (I want that)”, “Ayúdame, por favor, maestra” (help me please, teacher) “¿Dónde está?” (where is it?) “Yo me llamo ______ (My name is _____).” Quiero ir a Guatemala con ____” (I want to go to Guatemala with so-and-so), “¡No quiero escribir!” (I don’t want to write!) “¡¡MIRA!!” (LOOK!) “Necesito rojo y azul, por favor” (I need red and blue [food coloring], please), “Vamos, amigos” (let’s go, friends!), “¿Puedo ir al baño?” (Can I go to the bathroom?).

It could just be the stifling heat–perhaps they are delirious and don’t realize they’re speaking in Spanish–but progress is being made, however intangible and unquantifiable. They are doing a wonderful job, and I just wanted to let you know that the class’ Spanish output today was truly incredible!

Pato & The 2D House (1)

September of 2020

My Dearest Pato:

You are very sweet to write. Your penmanship, however, seems to have regressed. Then again, I am not as fluent in Duck as in years past; it is likely this was a factor in my overall comprehension. But yes, I am doing well and greatly enjoying my new adventures. Thank you for asking. The candy heart drawing was beautifully done.

I was pleased to hear that you eventually made it to Stain Spain. But what a trip! The colorful Popsicle stick boats first graders made sank; the paper airplane was not quite robust enough to support a stuffed animal of your generous proportions; and the miniature zip-line inside the classroom lacked, well, length. Thankfully, you had the foresight to bring the latter outside and (whoosh!), landed north of Madrid. I won’t harp on the time you wasted jumping into a pool (agua/water) before your trip–we both know that you know better–but I understand the temptation, given the recent high heat index and humidity.

And, yes! Imagine your surprise upon learning that first graders had painted you a house. You must have been delighted when [one class] shouted, “¡Sorpresa!” (surprise!). I knew that they had consulted the world renowned Duck Designs, Inc. to match your particular tastes and preferred color schemes. Naturally, then, the house was covered in beautiful splashes of color, but it was also a PHOTO you saw, which would explain the bump on your head as a result of trying to enter the 2D image. For future reference, you must venture outside to move into the actual house (casa).

But look, I get it. You want to go away for the weekend and catch a quick flight south to that famous palace/fort. The house can wait. The paint is barely dry, anyway, and you deserve a vacation. The life of a stuffed animal can be trying at times. There are so many things to deal with: getting dizzy going ’round and ’round in the machines at the laundromat (surely a traumatic ordeal); receiving numerous air-hugs (abrazos/hugs) from students simultaneously (does that hurt?); and dealing with transportation mishaps (boat sank; airplane crashed; zipline wasn’t initially long enough).

I still think you’re loco (crazy) for not wanting to rest up, but you are permitted to go at your own pace. That is what the Camino teaches us: one step at a time. Be well, stay out of trouble, and keep me posted on your adventures.

Much love,

-Señorita M.

Newsletter 20-21, Sept.

Pato Who? (1)

This week, following introductions, students in first grade named as many words that they could think of in the target language (e.g., red/rojo, blue/azul, green/verde, uno-dos-tres, dog/perro, etc.), and then listened to their get-up-and-dance CLASS SONG. Not long after, they transitioned into an immersive Spanish classroom environment, and realized that they could understand and intuit a lot simply by watching. You see, when their teacher snaps, she magically begins speaking Spanish. If she snaps again, she turns back into an English-speaker. Very strange. Magic is everywhere.

“AH-HEM!” [A loud, shrill voice from the corner pipes up.]

“Yes, I know. I’m sorry, Pato. I know I should have introduced you first, but–“

NO EXCUSES!” The voice is coming from a stuffed animal duck. His name is Pato (which conveniently means duck in Spanish). He was grumpy, but there was no need for disrespect. “I do not like your tone, young man duck!”

As you may have already heard, Pato is quite the character. He has a big heart but frequently interrupts (we’re working on that) and is always getting into some sort of harmless mischief. He claims to know how to speak Spanish, but bops back and forth between English and Spanish so quickly that there might as well be a ping-pong game going on in his head. He also forgets where he is; arrives late to first grade on a regular basis (after Señorita M.–and sometimes on a red-eye flight from Brazil); wears sock pajamas to school; and takes a nap/siesta in the middle of class (which is what happened today).

Either Pato has no idea what’s going on, or he lives in his own world, or maybe he knows what’s going on and is intentionally doing the opposite of what he ought to, most of the time. I’m guessing the latter is probably closest to the truth, but with him you never know.

GRIFFFSNSHFKDJSFIBDSTH“. The normally shrill voice was muffled behind his mask.” “¿Qué? (“K”)/ WHAT?” He took off the mask.

“I SAID, I’m taking a nap/siesta because we’re in Spain. Don’t you know? The restaurants are all closed, so I’m going to sleep.” [proceeds to snore obnoxiously to make his point]

Aha, now I was beginning to understand. First graders did make a banner of colorful, glittery shells, as scallop shells are used to mark the 500-mile hike across northern Spain that Lower School has been talking about this week. (This trek will correspond with the Weekly Spanish Challenges.) And Señorita M. did use an abanico/ fan from Spain to cool him down when he was wearing his iconic yellow knit sweater and Christmas scarf (Come on, Pato! It’s summer in the south! TOO HOT! This led to a conversation about ice-cream/helado, which was ironic, considering that I ate A LOT of ice cream while actually hiking the Camino de Santiago.) And she was speaking in Spanish. Maybe we were in Spain. Or maybe we should go?

We decided that his reasoning was valid. There was just one problem. “Where did you say that you think we are, Pato?”

“Stain.” [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.]

“You mean Spain.”

“That’s what I said.”

“No, you said ‘Stain’.”

I DID NOT!” The high pitched, going-to-throw-a-temper-tantrum pronto voice had returned. This was not something I wanted first graders to witness on the third day of class. Why couldn’t he just behave?

“Let’s try it in Spanish: España.”

“ES-TAHN-YAH.”

“Never mind. Let’s just go there instead.” And so we did.

After a quick flight–arms outstretched in airplane mode (there’s a pun in there somewhere)–first graders spent the remaining 5-10 minutes of class outside, placing tiny [real] shells in the mulch patches of the courtyard, marking the Camino de Santiago trail and creating our own little Spanish paradise.

And as for Pato, well, he found a large piece of bark and has decided that his mission in life is to build a boat and actually sail to Stain Spain.

To be continued…

PATO: “Senorita M., why can’t you just write normal newsletters?”

ME: “I honestly have no idea…”


VIRTUAL LEARNERS are encouraged to check out the video and photos at THIS LINK, and to create their own “Camino” at home. The arrows and shells are oftentimes made out of things in nature as well. Students may color or paint the shell template below; outline an arrow using some rocks or palms; collect shells at the beach; or simply draw your own arrow and shell signs and hang them up around your house. Make sure they are all pointed in the same direction, so that you don’t get lost. Feel free to send pictures, if you like!

For language input, virtual learners may also 1) participate in the Weekly Spanish Challenges and/or watch a movie or cartoon in the target language (Spanish voiceover and English subtitles). Just get used to hearing a lot of Spanish!

*ONE FINAL NOTE: To clarify, the bulk of classes have been in the target language, but I wasn’t sure how many of you would keep reading if I sent the original transcript. I do switch to English periodically, but mostly to communicate more abstract, cultural points where visual cues don’t do the trick.

Newsletter 20-21:

Remote 19-20, T3 (1-3)

Continued Learning Assignments below.

Spanish Activity, 5/21/20- 1,2,3

  1. Zoom Party! Check Seesaw for login info.
  2. Do one of the optional activities on the Summer Packet 2020.

HAVE AN AMAZING SUMMER!!! ❤


Spanish Activity, 5/14/20- 1,2,3

  1. Watch this video on Seesaw.
  2. Watch THE PATO SHOW, #9.
  3. Choose your favorite exercise or activity that makes you feel STRONG/fuerte.
  4. Video yourself saying, “¡YO SOY FUERTE!” (I’m strong!) as you are doing that exercise or activity. Be dramatic and make sure to say it like you mean it!
  5. Post video on Seesaw.

EXTRA CREDIT–

  1. Get a head start on next week by checking out the SUMMER PACKET LETTER 2020 here. All activities will be optional.
  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–or just pick your favorite number!

Spanish Activity, 5/7/20- 1,2,3

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

  1. Click to watch both 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. HAVE FUN!!!

EXTRA CREDIT–

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

Hear/read more stories at THIS LINK.


Spanish Activity, 4/30/20- 1,2,3

  1. If you haven’t seen THE PATO SHOW, #7, watch that first.
  2. Next, watch THE PATO SHOW, #8.
  3. Choose your favorite line in Spanish from the video.
  4. Video yourself saying it in Spanish VERY DRAMATICALLY!
  5. Respond to this activity with your video.

Spanish Activity, 4/23/20- 1,2,3

OBJECTIVE: This is a CULTURE week! Today, we visit the Dominican Republic.

  1. Watch the instructional video.
  2. Dress up in a fancy outfit and put on some Spanish music.
  3. Practice dancing the Merengue.
  4. Make a tres leches cake (or any kind of cake) OR record a short video of yourself dancing to a Spanish song and post to Seesaw.
  5. BE HAPPY!

Spanish Activity, 4/16/20- 1,2,3

OBJECTIVE: This is a LANGUAGE week (next week will be CULTURE), so the goal is to listen to as much Spanish as possible! The videos are both under 5 minutes.

  1. Watch THE PATO SHOW, #4.
  2. Watch THE PATO SHOW, #5.
  3. Watch them again, and write down 5-10 words that you understood. Spelling does not count, don’t worry! Just try your best!
  4. Take a picture of your paper and respond to this activity on Seesaw.

***And let me know if you liked the videos!!***


Spanish Activity, 4/9/20- 1,2,3

**Scroll down on THIS PAGE to see the amazing work students produced for the Continued Learning activity described below.

  1. First, watch the video on Seesaw—but note that Seesaw cut me off! People are not allowed to make the sawdust carpets out in the streets this year because of the current situation. Instead, people are making their own miniature sawdust carpets at home.
  2. Next, watch the short video to the right. There is no sound, but it gives you a really good idea of how much patience and what a long and beautiful process it is to make these carpets.

Look at the links below:

3) Now, choose an image you like and make your own! You can use candies, fruits, plants, flowers, blocks, frosting, or paint or color one. I would recommend one the size of a sheet of paper (8.5×11), but you are welcome to make one bigger than that! I added a few stencils below to give you ideas for a design.

4) When you are finished, respond to the activity on Seesaw with a picture of your creation. Take your time, be patient, do your best work, and have fun!!


Spanish Activity, 4/2/20- 1,2,3

  1. Watch the video on Seesaw.
  2. From the list below, choose 3-5 items to label in your house—or do all 15 just for fun!
    • Mi ropa/my clothes
    • Mis zapatos/my shoes
    • Mis libros/my books
    • Mis peluches/my stuffed animals
    • Mis juguetes/my toys
    • Mis cuadernos/my notebooks
    • Mi comida/my food (could be fake food)
    • Mi dinero/my money
    • Mis marcadores/my markers
    • Mis lápices/my pencils
    • Mi cama/my bed
    • Mis juegos de mesa/my board games
    • Mi mochila/my backpack
    • Mi escuela/my school (your learning space)
    • Mis papeles/my papers
  3. Post a picture on Seesaw of your COLORFUL signs in English and Spanish before you hang them up.

Extra Credit, 4/2/20- 1,2,3

  1. Cook a Spanish omelette, or tortilla española. Listen to MUSIC IN SPANISH while you are cooking!
  2. Choose a different recipe from THIS PAGE if you don’t have those ingredients.
  3. Watch THE PATO SHOW, #2 just for fun.
  4. Watch the “Baila con Cosmos” song for fun.

Spanish Activity, 3/19/20- 1

  1. Watch the Pato video on Seesaw.
  2. Choose your favorite Spanish-speaking country.
  3. Make a sign label for your bedroom with that country.
  4. Add TWO activities you like to do to your sign (jugar/play, construir/build, colorear/color, dibujar/draw, hablar/talk, comer/eat, pintar/paint, dormir/sleep, trabajar/work, etc.).
  5. Take a picture of your sign and post it to Seesaw.
  6. Read THIS POST with your parents, and consider doing one of the culture projects.

Extra Credit, 3/19/20- 1,2,3

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 on all projects can be found HERE.

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

Other Notes, 3/19/20

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.

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 (1)

Year Recap

READING & WRITING: ¡Hola! ¡Buenos días! Yo me llamo ____. Quiero ____ y ____ [jugar y colorear] con mis amigos. Necesito ____ [marcadores, cobijas, peluches, comida, ropa, libros, etc.]. ¡Adiós! ¡Hasta luego!

(Hello! Good morning! My name is ____. I want to ____ and ____ [play and color] with my friends. I need ____ [markers, blankets, stuffed animals, food, clothing, books, etc.]. Goodbye! See you later!)

*CENTERS: jugar, colorear, pintar, construir, tocar el piano, volar [un avión de papel], limpiar, dibujar, cantar, hablar, dormir, bailar, trabajar, ver.

*MAP MASTERS: Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Venezuela, Panama, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico.


CULTURE:

  • Guatemala- Worry Dolls
  • Mexico- Day of the Dead and make natural chewing gum
  • Panama- trace Mola designs
  • Spain- Don Quijote/Picasso painting and El Camino (pasaportes)
  • Costa Rica- rainforest
  • Argentina- outdoor markets/mercados
  • Peru- build highest city in the world (La Rinconada)
  • Dominican Republic- play dominoes, a national pastime
  • Bolivia- paint Salar de Uyuni reflections and taste salt
  • Puerto Rico- bioluminescence
  • Ecuador- sneezing iguanas
  • Different currencies and values (~money!)

Trimester Summary

First Grade- As many of you know from SLC’s, first graders have become Map Masters. Their country-name recognition skills and ability to locate these places on a map are excellent. Currently, students are comfortable naming the majority of the following countries: Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Venezuela, Panama, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Mexico. Students have had mini-lessons about many of these cultures–from Worry Dolls (Guatemala) to making natural chewing gum (Mexico) and tracing Mola designs (Panama)–as well as a week of assigned centers for first and second grades, where they chose a culture project of interest.

The assigned centers looked like this: 1) Argentina, set up, buy, and sell items at an outdoor mercado/ market with Argentine pesos: no American dollars accepted!; 2) Peru, build one of the highest cities in the world out of blocks; 3) Dominican Republic, play dominoes, a national pastime; and/or 4) Bolivia, paint the beautiful sky reflections of starry nights and sunrises and sunsets over the largest salt flat in the world (and also taste more salt!).

A memorable day was when students tried selling their artwork (paintings of Bolivia) at the outdoor market in Argentina, but listed a painting as 20 pesos. I suggested that we look up how much that was, and when the student learned that 20 Argentinian pesos was only equivalent to $0.32, she changed the price, adding a few more zeros (2000 ARS = $32.00).

A few students could not decide where to go, so I gave them an alternate project: recreate a textured model of La mano de Punta del Este in Uruguay with paint and sand (it is a famous sculpture of a hand on the beach).

Both classes were also introduced to and acted out the most famous windmill chapter of the 900-page world-renowned novel, Don Quijote, back in the fall. Picasso made a sketch of the two main characters (Don Quijote and Sancho Panza) to commemorate the novel’s 350th anniversary. First graders put a photocopy of this up to the window, placed pastel-colored paper on top of it, and then trace-scribbled the drawing with a Sharpie to create a two-tone replica. The class joke and icing on the cake was to cross out Picasso’s name and replace it with their own!

Because first graders are becoming so knowledgeable about the Spanish-speaking world, and also because they were wholly inspired by the second graders’ iMovie about the Camino in Spain back in October, students are currently making their own pasaportes/passports. Passports are necessary to visit the Costa Rican rainforest in my closet. Obviously. Great work this term.


August Summary

First Grade- Students reviewed key terms from last year, and jumped into center work. Here, first graders dance around to the Song of the Month, settle on the carpet to read the Daily Letter aloud as a class, and then sign up for activities of their choice: “¡Hola! Yo me llamo ______. Yo quiero [jugar] y [pintar]” (Hi! My name is ______. I want to play and build“).

Students are currently motivated to clean up said centers after working so that they can watch a very silly “baño/bathroom song” before their teacher arrives at the end of class. Soon, you will be receiving information on how to create a Señor Wooly account at home through the school’s subscription so that you can watch it at home as well.


February: Because Sneezing Iguanas from Ecuador just make Tuesdays even better! #funfacts

January: Students had the option of traveling to several different countries today- 1) Argentina, to set up, buy, and sell items at an outdoor mercado/market with Argentine pesos: no American dollars accepted!; 2) Peru, to build one of the highest cities in the world out of blocks; 3) Dominican Republic, to play dominoes, a national pastime; and/or 4) Bolivia, to paint the beautiful sky reflections of starry nights and sunrises and sunsets over the largest salt flat in the world (and also taste more salt!).

January (1B): Primer grado vio un video muy breve de bioluminiscencia esta tarde (enlace arriba). En varias partes del mundo, incluso Puerto Rico, el agua ‘resplandece/brilla’ [glows] cuando algo le molesta el alga ahí. Tratamos de hacer un experimento con mi luz negra y marcadores, pero de repente la luz negra dejó de funcionar. ¡Qué extraño! Por lo menos, ahora un rinconcito del aula “es” Puerto Rico.

January: Esta semana, construimos un bosque tropical de Costa Rica en el armario de mi salón de clase. Los niños hicieron casi todo, y luego exploraron el lugar. Este es el ENLACE a la banda sonora (de los monos aulladores).

November (1B): Hoy, un grupito de niñas aprendió sobre los muñequitos quitapesares/de las preocupaciones (“Worry Dolls”) y empezó a hacerlos en clase con palitos y fieltro. Las niñas oyeron un cuento llamado, “Silly Billy”. Al final de la clase, ¡casi todos querían hacerlos también!

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 1)

Term
AUGThis month, students in first grade chose individualized password cards, and then practiced thinking up ways to physically act out each one as part of their beginning-of-class routine.  Later, students read the daily Letter from Pato—a very lovable, stuffed animal duck who is learning how to read Spanish himself; jammed to the theme song from Rompe Ralph/Wreck-It Ralph; and signed up for centers in the target language (colorear/color; jugar/play).  Each week, a new center (and sight word) will be added, so that by the end of the year, first graders will have a substantial word collection. 

First graders have already demonstrated ownership and agency within these centers, as in one class, the “jugar/play” center morphed from a golf course spread out across the Spanish room (with plastic white balls and paper cups) to a bowling alley (stacking the cups and knocking them down with colorful, oversized dice).  Another day, “jugar/play” became a class parade, complete with students marching around the room to Spain’s National Anthem, all while dressed up in scarves and sombreros, and carrying a huge flag of Spain.  Language grows ever deeper within a meaningful context; when its layers and roots begin to connect with real-life experiences and memories, “jugar/play” is no longer a translation, but a breathing, living entity in students’ minds.  Gracias for a great month.
SEPTThis month, students in first grade continued acting out their password cards and reading the daily letter from Pato. By the end of September, students were able to recite the letter as a class group effort—bravo! First graders also watched a silly video called, “¿Puedo ir al baño?” (Can I go to the bathroom?), and practiced naming Spanish-speaking countries on the tape floor map: Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay.

They continued to add centers to the daily Letter from Pato as well (who managed to fit in a quick trip to Argentina while first graders were working hard and he was, ahem, hardly working). Centers—i.e., sight words—up to this point include: colorear/to color; jugar/to play; pintar/to paint; construir/to build; cantar/to sing; and the newest addition, hablar/to talk.  To start building short sentences in the target language, first graders added, “Quiero” (I want/‘key-arrow’) when signing up for centers: for example, Quiero pintar/I want to paint. 

As their list of centers begins to grow, students learn vocabulary specific and relevant to each center. For example, in one class, the porristas/ cheerleaders learned a cheer for the soccer game (este partido, lo vamos a ganar/we’re going to win this game), whereas students more interested in coloring or painting learned words like papel/paper, cinta/tape, tarjetas/cards, marcadores/ markers, etc.  As a result, and when first graders want to try a new center, they are encouraged to teach each other new words. That way, it becomes a genuine community of learners where knowledge is not hoarded but rather shared for the growth and advancement of all. Gracias for a great month.
T1This trimester, students in first grade practiced acting out their password cards, reading the Letter from Pato, naming the Spanish-speaking countries in South America on the tape floor map, and singing and dancing along to daily class songs (esp. Rompe RalphMoana in Spanish, and “¿Puedo ir al baño?” [Can I go to the bathroom?]). Their primary focus, however, was on signing up for centers in the target language, and adding new sight words each week. Centers are teacher-guided but ultimately student-created.

For example, when “construir” (to build) was added, first graders grew this into a complex fort-building project—with chairs, blankets, flags, cardboard boxes, a spinning disco ball, etc.—until “Quiero construir una fortaleza” (I want to build a fort) rolled off their tongues. When they tired of that, soccer games and paper dragon-type creature crafts became the new rage. Later, students worked on leading group discussions with the question, “¿Qué quieres hacer?” (“K key-air-race ah-s(air)”/What do you want to do?). They also took a day to learn about El Día de los Muertos/Day of the Dead, and made connections with the movie CocoGracias for a great first trimester.
NOVThis month, students in first grade continued naming more Spanish-speaking countries and adding new centers to their Spanish sight word collection (e.g., dormir/to sleep; trabajar/to work—students get to use the fake dinero/money and ‘work’ at the bank). They also began using lapices/pencils instead of marcadores/markers when signing up for centers, and explained with whom they were planning on playing (Quiero jugar con…/I want to play with…), both to learn the word ‘with’ as well as how to spell their classmates’ names.

As part of the beginning-of-class routine, first graders also jammed out to Feliz Navidad and pretended to be príncipes/princes, princesas/ princesses, reyes/kings, reinas/queens, unicornios/ unicorns, caballeros/ knights, caballos/horses, and more (the teacher went around and placed an invisible crown on their heads). Students have become masters at the daily routine and enjoy adding new, creative pieces to the ever-evolving puzzle each week.
JANThis month, students in first grade began differentiating between “¿Qué quieres ser?” (What do you want to be?) and “¿Qué quieres hacer?” (What do you want to do?). This was actually an unintentional wordplay that grew out of the class activity of pretending to be príncipes/princes, princesas/princesses, reyes/kings, reinas/queens, unicornios/unicorns, futbolistas/soccer players, caballos/horses, perritos/puppies, and bufones/jestors from last month. As a result, “Quiero ser…” (I want to be) became the new rage; but phonetically, it was a challenge to hear the difference between ser (“s[air]”/to be) and hacer (“ah-s[air]”/to do).

First graders alternated days writing and speaking in the target language, while continuing their map practice. The majority can now name fourteen of the twenty-one Spanish-speaking countries—bravo! Their official class song has changed as well: the translated version of Wreck-It Ralph/Rompe Ralph (by Auryn, a pop group from Spain) had been a favorite for many months, but with the clean slate and fresh air of 2019 came a new beat—Hoy es domingo (Today is Sunday) by Diego Torres. It is about how wonderfully relaxing Sundays can be, and students have already started singing along with the words.

Last but not least, and as part of an all-of-Lower-School project, first graders painted and colored tiles for the class fort, aka La Alhambra, which is based on an actual Moorish palace/fortress in southern Spain.
MARThis 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.

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 1)

Term
1This term, students in first grade read and translated the daily letter from Pato, learning which ‘islas/islands’—[read: activity centers]—were open that day.  First graders then submitted written requests expressing what they wanted to do.  As a constantly changing mix of toys spark students’ imaginations, the archipelago comes alive with creativity and authentic linguistic exchanges between teacher and students.  It should also be noted that they are all hard-core fans of the silly song, “¿Puedo ir al baño?” (Can I go to the bathroom?).  Gracias for a great quarter.
2This term, students in first grade continued submitting written requests expressing what they wanted to do and reasons to support their choice.  First graders also spent time learning about the 900-page, 400-year-old Spanish literary masterpiece, Don Quijote, and had fun imagining and acting out various chapters. 

Later on, they identified a painting by Picasso based on the novel; chose individualized professions-passwords; constructed a model of Machu Picchu out of clay as a class (Peru); heard about La Tomatina, an annual, giant tomato fight in Spain; and listened to a hilarious chipmunks-voiceover of their class song, “¿Puedo ir al baño?” (it should be noted that dance choreography evolved quite naturally in response to the video).  Gracias for another great quarter.
3&4This semester, students in first grade worked on understanding the difference between a statement and a question in Spanish (quiero/I want vs. ¿puedo?/ can I?), through context cues and punctuation.  Later, they were given age-appropriate worksheets in the target language and, via use of logic, sight words, and teamwork, had to deduce the instructions themselves! 

Additionally, students composed both silly and serious sentences; chose food nicknames; tasted Mexican candies; made Me gusta/ I like collages; learned a soccer chant from Spain; earned (fake) euros for cleaning the classroom (limpiar/ to clean); built an impressive 3-D model of part of Chichen Itza out of colorful paper cubes, in an “assembly-line” type of factory (Mexico); and had fun playing Hangman and Spanish Bingo.  First graders also increased their clean-up routine productivity by imagining the trashcans as “Monstruos de la basura” (Trash Monsters), and then feeding the ravenous creatures with papers and scraps at the end of class.  Gracias for a fabulous year.

Resumen, 14-15 (Grade 1)

Term
1This term, students in first grade alternated between Story Days and Activity Days, although the two oftentimes overlapped and blended into one.   For example, once Pato mentioned that he would like to visit the piñata hanging from the eighteen-foot ceiling in the Spanish Cave.  But what could he use as a mode of transportation?  The class decided on an avión de papel/ paper airplane, and after making one for their friend, joined in on the fun themselves and made their own models.  Another day, he couldn’t get his beak out of a book, rather, novel—Don Quijote (the 900-page, 400+ year-old Spanish literary masterpiece)—and students pestered him to share the story. 

As a result, the Spanish Cave transformed into a stage where student actors and actresses had fun acting out the famous windmill chapter with Don Quijote, Sancho Panza and, of course, the windmills.  As the first quarter winds to a close, students have become confident with both writing and explaining what they want to do each day (Quiero colorear/jugar/construir/pintar/dibujar/ir afuera/ver; I want to color/play/build [with Legos]/paint/draw/go outside/see [a video]), and also reading the daily letter from Pato.  In addition to the stories and activity centers, first graders also watched a silly song called “¿Puedo ir al baño?” (Can I go to the bathroom?), and practiced lining up backwards in number order.
2This term, students in first grade began exploring the Spanish written word in greater depth.  In addition to reading the daily letters from Pato and their own individualized password cards (aka sight words), they also wrote out their Activity Center wishes each day on the mini class whiteboards.  This process involves all students requesting whiteboards (pizarrón, por favor), chatting with their neighbors—“¿Qué quieres hacer?” (What do you want to do?)—and then completing the sentence Quiero… [dibujar] pero necesito… [papel] (I want [to draw] but I need [paper]) at their own pace, while student helpers ask their peers what color marker they would like to write with. 

Sentences vary from day to day and week to week, which allows first graders to see the possibilities of linguistic versatility as well as get a lot of practice.  To enforce the idea of ‘versatility’, students also made “Me gusta” (I like) collages with their favorite infinitives (jugar/to play, dormir/to sleep, etc.) and an excess of glitter sprinkled all around the page.  Last but not least, they played Luz roja, luz verde (Red Light, Green Light) in the target language; asked one another what they wanted to do and recorded the information, survey-style; and worked on possessive articles (Lego station: ¡Mi caballo!  My horse!  Art station: ¡Mi papel!  My paper!).  Gracias for a great quarter.
3This term, students in first grade continued learning through the ‘continuously evolving’ activity centers.  First graders focused on honing their writing skills—e.g., not looking at the bilingual signs to spell a word in the target language (tarjetas/cards)—and building their vocabularies.  Words take on a new level and layer of importance when they are acquired in a meaningful context, and so while some are learning ‘caballero’ (knight), others are learning ‘cinta’ (tape), depending on their interests.  When the caballero-student decides to, quite literally, connect two knights in shining armor with tape, s/he learns from the cinta-student. 

During this process, first graders are frequently subjected to unanticipated follow-up questions, to work on linguistic spontaneity.  For example, “¿Qué quieres construir?  ¿Por qué?  ¿Qué haces?” (What do you want to build?  Why?  What are you doing?).  While students begin the year with a very basic Q&A in the target language, this conversation grows, builds and continuously spirals throughout the months so that by the beginning of April, students feel confident with a variety of questions and answers.  In-between snow/cold days, they also practiced naming the Spanish-speaking countries on the tape floor map in the Spanish Cave; made Mi libro password booklets; and read La Mariposa by Francisco Jiménez.  From “Creative Crafts”, stickers, and colored paper, to rubber ducks, tire swings, and scaly crocodiles, it has been a fun quarter!
4This term, students in first grade decided as a class either to listen to (escuchar) their peers express their preferred activity for the day, or write (escribir) down their ideas on the miniature whiteboards.  Students focused on including their reasons for wanting to do an activity— “Porque es mi amigo(a); porque es amable; porque me gusta” (because s/he is my friend; because s/he is kind; because I like it), and then traveled to their centers.  Some like to stick with the same-old, same-old, while others rotate stations weekly or choose rather arbitrarily.  Regardless, it is fascinating to see where their creative minds take them.  From scary monstruos/monsters hiding out in their cuevas/caves and piano players insistent on turning up the keyboard’s volume, to emoticon drawings, buried treasure and a class bank (banco/bank; comida/food), first graders clearly work best when playing. 

Students also began incorporating the Spanish-speaking countries on the tape floor map into their free play—knights invading Bolivia, a rubber duck boda/wedding in España/Spain, a gigantic tower of cajas/boxes in Brazil, etc.  Finally, first graders read Corre, perro, corre; listened to La Invitación; and worked on two free play projects that extended beyond one class period: a formal wedding ceremony with invitations, dress-up clothes, and more (Huck); and the construction of an enormous fort made of boxes and blankets, with accompanying Japanese ninja music playing in the background (Ranallo).  

Resumen, 13-14 (Grade 1)

Term
1This term, students in first grade alternated between Story Days and Activity Days.  On the former, students tended to ask Pato was he was doing, and oftentimes he would invent a wild adventure (that coincidentally included Activity Day vocabulary).  Once, though, he couldn’t get his beak out of a book, and students pestered him to share the story.  Because it was either that or a time-out from SeñoritaPato began to relate the adventures of his hero, Don Quijote de La Mancha, to first graders.  He started with the renowned windmill chapter, and conveniently, students were able to make connections with the windmills in this novel and the windmill in The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind

The class so enjoyed hearing about the Spanish literary masterpiece, that from that point forward, Pato focused all of his energy on the book.  Students also translated the daily message; played Luz roja, luz verde outside; read two books in the target language; and practiced answering the question, “¿Qué quieres hacer?” (What do you want to do?), on Activity Days, with one of four choices: Quiero jugar/ I want to play; Quiero dibujar/ I want to draw; Quiero ir/ I want to go; or Quiero pintar/ I want to paint.  Gracias for a fun-filled start to the year.
2This term, students in first grade continued adding and expanding upon their various activity centers.  For example, one week first graders built structures out of Legos and/or popsicle sticks, and the following week, they deepened their understanding of ‘construir’ (build) by molding and later painting various structures out of air-dry clay.  Partway through the quarter, first graders practiced using their new ‘connecting’ words to combine activities —y/and; con/with— and either read, wrote, or voiced their preferences aloud. 

Many students seemed to appreciate the official nature of submitting what they wanted to do in written form (e.g., “Quiero jugar con mi amigo Fred/I want to play with my friend Fred).  In addition, they also chose new professions passwords to integrate with their regular classroom; read the daily letters from Pato and the book, El artista que pintó un caballo azul (The Artist Who Painted a Blue Horse); discussed the difference between amigo and amiga; made postre/dessert collages to practice asking for materials; played Spanish Bingo and Roca-papel-tijeras/Rock-paper-scissors in the target language; and were introduced to the witty ‘class conversation’ games that will reappear throughout the remainder of the year.
3This term, students in first grade played a variety of games to escape the ugly winter doldrums.  In one, the teacher pretends to give a boring addition lesson, while one first grader is secretly given permission to ‘act out’ and be silly.  For example, students can sit in their chair upside-down, take a sombrero and maracas from the toy shelf and start dancing, or even hide underneath the table.  When the teacher looks at her list of students and decides to call on the one student who is acting out, she ‘finds’ said first grader and demands, “¿Qué haces?” (What are you doing?), to which s/he responds, “Nada” (Nothing).  Students also played Spanish BingoSimon SaysHot Potato with practice counting backwards from ten, and Pato-pato-oca

The latter quickly morphed to “Tomate-tomate-tocino” (tomato-tomato-bacon) for the sheer delight of being able to make ‘sopa de tomate’, or tomato soup, when someone was tagged and sent to the ‘soup’, and as an extension, first graders learned a rhyme to accompany the game: “Bate-bate-la sopa de tomate (Stir-stir-the tomato soup).  Students also listened to the ever-popular Rompe Ralph (Wreck-It Ralph) theme song, and learned that rompe means break.  To illustrate this point, the class made an inedible soup with broken rotten eggs, slime, baking soda, vinegar, and food coloring (¡Qué asco!/Gross!; ¡Chévere!/Cool!).  Adiós, winter blues!
4This term, students in first grade participated in an interactive class drama presentation in the target language.  In the story, a police officer was guarding a pile of stuffed animals, but decided to take a short siesta.   Meanwhile, multiple thieves dressed up in silly disguises stole stuffed animals as well as the police officer’s key.  All of the ladrones/thieves were sent to la cárcel/jail, but ended up playing with the toys there because the police officer fell asleep again.  Students wrote out and made a goanimate.com video of this class drama on the SMART board. 

Later on, first graders ventured downstairs in the tunnels to hang up pictures of monsters and goblins on the wall, and searched for each others’ frightening creatures; read La Mariposa (The Butterfly); were introduced to the Sr. Wooly song ¿Puedo ir al baño? (Can I go to the bathroom?); had fun forming words and mathematical equations with their bodies; made boats out of Popsicle sticks, cinta/tape, and pipe cleaners (requested by color and quantity desired); and finally, made a bar graph of what they wanted to do—x axis, ideas; y axis, number of votes.  Based on the data, students’ favorite activity was traveling outside to play Policías y ladrones/Cops and Robbers (descanso/rest or break, when out of breath; libertad/freedom, when escaping from jail).  Gracias for a fantastic year.

Resumen, 12-13 (Grade 1)

Term
1This term, students in first grade sat wherever their password card appeared each day.  First graders also stated what they wanted to do each day, requested the appropriate materials in the target language, and then proceeded to paint (Popsicle sticks with watercolors), build (colorful wire creations), sew (with felt and string), play (with Lincoln Logs), and draw pictures they found in Spanish books.   They know that they can only touch something in the Spanish room if they know and/or are willing to learn the name for it.  As students become comfortable with the vocabulary, more “activity centers” are added.
2This term, students in first grade continued adding various activity centers.  For example, one week, and in order to experience the infinitive ir/to go, first graders gave examples of where they wanted to go (Quiero ir a Chile), and then, quite literally, went places, traveling all around the school and even outside.  Another week, students had fun molding various shapes of their own creation with air-dry clay/ arcilla, sticking on palos/ (Popsicle) sticks and plumas/ feathers to add some flair, and later painting their small sculptures with washable paints.  In addition to stating what they wanted to do each day, students also learned how to ask what others wanted to do, and practiced writing and recording this information on a chart handout.  Finally, first graders began hearing mini short stories in the target language to practice hearing all of their acquired vocabulary in context.  Gracias for a fantastic quarter!
3This term, students in first grade continued hearing mini-stories in the target language.  Because the majority took place in space—from ball games sans gravity, to plastic bugs literally taped to a spinning disco-ball planet (which created colorful insect-shadow-outlines on the wall)—students allowed their science backgrounds to inform and guide the plots. 

First graders also practiced reading sight words in the target language; chose new passwords based on if they were an el word or a la word (‘boy’ and ‘girl’ words, respectively); created costumes out of the cloth in the Spanish room in order to dress up as their passwords; played Spanish Bingo and a “¿Qué es esto?” (What is this?) game; talked about Spanish diminutives (perro/dog🡪 perrito/puppy; gato/cat 🡪 gatito/ kitten); defined similar-sounding words (e.g., fiesta/party and siesta/nap); and made aviones de papel/paper airplanes.
4This term, students in first grade increased their vocabularies through a wide variety of songs, games, and password exercises.  After choosing new identities—i.e., Spanish names—first graders sang along with a catchy tune called, “Yo me llamo” (My name is).  Later, they had fun playing Spanish Bingo, Luz roja, luz verde/Red Light, Green Light, Policías y Ladrones/Cops and Robbers, and a detective game.  In the latter, someone steals an object from a cauldron and hides it, and then students have to figure out what is missing, who stole it, and where it is in the room. 

First graders also made miniature password books for all of their passwords from the entire year; sorted the money in the Spanish Cave, while simultaneously exclaiming, “¡Soy rico(a)! (I’m rich!); followed step-by-step instructions to make their own paper airplanes; selected multiple adjectives to describe their passwords; and heard a book (El despegue de Romeo y Lou/Romeo and Lou Blast Off) in both English and Spanish.  It has been a busy end to the year!