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 3)

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

Inside the classroom, third graders were transported to another world–or Spanish speaking country, at least. Immersion can feel like another world, though; sans words, you lose your personality, your power to express yourself how you want to. Students did really well with this. First, they learned about Easter Island all in the target language, and even made clay sculptures of the famous statues and Rongorongo tablets. As part of this unit, third graders began rehearsing their lines for a Spanish News Show, which is actually part of a long-term project. The project is a story within a story within a story: a boy is late to watch his favorite show, the news/ las noticias, on which there is a segment about Chile; and following the news, there are Spanish commercials and a movie trailer about “Alan” and hungry Easter Island statues that come to life. “Alan” is completely ridiculous but a hilarious story starter!

In the tech realm, students started working on the Duolingo language- learning app; they are working as a team to earn a huge number of XP (points) over an eight week timespan, in what is called a Classroom Quest. 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 explore legends from around the Spanish-speaking world, and create a semester-long News Show in Spanish, adding a few new lines each day. The lines in the show will be reinforced via class activities; games; tongue twisters; songs; videos; ‘free choice’ center work days; and Culture Projects.
  • News Show: News Show Skit in Spanish. Testing their focus and concentration today- how far can we go in the target language?!
  • Easter Island Intro: News Show Skit, very quick run-through. News Show piece on Chile; intro to Easter Island, but all in the target language. Facts and slideshow with pics and video all in Spanish.
  • Easter Island, Day 1: skip News Show. Students have time to create air-dry clay sculptures from Easter Island (moai and Rongorongo tablets).
  • Easter Island, Day 2: Students have time to paint their air-dry clay sculptures from Easter Island (moai and tablets). Ms. C visited today and made her own sculpture as well!
  • Exports & Alan: Daily Trivia. Students brought air-dry clay sculptures to cubbies. Comment “everything comes from China” led to a mini review from last year re: imports/ exports. Students checked shirt tags and shoes for country names, and we found them on the map. STORY STARTER: Alan video, Easter Island statues, train, statues move when not looking (acted out).

September

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

  • Overview-English: Took a step back to explain in English the big picture of this first unit. We are creating a story (boy running home, late to watch news show) within a story (the actual news show on TV) within a story (movie trailer about Alan and Easter Island statues, that the boy sees on TV). “Ohhh….!” 🙂
  • Introduce Duolingo: Daily trivia. Introduced Duolingo language-learning app. Time to work on the app, work out the kinks/ any glitches, and record vocabulary in mini Spanish notebooks. And decorate notebooks with stamps!
  • Duolingo: Time to work on Duolingo app and record vocabulary in mini Spanish notebooks. Set up app with students who were absent. Reviewed News Show skit, with names. Students requested scripts, so easier to follow along (than on board).
  • Schedule/Alan!: schedule as follows- Mondays will be story days (treasure project, movie trailer with Alan); Thursdays will be commercials/center days; Fridays will be News Show/center days. Duolingo. Alan rehearsal and treasure project overview.
  • Commercial Time: Daily Trivia. Duolingo. Commercial. Center work introduction and The Town, Part 2.
  • The Town, Part 2: Daily Trivia. Duolingo. News Show skit- five minute rehearsal. Center work.

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 3)

Term
1This term, students in third grade began with a fútbol/ soccer unit. Here, the focus is on creating a Spanish-only environment and immediate application of key phrases in meaningful contexts (e.g., Por acá/over here; pásala/pass it; soy portero(a), soy arquero(a)/ I’m goalie; ¡apúrate!/ hurry up!; casi/almost; hace mucho calor/it’s really hot; no manos/no hands; suelo/ground; ¿Qué?/ What?; Yo dije…/I said; agua/water. If anything, shouting Spanish as opposed to merely speaking it certainly builds confidence!

When the skies decided to downpour during Spanish (¡tormenta!/storm!) and fútbol was not an option, students worked on gesture-telling legends from Spanish-speaking countries (AIM methodology). Here, third graders repeat lines and associate a gesture or movement with each word or phrase in a story. The first legend was from Cuba and about a mouse that knew how to bark. The second legend was from Peru and had to do with a haunted house and gold treasure.

In-between soccer and legends, the curriculum touched upon a few cultural points of interest. Third graders took time to learn about endangered languages (Peru); tapas, Spanish omelettes/tortillas españolas, and ‘señoras’ (Spain); and Catatumbo Lightning (Venezuela). Gracias for a great term!
2This term, students continued playing soccer, but kept adding to the daily routine, which included reading aloud the Padre Nuestro (“Our Father”) prayer before games; watching the Chócalas, gatito video; and more vocabulary and music (esp. Que Viva España/long live Spain!).

As the weather shifted, third graders likewise shifted to indoor activities, which included playing a challenging “Guess the Language” game to help with “ear training”. Later, students began working on the Duolingo language-learning app, trying to correlate the number of XP earned with kilometers on a route through South America and Spain (El Camino). Their first goal marker was a beautiful national park in Chile, called Torres del Paine (silver); their second goal, Futaleufú Rafting (gold); and so on and so forth. This geographic parallel fit in nicely with a map review from last year, wherein third graders jump on and name all 21 of the Spanish-speaking countries.

Third graders also transferred relevant soccer vocabulary phrases into center work stations from last year. A big hit for Lower School was THE TRAIN: students studied a [real] map of the metro system in Madrid, and pushed their classmates around the room on my tables [with wheels], stopping at various locales (el supermercado/supermarket; el banco/ bank; la fábrica/factory; el cine/movie theater; etc.). To expand upon this, they learned a bit about the extreme railways and train-buses of Bolivia (image below). Finally, students heard a legend about Yerba Mate Tea (Argentina)–the ‘friendship drink’ of South America–and had the opportunity to taste it. Gracias for another great term!
3This term, third graders learned how to Salsa dance. This is a highlight of the third grade Spanish curriculum, and this year’s class was truly outstanding: not only did students absolutely master the basic step, they were also able to dance it to the beat, with a partner, without looking at their feet, and even with a turn/spin–bravo! Students discussed and demonstrated how both the music and steps differed from the Tango (Argentina), which they had learned in second grade.

Due to their strong enthusiasm for Salsa dancing, the class continued with center work so that those who wanted to continue dancing, could; and those who didn’t, could “sign up for” and pursue other projects. The overarching idea here is that students use a common pool of working vocabulary to communicate in spontaneous linguistic interactions; they search out opportunities to use the language in meaningful contexts. This can be very challenging for some students, and less so for others, depending on their own personal comfort level with the language, and willingness to take [linguistic] risks during class time.

Meanwhile, students also learned about the cultural references in the fourth grader’s Spanish play [e.g., Don Quijote (Spain); Rainbow Mountain (Peru); Amazon River (Peru)]; saw the live performance; and began to get excited for their own play next year! They continued working on the Floor Map and played a card game called Mano Nerviosa to practice isolating numbers out of order. It was an exciting quarter!
4This term, students in third grade started rehearsing for a Spanish News Show (las noticias/ the news). They added new lines each day, working to dramatize the parts and find a balance between silly and witty. The end result was overly dramatic and quirky, to say the least, but students had great fun with it and created memorable lines (quiero ir al parque/I want to go to the park; ¡no puedes hacer eso!/you can’t do that!; seguridad/security; está nublado/it’s cloudy).

They also tried their hand at the Spanish Wordle; continued working on Duolingo from time to time; and discussed various cultural differences: from money conversions (dollars to pesos), meal times (siesta), weather forecasts (Fahrenheit to Celsius), and time zone differences, to the 24-hour clock (aka military time) and distances (feet to kilometers)–plus the LANGUAGE itself!–there are so many pieces that go into learning another language and culture. Third graders also reviewed and acted out the history of Cinco de Mayo in Mexico, after which they learned how to cook plantain chips in class–and ate them, of course, to celebrate the impossible becoming possible! (Mexican victory over the French)

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)

Quechua & MJ (3)

This morning, third graders tapped into their “One Voice Can Make a Difference” theme in Spanish class. First, they learned some basic linguistic facts: there are about 7,000 languages in the world; that Mandarin Chinese is the most spoken language in real life (but English is most used online); and that some languages in the world are considered endangered. Many students were very interested in this concept (how would it feel to be the only person in the world who spoke your language?), and so I shared a few other anecdotes with them on the topic.

They heard the story of one 14-year-old girl from Peru who wanted to make her native language, Quechua**, more popular and accepted in her country. Younger people were wanting to speak “only” Spanish and not Quechua, and she wanted to change that. This is her cover of a Michael Jackson song (see below), which has received over 2 million views: her one voice is literally making a difference! Thanks to the internet, many now want to learn Quechua.

**NOTE: Quechua is an indigenous language spoken in the Andes Mountains and highlands of South America (and NOT Spain).



Third graders also made pretend gold (covering tiny rocks with glue and glitter—oh my! so much glitter! Glitter, glitter, everywhere! Even in my hair! But what fun!)like a few other classes this week, learning about La Rinconada, or the highest city in the world (also in Peru). What they don’t know is that the legend they are learning has a surprise ending with GOLD as well! So this all ties together nicely in the end.

Weather permitting (no tormentas!/no storms!), tomorrow will be a soccer game day. While we began the year with a soccer unit, at this point in time we are starting to add many other layers, which is one of my favorite aspects of the third grade curriculum. We will take a few days this year to talk about endangered languages, untranslatable phrases, and just language in general–I like for students to think about language(s), too–and then layer on Culture Projects, legends from the Spanish-speaking world (current unit), storytelling, soccer games, tongue twisters, jokes, dance, food(!), and more, to create a tiered Spanish cake of knowledge, reading, writing, listening, and speaking, culture, etcetera. It is a big metaphorical cake. I might need to go eat some real cake now. Or tapas.

Anyway (ha!), thank you for reading. I hope you have a supercalifragilisticexpialidocious type of awesome day! (When she says it backwards in the video clip, it is just hilarious!)

Third Grade- Links

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

Year 2020-21

Dancing!

Dance is a very important part of the culture in many Spanish-speaking countries–from the Tango in Argentina and the Flamenco in Spain to the Merengue and Salsa in the Caribbean, dance brings everyone together. Virtual or not, we are all one big family, so let’s get up & dance!

In class, students watched two astounding young Salsa dancers and a dog dancing Salsa for inspiration (see below). While third and fourth graders learned the basic Salsa dance step, second graders focused more on the Tango and Merengue. Older students ended the year with a small fiesta–eating chips and salsa while dancing Salsa!

Virtual learners were given the challenge to dress up in a fancy outfit and record 5-10 seconds of them dancing to a song in Spanish (more music below). Naturally, we added an ‘out’, for the timid of heart.

  • In the Dominican Republic, there is a saying, “El que no baila, no come bizcocho,” which means, “He who does not dance, does not eat cake”.
  • However, we will make an exception to this rule today; for anyone who does NOT want to be recorded dancing, you may make a tres leches cake (or any kind of cake).


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?.

Yes to Pizza.

Once upon a time, there was a Spanish teacher who awakened very early one Friday morning and knew–without a doubt–that it was going to be an amazing day: no ifs, ands, or buts. As if cyberspace wanted to confirm this fact, by 5:30am the algorithms had led her to perhaps the #BestSongEverWritten.

She left the room and nearly missed the surprise ending, but ran back just in time to see it (watch to the end!). She felt an immediate and strong urge to share it with everyone who crossed her path that day; fortunately, she would meet with eight classes, so that wouldn’t be too difficult. It didn’t exactly align with the curriculum, but… yes to pizza. Always yes to pizza.

Then again, did it align? Could it? She wracked her brain. Classes were studying the Nazca Lines–massive geoglyphs in the Peruvian desert that appeared to be roads or trenches in every direction at ground level, but from the air… holy guacamole! They were designs of plants and animals, the longest a whopping 12 miles (20km) long!

The crazy thing was that they had been around for 2,000+ years, but weren’t really discovered or documented until aircrafts were invented. She imagined what it would have been like: “Flying over Peru, Roger that. Wait! A giant hummingbird, there is a giant hummingbird! And a spider! Mayday?!” [pause] “No, I don’t believe they intend to eat me.” “Should we send backup?” “No, I repeat–they do not appear to be an immediate threat. Over.”

In fact, drones and AI are helping to uncover new lines, previously gone unnoticed. In October of 2020, as explained by this article, a faint outline of a huge cat was discovered on the side of a mountain. 143 new geoglyphs have been discovered in the past two years, including one of a humanoid.

Students had been having difficulties imagining just how large these images were, so she planned to have them find the vehicles in the following photo. That would surely impress upon classes the immensity of their size. Wow!

Image Credit

So, pizza. Hmm. There had to be a way in; the song was just too good to hide away in a metaphorically dusty folder in the cloud. Another algorithm led to an animated gif, with a monkey, hummingbird, spider, and a… pizza?! Bingo!

The results of this Spanish lesson about pizza, ahem, Peru, speak for themselves, but she, for one, was very impressed.

Third graders tried making their own miniature deserts and geoglyphs with real sand and red paint (to mimic the reddish desert sand), but it was messier than anticipated: she wound up with red paint IN her hair, students all had red hands from dyeing the sand red, and thus the class switched from The Pizza Song on loop to Elmo’s Para bailar la bamba (because Elmo is red, in case you didn’t follow that non sequitur train of thought).

And since they were all in Peru, it felt like spending a moment at the sand dunes would be an inspired end to the week (best footage starts @3:09 below). After all of that virtual sand dune skiing, who’s hungry for pizza? Happy Friday! ¡Feliz viernes!

Teachers: Here is a more authentic/ traditional soundtrack for background music as students work if *gasp* you don’t like the pizza song.

Storytime! Hungry Hikers (3)

Week #2: This week, students in third grade entered the wonderful world of storytelling. Here, the teacher provides a bare-bones outline of a scripted story, and asks questions to personalize and cater the story to each particular class. My goal is to ingrain certain vocabulary structures in their minds each day through memorable experiences, comprehensible input–students understanding/ intuiting what is being said, even if they don’t know the words yet– and repetition (the average learner requires 70-150 repetitions of a word and/or phrase before it is stored in long-term memory).

NOTE: The stories are grounded in actual cultural facts and places, but the idea is to layer imagination and creativity over them to create a personalized play with student actors and actresses. If, for example, we learn that student “Fred” hates tomatoes in real life, then we would fit this into the story somehow. The stories tend to continue and grow from class to class.

The story today began in Spain/España, but started with a few questions and answers, game-show style (tú ganas/ you win), and–after voting–the class had a brief dance party. The song is our “class song” and was the official anthem for the 2016 European Championship (soccer/fútbol). Students in the second class delved a bit deeper, learning that while rojo means red in Spanish, in the song, “La Roja” refers to the soccer team because Spain’s flag is red (and yellow).

Both classes had to use “La fuerza” (‘fwear-sah’), or “the force” to get my Bluetooth speakers to work for the song. It only works it everyone says the word in Spanish and outstretches their hands toward the device, sending energy to the technology. Obviously.

With respect to storytelling, 3-1 focused on the logistics of the trip: Where are we going? Spain! How do we get there? Plane! What do we need? Backpacks/mochilas, water/agua, money/dinero (I handed out color copies of euros). Later, students proceeded to grab their stuff, boarded a socially-distanced airplane (chairs rearranged in the room), took an eight-hour flight, passed through customs (passports/ pasaportes), and hiked for about two minutes on the Camino before someone started complaining that they were hungry (maestra, tengo mucha hambre) and we had to stop at a restaurant (i.e., class was over).

3-2 went on a bit of a linguistic/travel tangent when someone asked if we could study Brazil. (I love when these conversations invariably pop up in third grade; there is something about this age that makes them so curious about the world on a global scale.) Anyway, we talked about how Portuguese and Spanish are closely related (I can understand a good deal of the former even though I don’t speak it), but that while there are 21 Spanish-speaking countries–and while they do speak Spanish there–Brazil is not officially a Spanish-speaking country. However, we will focus on the other 21 countries this year.

The story in 3-2 went as follows: Lights/luces, camera/cámara, action/acción, drum-roll/redoble… a famous actress is hiking the Camino de Santiago but gets really hungry (tengo mucha hambre). She wants a pizza and so calls Domino’s. The delivery guy drives his super fast red car to Spain to deliver the pizza. BUT, his car tips over, he gets hurt (¡AY!) and he has to call an ambulance. The doctor comes and stitches him up. PHEW! (Students were tickled pink that ambulances say, “Ni-no-ni-no” in Spanish, not “Wooo wooo wooo”. Gotta love onomatopoeia.)

ASIDE: these stories take place in the target language, but students should not be expected to produce all of this language independently at this point. The goal right now is comprehension and following along in class. Acquisition takes time: patience, my little grasshoppers!

VIRTUAL LEARNERS are encouraged to print and cut out their own euros in color from the template below. Next, if you have any change in your piggy-bank, count all of it, and then type that number into this online currency converter to see how much it would be in a Spanish-speaking country**. For example, $100 US dollars today is about 84€ euros in Spain, but 365,645 pesos in Colombia. WOW!

**Spanish-Speaking Countries: Chile, 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.

If there are any vocabulary words I would like you to focus on this week, they would probably be dinero/money (‘dee-N(AIR)-row’), agua/water (‘AH-gwah’– but you may already know this!), and tengo mucha hambre/I’m really hungry (‘tango MOO-chah AHM-bray’). HERE is a great song (though admittedly a bit silly…) to get tengo hambre stuck in your head forever and ever. Make sure to say these words aloud with a lot of EXPRESSION! and in context at mealtimes, too. Hope you’re having a great week!

Newsletter 20-21, Aug.

Hiking the Camino (3)

Week #1: Today in third grade, students first told me about their favorite places, and then I shared about one of my favorite trips, during which I hiked a famous 500-mile (877 kilometer) trek across northern Spain. The hike is called the Camino de Santiago, and takes about a month to complete (hiking about 10 hours a day). 

Students began ‘hiking’ around the room as they watched THIS VIDEO I made (“Spain, Part 1”). Naturally, they had to get their backpacks and water bottles–the Spanish summer sun is very similar to our state’s, with 110*F temps!

Next, third graders learned that the trail is marked by [scallop] shells and arrows. When you see one, you know that you are on the right path! Students began creating a “Camino” around campus by drawing shells and arrows with chalk. We hiked up and down a few mountains (read: staircases) with our bags and water bottles, and then decided to retire to the hotel/hostel (their classroom!) for the evening.

Just for fun, their word of the day was, “La fuerza” (‘fwear-sah’), or the force, which third graders say to magically make the Promethean boards turn on again after they have fallen asleep (they time out periodically).

NOTE: Just so you know, we will be easing into an immersive Spanish classroom very soon, but I wanted to start the first day in English to get to know the students and for them to feel comfortable with me. Learning a language can be overwhelming, and experience has taught me that in a low-stress [but engaging] environment, students are more likely to want to learn and produce language. Learning should be a healthy combination of hard work and great fun!

VIRTUAL LEARNERS are encouraged to check out the video and photos at this link, and to create their own “Camino” (‘kah-ME-know’) at home. The arrows and shells are oftentimes made out of things in nature as well. You might outline an arrow using some rocks or palms or grass, or simply draw 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!

Virtual learners are also welcome to share with me via email their favorite place in the world (the beach, a city or country they’ve traveled to, a tree fort, their room, etc.). We will include this information in a project later on.

Newsletter 20-21, Aug.

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.

Remote 19-20, T3 (Fluent)

LINKS: La Roja Baila, Summer Language Camps, Teen Speaks Over 20 Languages- Video, Hyperpolyglot- Article, LingYourLanguage, BrainPopEspañol, THE PATO SHOW, Summer Packet 2020


Continued Learning Assignments below.

Spanish Activity, 5/19/20- 3,4,5

  1. Miren el vídeo.
  2. Entreguen la autobiografía si no la han hecho ya.
  3. ¡Nos vemos en la fiesta de Zoom esta semana!

¡¡DISFRUTEN DEL VERANO!! ❤


Spanish Activity, 5/12/20- 3,4,5

  1. Miren el vídeo.
  2. Escriben su autobiografía. Organícenla con una introducción, TRES recuerdos importantes para ustedes y una conclusión. Esta es la estructura:
    • Introducción – donde nacieron más otros hechos básicos
    • Párrafo #1 – recuerdo importante
    • Párrafo #2 – recuerdo importante
    • Párrafo #3 – recuerdo importante
    • Conclusión – ideas sobre lo que quieran hacer en el futuro
  3. Les doy dos semanas para completar esto, ya que es una tarea más involucrada. Será la última actividad escrita del año escolar. Escríbanme con cualquier duda. Y por favor, ¡diviértanse!

Spanish Activity, 5/7/20- 3,4,5

  1. Miren EL PRIMER VÍDEO y el SEGUNDO VÍDEO en Seesaw. ¡AMBOS!
  2. Miren estos vídeos también si no saben nada de Cinco de Mayovídeo #1 & vídeo #2 y hagan lo siguiente si les interesa.**
  3. Siguen con las entradas en el diario y ¡NOMBREN los días! (explicado en el vídeo).

CALENDARIO DE MAYO IMPRIMIBLE

**Actividades opcionales abajo.

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


Spanish Activity, 4/28/20- 3,4,5

  1. Miren este vídeo en Seesaw.
  2. Hagan algo relacionado con el español por cinco días consecutivos. Pueden escribir entradas en sus diarios, o cambiar la actividad cada día. #desafío
  3. Publiquen una foto o un vídeo cada día por los cinco días, o un álbum a finales de la semana con todas las actividades que han hecho.
  4. ¡Escríbanme con otras ideas!

Sugerencias–

  1. Hagan una receta de un país hispanohablante.
  2. Hagan un acuerdo con toda la familia de hablar solamente español en casa. ¡No hablen ni una palabra del inglés! Los que sí rompen el acuerdo deben de hacer todos quehaceres de la casa ese día.
  3. ¡Enséñenme algo! Vean un vídeo de BrainPop Español sobre las ciencias o las matemáticas y hagan un vídeo que me enseña algo sobre una asignatura o asunto muy específico. ¡No hablen en generalidades!
  4. Escriban cada día en sus diarios.
  5. Lean una novela en español.
  6. Aprendan a bailar Salsa (el baile). Chequeen este vídeo para inspiración. ¡La niña solo tiene seis años y el niño ocho! O esto aquí abajo para una risa.

Spanish Activity, 4/21-23/20- 3,4,5

  1. Miren este vídeo en Seesaw. Cambien su look, su perspectiva y ¡escriben una entrada en sus diarios con este nuevo look!
  2. Miren una película con los subtítulos en español y la voz en español, y presten atención a las traducciones y cómo son diferentes. 
  3. Publiquen una foto en Seesaw o de su nuevo look o del nombre de la película que han visto, con unos comentarios abajo sobre la experiencia. 
  4. Y claro, siguen escribiendo 3-4 veces a la semana en sus diarios.

Spanish Activity, 4/14-16/20- 3,4,5

Visiten Seesaw otra vez para ver la actividad esta semana. Favor de responder a la actividad en Seesaw. ¡Gracias!

  1. Miren el vídeo.
  2. Sigan escribiendo en sus diarios 3-5 veces a la semana.
  3. Experimenten con la poesía japonesa: si les interesa la idea, traten de escribir un haikú/俳句. Mejor dicho, ¡3 o 4 haikús!
  4. Pasen 10 o 15 minutos leyendo los dichos/citas/frases en el enlace AQUÍ y elijan su favorito/a. La página web está organizada por frases, autores y temas–si esto les ayuda, busquen las categorías encima de la página.
  5. Publiquen una foto del dicho aquí en Seesaw, por “responder a la actividad”. ¡Buena suerte!

Spanish Activity, 4/7/20- 4,5

VISITEN Seesaw PARA VER LA ACTIVIDAD ESTA SEMANA. ¡Hay un video ahí para ustedes!

  1. Miren el video.
  2. Tengan paciencia conmigo al final del video porque me pierdo un poco:D
  3. Escriban. Escriban. Escriban.
  4. Escriban más.
  5. Cuando se cansan de eso, escriban más.

¡¡¡¡SÍ SE PUEDE!!!!

*me ha quedado impreso en la memoria (error en el video)–lo lamento.


Spanish Activity, 4/2/20- 3

  1. Miren el vídeo en Seesaw.
  2. Escriben una página en sus diarios.

Spanish Activity, 4/2/20- 4,5

  1. Miren el vídeo para una explicación detallada de lo que hacer y cuales son las expectativas. *TERCER GRADE: miren la otra versión del vídeo en Seesaw debajo de “Actividades”.

2) Deciden sobre cuál tema van a escribir. Pueden visitar a https://esp.brainpop.com/ o https://www.timeforkids.com/ (pueden cambiar el idioma cuando leen el artículo).

3) Depende mucho del tipo de escritura elijan, pero quiero que se concentren en dos objetivos esta semana–primero, los marcadores del discurso, especialmente para una cronología de acontecimientos y segundo, la descripción y los cinco sentidos.

  • Utilizar marcadores del discurso para organizar su entrada
    • Ordenadores: de entrada, para empezar, antes que nada, por una parte, por otra parte, en primer lugar, para terminar/concluir, en fin, hasta ahora, de momento, dicho esto, etc.
    • Reformuladores: o sea, es decir, en otras palabras, mejor dicho, etc.
    • Conectores aditivos: y, además, o, ni, sobre todo, encima, es más, asimismo
    • Conectores de oposición: pero, sin embargo, no obstante, con todo, ahora bien, aunque, en cambio, por el contrario, en cualquier caso, etc.
    • Conectores de casualidad: porque, es que, puesto que, ya que, al fin y al cabo, pues, por (lo) tanto, por consecuencia, luego, entonces, de este modo, etc.

4) No importan aquí los nombres de los términos, sino el significado y que ustedes dan un esfuerzo para incorporar estas expresiones en sus entradas. ¡Pero SOLAMENTE las que sean relevantes!

5) En cuanto a la narrativa, y en vez de decirme, hay que mostrarme su recuerdo o experiencia que me cuentan. Les doy mi ejemplo del vídeo:

  • “Yo fui a la playa.”

VERSUS

  • Veo los rayos de luz que esparcen sobre el agua y océano como harina o un polvo mágico bajo el sol–y siento el calor de la arena bajo mis pies…

**Dije “la calentura” en el vídeo sin querer en vez de “el calor”, lo siento!!!

La meta es, traten de añadir detalles para crear una imagen precisa para los lectores. Incluyan lo que oyen, lo que ven, cómo se sienten, lo que huelen, etc. ¿Es de noche o de día? En vez de escribir esto directamente, pinten una escena, un lienzo de palabras… Si hablo de la oscuridad, el lector entenderá que o es de noche o las luces están apagadas, ¿verdad? Busquen nuevo vocabulario en un diccionario o pregúntenles a sus padres. Siempre siempre siempre se puede ampliar el vocabulario y, por tanto, enriquecer su experiencia del idioma. ¡Disfruten del proceso!

FECHA DE ENTREGA:
El jueves, 11:00am (2 de abril de 2020)

3* grado- publiquen una foto de la entrada en Seesaw
4* y 5*- mándenme una foto por correo FROM YOUR SCHOOL EMAIL!

Spanish Extra Credit, 4/2/20


Spanish, 3/19/20- 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 notebooks, 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.). Also, be sure to check out THIS POST for extra credit opportunities. Scroll down to the “Culture” section!

Hear/read more stories at THIS LINK.

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 (3)

Year Recap

CULTURE:

  • Spain- Gazpacho & La Tomatina; cathedrals/stained glass windows
  • Chile- Easter Island
  • Mexico- eating fried crickets
  • Paraguay- Landfill Harmonic (recycled instruments)
  • Argentina- Train to the Clouds
  • Costa Rica- rainforest
  • Bolivia- Yungas Road diorama
  • Peru- Boiling River
  • Guatemala- Worry Dolls; Sawdust Carpets (Easter)

Trimester Summary

Third Grade- This trimester, third graders in 3B chugged along steadily with their Duolingo work, while 3A decided to take a break from the app back in December (but picked it up again in February).

3.A CHAMPIONS: Aylani, 694 XP; Celia, 507 XP; Marijka, 500 XP; 3.B CHAMPIONS: Kaden, 1197 XP; Zafirah, 1127 XP; Sebastian, 871 XP.

Culturally speaking, third graders divided into groups based on student interests. Here is a list of both class and individual projects they have worked on this trimester.

Third graders inspired all of Lower School by transforming my closet into a Costa Rican rainforest, complete with green vines galore, Christmas lights, photos of animals that actually live there–and currently, REAL plants in the campus greenhouse. That are growing! In real life! Whose seeds third graders planted!

Students in both classes were given the opportunity to eat a fried cricket. They had a mature class conversation about other cultures, perspectives, and traditions. In Mexico, there are 549 edible insects, and it is common to eat them and see them in markets.

After watching this clip of the Landfill Harmonic documentary about a town in Paraguay, 3.B decided to make their own instruments out of trash and recyclable materials, and proceeded to share this information with the community at FMM.

Third graders made a Popsicle stick model of the Train to the Clouds in Argentina (skip to 3:45 in video), for the LS art/science/ history Spanish Museum.

Students learned how natural chewing gum/chicle is made from the Sapodilla tree (Mexico), and then considered opening their own business; here, they tried melting Starbursts to create a similar, gooey chicle-like substance. Several students even painted criss-cross x’s on real bark to replicate how chicleros slash the trees to let the sap drain down. Ultimately, copyrights, patents, and other legal practices got in the way of an actual start-up–but it was fun while it lasted!

Two students made a diorama museum exhibit of Yungas Road in Bolivia, one of the most dangerous roads in the world, out of natural materials.

Another group got very excited about Worry Dolls, after listening to THIS short story, and not only made their own dolls to bring home, but also created houses and furniture for them!

One student made a model of the Popocatépetl volcano in Mexico, and had fun creating eruptions with baking soda and vinegar.

Three boys learned about the Boiling River in Peru. Afterwards, to see if water actually boils at 100*C (212*F), they used a tea kettle and glass thermometer. And yes- it does.

Students tried to create a life-sized model of the Galapagos turtles (Ecuador). The turtles are HUGE!

Third graders also talked about different currencies, and used an online currency converter to see how much their American dollars were worth in other countries.

Back in November, students also looked at clothing tags and food labels, to see if they were made in a Spanish-speaking country. They found bananas from Costa Rica and Nicaragua, avocados from Mexico, shirts from Honduras, apples from Chile, and more. Feel free to keep the conversation going whenever you are grocery shopping or in your kitchen cooking. It is fascinating to note how global we really are.

Finally, third graders focused on team-building skills and building a stronger class community, by participating in both the Marshmallow Challenge as well as Policías y ladrones/Cops and Robbers games outside (from last year). While learning a language takes a tremendous amount of grit, strength of character, and independence, it is always more fun with other people!

*ASIDE: As you may already know by this other post, native speakers were recently given a list of ideas to supplement their language study. They also have personal journals/diarios in which they are aiming to write a page entry each class day, in lieu of the regular written work. So far, they are doing really well!


August Summary

Third Grade- Students in this class adjusted well to the new rule of, “Un-dos-tres, ¡no inglés!” (One-two-three, no English!), although initially nervous about the idea. They began their immersive experience with a focus on cognados/ cognates, or words that sound the same in both languages, to help ease the transition; for example, arte/ artfamoso/ famous, and catedral/ cathedral are all relatively easy to muster a guess (though cathedral took a little longer).

As there are, in fact, many cathedrals throughout Spain (among other countries), third graders took a few classes to transform my room into a cathedral with vidrieras, or stained-glass windows. These came out even better than expected, wow! They also listened to the song of the month, La Roja Baila, on loop. It is from the 2010 World Cup, and a lovely tune! Students also have been working on Duolingo at the beginning of every class, and took a day to celebrate La Tomatina and make gazpacho (a delicious soup from Spain). Yum!


February: Para enriquecer su experiencia en la clase de español y desarrollar sus habilidades escritas, hoy los hispanohablantes de 3.A que se sentían cómodos con la idea de escribir una página entera en la lengua meta recibieron un cuaderno. Este cuaderno se quedará en clase y será un tipo de RJ, o diario (diary) en español. Los niños podrán expresarse a través de los recuerdos, momentos inolvidables, prosa, poesía, cuentos de ficción, etc. Algunos días será una escritura libre, mientras en otros habrá una tarea específica. De esta manera, espero que sea más relevante y significativo el curso. Me dio mucho placer leer sus entradas hoy- desde lo que ellos hicieron anoche y durante el fin de semana, hasta sus deseos y aún un cuento de estilo leyenda sobre un jaguar y un loro. ¡Esto va a ser el principio de algo genial!

February: Después de votar, fuimos afuera hoy para jugar “Policías y ladrones” y “Corazón/dulce”, del estilo de Freeze Tag. Si alguien sabe una buena traducción para “Freeze Tag”, avísame! ¡Feliz día de San Valentín!

February (3B): Hoy hablamos en clase sobre cómo el aprendizaje de otro idioma abarca mucho- desde la lingüística hasta la cultura. Mientras que yo creo que TODO ES POSIBLE, también hay que tener expectativas razonables cuando nuestra clase se junta solo una o dos veces a la semana.

En el ámbito lingüístico, los diccionarios suelen tener unas 100,000 palabras. ¡Esto es MUCHO! Hay palabras activas (que usas con frecuencia) y palabras pasivas (que reconoces pero o no entiendes perfectamente o no usas mucho). Existen muchas capas y matices de un idioma.

Y en cuanto a la cultura, qué significa exactamente? Música, deportes, comida, historia, terreno, monumentos, tradiciones, costumbres, etc. Dicho esto, no resulta la música-deportes-comida-historia-terreno-monumentos-tradiciones-costumbres-etc. solamente de ESPAÑA, sino de todos los 21 países hispanohablantes. Se puede estudiar estos asuntos 24 horas al día, 7 días a la semana y no saberlo todo. Es una tarea imposible. O sea, casi imposible, ya que todo es posible.

En fin, quería darles a los estudiantes un poco de perspectiva esta mañana: la meta aquí no es la fluidez en sí (no somos una escuela de inmersión); la meta es, aprender algo nuevo cada clase. Algunos aprendieron sobre churros con chocolate hoy (cultura), mientras otros trabajaban en mejorar su vocabulario–o de fútbol o de expresar lo que querían o necesitaban. Paso a paso, poco a poco, se ve el progreso.

December: Hoy en clase hablamos de otras culturas, perspectivas y tradiciones. Como una analogía, nos ponemos de pie en nuestras sillas para experimentar otra perspectiva: resulta el mismo cuarto, pero notamos cosas diferentes, igual que en inglés o español; el enfoque se ha cambiado. Para probar nuestro coraje/valentía, probamos unos insectos fritos hoy; en Mexico, hay 549 insectos comestibles y es normal para muchos comérselos, especialmente para la proteína. ¡Iiik! Aparte: Se puede comprar más insectos fritos en el “Candy Shop”, si les interesa.

November: Esta mañana, los niños del tercer grado querían ser chinchillas y decidieron hacer una banda. Les mostré el enlace arriba y les dije que podrían hacer sus propios instrumentos hechos de basura, igual que los niños inspiradores de Paraguay. Salieron hoy con tanta energía sobre el asunto que tenía que compartirlo con ustedes!! Ellos están muy emocionados, así que si ustedes tienen basura (cajas, cuencos, hilos, imanes, latas, etc.) que no quieren en casa, favor de donarla a nuestra clase. Ya veremos qué podemos crear!

September: Tercer grado ha estado aprendiendo sobre la Isla de Pascua (Chile). Los estudiantes hicieron estatuas de arcilla y tablillas de Rongorongo, un sistema de glifos (o idioma) que nadie ha podido descifrar—¡es un misterio!

Aquí hay más fotos de las estatuas de la Isla de Pascua y del sistema de glifos, o Rongorongo. Se dice que Rongorongo fue escrito en una manera muy eficiente; la técnica que ves en la penúltima diapositiva se llama bustrófedon (pero al revés porque está volteado también el texto en la segunda línea). WOW!

August: Por si acaso les interesa, esta es la canción que han oído en clase esta semana. Me gusta mucho. Es de la copa mundial (FÚTBOL) de 2010.

August: Vidriera de una catedral en España.
September: La semana pasada, hicimos gazpacho en clase para celebrar La Tomatina (España). En las palabras de Parker, “¡Gazpachoooooo!”

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 3)

Term
AUGThis month, students learned that they have been selected to join the world-renowned Spanish Acting Company.  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) elements.

The first story begins with the following: a famous actor with absurdly strong bodyguards—stuffed animals under students’ sleeves as muscles—must summon his courage to deal with a most calamitous situation: his arch-nemesis has stolen all of his money and pets (3.A) and car (3.B).  How to manage?  Only time will tell… particularly as the class stories are teacher-asked but student-led.  In addition to storytelling, third graders also chose individualized password cards, and then practiced thinking up ways to physically act out each one as part of their beginning-of-class routine; responded to action commands; and danced to the song Madre Tierra during brain breaks.  Gracias for a great month.
SEPTThis month, students in third grade chose animal password cards and made sure to ask, “¿Qué es?” (What is it?/“K S”, pronounced like the alphabet letters) when they could not remember a word. If their password card was at the wrong seat, third graders responded, “¡Esta no es mi contraseña!/ This is not my password!, focusing on the “ñ” sound that requires your nose to crinkle a bit when you say it—‘nyah’, as in español, contraseña, baño, etcetera. 3.B got excited about their sound study and proceeded to work on a tricky tongue twister, just for fun: Pepe Pecas pica papas con un pico. Con un pico pica papas Pepe Pecas. (Pepe Pecas picks potatoes with a pick. With a pick picks potatoes Pepe Pecas.)

Third graders also jumped on and named certain Spanish-speaking countries on the tape floor map before they sat down each day; a new country is added about once a week. To make this activity more meaningful, students created pasaportes/passports that are stamped as they enter and exit each country. They began their travels at the tip of South America with Chile and Argentina; more stamps will be added upon completing the continent. Now that they have finished working on the actual passports, students must show their booklets upon crossing the official frontera/border 0f the Spanish Cave every class (“customs”). No passport, no entry!

Later, third graders learned about Easter Island (Chile), and then created and painted replicas with air-dry clay of either the Moai statues or one of the undecipherable Rongorongo tablets (written in hieroglyphs and reverse boustrophedon). Students seemed to latch on to the idea that the tablets were engraved/carved using shark teeth and volcanic rock, but gracefully accepted that they would only be using toothpicks in Spanish class. Note to self: next year, I will not use the word ‘tablet’ to describe the wooden boards; in this digital age, third graders thought I meant that iPads were discovered on Easter Island. Ahem.

Third graders continued with their class stories as well. Updates as follows: In 3.A, the enemy forces—namely, a magic school bus/autobús mágico and train/tren—traveled from Egypt to Los Angeles, California to steal a famous actress’ money and pets, and then escaped with the goods to Hawaii, with an out of the way stop at Easter Island. The class went to Easter Island to fight the enemies—but tragically, students were hungry upon arrival, rashly touched a magical apple, and were turned into statues. Better luck next time? Note: If anyone reading this happens to be in possession of a large refrigerator box, I would gladly take it off your hands to build a time machine and change students’ luck.

In 3.B, and with Pato held captive as his prisoner, the evil pig (el cerdo malvado) decided that a delicious bocadillo de pato (duck sandwich) would really whet his appetite. The class voted by chanting either, “¡Ayúdame!” (Help me!, as the voice of Pato) or “¡Cómelo!” (Eat him!, as encouragement to the evil pig); when the votes were tallied, the evil pig was no longer hungry. *Sniff, sniff* However, students ended up making unicorn, witch, and wizard hats and turned our dear friend Pato into a ghost. Obviously, he has some unfinished business on Earth.

Last but not least, third graders were given the terribly onerous, yearlong task of collecting one fruit and vegetable sticker, label, and/or clothing tag, from each of the 21 Spanish-speaking countries. They were told to keep their eyes open particularly when grocery shopping; bananas, for example, are frequently from Spanish-speaking countries: if/when you buy them, students may add said sticker to their page (and eventually, passport). They are strongly advised to post a blank page on the refrigerator so as not to lose it! This homework assignment (and import/export study) will be ongoing throughout the year. If one country is particularly difficult to find, we will discuss as a class the “why” behind it. For now, please just encourage students to keep their eyes open! Gracias for a great month.
T1This trimester, students in third grade practiced acting out their password cards and naming the Spanish-speaking countries on the tape floor map. They also acted out wildly creative story plots: from an evil pig, duck sandwich, powerful notebook, town named HairGel, and a ghost who wants revenge (3.B), to a magic school bus, stolen pets, daring enemy escape by plane, and musical keyboard accompaniment by talented student musicians (3.A), third graders began to grasp how to make the target language come alive in their minds. In addition, students had fun identifying ‘boy’ and ‘girl’ words (i.e., masculine and feminine nouns: el/la/los/las, or the four ways to say ‘the’ in Spanish), and ‘claiming’ them as their own property, respectively; began tuning in to pronunciation details and new sounds, such as “ñ” (nyah) and the forever silent “h” (hola); and took a few “Kindergarten/Activity Days”, where third graders painted, drew on the board, played fútbol/soccer, and explored their own personal interests via centers.

Cultural projects and facts were sprinkled throughout the trimester: from sculpting Easter Island statues out of clay (Chile), coloring calaveras/skulls and making papel picado for Día de los Muertos/Day of the Dead (Mexico), learning about the 900-page, world renowned novel Don Quijote and tracing Picasso’s painting of the main characters (Spain), to singing La cucaracha and hearing different types of güiros (Latin America), third graders’ energy and thoughtful questions continue to inspire. Gracias for a great first trimester.
NOVThis month, students in third grade practiced saying the Pledge of Allegiance (Juro fidelidad a la bandera) to continue working on their phonetics study. They also sat according to their birthday months, made personalized passports—with miniature flags of all of the Spanish-speaking countries—and continued telling and acting out their class stories.

In 3.B, Pato was eaten by an evil pig, who is friends with a Powerful Notebook. Students paused here to brainstorm a list of powerful things and then drew a collage of said concepts around the word poderoso/powerful. Anyway, the fantasma/ghost of Pato wants revenge, and decides that because the evil pig is allergic to flan (a Spanish dessert), he will use it to get back at him and make him sneeze uncontrollably—there is a tradition of saying, “Salud, dineroamor/health, money, love” when a person sneezes (Colombia). However, because the Powerful Notebook, or cuaderno poderoso has the flan, he will have to visit his home, a cobertizo/shed filled with cucarachas/cockroaches and other insectos/insects.

Because the story centers around venganza/revenge, third graders watched a silly cartoon chicken video about animal sounds in Spanish, where the chicken gets strong and gets revenge against a truck (Pollito pío). Additionally, third graders took a day to made Popsicle stick sheds with paper insects. This class also went on a tangent one day—though I realize all of this sounds like a tangent!—and had a mature discussion about endangered languages and untranslatable words. Students tasted dulce de leche (not flan, but very sweet at least!) and fried crickets, too, as it was [mostly] relevant to their class story.

In 3.A, students only had four classes in November, due to Student-Led Conferences and Golden Guest Day rehearsals, and spent the time finishing their passport booklets and reviewing their class story: here, a policeman and dog chase after two enemies that have stolen money and stuffed animals from the main character. The enemies put dulce de leche (Argentina) on the ground, which slows down the police. Students were also able to taste this sweet, caramel-like spread in class.
JANThis month, students in third grade worked on naming and jumping on all of the twenty-one Spanish-speaking countries on the tape floor map independently. Many have demonstrated complete mastery of this skill. It is almost overwhelming—when you hear them rattled off— to grasp that there are completely different Spanish accents, vocabularies, and cultures (music, foods, art, sports, customs, etc.) in each of these places. My goal as an educator is to provide a general overview here; now that students are familiar with the names of these places, they can associate cultural and historical events with said countries in a more meaningful context.

With that in mind, third graders spent a day trying to replicate the Nazca Lines (Peru) around the Spanish room. These are an ancient mystery: at ground level, they appear to be lines, or trenches, in the desert going in all directions; however, from an airplane, you see that they are in reality massive geoglyphs of animals and plants—and yet, these civilizations existed prior to the invention of the airplane! Hmm… Students also painted and colored tiles for the class fort, aka La Alhambra, which is based on an actual Moorish palace/fortress in southern Spain; ate twelve grapes to celebrate New Year’s Eve (tradition in Spain); learned that an ice cream shop in Venezuela holds the world record for the greatest number of flavors offered: 900 (3.B); and began building a model of Machu Picchu in Peru (3.A).

In other news, students wrote first and second drafts of their storyboard comic strip stories in Spanish, and then shifted from storytelling (Q&A in the target language) to centers, where third graders sign up for their center of choice each day (tweeting, writing a form letter, or speaking aloud), requesting any materials they need and explaining what they want to do in Spanish* (e.g., build roads to drive their Spheros (construir/build), play Twister or basketball (jugar/play), make slime (hacer baba/make slime), play the piano (tocar el piano), etc.).

They have been listening to Tal vez me llames (Call Me Maybe) by Kevin Karla y la banda regularly as well; it is funny to hear the cover of a song you are already familiar with in another language! As always, feel free to visit my website below for links and more information. If you are intrigued or questioning the importance of play in the classroom, please visit the Language Blog* on my website and read my latest post entitled, “Just Play”. Last but not least, students chose Spanish first and last names in the target language, and had fun practicing writing their new signatures all over my whiteboards.
MARThis month, students in third grade had more than a few discussions about phonetics and language in a more general sense, as opposed to “only” Spanish. There are, after all, about 7,000 languages in the world! These conversations touched on word loans—tacos, tortillas, quesadillas, and deja-vu, for example, have all been borrowed from other languages; there is no word in English for “taco”.

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

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

In the culture realm, students learned a bit about El Camino de Santiago, a 500-mile hike and pilgrimage across northern Spain (that their teacher completed last summer); cooked and tasted fried plantains (patacones or tostones), which are eaten in many Spanish-speaking countries; and used photos in the Spanish classroom to inspire various projects during center time. For instance, some students tried to create a replica of an underwater art museum in Mexico in a fish tank with florescent paper fish, rocks, and flowers, which was amazing… until the tank started leaking; others made dozens of Coquí frogs (Puerto Rico) out of green paper; and still others opted for pick-up soccer games (fútbol) outside, as soccer is a hugely popular sport in many countries.

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 3)

Term
1This term, students in third grade discussed how ‘language is a sport for your mouth’, as phonetics is a major part of the third grade curriculum.  Students also worked on memorizing several tongue twisters in the target language; chose Spanish names and Inside-Out passwords; made replicas of Easter Island Moai statues out of clay; told two class stories with student-actors; saw pictures of La Alhambra in Spain and Iguazu Falls in Argentina; and were delighted by a video about accents (Amy Walker).  Gracias for a great quarter.
2This term, students in third grade chose new animal and button passwords; practiced action commands; rehearsed and presented dialogues in the target language; learned about the history of churros and then had a ‘churro party’; built impressive fortalezas/ forts during structured free- play lessons, while responding to the teacher’s interruptions with cued responses (flip-cards); discussed untranslatable words; were presented with a country-sticker challenge (imports/exports focus); prepared for the Spanish portion of students’ second semester speeches; and continued with their yearlong storytelling unit.  The latter included several hands-on projects, including a roller-coaster building session, designing a Telescope v2.0, and a three-story long yarn-pulley that hoisted Pato away from an Evil Flower.
3&4This semester, students in third grade began by helping the rest of Lower School build an impressive 3-D model of part of Chichen Itza out of colorful paper cubes (Mexico).  One particular cube managed to attach itself to a Popsicle stick and grow a face—and thus was borne Cubby el cubo cubano (Cubby the Cuban Cube).  In order to tell the story of present-day Cubby, however, it was necessary to travel back in time; through role-playing, third graders learned about the lost treasure and Spanish Fleet of 1715, and then used this story (nonfiction) as a point of origin for their own original story (fiction). 

Their adventure involved intimidating bodyguards, good and evil forces (e.g., the girl who poured a milkshake on Cubby, the paper cube!), the fact that Cubby lives in a printer and therefore could photocopy and clone himself, and a ridiculous and messy finale of soap and marshmallows that expanded in the (yes, real) microwave.  Later, students went on another historical voyage to learn about endangered languages and how creoles/languages are formed, and as an extension, worked to create their own languages.  Knuffle Bunny added some good food for thought here—is thinking language, pre-language, or merely wordless emotional stuff?  Lastly, third graders chose class (food) nicknames; had a ‘masculine and feminine nouns’ competition; learned about Cinco de Mayo, and began their final class story of the year.  Gracias for a fabulous year.

Resumen, 14-15 (Grade 3)

Term
1This term, students in third grade discussed how ‘language is a sport for your mouth’, as phonetics is a major part of the third grade curriculum.  Students then worked on memorizing several tongue twisters in Spanish so as to over-exaggerate the mouth-moving process: Pito, pito colorito; Pepe Pecas; A-E-I-O-U, el burro sabe más que tú (the donkey knows more than you); otorrinolaringólogo/ ENT doctor; Q-U-E-S-O, or ¿Qué es eso?  ¡Eso es queso! (What is that?  That is cheese!); and ¿Qué te pasa, calabaza?  Nada, nada limonada (What’s up with you, pumpkin?  Nothing, nothing lemonade).  Third graders earned a class reward for all of their hard work—to make a donkey piñata in class. 

Later, and as part of an ongoing conversation unit, they worked on asking and answering two basic questions in the target language: ¿Qué quieres hacer?/What do you want to do?; Quisiera jugar…/I would like to play…; ¿Qué haces?/What are you doing?; Estoy jugando/I’m playing.   Finally, students practiced their lines in a Spanish mini-play; watched several videos from the Señor Wooly site as a Halloween treat (El banco, Las excusas, and ¡PAN!); and began a storytelling unit about Pato el actor famoso/Pato the Famous Actor and an evil flower/flor malvada.  Third graders had fun responding dramatically to certain key phrases in the story.  Gracias for a great start to the year.
2This term, students in third grade continued developing their class stories.  Plot: Pato is flying to the torre/tower in either Romania (Petersheim) or Croatia (Naso) in order to rescue his kidnapped stuffed animal Patito from la flor malvada/the Evil Flower.  Unfortunately and en route, his avión/ airplane crash-lands in the mar negro/Black Sea (Petersheim) or the mar mediterráneo/ Mediterranean Sea (Naso).  In said body of water, Pato sees a multitude of sea creatures (estrellas de mar/ starfish, medusa/jellyfish, etc.) and a yellow submarine, or submarino amarillo ♫.  In one class (Petersheim), the submarine was not a threat to Pato; in the other (Naso), it was… uh-oh!  Later on, third graders used some of this common pool of [story] vocabulary to create their own original comic strips. 

The final drafts were laminated for students to take home.  Additionally, they listened to the catchy song Botas perdidas (Lost Boots) from last year; took some time to dance the Merengue in a circle with their peers (Bailar el ritmo vuelta), and compared and contrasted it with both the Salsa and Tango; and tried dulce de leche, a well-known milk caramel type of spread from South America.  As a tangential conversation, students also learned about La Copa Mundial/World Cup and what the celebrations were like in Argentina this summer (non-stop horns for 24 hours straight!).
3This term, students in third grade accomplished a great deal.  For starters, they finished their class story about Pato, a stuffed animal who became impatient with Señorita one day and decided to jump into a five-gallon bucket of real water when she wouldn’t stop talking on the phone.  Next, third graders told a story not about Pato [gasp].  While the characters and locations varied from class to class, here is a general outline of the plot (Naso): One afternoon/una tarde, a mouse is eating cheese when an evil doctor grabs the cheese (una doctora malvada agarra el queso) and replaces it with mostaza/mustard.  The doctor drives a red Mustang to his secret cave underneath the Eiffel Tower.  By means of “the force”, or la fuerza, the cheese also arrives in the cave.  Mientras/ meanwhile, the mouse sneezes and laments his string of bad luck. 

Both classes had fun using ‘la fuerza’ to levitate a short table and later a ping-pong ball (with a hairdryer).  Third graders also watched the song-video “¿Qué dice el zorro?” (What Does the Fox Say?); practiced answering the question, “¿Cómo te sientes?” (How do you feel?); completed several translation exercises, and then identified how those verbs and nouns related to their class stories (conjugation patterns; masculine/feminine nouns); jumped on and named the Spanish-speaking countries on the tape floor map in the Spanish Cave; and finally, began researching one of these countries on the school iPads.  Gracias for a terrific quarter!
4This term, students in third grade spent the first half of the quarter creating their last class story of the year.  Plot (Petersheim): Wilbur the Pig lives in Mexico.  Student X lives in a mansion in Spain (La Alhambra) and is very rich because he is a famous soccer player/futbolista.  Student X is in possession of a magical necklace that Wilbur wants.  In front of the mansion, however, are four knights/caballeros.  Wilbur decides to ask his friends for help to get past the knights guarding the mansion. 

As a result, Pato sneezes on the first knight, causing him to leave to get a tissue.  Bob, the second knight, is invisible and asleep, and therefore not too much of a concern.  The third knight loves squirrels/ardillas, so when an audience member shouts, “Look!  A squirrel!” he enthusiastically chases after it.  The fourth knight slips on a banana peel that a nearby monkey places in front of him… and voilà: the line of defense no longer seems so intimidating. 

In addition to storytelling, third graders made flag booklets, and were encouraged to collect stickers or tags on fruits, vegetables, and articles of clothing from Spanish-speaking countries (imports/exports).  Later on, students learned more about La Alhambra, and then built a replica of the fortaleza/fort out of cardboard boxes and tables and colored in Moorish tiles with beautifully intricate geometric designs and patterns.  Finally, they listened to Hai Kur Mamashu Shis (Yagan/English) and Tour the World (geography RSA animate video).

Resumen, 13-14 (Grade 3)

Term
1This term, students in third grade practiced a new routine to begin class (Luces, cámara, acción, redoble por favor/Lights, camera, action, drum roll please); learned three tongue twisters (Pito, pito colorito; Pepe Pecas; Q-U-E-S-O/ cheese); and worked on pronouncing a very long word in the target language: Otorrinolaringólogo/ ENT doctor.  Third graders also made comecocos, or fortune tellers, and later created flip cards that said, “¡Estoy jugando!/I’m playing” on one side and “¡No me molestes!/Don’t bother me!” on the other.  After verbally answering the question, “¿Qué quieres hacer?/What do you want to do?”, they proceeded with the activity of their choice (e.g., jugar/play, pintar/paint). 

Within a matter of seconds, however, they were ‘interrupted’ by the teacher, who asked repeatedly and nonstop, “¿Qué haces?/Whatcha doin’?”, until said student answered the question aloud.  Students pushed this comparative investigation of infinitives and gerunds even further via Play Days and translation exercises.  Because third graders referenced the walls of the Spanish Cave when they got stuck, the latter seemed tantamount to being literally inside a word search.  They wrapped up the quarter with several songs, new and old—Yo me llamo, El banco, Botas perdidas—and last but not least, chose Spanish names.  Gracias for a great start to the year!
2This term, students in third grade had fun studying the metamorphosis of shapes that the mouth undergoes when pronouncing Spanish vowels.  After trying to enunciate a few lengthy but vowel-rich words —such as electroencefalografista— students tried their hand at an even more challenging rhyme (A, E, I, O, U, ¡el burro sabe más que tú!/ A, E, I, O, U, the donkey knows more than you!).  When the sounds began to mush together, third graders just laughed, content with their theoretical understanding of Spanish phonetics.  Students also rehearsed and presented several humorous dialogues, which led one afternoon to a tangential discussion about the term Spanglish

For whatever reason, third graders became fascinated with the idea of mixing languages, so much so that they insisted on [repeatedly] practicing the lines of their class mini-play in English, Spanish, and Spanglish.  When they were not engrossed in a world of meta-linguistics, students reviewed passwords from previous years (e.g., animals, foods, months of the year); ‘passed notes’ to their neighbors to practice their writing skills; created a Class Wordle of all the words they know in the target language; read ¿Quién está durmiendo? (Who Is Sleeping?); and learned about La Tomatilla, a huge tomato fight and tradition that takes place in Spain every August.  Gracias for another brilliant quarter!
3This term, students in third grade presented scripted partner-dialogues; learned two more rhymes in the target language, to add to their collection (“¿Qué te pasa, calabaza?  ¡Nada, nada, limonada!” and “Espejito, espejito, que está en la pared, ¿quién es el hada que más le gusta a Usted?”/Mirror, mirror on the wall); tweeted their favorite books, movies and activities on the faux Spanish twitter page outside of the Cave (e.g., @señoritapato; me encanta bailar); circled words that they recognized in the Spanish version of Pepita Talks Twice (Pepita habla dos veces), which students had already read in their regular classroom; […]

posted a ‘brick’ to the Word Wall Castle; compared the difference between “¿Qué quieres [hacer/jugar/comprar]?” (What do you want to do/play/buy?), and then had fun ‘purchasing’ items with fake dinero/money from the toy shelf; watched a multi-lingual video of Let it Go (in 25 languages), as well as the translated version of “What Does the Fox Say?” (¿Qué dice el zorro?); discussed the term gibberish after seeing a short clip of a girl speaking gibberish in multiple languages; and made Fold-It Books, where they literally folded a book out of colorful paper, pasted in paragraphs in the target language of a silly Pato story, and then illustrated each page with relevant drawings.  In spite of all the snow days, it has been a busy quarter!
4This term, students in third grade practiced answering questions in the target language (e.g., ¿Te gusta comer hamburguesas con queso o con cebollas o con queso y cebollas?/ Do you like to eat hamburgers with cheese or with onions or with cheese and onions?); learned about the history behind Cinco de Mayo, and then acted out the story with live actors and actresses (colina/ hill; lodo, mud); held a mini-auction (Note: Popular items included Waddles, the stuffed animal duck that sings lullabies, and a chicken that zips up into an egg and unzips back into a chicken [what?]); created a crazy class story about two witches who turn a famous dancer’s next door vecino/neighbor into a Monstruo de papas/Potato Monster; […]

did a book word search, recording all of the words they recognized in the target language and tabulating the results; wrote and illustrated their own comic strips, making certain to include at least one word or phrase in Spanish in each box; had a ‘kinesthetic discussion’ about el/la/los/las (the) categories and deduced that most el words end in -o, while most la words end in -a; and finally, practiced naming all of the Spanish-speaking countries in the world by jumping from one to the next on a tape map on the floor of the Spanish Cave.  Gracias for a beautifully creative year filled with laughter and fun.

Resumen, 12-13 (Grade 3)

Term
1This term, students in third grade sat wherever their password card appeared each day.  Third graders also memorized the equivalent of “Eeney, Meeney, Miney Moe” in Spanish (Pito, pito colorito) along with a tongue twister called Pepe Pecas; participated in their own Game Show (¡Tú ganas!/You win!); shared their interests and skills via a class Talent Show (luces, cámara, acción, redoble, por favor/ lights, camera, action, drumroll, please); predicted the future in Spanish (va a/is going to); invented a story about a conejo/rabbit; and began a conversation unit.  Students heard a Sr. Wooly song called ¡PAN!/BREAD! intermittently throughout the quarter as well.  Gracias for a great start to the year.
2This term, students in third grade learned more Spanish rhymes, and alternated between conversation days and story days.  On conversation days, students explain what they want to do and why, and then must answer follow-up questions with pre-taught, formula responses in the target language as they are playing.  Student-made, bilingual flip-cards (with sample questions and answers) further reinforce reading and comprehension.  On story days, third graders hear about the great adventures of Pato—the day he jumped in a bucket of water instead of waiting patiently for Señorita to finish her conversation (and subsequently got in a lot of trouble); the time he was accused of robbing the bank and failed to provide a reasonable alibi; and the night his arch-nemesis stole his favorite toy.  Gracias for another great quarter.
3This term, students in third grade continued with their storytelling unit.  Sample plots include: Developing an epic plan for Pato to get his juguete favorito/ favorite toy back from his enemy; calling a superhero (Naso: Súper-Pato, el rey/the king; Lipowski: Mermaid Man), when the epic plan suddenly became not so epic; and the night Pato had a horrible nightmare/ pesadillarhymes with quesadilla— about Justin el castor/Justin the Beaver.  To clarify the latter, beavers like to eat patos, and Justin the Beaver specifically wanted a Pato sandwich. 

Third graders also worked in small groups and later presented a mini-play to the class; focused on internalizing gerunds via a new ‘actions’ routine (¡Estoy saltando!/I’m jumping!); read ¿Quién está durmiendo?/ Who Is Sleeping?, El misterio del queso/The Cheese Mystery, and Debajo de las olas/Under the Waves; made Spanish fortune tellers, or comecocos; identified words they recognized in various picture and chapter books, which boosted their confidence with the language; and selected many impressive words for their new personalized passwords, including sarcophagus, griffin (the mythological creature), and artichoke.  Gracias for an amazing quarter!
4This term, students in third grade began with a class story about Fred, the invisible hummingbird.  Because Fred loves to dance, third graders were obliged to learn the basic steps to the Salsa, Merengue, and a line dance.  They also talked about the major difference between translation (written) and interpretation (spoken), and then were given the opportunity to become actual translators.  Students translated in both directions—from Spanish to English as well as English to Spanish—using the walls of La cueva de español as a resource. 

Additionally, students memorized a catchy song about losing items called Botas Perdidas; mastered another challenging tongue twister: otorrinolaringólogo (ear, nose, and throat doctor); and created their very own password cards.  As a culminating wrap-up, third graders circled back to the beginning of the year Play Days, but this time around, they were no longer permitted to speak any English.  While initially quite the challenge, students adjusted and began realizing just how much they could say.  Kudos to all for a job well done!