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.

Resumen, 19-20 (PK-5, T2)

Grade
PKJunior Knights- Many of these cultural projects you have already read about on Seesaw: folding abanicos/fans out of regular and then very large paper (Spain); making miniature güiros with toothpicks (instruments from the Caribbean); watching a video on how a wooden molinillo is made (the thing you use to stir the chocolate in Mexico); and, much earlier in the year, making Worry Dolls out of felt and Popsicle sticks (Guatemala). Most recently, students are fascinated by our Freeze Dance song from Wreck-It Ralph/Rompe Ralph.

In the linguistic realm, students have tapped into their classroom project on expression, whether or not they recognize it on a conscious level. You see, every new word or phoneme they bring home carries with it a new set of sounds, another way to express something (an object, action, or idea) with which they are already familiar. “Duck” in one classroom setting becomes “Pato” in another.

They have also been exploring storytelling in the target language. Here, Pato and friends play with language to create a scene in students’ minds. One day, for example, the famous (infamously mischievous?) stuffed animal came to class soaking wet. The obvious question was, “Why?” To answer that, we begin: “Una noche…” (one night)–here, I model turning off the lights with comprehensible language, and by the third class, I can ask students in Spanish to do this independently. We proceed to sing our goodnight songs and whisper “Buenas noches” (good night), when ALL OF A SUDDEN! a loud crash of thunder awakens us from our sleep: there is a storm outside! Oh no, ¡qué problema! (What a problem!) Students volunteer to play various roles (e.g., sitting on a barco/boat made out of chairs in class) and/or assist with sound effects (e.g., la lluvia/the rain).

Eventually, Pato gets to the point and answers the question–or doesn’t, and wants to reenact the “how I jumped into a pool” part of the story with students just for fun. One of the most adorable moments of this past month was when one class started chant-whispering [unprompted], “¡AG-UA, AG-UA, AG-UA!” (Water, water, water). Gracias for a great term.
KKindergarten- Trimester 1 ended with a conversation about Day of the Dead in Mexico. Students were so interested in this that we continued our ‘culture trip’ around the Spanish-speaking world. When, for instance, students signed up for the ‘volar/fly’ center, I made them paper airplanes, on the condition that they brought me the color paper and size they wanted, and told me where they were going.

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

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

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

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

In the linguistic realm, it should be noted that as a group, students’ reading and writing skills are improving daily. They read to me in Spanish on a regular basis, and most can write at least several words in the target language now without consulting any reference materials, i.e., sight word cards. Kindergarteners enjoy pointing out similarities and differences between English and Spanish, especially with regards to phonetics. Great work this term!
1First Grade- As many of you know from SLC’s, first graders have become Map Masters. Their country-name recognition skills and ability to locate these places on a map are excellent. Currently, students are comfortable naming the majority of the following countries: Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Venezuela, Panama, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Mexico. Students have had mini-lessons about many of these cultures–from Worry Dolls (Guatemala) to making natural chewing gum (Mexico) and tracing Mola designs (Panama)–as well as a week of assigned centers for first and second grades, where they chose a culture project of interest.

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

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

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

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

Because first graders are becoming so knowledgeable about the Spanish-speaking world, and also because they were wholly inspired by the second graders’ iMovie about the Camino in Spain back in October, students are currently making their own pasaportes/passports. Passports are necessary to visit the Costa Rican rainforest in my closet. Obviously. Great work this term.
2Second grade– Second graders have done an excellent job this trimester of combining language and culture. For starters, the majority can write and say the following:

Hola, ¡buenos días! Yo me llamo ______. Yo quiero _____ y _____ [jugar y colorear] con mis amigos. Yo necesito ________ [marcadores, cobijas, peluches, comida, ropa, libros, etc.]. Yo voy a _________ [Chile, España, Argentina, etc.].”

(Hello, good morning! My name is ______. I want to _______ and __________ [play and color] with my friends. I need ________ [markers, blankets, stuffed animals, food, clothing, books, etc.]. I am going to ________ [Chile, Spain, Argentina, etc.]).

The phrase, “Yo voy a _______” (“I’m going to ________) came about for two reasons. First, there is a Señor Wooly song called, “¿Adónde vas?” (Where are you going?) which became a major hit among second graders, so obviously we needed to take that and run with it–and learn how to answer the question. Second, the class wanted to create a pueblo/town, and well before we began designating certain parts of the Spanish room as different countries (our current reality), second graders had divided the space into sections–el gimnasio/the gym, el teatro/the theater, la fábrica/the factory, el hotel y restaurante/the hotel and restaurant, el cine/the movie theater, etc.

When students signed up to jugar voleibol/play volleyball, they would have to explain that they were going to the gym to do said activity. Likewise, the factory was for arts and crafts, or building pretty much anything; the theater was for singing, playing the piano, dressing up, and performances; the movie theater was for watching Pocoyo shows or Señor Wooly songs; and the hotel & restaurant were for sleeping and eating. As time went on, we began saying that the gym was located in Argentina, the hotel in Peru, the theater in Colombia, etc. It was actually a very neat (and unforeseeable) evolution of a project!

Moreover, all of these activities recycled and built on vocabulary from last year–e.g., jugar/to play, pintar/to paint, construir/to build, tocar el piano/to play the piano, comer/to eat–and students began expanding their sentences. It was no longer just “I want to play”, but rather “I want to play soccer with my friends outside” (quiero jugar al fútbol con mis amigos afuera), or “I want to build” became a little more polite: “May/Can I build a fort? I need blankets and the clothes and books.” (¿Puedo construir una fortaleza? Necesito cobijas y la ropa y libros.)

As a final linguistic note, second graders also integrated their suffix and prefix study from their regular classroom with the target language, learning that there are “boy” (masculine/el) and “girl” (feminine/la) words in Spanish, and that this can be determined by studying the suffix. The class had fun discovering which words were on the “boy team” or “girl team”. We get ice cream (el helado)! But we get cake (la torta)! And so on… The point here is for students to begin to notice details about Spanish. This will help their study later on.

In as far as culture goes, second graders truly outdid themselves. They saw what older students were doing, jumped on board the train, and then, in addition, proposed their own projects. Here are a few examples.

Students noticed an image of the Noche de los Rábanos/Night of the Radishes festival (Mexico), and then took a day in December to carve actual radishes into beautiful creations, copying what they saw.

Second graders made a truly outstanding iMovie of the Camino de Santiago 500-mile hike through northern Spain.

Several students helped cover a soccer ball with gold paint, and then built a trophy stand for it out of Popsicle sticks and hot glue, for Messi and to represent the importance of 
fútbol/ soccer in many Spanish-speaking countries.

Other students contributed to the fourth grade project of sunken Spanish treasure, dying paper with coffee and blowdrying it to make it look old, and drawing treasure maps on it.

Others were inspired by the third graders’ presentation on instruments made out of trash in Paraguay, and made their own maracas, drums, and more for the LS Spanish Museum.

Second graders were VERY EXCITED about minerals and gems for a long time. Here, they spent time learning which minerals come from South and Central America, and then painted rocks to create amethysts and lapis lazuli look-a-likes. Several filled little cups of water and dyed the water various shades with food coloring.

2B began ‘selling Cuban coffees’ (café cubano), made by filling mini cups with jabón/soap and water, and then painting rainbows on top of the soap bubbles. When the business started taking off, we would stop the soccer game across the room for halftime, so that the players could come ‘buy’ and ‘drink’ the Cuban Coffees from the café.

Second graders learned about Volcano Boarding in Nicaragua, and declared whether or not they would be brave enough to participate in such an extreme sport. Eeek! Not me!

Last but not least, students were given assigned centers one week, along with first graders. The choices were as follows: 1) Argentina, set up, buy, and sell items at an outdoor mercado/market with Argentine pesos: no American dollars accepted!; 2) Peru, build one of the highest cities in the world out of blocks; 3) Dominican Republic, play dominoes, a national pastime; 4) Bolivia, paint the beautiful sky reflections of starry nights and sunrises and sunsets over the largest salt flat in the world (and also taste more salt!); and/or 5) paint a famous Xul Solar Argentinian painting, mural-style, on the bulletin board outside of the Spanish room (*in progress!).

Second graders have also traveled outside several times to play Policías y ladrones/Cops and Robbers (a la cárcel/go to jail, no quiero ir/I don’t want to go, libertad/freedom), in addition to a Freeze Tag version of queso, helado (cheese, ice cream). Bits and pieces of these games and cultural projects may have made their way home, so hopefully this gives you a bigger picture and panoramic view of what students have been learning in Spanish class.
3Third 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!
4Fourth Grade- This trimester, Summit students began with a “News Show” in Spanish–“En vivo, desde México” (Live, from Mexico)–where they took turns being reporters, working tech, and dramatically presenting the weather (¡El tiempo!/the weather). Each week, they added a new commercial, which was usually a translated slogan of a well-known brand (WalMart: save more, live better/ahorra más, vive mejor; Nike: Just do it/Sólo hazlo; McDonald’s: I’m lovin’ it/Me encanta; etc.).

Once fourth graders felt comfortable with their script, each class transitioned to a more in-depth project, that was going to make national news. Well, that was the plan, anyway! Let me explain.
4A voted that they wanted to travel to and focus on Spain, while 4B chose Mexico. Both classes brought their backpacks to Spanish class; removed their shoes when passing through security; boarded the airplane; graciously accepted Cheez-Its and water from their stewardesses; took advantage of the in-flight entertainment (iPads); and after a long flight, finally landed.

Next, wearing backpacks, they followed a QR code hunt around campus, learning about famous monuments and cultural tidbits. Right when they thought things were winding down, their teacher hailed a taxi and they drove around the neighborhood, seeing the sights of [either] Madrid, Spain or Mexico City, Mexico from a cab. [Note that your children were safe at all times here–Ms. Berry was the “cab driver” of the school van!]

Students in 4A drove past the Prado MuseumEl Prado in Madrid, Spain is one of the most famous museums in the world, housing over 27,000 objects and artworks. In fact, it was the Google Doodle [the week students learned about it], which celebrated the museum’s 200th anniversary! For this project, students took an 8.5×11 copy of a well-known painting and transferred it by eye to a large trifold, trying to imagine how artists filled such massive canvases. For images of their work, please visit THIS LINK.

During the painting process, one student learned that the Prado was actually robbed in 2014— of a shocking 885 artworks. As a result, more than several classes were spent trying to merge their Spanish news show with an iMovie green screen breaking news “robbery” of their paintings in the style of Oceans 12. Ultimately, the project lost steam, but it was fun while it lasted! Here is the soundtrack we used.

Students in 4B drove past the Museo Soumaya, a Mexican museum with completely different exhibits. Here, fourth graders learned that in 1715, a fleet of Spanish ships sank off the coast of Florida, en route to Spain and loaded with treasure from the new world. Modern treasure hunters have discovered some of this lost treasure–one family made $4.5 million dollars in 2017!–but much still remains on the ocean floor. Students acted out this story as a class (with Spanish dialogue, of course), and then created artifacts for a faux museum display. After painting the Spanish crest and flag on them, students broke a few of the plates intentionally to make it seem more realistic!

Both classes tried to make a green screen iMovie for their News Show, but meeting only once or twice a week caused the process to lose steam. That said, they ALL did an amazing job with this! I wish we could have had a final product, but… c’est la vie!

Throughout these projects, students worked on Duolingo (or Memrise) every day. At some point, they became über-motivated and completely addicted to the app. This was and is great to see. The top scores right now are as follows:

4.A CHAMPIONS: Ilaria, 4879 XP; Audrey, 2800 XP; and Gabby, 2077 XP. 4.B CHAMPIONS: Adam, 13902 XP; Jai, 5717 XP: Lyla, 5635 XP.

Additionally, fourth graders had several conversations about language on a more philosophical level this trimester. They learned about hyperpolyglots, or people who speak an extreme number of languages; explored books from my personal collection that are in multiple languages; and discussed several statistics, such as 1) that there are 7,000 languages in the world, but that it is hard to define what exactly a language is, especially when compared to something like Spanglish; and 2) it is funny that we think of the internet as so ‘global’, when 52% of its content is in English (1 out of 7,000 languages). In that light, the web seems pretty limited, in terms of perspective taking.

As the trimester came to a close, students requested center work again. Here, they sign up via letters for what they want to do each day. While this is remarkably similar to last year and what other grades do from time to time, I have to emphasize here that their written work has grown tremendously as a group. Last year, their letters were all the same, very uniform. Now, I am reading all different types of letters–some are serious, others silly, and others a combination of the two. They are a delight to read each day. Keep up the excellent work, fourth grade!
5Fifth Grade- This trimester, Summit students began with a “News Show” in Spanish–“En vivo, desde México” (Live, from Mexico)–where they took turns being reporters, working tech, and dramatically presenting the weather (¡El tiempo!/the weather). Each week, they added a new commercial, which was usually a translated slogan of a well-known brand (WalMart: save more, live better/ahorra más, vive mejor; Nike: Just do it/Sólo hazlo; McDonald’s: I’m lovin’ it/Me encanta; etc.). The goal here was mostly to work on basic facts, such as days, dates, weather, but also to recognize how many things in our world have been translated.

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

Alebrijes– Mexico
Bullfighting– Spain
Vinicunca/Rainbow Mountain– Peru
Andean Condor– Andes Mountains, South America
Marble Caves– Chile
El Morro– Puerto Rico
Nazca Lines– Peru
Basilisk Lizard– Costa Rica
Underwater Museum– Mexico
Catatumbo Lightning– Venezuela
New Year’s Eve– Spain
Joan Miró artwork + THIS PAGE– Spain

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

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

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

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

OVERVIEW: Students in Lower School have spent a good chunk of time this trimester immersed in cultural projects and ideas. Some projects have spanned multiple levels and lasted several weeks, while others have been grade-specific and only taken a day or two to complete. These projects emerge due to student interest, but also when a visual product (painting, tower, image, etc.) in the room sparks a conversation.

While I initially fell in love with Spanish via linguistics (and philosophy)–you can’t get much deeper into words and language than that–I have come to value culture just as much in recent years. After all, as the saying goes, you don’t learn to speak a language; you learn to speak a culture. ASIDE: The tricky part with Spanish is that we are not talking about one culture here, but rather myriad cultures and subcultures of the 21 Spanish-speaking countries.

*I would love for everyone to read through everything that I’ve written, but I realize that is not realistic. As a result, I have added headings per grade level to facilitate in the scrolling process. I recognize this is a lengthy post.

To sum up, it is clear that we have made significant progress this trimester. Thank you SO MUCH if you have taken the time to read through all of my rambling. I know it is a lot, but hopefully it gives you a better picture of the program in general. Thanks again and have a great day.

Resumen, 19-20 (PK-5, AUG.)

Since you cannot see your child’s digital portfolio (Seesaw) for another few weeks, I thought I would give you a brief update about the goings-on in Spanish class so far this year. For an explanation of the photos, keep reading. And to learn about La Tomatina, the tomato-throwing holiday festival in Spain this past week, check out the following.

Grade
PKJunior Knights– Students have settled into a routine of songs to begin and end class (most notably, Yo me llamo, Buenos días, and Te amo, me amas); met several famed characters from the Spanish Cave, including Pato, Oso, and Changuito/Mono (a duck, bear, and monkey, respectively); and begun to adjust to the fact that I speak Spanish. Which is not English. Which sounds a bit different. They were tickled pink this week upon seeing the cartoon Pocoyo in Spanish, and hearing familiar words like “¡Hola!” and “¡Adiós!“. Please visit this page for more episodes, if you would like to watch at home with your child.
KKindergarten– Students jumped into several science experiments to start the new year. First, kindergarteners made baking soda and vinegar volcanoes, but with neon food coloring! Students had fun smelling the two identical-in-appearance (but not so much for smell) liquids: agua/water and vinagre/vinegar. Immersion slides to the periphery when hands-on projects excite the senses; students barely noticed that I was speaking another language!

Later, they chose from eight different food coloring bottles to create beautiful designs on coffee filters; used their imagination to “see” what was in-between the dots; and drew a scene around said image. At this point, the goal is for students to comprehend the language and work on answering questions; although well-intentioned, please refrain from pressuring your child to produce language at this stage. HERE is a blog post that explains why in greater depth.
1First Grade- Students reviewed key terms from last year, and jumped into center work. Here, first graders dance around to the Song of the Month, settle on the carpet to read the Daily Letter aloud as a class, and then sign up for activities of their choice: “¡Hola! Yo me llamo ______. Yo quiero [jugar] y [pintar]” (Hi! My name is ______. I want to play and build“).

Students are currently motivated to clean up said centers after working so that they can watch a very silly “baño/bathroom song” before their teacher arrives at the end of class. Soon, you will be receiving information on how to create a Señor Wooly account at home through the school’s subscription so that you can watch it at home as well.
2Second Grade- Students began by reviewing the names of the Spanish-speaking countries in South and Central America from last year, and then proceeded to paint the two 6’x9′ cloth maps. To go along with the new rule of, “Un-dos-tres, ¡no inglés!” (One-two-three, no English!), second graders started out slowly by reviewing color names and then deciding as a class which country would be which color, before diving into the project.

Aside: The maps are beautiful! Now that the project is finished, second graders will continue with their center work from last year, while reading and writing skills in the target language are turbo-charged. Let’s do this!
3Third 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!
4Fourth Grade- Students in this class also adjusted well to the new rule of, “Un-dos-tres, ¡no inglés!” (One-two-three, no English!). As with other grade levels, they began with a project in order to emphasize family, community, and working together as a team. Their project was to build a truss bridge, or puente de armadura. Here, students learned through immersion that triangles increase the strength of a bridge significantly, and allow it to hold much more weight and undergo more force than a simple design.

Fourth graders used balsa wood to build the bridges, after working on a blueprint of the bridge first. Always have a plan! Before they could finish, however, it became incumbent upon me to take a day to celebrate La Tomatina and make gazpacho (a delicious soup from Spain) with classes. Yum! We will return to the bridge-building next week. Students also have been working on Duolingo at the beginning of every class.
5Fifth Grade- Students in this class also adjusted well to the new rule of, “Un-dos-tres, ¡no inglés!” (One-two-three, no English!). As with other grade levels, they began with a project in order to emphasize family, community, and working together as a team–as well as attention to detail and absorbing and understanding the target language by watching/illustration, as opposed to being able to translate every word.

Their project was to design a stepping stone mosaic/mosaico with grout and colorful, glass tiles; the stones turned out beautifully, even after a mishap with a slight grout:water ratio issue in one class. Fifth graders also 1) began a theater/film unit–more info to come!; and 2) took a day to celebrate La Tomatina and make gazpacho (a delicious soup from Spain). Yum! Please read the document below if you are unfamiliar with this fun tomato-throwing festival. Students also have been working on Duolingo at the beginning of every class.

Resumen MAR., 18-19 (PK-3)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Resumen JAN., 18-19 (PK-5)

Grade
PKThis month, students in PK continued experiencing the target language in context with more project days. For example, one week, they stretched the creative part of their brain by seeing what they could make with a single sheet of paper—no other materials allowed! Initial frustration—no scissors? no markers?!—turned into something beautiful by the end: from treasure maps and a shirt to telescopes, the letter “r” and a pizza, students’ imagination shined. Another week, they painted tiles for the Alhambra fort that other Lower School students had built for the Spanish room, and then had fun taking a “siesta” (nap) inside the cardboard construction.

Pre-kindergarteners also practiced singing along with the Buenos días (good morning) song and answering the question, “¿Cómo estás?” (how are you?) with muy bien/very good, bien/good, mal/bad, or tengo sueño/I’m sleepy. Students kept track of who said what, and then counted how many of each response there were as a class (uno-dos-tres, etc.). They were encouraged to not spit out a series of numbers and instead focus on relating number values with individual digits.

While learning how to count to ten is valuable, it is more meaningful to understand that “tres” is “three”. In the culture realm, they heard the Legend of the Poinsettias (Mexico) for Christmas, and then ate twelve grapes to celebrate the New Year (tradition in Spain).
KThis month, students in kindergarten continued with their free play unit, with a special focus on math in the target language. Here, class begins with a Buenos días (good morning) song and answering the question, “¿Cómo estás?” (how are you?) with muy bien/very good, bien/good, mal/bad, tengo sueño/I’m sleepy, tengo sed/I’m thirsty, tengo hambre/I’m hungry, or me duele/it hurts (~head, knee, etc.).

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

Students also hum and sing along with Feliz Navidad, Rompe Ralph, and Para bailar la bamba playing in the background, many times without even realizing they are doing so! Please feel free to add these songs (links on my website) to your car playlist and see if your children notice, just for fun!
1This month, students in first grade began differentiating between “¿Qué quieres ser?” (What do you want to be?) and “¿Qué quieres hacer?” (What do you want to do?). This was actually an unintentional wordplay that grew out of the class activity of pretending to be príncipes/princes, princesas/princesses, reyes/kings, reinas/queens, unicornios/unicorns, futbolistas/soccer players, caballos/horses, perritos/puppies, and bufones/jestors from last month. As a result, “Quiero ser…” (I want to be) became the new rage; but phonetically, it was a challenge to hear the difference between ser (“s[air]”/to be) and hacer (“ah-s[air]”/to do).

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

Last but not least, and as part of an all-of-Lower-School project, first graders painted and colored tiles for the class fort, aka La Alhambra, which is based on an actual Moorish palace/fortress in southern Spain.
2This month, students in second 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—bravo! In the written world, they began differentiating between statements and questions “quiero/I want and ¿puedo?/can I?”, in both speaking and writing (e.g., intonation, punctuation). Here, second graders chose various (differentiated) modes to express themselves; while some opted for a fill-in-the-blank style letter or posting to Seesaw, others preferred to “text” back and forth to a friend in Spanish on printed out phone templates (not sure if this counts as tech integration or not!).

In order to emphasize why spelling and details matter, they learned about a true translation disaster: once, shirts were printed for the Pope’s visit, but the translator messed up and the shirts ended up saying, “I love potatoes” (la papa/potato, el Papa/the Pope, el papá/dad)—whoops! Translations are funny things: we like “see you later, alligator” in English because of the sound, but in Spanish, in order for it to rhyme, you say, “Adiós, corazón de arroz” (goodbye, heart of rice). Second graders had a good laugh at that one!

Once second graders became pretty comfortable with naming the Spanish-speaking countries, they took a day to redesign the Spanish room for a more project-based approach. Some days, culture was merely a fun fact or short activity. For example, when students saw a thirty-second video of sneezing iguanas (Ecuador), they physically reacted—jumping and sneezing around the room for a few minutes, mimicking the reptiles’ action. Another class, they ate twelve grapes and hoisted a plastic disco ball to celebrate the New Year in Spain.

On other days, however, culture was a full-fledged project: students cut out feathers to create a bulletin board display of the Andean Condor, a bird with a wingspan of nearly eleven feet; built a replica of the Alhambra (Spain) out of cardboard boxes and massive amounts of tape, and then decorated the Moorish palace with painted geometric tiles (a lot of LS classes helped with this!); and drew out the Nazca Lines (Peru) with masking tape all over the floor—designs in the desert that you can only see from an airplane.
3This 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.
4This month, students in fourth grade moved on from naming all of the twenty-one Spanish-speaking countries on the tape floor map, to identifying major landforms in South America: montañas/mountains (Andes Mountains); desierto/desert (Atacama Desert); and río/river (Amazon River). They made storyboard comic strips in the target language to wrap up their storytelling unit; chose Spanish first and last names; and practiced reciting the Pledge of Allegiance/Juro fidelidad a la bandera—at students’ request. Fourth graders also listened to both more traditional music (Mama Tingo, Johnny Ventura; Ojalá, Silvio Rodriguez/esp. 4.A) as well as pop songs (Tal vez me llames/Call Me Maybe Spanish cover; No tengo dinero, MAFFiO).

Later on, they began a centers unit. Here, students write form letters in the target language, filling in the blanks where necessary—or sometimes reconstructing it from memory—and receive immediate feedback re: accents, spelling, punctuation, etc. They choose their preferred activity of the day: tocar el piano/play the piano; jugar baloncesto/play basketball; pintar/paint; jugar a los naipes/play cards; jugar en la fortaleza/play in the fort; construir un videojuego/build a videogame; and/or work on a guided culture project—e.g., painting tiles for La Alhambra, a Moorish palace in southern Spain. The goal is to incorporate more Spanish words, phrases, and expressions at each center.

For example, when they play cards, students exclaim, “¡Tú ganas!/you win!” or “¡Yo gano!/I win”; in basketball, they might say, “Pásala/pass it”, or in the fort, “¡No zapatos!/No shoes!”. Any time they want to switch centers during a class period or leave the room to get extra materials or go to the bathroom, they have to ask in the target language. Naturally, certain items will intentionally go ‘missing’ from time to time, leading to forced linguistic interactions; if I hide the basketballs in the closet, fourth graders must ask for the keys in Spanish to open the closet (Necesito las llaves/I need the keys). Teehehee. 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”.

On one particularly exciting day, a student colored all over his hands with florescent marker (wait for the explanation before you say, “WHAT??!”), and put them under the class black light to demonstrate bioluminescence—a natural phenomenon where your skin glows underwater when it comes in contact with algae in certain parts of the world, including Puerto Rico. This kind of experiential creativity, combined with language and culture, is what learning is all about to me.

NOTE: Parents with children in multiple grades may notice that there has been some overlap in terms of content between the grades this past month and half. The purpose here is twofold. First, when children realize that they know the same Spanish vocabulary, a conversation begins—a door opens between grade levels where everyone is invited to the Party called Learning. If everyone in the world only knew segregated vocabularies, no one could talk to anyone!

Second, in the cultural realm, and now that students have more or less mastered the map, projects have begun popping up all around the Spanish room. When a class enters and there are suddenly masking tape designs all over the floor and a cardboard box tower in the corner, they naturally want to learn why and who and where and how and what. Of course, lessons are differentiated and age-appropriate, but it is absurdly exciting to hear first and fifth graders reference La Alhambra (Spain) or ‘jugar’/play in conversation. I feel that it builds a more inclusive, Spanish language-learning community when there are a few common building blocks.
5This month, students in fifth grade became a bit fanatical about jumping on and naming all of the 21 Spanish-speaking countries on the tape floor map in a certain number of seconds. The Lower School record at this point is 8.32 seconds—wow! Students took an official test to demonstrate their mastery of the material. Fifth graders also began rehearsing their Spanish plays in the White Box Theater, playing with the new space and working to not back the audience. They took a day to create humorous commercials (Target/Espera más, paga menos/Expect more, pay less, McDonald’s/Me encanta, Crest toothpaste, etc.).

Later, they delved into a mini-grammar unit, learning that nouns in the target language are organized as masculine and feminine, or “boy” (el) and “girl” (la) words. Students had fun racing to the board—markers in hand—and trying to find, translate, and spell words and short phrases correctly… before their opponent, of course. Finally, students listened to a few song covers in the target language. For example, HERE is the Spanish cover of Ed Sheeran’s “Perfect”.

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

Resumen NOV., 18-19 (PK-5)

Grade
PKThis month, students in PK only had two classes, due to the Thanksgiving break and Trim the Towne celebration. (This is why the Spanish Seesaw Corner has been virtually silent [bad pun] as of late.) In one class, they made spiders and spider webs out of a variety of materials to make connections with the nature unit in their regular classroom.

The following week, they practiced saying and acting out the lyrics to a clapping rhyme in the target language—Jorge robó pan en la casa de San Juan/quién, yo/sí, tú/yo no fui/entonces, quién? (lit., George stole bread in Saint John’s house/who, me/yes, you/it wasn’t me/then, who?)—where “Jorge” becomes each persons’ name in the circle. It is a difficult rhyme to catch on in one class, but students did quite well with the challenge. As always, feel free to visit my website below for links and more information.
KThis month, students in kindergarten spent a class learning about El Día de los Muertos/Day of the Dead, and were thoroughly fascinated by a silent film about the holiday—so much so, in fact, that each class ending up watching the three-minute video on repeat for a minimum of thirty minutes. To tap into the essential question of their regular classroom, kindergarteners made superhero masks to demonstrate their own personal poder, or power; learned a po-der-o-so/powerful clapping rhyme; and built card houses, until the power of various forces (esp. air and breath) knocked down the delicate constructions.

Students at first thought that agua/water was not powerful, until they considered hurricanes. K.B also made a planetarium of stars underneath one of the tables in the Spanish room—the power of the beauty of the night sky? Finally, they began a structured free play unit, where students chose and wrote down a Spanish sight word; this determined their activity for the day (e.g., colorear/color; jugar/play). Many kindergarteners tilted their heads, a bit perplexed, when trying to match the “who-garr” pronunciation with a word that starts with “j”; their understanding of the phonetics world has officially been turned upside-down!
1This month, students in first grade continued naming more Spanish-speaking countries and adding new centers to their Spanish sight word collection (e.g., dormir/to sleep; trabajar/to work—students get to use the fake dinero/money and ‘work’ at the bank). They also began using lapices/pencils instead of marcadores/markers when signing up for centers, and explained with whom they were planning on playing (Quiero jugar con…/I want to play with…), both to learn the word ‘with’ as well as how to spell their classmates’ names.

As part of the beginning-of-class routine, first graders also jammed out to Feliz Navidad and pretended to be príncipes/princes, princesas/princesses, reyes/kings, reinas/queens, unicornios/unicorns, caballeros/knights, caballos/horses, and more (the teacher went around and placed an invisible crown on their heads). Students have become masters at the daily routine and enjoy adding new, creative pieces to the ever-evolving puzzle each week.
2This month, students in second grade continued naming more Spanish-speaking countries and developing new businesses and locations in their class pueblo/town. For example, one day a student created an enormous soccer field in the classroom out of masking tape and asked to play (¿Puedo jugar al fútbol?/Can I play soccer?). Next, some second graders at the class hotel/hotel hung paper television frames to watch the game and videoed it all on an iPad, while others took it upon themselves to make banderas/flags for the Spanish-speaking teams playing (i.e., Colombia vs. España/Spain) and cheered on the sidelines (golazo/goal; por acá/over here; pásala/pass it; casi/almost; vamos/let’s go; rápido/quickly). Later, the team decided to stand for Spain’s National Anthem before starting the game. Amazing!

Students also recently created an art museum/museo de arte and zoológico/zoo (with feeding stations and live pets as well as toy animals; one day, a bunny escaped from the zoo and ended up on the soccer field (2.A), which caused a bit of chaos until animal control was able to handle the situation). Another week, a few talented street musicians even entertained on the keyboard for tips.  Last but not least, students learned that the map of their town was created on an authentic map of downtown Buenos Aires, Argentina, home of the widest avenue in the world: 16 lanes of traffic. Second graders also tasted dulce de leche, a sweet, caramel-type of spread eaten in Argentina and many parts of South America.
3This 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, dinero, amor/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.
4This month, students in fourth grade worked on starting their sentences with, “Pregunta” (question) whenever they wanted to ask something, and learned how to dance the Salsa after they started naming Spanish-speaking countries in the Caribbean on the tape floor map; the dance is particularly popular there. Fourth graders also played the “offline dinosaur game” and designed their own live video game course in the Spanish classroom, complete with jumping obstacles, gold as the prize for completing all of the levels, and Super Mario music playing in the background for 4.B—whereas talented 4.A musicians opted to play video game type songs on the class keyboard (jugar/play; nivel uno/level one; salta/jump; el oro/gold).

Students also helped create more mini-stories in the target language. For example, in 4.A, an orca named Flippers has a boat/barco and is saved by a student in an airplane during a highly unusual storm, where it rains lemons. Fourth graders listened to the famous Ojalá llueva café en el campo by Juan Luis Guerra (Dominican Republic); in the song, it rains coffee. In another story, a Minecraft lamb named Lime/Limón Verde lives in a haunted house. Students have begun bringing in their favorite stuffed animals and toys around which the stories are then created. In 4.B, students chose a spooky genre, and things got a little weird: a lizard named Burrito lives in a haunted house with ghosts and zombies. One night, his dog is sleeping, and one of the zombies, Pocoyo—fourth graders decided on this cartoon character because the stuffed toy version’s head spins—is hungry and eats the dog’s brain/cerebro. The puppy calls a doctor, but the doctor is actually a mad scientist/cientítifico loco and gives him a super brain, with all of the information in the entire world. Yikes!

Last but not least, students in 4.A learned a clapping rhyme that children recite to pass the time when they are waiting (~in line, on the bus, etc.): Jorge robó pan en la casa de San Juan, quién yo, sí tú, yo no fui, entonces quién/lit., George stole bread from Saint John’s house/who me/yes, you/it wasn’t me/then who). To inspire them for their cookie cutter design project, 4.B learned about Las Fallas, a unique celebration in Valencia (Spain) where people build massive parade floats, and then burn them all at the end of the week.
5This month, students in fifth grade began a theater unit. First, fifth graders heard a short legend in the target language, and then were assigned groups and given scripts to practice reading lines and acting out the legends: La casa embrujada/The Haunted House (Peru); El ratoncito que sabía ladrar/The Mouse Who Knew How to Bark (Cuba); and El collar de oro/The Gold Necklace (New Mexico). The goal here was not to memorize parts but rather to get into the routine of rehearsing in another language, as—fingers crossed—fifth graders will be presenting a formal program of Spanish plays at the end of the year for you in the target language. Both classes started reviewing their first official plays for the program this past week. You will receive more information and details/specifics about this event in the January newsletter.

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

NOTE: Due to both a short month [December] as well as class cancellations for rehearsals, field trips, class parties, etc., you will receive the next newsletter at the end of January.

16-17

September: This 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.

Resumen T1, 18-19 (PK-5)

Grade
PKThis trimester, students in PK responded to action commands (baila/dance, toca la cabeza/touch your head, salta/jump, da la vuelta/turn around, etc.); sang along with Saco una manita; followed the gestures to Estrellita (Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star); danced to Rompe Ralph/Wreck-It Ralph; and watched relevant Pocoyo episodes—see my website for links. Basic skills such as color and number practice were incorporated into project days, of which there were many.

From making monsters out of paper, cups, and green pipe cleaners and taking a ‘Field Trip’ down the long Lower School hallway to identify all of the puertas/doors, to fishing with Pato for sea creatures in a kiddie pool, searching for tesoro-tesoro-tesoro-TREASURE!, painting cohetes/rocket ships, building towers out of cups, blocks, and markers, getting stuck in traffic with ‘car-chairs’, playing Luz roja, luz verde (Red Light, Green Light), and marveling at the sound and feel of maracas, students adjusted well to being immersed in the target language. Gracias for a great first trimester.
KThis trimester, students in kindergarten experienced immersion in the target language through a variety of multi-sensory and scientific activities. From hoisting their stuffed animal friend Pato up-up-up to the sky on a yarn pulley so that he could learn how to fly; to crinkling their noses at the smell of vinegar and gasping as baking soda turned it into a foamy, volcanic eruption mess; to a design project that involved food coloring, paper, and coffee filters; to building group boats out of Popsicle sticks, complete with paper flags; to floating and sinking objects and pirate adventures with spyglasses; […]

to searching for treasure, swimming away from hungry sharks, building submarines, singing along with Elmo to Para bailar la bamba and making sailor hats and boat steering wheels; to fort building, fruit markets, and writing Spanish sight words for the very first time; and finally, to making a class video of their ocean unit and learning about molinillos, a wooden tool used to stir chocolate in Mexico (bate, bate chocolate, tu nariz de cacachuate/stir, stir the chocolate, your nose is a peanut!), kindergarteners certainly gave it their “all”. Gracias for a great first trimester.
1This trimester, students in first grade practiced acting out their password cards, reading the Letter from Pato, naming the Spanish-speaking countries in South America on the tape floor map, and singing and dancing along to daily class songs (esp. Rompe Ralph, Moana in Spanish, and “¿Puedo ir al baño?” [Can I go to the bathroom?]). Their primary focus, however, was on signing up for centers in the target language, and adding new sight words each week. Centers are teacher-guided but ultimately student-created.

For example, when “construir” (to build) was added, first graders grew this into a complex fort-building project—with chairs, blankets, flags, cardboard boxes, a spinning disco ball, etc.—until “Quiero construir una fortaleza” (I want to build a fort) rolled off their tongues. When they tired of that, soccer games and paper dragon-type creature crafts became the new rage. Later, students worked on leading group discussions with the question, “¿Qué quieres hacer?” (“K key-air-race ah-s(air)”/What do you want to do?). They also took a day to learn about El Día de los Muertos/Day of the Dead, and made connections with the movie Coco. Gracias for a great first trimester.
2This trimester, students in second grade practiced acting out their password cards and naming the Spanish-speaking countries on the tape floor map. While the map focused on South America, culture projects and discussions were not limited to these countries. For example, after learning about El Camino de Santiago in northern Spain, second graders created their own faux Camino both down the Lower School hallway as well as outside, with arrows, shells, and rock piles.

They also acted out one of the chapters of Don Quijote, a world renowned, 900-page novel from Spain; spent a day talking about El Día de los Muertos/Day of the Dead (Mexico); learned that children in Guatemala put tiny Worry Dolls under their pillows at night to take away their worries while they sleep; and watched a video from Pato about his travels in Argentina. In the linguistic realm, students began the term with a class story about an evil penguin who falls off a (student-constructed) paper clip and Popsicle stick bridge and transforms into a ghost after stealing from a student (what?!). Later, they signed up for centers, or sight words, which morphed into a class town.

At this point in time, the town’s most popular destinations include the aeropuerto/airport (international flights available) and teatro/theater (watch mini Don Quijote and Coco plays performed). The dinero/money situation is developing, as second graders begin to demand compensation for products and services. One class also incorporated a cemetery and ofrenda after learning about the Day of the Dead, while the other started up a street market/mercado (without realizing that mercados are actually very culturally relevant and present in many Spanish-speaking countries). Gracias for a great first trimester.
3This 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.
4This trimester, students in fourth grade began by celebrating La Tomatina, a famous tomato-throwing festival in Spain. To celebrate and reenact the day sans actual tomatoes, fourth graders made catapults out of Popsicle sticks, rubber bands, and hot glue, and launched decorative, lightweight balls at G.I. Joe firemen and LEGO men figurines. Other cultural projects included ‘building’ the Andes Mountains out of blocks on the tape floor map (South America); tracing an inverted painting that is meant to change one’s perspective and question tradition (Uruguay); and decorating sugar skull cookies for El Día de los Muertos/Day of the Dead (Mexico).

Fourth graders also created and acted out several class stories. In one, a dramatic, slow motion, galactic force fight inside Taylor Swift’s jail cell ensued—with Kung Fu Fighting playing in the background—because Taylor would not hand over all of the tomatoes in the galaxy to the planetary kings and queens (la fuerza/the force). In another (4.B), a rocket ship with alien sisters on board crash-lands in the Atacama Desert (Chile); two groups of spies witness the crash and begin throwing lemons at the intruders; unexpectedly, the aliens love the sour flavor and graciously thank their attackers. Students built spy forts in the classroom to act this out and participated in official Spy Training.

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

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

Please visit thespanishcave.wordpress.com (“Monthly Updates”) for links and more information.

Resumen SEPT., 18-19 (PK-5)

Grade
PKThis month, students in PreK continued responding to action commands (cohete/rocket ship, baila/dance, marcha/march), following the gestures for the song Saco una manita, dancing to Rompe Ralph/Wreck-It Ralph, and watching relevant Pocoyo episodes (Pocoyo: La llave maestra; Pocoyo: Vamos de pesca; Pocoyo: Grande y pequeño). They also practiced requesting markers [colors] in the target language during project time. One week, for example, students made fishing poles with Pato out of Popsicle sticks, yarn, and tape. After decorating the poles, they were able to “go fishing” in a kiddie pool filled with pictures of sea creatures—the adhesiveness of the tape “caught” the paper fish!

Another week, students played a hot/cold game while searching for tesoro-tesoro-tesoro-TREASURE! Inspired by their enthusiasm for treasure, the teacher presented two different types of treasure, divided by size—gigantic stuffed animals and tiny books, cars, and beads (grande/big; pequeño/small). Students then chose a size, and either 1) filled a box with very large or very small treasures; or 2) drew a very large or very small picture. Some pre-kindergarteners even taped multiple pieces of paper together to make their drawings even bigger—bravo! Later, students made an enormous car out of chairs in the classroom. Where will they go? Only time will tell. Gracias for a great month!
KThis month, kindergarteners began an ocean unit. First, and whenever they wanted to go get a drink (Tengo sed/I’m thirsty), students were required to bring back a cup of water to the classroom from the water fountain. In this way, they managed to fill up a plastic container (más agua/more water); underneath the clear plastic was a printout of sea creatures, making it appear to be the ocean—especially after adding a few drops of blue food coloring. Later, kindergarteners hypothesized whether or not items would float or sink (flota/floats; se hunde/sinks), and later built group boats out of Popsicle sticks (barcos/boats), complete with paper flags! To test their craftsmanship, students put the boats in a bowl of water (2.A) and kiddie pool outside (2.B) and watched as they… ultimately sank, ¡qué problema! Students also made catalejos/spyglasses with orcas and octopi and fish at the end of the telescopes, pretending to be pirates, and saw a very relevant episode of Pocoyo: Pirates.

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

Kindergarteners also searched for “tesoro-tesoro-tesoro-TREASURE!” at the bottom of the sea; watched a few more episodes of Pocoyo; and, lastly, built a submarine out of chairs to keep them safe from any other hungry sharks (grande/big; pequeño/small). Gracias for a great month.
1This month, students in first grade continued acting out their password cards and reading the daily letter from Pato. By the end of September, students were able to recite the letter as a class group effort—bravo! First graders also watched a silly video called, “¿Puedo ir al baño?” (Can I go to the bathroom?), and practiced naming Spanish-speaking countries on the tape floor map: Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay.

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

As their list of centers begins to grow, students learn vocabulary specific and relevant to each center. For example, in one class, the porristas/cheerleaders learned a cheer for the soccer game (este partido, lo vamos a ganar/we’re going to win this game), whereas students more interested in coloring or painting learned words like papel/paper, cinta/tape, tarjetas/cards, marcadores/ markers, etc.  As a result, and when first graders want to try a new center, they are encouraged to teach each other new words. That way, it becomes a genuine community of learners where knowledge is not hoarded but rather shared for the growth and advancement of all. Gracias for a great month.
2This month, students in second grade continued acting out their password cards, and added a few more centers (¡Mira!/Look!), paying special attention to the upside-down question marks in the target language when signing up for one (¿Puedo hacer un avión de papel?/Can I make a paper airplane?; “¿Puedo hacer un comecocos?/Can I make a fortune teller?).

Later, they learned that their beloved stuffed animal duck friend, Pato, had been listening when they were jumping on the tape floor map in the Spanish room (naming Spanish-speaking countries)—and decided to travel to Argentina… without them! However, he was kind enough to send a text and video informing of his whereabouts, and claimed he would be back soon. He is currently exploring Iguazu Falls, or one of the world wonders, which is made up of an amazing 275 waterfalls! Song lyrics: “Where is Pato? Where is Pato? ¿Dónde está? ¿Dónde está? / ¡Dime, por favor! ¡Dime, por favor! Tell me, please! Tell me, please!”

Students also learned that their teacher hiked a famous 500-mile long walk in northern Spain this summer, called the Camino de Santiago, and decided to make their own Camino down the Lower School hallway (2.B) with flechas/arrows and conchas/shells—symbols of the actual Camino. Later, they walked it, complete with backpacks, walking poles (hockey sticks), and water bottles.

When Pato returned from his travels the following week, he had no interest in sharing stories about Argentina, but instead, was already planning another trip. Apparently, the stuffed animal duck is jetting off to España/Spain next to walk the Camino de Santiago (he must be telepathic, although neuroscientists need to explain this one to me). However, he personally informed that directions are not exactly his forte; and thus requested second graders’ help (2.A) in creating a faux Camino outside, with chalk arrows and shells, and piles of rocks to help guide him. Second graders even built a ‘chair mountain’ for him to practice climbing in the Spanish Cave. Later, they listened to a fast, upbeat song (in Euskara, a language spoken in Northern Spain) about the Camino as well.

In other news, students continued with their class story. Update as follows: the protagonist is upset that evil Pingüino has stolen his/her things, but decides to think before acting; in fact, s/he thinks and thinks (piensa y piensa) for ten years (2.A) and ten centuries (2.B). To represent this passage of time, students made paper beards and moustaches, at which point the main character finally comes up with step one of a brilliant plan: to build a bridge (construir un puente)—but the bridge is a trick. ¡Peligro, peligro! (Danger, danger!)

Students built said bridge in class with Kleenex, paper clips, tape, and many, many, many Popsicle sticks, and then watched a slow-motion video of Pingüino falling off the [intentionally] poorly constructed bridge… and then transforming into a fantasma/ghost (i.e., the teacher trying to introduce Halloween vocabulary before Halloween). Gracias for a great month.
3This 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.
4This month, students in fourth grade made copies of their animal password cards for the Summit hallway bulletin board; sang along to a silly video called, “¿Puedo ir al baño?” (Can I go to the bathroom?); and took a trip down memory lane by watching Pocoyo: Invisible in the target language. They also jumped on and named certain Spanish-speaking countries on the tape floor map before they sat down each day: Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, and Bolivia. For their Summit mini culture project for Chile and Argentina, students “built” the Andes Mountains in three minutes with building blocks, and then watched as a “terrible mudslide” destroyed the mountain range—so that the next group could have a turn to build. For Uruguay, they traced a painting of a famous Uruguayan artist who wanted to define and identify Latin American art on his own terms, instead of in relation to North America and Europe; ultimately, the painting of an inverted map is about taking new perspectives and questioning tradition.

Fourth graders also continued their tomato saga, adding kings and queens of various planets (and even the galaxy!) to round out the story, and ended with a dramatic, slow motion, galactic force fight inside Taylor Swift’s jail cell—with Kung Fu Fighting playing in the background, of course. Taylor refused to hand over all of the tomatoes (todos los tomates), so really, there was no other option: “¡La fuerza!” (the force!). Since then, fourth graders have been working on a humorous script of their class story in Spanish—trying to memorize lines, coordinating words and movements onstage and, most importantly, making sure they know what they are saying! Gracias for a great month.
5This month, students in fifth grade practiced jumping on and naming Spanish-speaking countries on the tape floor map before they sat down each day (Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay). For their Summit mini culture project for Chile and Argentina, students “built” the Andes Mountains in three minutes with building blocks, and then watched as a terrible “mudslide” destroyed the mountain range—so that the next group could have a turn to build. For Uruguay, they traced a painting of a famous Uruguayan artist who wanted to define and identify Latin American art on his own terms, instead of in relation to North America and Europe; ultimately, the painting of an inverted map is about taking new perspectives and questioning tradition.

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

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

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

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

Resumen AUG., 18-19 (PK-5)

Grade
PKThis month, students in PreK learned that “Señorita” speaks Spanish, which sounds a little different than English.  They were not sure at first that they could follow the strange new mix of sounds, but after a few “tests” (toca la cabeza/touch your head, salta/jump, etc.), Junior Knights realized it was not so difficult—even if it still sounded funny!  In terms of content, students heard and followed gestures for the song Saco una manita; responded to action commands; met a stuffed animal duck named Pato, who will be their trusty companion all year long; made monsters out of paper, cups, and green pipe cleaners; and took a ‘Field Trip’ down the long Lower School hallway to identify all of the puertas/doors (note: there are quite a few). 

They also jammed to the theme song from Rompe Ralph/Wreck-It Ralph, and watched two episodes of the cartoon Pocoyo in the target language.  Many lessons this year will be built around Pocoyo: students will do a class project or hear a story, and then watch a cartoon that follows the same theme and vocabulary. Gracias for a great month!
KThis month, kindergarteners met “Pato”, a very lovable and silly stuffed animal who speaks Spanish but forgets how to say a lot of things… a lot of the time.  However, he always has a new idea up his sleeve (wing?).  For example, one week, kindergarteners took turns hoisting him up-up-up to the sky on a yarn pulley so that he could learn how to fly.  This skill became particularly relevant and useful after a tremendous baking soda and vinegar volcanic eruption forced him to flee for safety.  Kindergarteners crinkled their noses after getting a chance to smell the vinegar and then gasped as the powder turned into a foamy mess.  

Students also had fun lining up as a class “tren/train”, repeating “el cacahuete/peanut” and dancing to the beat (part of a rhyme kindergartners will learn later on), and stopping periodically to fill up the gas tank.  They also learned how to say, “Tengo sed/I’m thirsty” to get a drink from the water fountain; responded to action and animal commands in the target language; giggled as they read the translated version of ¡No, David! by David Shannon, responding “¡Qué problema!” to each page when David misbehaves; and worked on a design project that involved food coloring, paper, and coffee filters. Gracias for a great month.
1This month, students in first grade chose individualized password cards, and then practiced thinking up ways to physically act out each one as part of their beginning-of-class routine.  Later, students read the daily Letter from Pato—a very lovable, stuffed animal duck who is learning how to read Spanish himself; jammed to the theme song from Rompe Ralph/Wreck-It Ralph; and signed up for centers in the target language (colorear/color; jugar/play).  Each week, a new center (and sight word) will be added, so that by the end of the year, first graders will have a substantial word collection. 

First graders have already demonstrated ownership and agency within these centers, as in one class, the “jugar/play” center morphed from a golf course spread out across the Spanish room (with plastic white balls and paper cups) to a bowling alley (stacking the cups and knocking them down with colorful, oversized dice).  Another day, “jugar/play” became a class parade, complete with students marching around the room to Spain’s National Anthem, all while dressed up in scarves and sombreros, and carrying a huge flag of Spain.  Language grows ever deeper within a meaningful context; when its layers and roots begin to connect with real-life experiences and memories, “jugar/play” is no longer a translation, but a breathing, living entity in students’ minds.  Gracias for a great month.
2This month, students in second grade chose individualized password cards, and then practiced thinking up ways to physically act out each one as part of their beginning-of-class routine.  They also began rehearsing a class script for what will eventually be a news show, with famous, real-life Univisión anchors, Jorge Ramos and María Elena Salinas, as leads (all the boys played Jorge; all the girls were María). 

Later, second graders worked on a teacher-asked, student-led class story: here, an evil penguin with an unbearably evil cackle flies to a student’s house and steals a sword (2.A) and hat (2.B) from the protagonist during a tremendous rainstorm; the two characters do slow-motion karate, but in the end, the enemy escapes—oh no! Obviously, this crime will make its way into the news show at some point in time.  Last but not least, students read a letter from their trustworthy but silly, stuffed animal language-learning companion, Pato (duck), and signed up for centers in the target language—construir/build; pintar/paint.  Each week, a new center (and sight word) will be added, so that by the end of the year, second graders will have a substantial word collection.  Gracias for a great month.
3This 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.
4This month, students in fourth grade learned about Spain’s famous tomato-throwing festival, La Tomatina, held the last Wednesday of August every year.  To celebrate and reenact the day sans actual tomatoes, fourth graders made catapults out of Popsicle sticks, rubber bands, and hot glue, and launched decorative, lightweight balls at G.I. Joe firemen and LEGO men figurines.  Students 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 worked on their class stories, which are interactive, teacher-asked but student-led creations in the target language. 

Here, the main character is absolutely ravenous, and desires a plateful of juicy, red tomatoes; however, his foe (in one class, Taylor Swift) has eaten all of the tomatoes in the entire world.  Thus, our hero must travel to Mars, the red planet, to get what he wants—and, presumably, battle Taylor for it, in a struggle not unlike La Tomatina, thereby spreading Spanish culture beyond this world (4.B).  Last but not least, students learned that there are 21 Spanish-speaking countries and 400+ million Spanish speakers, but that Chinese is actually the most-spoken language in the world right now (English is number three behind Spanish).  Gracias for a great month.
5This month, students in fifth grade worked to create an epic saga in the target language.  These class stories are teacher-asked and student-led (agency), and tend to get rather creative rather quickly.  For example, for 5.A, this meant an extraterrestrial named Bobby who lives on the sun and whose ultimate adversary in life is Señor Dorito (yes, like the chips).  For 5.B, this meant an intense rivalry between two classmates, where McDonald’s was pitted against Chick-fil-A/PDQ, which ended when both restaurants were closed—because their owners, the Kardashians, were on vacation with their evil donkey.  Ahem. 

In other news, fifth graders also chose individualized password cards; responded to action commands; watched a YouTube video about the Bolivian railway system; and also learned that there are 21 Spanish-speaking countries and 400+ million Spanish speakers, but that Chinese is actually the most-spoken language in the world right now (English is number three behind Spanish).  Gracias for a great month. For links, please visit my other website and look under “Monthly Updates”.

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 Q3/Q4, 15-16 (PK-5)

Grade
PKThis semester, students in prekindergarten built the night sky—size-appropriate for stuffed animals—out of glow-in-the-dark moon and star stickers on blue paper; chose a stuffed animal to cuddle with under a huge blanket/manta; had the class electrician/electricista turn off the lights; whispered buenas noches/goodnight to their peers; and then pretended to fall asleep as they listened to Pato sing Estrellita (Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star). 

When the sun rose, students stretched, chatted, and then started the bedtime routine all over again!  They also met Stan, the pet dog of Pato—“Why is he named Stan, Pato?”  “Because he speaks Stan-ish!”—and played a few sports games together.  In addition, students spent a week decorating their very own mini-piñatas; read Corre, perro, corre (Go, Dog, Go) and several David Shannon books, among many others; classified and sorted toys by color and size; and even ventured outside (yes, Spanish exists there, too!).  Gracias for a fabulous year.
KThis semester, students in kindergarten let their imaginations run wild.  What began as responding to action commands (verbs)—“Run!  Jump!  Fly!”—gradually evolved into acting out any word, from keys and vegetables to a blossoming class flower (aerial view, with shoes in the center and reverse sit-ups).  Later, verbs and nouns were tied together via reenactments of the daily morning routine—brushing teeth, putting on clothes, washing face, riding or biking to school, greeting teacher, and even earning stickers for completing math problems in the target language! 

In Project Land-ia, kindergarteners combined droplets of food coloring to create beautiful designs; had fun with more floating/sinking experiments; went on a plastic insect treasure hunt; created a life-sized spider web out of yarn; pulled Pato up and down on a pulley system; ‘traveled’ to Spain/España in a boat (i.e., a box dragged across the ocean—rather, floor—on the tape floor map by yours truly); were introduced to the Salsa (dance); created a school, movie theater, and house for Pato, and a hospital for Stan (a paper pet dog of Pato, who speaks Stan-ish, and was injured [crumpled] one day when he tried to run away and someone grabbed at him).  Finally, students have been working on both reading and writing Spanish sight words.  Gracias for a fabulous year.
1This semester, students in first grade worked on understanding the difference between a statement and a question in Spanish (quiero/I want vs. ¿puedo?/ can I?), through context cues and punctuation.  Later, they were given age-appropriate worksheets in the target language and, via use of logic, sight words, and teamwork, had to deduce the instructions themselves! 

Additionally, students composed both silly and serious sentences; chose food nicknames; tasted Mexican candies; made Me gusta/I like collages; learned a soccer chant from Spain; earned (fake) euros for cleaning the classroom (limpiar/to clean); built an impressive 3-D model of part of Chichen Itza out of colorful paper cubes, in an “assembly-line” type of factory (Mexico); and had fun playing Hangman and Spanish Bingo.  First graders also increased their clean-up routine productivity by imagining the trashcans as “Monstruos de la basura” (Trash Monsters), and then feeding the ravenous creatures with papers and scraps at the end of class.  Gracias for a fabulous year.
2This semester, students in second grade continued with their daily journal entries.  Here, they wrote about how they were feeling (emotions), included the day and date, and described the weather, paying special attention to accents, spelling, and punctuation.  They also made sure to note which geography-level they were working on: levels one through three deal with naming the Spanish-speaking countries on the tape floor map, and level four involves flag identification (independent work). 

In addition, second graders had fun acting out their new animal passwords; built an impressive 3-D model of part of Chichen Itza out of colorful paper cubes (Mexico); talked about the concept of Spanglish; practiced reading their lines in a Spanish mini-play script; learned about Cinco de Mayo; and played a variety of games in the target language, including Charades, Pirinola, Bingo, Game Show, and Cops and Robbers.  Gracias for a fabulous year.
3This 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.
4This semester, students in fourth grade divided their time between working in the town and getting a healthy dose of grammar.  In the latter, fourth graders ‘leveled up’ from one written translation to another, deepening their understanding of and making connections between Spanish etymologies and general syntax.  After grasping the overarching idea (of both verb conjugations and nonliteral translations), students created their own quizzes to test one another, and then worked to apply this newfound knowledge in meaningful contexts. 

For example—in addition to the town simulation—they also rehearsed and presented (partner) stories with puppets, and invented their own class story about a bear named Jellybean who lives on Mars.  Additionally, fourth graders talked about exchange rates and other currencies; learned about Cinco de Mayo; and wrapped up the year with a focus on how to ask questions in the target language.  Gracias for a fabulous year.
5This semester, students in fifth grade began preparing for the Fifth Grade Spanish Program.  After familiarizing themselves with each of the three plays, fifth graders were assigned a main part in one play and minor roles in the others.  Since then, students have been working on using appropriate vocal intonation and expression; facing the audience; adding relevant movements; brainstorming creative costume ideas and what type of music might be fitting for certain scenes; gathering items for their prop boxes; and memorizing their lines. 

Students should be immensely proud of their dedication, grit, preparation, and linguistic and theatrical skills.  As a result of all of their hard work, the upcoming theatrical debut (on Friday, May 20, 2016 @1:30pm) is sure to be a tremendous success.  As the year wraps up, fifth graders will divide their time between a basic grammar review and soccer games, weather permitting.  Gracias for a fabulous year and (sniff, sniff!), best of luck in Middle School!

Resumen Q2, 15-16 (PK-5)

Grade
PKThis term, students in prekindergarten practiced singing songs in the target language and responding to new action commands.  They also listened to increasingly creative class stories involving Adventures in Stuffed Animal World.  For example: once, the ever-mischievous Pato managed to get stuck in-between the windowpane and the screen, and complained for days afterwards about how cold he still was; after surviving that drama, he built a pulley-system to learn how to fly properly (as young ducks ought to), but ended up making a rocket ship to aid in the process; next, he brought a snowball to class but couldn’t understand why it kept getting smaller and smaller; and one day, he even started speaking in English to make sure that everyone was paying attention! 

It should be noted that he now has VISA (Very-Important-Stuffed-Animal) status as a newly inducted member of the Wishing Well, complete with photo.  [That said, taking attendance led to an interesting philosophical conversation about the Smartboard—if you are there on the board, then who is in front of me?  Zoikes!]  In addition to imaginative stories and class conversations, pre-kindergarteners also worked on several mini-projects (with shapes, animals, index cards, glue, dominoes, and cards), and continued building their vocabularies at an impressive rate.  Gracias for another fantastic quarter!
KThis term, students in kindergarten began learning the names of all the Spanish-speaking countries on the tape-floor map.  However, because Pato insisted on teaching, there were constant wordplays and distractions.  For example, after tasting a [plastic] pear in Peru, he decides that he doesn’t like it, exclaiming, “EKK! [wah-door]” (Ecuador), and then traveling through the door/puerta to the next country.  Later, he doesn’t know which way “Venez-WAY-lah” (Venezuela) is, and gets thirsty in Nicaragua (“knee-car-AGUA”). 

In the end, kindergarteners were teaching Pato.  In addition to el mapa, students responded to action commands in the target language; began recognizing sight words in Spanish; learned about Angel Falls in Venezuela; and worked on student-led, multi-disciplinary projects (e.g., building life-size forts and art museums, sledding indoors on large plates, or bracelet and quilt-making).  Gracias for another memorable quarter.
1This term, students in first grade continued submitting written requests expressing what they wanted to do and reasons to support their choice.  First graders also spent time learning about the 900-page, 400-year-old Spanish literary masterpiece, Don Quijote, and had fun imagining and acting out various chapters. 

Later on, they identified a painting by Picasso based on the novel; chose individualized professions-passwords; constructed a model of Machu Picchu out of clay as a class (Peru); heard about La Tomatina, an annual, giant tomato fight in Spain; and listened to a hilarious chipmunks-voiceover of their class song, “¿Puedo ir al baño?” (it should be noted that dance choreography evolved quite naturally in response to the video).  Gracias for another great quarter.
2This term, students in second grade traveled around the globe [virtually] to check out the weather forecast in a variety of locations; discussed military time; had fun pronouncing the twelve syllables in Spanish—estacionamiento prohibido—that signify ‘no parking’; identified typical Hispanic foods, such as empanadas and tamales; creatively acted out their sea creature and animal passwords; chose Spanish names; made comecocos, or chatterboxes; practiced naming the Spanish-speaking countries on the tape floor map; and transitioned to a storytelling unit, where plastic insects were placed in culturally-authentic settings but highly unlikely scenarios.  In the latter, students had fun role-playing parts of the story and dramatically responding to class cues.  Gracias for another great quarter.
3This 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.
4This term, students in fourth grade began opening new businesses in the pueblo/town.  For example, there are a few street musicians who play on the classroom keyboard and earn their living from passers-by; students who buy tickets to watch Sr. Wooly videos at the town movie theater; and customers who frequent the Italian Restaurant on a regular basis.  Fourth graders also spent some time away from the town to learn about outdoor street markets/mercados (in South America) as well as the importance and multi-faceted roles of street art in Argentina (e.g., graffiti, murals, political statements, etc.).  Later, they also worked on written translations as mental warm-up exercises for the beginning of class routine, and then created their own authentic mercado
5This term, students in fifth grade assumed new ages and identities in the Class Family; chose individual passwords; acted out two Latin American legends in the target language (based in Cuba and Peru); participated in a mini-soccer unit; discussed the major differences between interpretation (spoken) and translation (written); learned about El Día de Los Tres Reyes Magos and later tasted Rosca de reyes; reviewed the basic Salsa and Cha-cha dance steps; heard a presentation about Guatemala from a visiting Upper School exchange student; and then talked about and received Worry Dolls (Guatemala).  In addition, fifth graders also began brainstorming, rehearsing, and preparing for their end-of-the-year program on May 20, 2016 @1:45pm.  Looking forward to seeing you there!

Resumen Q1, 15-16 (PK-5)

Grade
PKThis term, students in prekindergarten learned several songs in the target language (Buenos días; Tengo hambre; Queremos bailar; Te amo; Adiós, amigos); were introduced to numerous stuffed animals from the Spanish room; practiced responding to action commands; listened to stories; 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 met several of the most popular stuffed animals in the Spanish room, including Pato/Duck, Oso/Bear, and Changuito/Monkey.  Over time, kindergarteners began to understand that the stuffed animals are silly—quite silly, indeed: Changuito is constantly hiding, Pato wears a sock for pajamas and a nightcap, and Oso tries to sneak in a nap whenever possible.  As a result, most classes begin with a humorous mini-story that naturally leads into a hands-on class activity—e.g., disappearing ink, vinegar volcanoes, dyed paper, a REAL egg whose fate was to be smashed, floating and sinking objects, monsters, art projects, etc.  In-between activities, students jam to the theme-song from Rompe Ralph (Wreck-It Ralph) and watch PocoyóGracias for a great quarter.
1This term, students in first grade read and translated the daily letter from Pato, learning which ‘islas/islands’—[read: activity centers]—were open that day.  First graders then submitted written requests expressing what they wanted to do.  As a constantly changing mix of toys spark students’ imaginations, the archipelago comes alive with creativity and authentic linguistic exchanges between teacher and students.  It should also be noted that they are all hard-core fans of the silly song, “¿Puedo ir al baño?” (Can I go to the bathroom?).  Gracias for a great quarter.
2This term, students in second grade read and translated the daily letter from Pato; responded to the stuffed-animal duck in their class notebooks; rehearsed and presented silly mini-conversations in the target language with puppets; chose individualized fruit or vegetable passwords; were introduced to the Merengue, Salsa, and Tango ballroom dances; played a hot/cold type of game called “Busca el murciélago” (Look for the bat); and jammed to various beginning-of-class tunes, including Madre Tierra/Mother Earth and ¡PAN! (BREAD!).  Gracias for a great quarter.
3This 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.
4This term, students in fourth grade excitedly delved into the task of creating their own pueblo/town.  A typical day consists of students striving to use the language in a variety of meaningful contexts and situations.  As a result, the learning environment tends to be more boisterous than not, but in a lively, jovial sort of way, where fourth graders spend their time traveling to the bank, taking out money, working at the local shops, buying, selling, bargaining, trading, and occasionally employing ‘frantic gesturing’ when they find themselves unable to recall vocabulary or simplify an idea.  Gracias for a great quarter.
5This term, students in fifth grade spent the bulk of their time immersed in the target language and ‘The Art of Storytelling’.  Accordingly, students mixed culture and creative imaginations to create numerous class story-plays with student actors.  From a cockroach/la-cu-ca-ra-cha who stole instruments from a Mariachi band and a peccary who lives in Costa Rica, to a microscopic world and an upset guinea pig (Oreo—canta, no llores/sing, don’t cry), the linguistic journey never ceases to be original.  Gracias for a great quarter.  Also, please mark your calendars: May 20, 2016 @1:45pm is the end-of-the-year Fifth Grade Spanish Program and a must-see!

Resumen Q4, 14-15 (K-5)

Grade
KThis term, students in kindergarten circled back to the class stories from the beginning of the year, but this time, focused on incorporating student actors and actresses into the plots.  The quarter’s most exciting story stretched itself out over the course of several classes: as our rubber-duck protagonist finds himself face-to-face with a giant knight in shining armor, he must think quickly to devise a plan of escape.  How about hiding out in his very own house?  In theory, this was an ingenious idea, but in practice, he found his house—aka an empty box—already inhabited by kindergarteners… who refused to let Señor Bearington/Paddington in when he knocked!  Eventually, a compromise was reached: the ‘house’ was flipped upside down and transformed into a boat, whose skipper invited the duck-fugitive aboard. 

Amidst background waves crashing against the sides of the ship (www.noisli.com), the Uruguayan flag waving back and forth, and a determined teacher dragging the box-turned-boat across the room (with kindergartener and Señor Bearington/Paddington inside), the characters finally arrived on the coast of Uruguay.  Phew!  Later on, students the Rompe Ralph and Pollito pío songs; heard a new song in honor of the baby chicks that lived in their regular classroom (Los pollitos dicen pío pío pío); read the book Crow and Hawk; and practiced reading and writing Spanish sight words for their Play Day options.  Gracias for a terrific year.
1This term, students in first grade decided as a class either to listen to (escuchar) their peers express their preferred activity for the day, or write (escribir) down their ideas on the miniature whiteboards.  Students focused on including their reasons for wanting to do an activity—“Porque es mi amigo(a); porque es amable; porque me gusta” (because s/he is my friend; because s/he is kind; because I like it), and then traveled to their centers.  Some like to stick with the same-old, same-old, while others rotate stations weekly or choose rather arbitrarily.  Regardless, it is fascinating to see where their creative minds take them.  From scary monstruos/monsters hiding out in their cuevas/caves and piano players insistent on turning up the keyboard’s volume, to emoticon drawings, buried treasure and a class bank (banco/bank; comida/food), first graders clearly work best when playing. 

Students also began incorporating the Spanish-speaking countries on the tape floor map into their free play—knights invading Bolivia, a rubber duck boda/wedding in España/Spain, a gigantic tower of cajas/boxes in Brazil, etc.  Finally, first graders read Corre, perro, corre; listened to La Invitación; and worked on two free play projects that extended beyond one class period: a formal wedding ceremony with invitations, dress-up clothes, and more (Huck); and the construction of an enormous fort made of boxes and blankets, with accompanying Japanese ninja music playing in the background (Ranallo).  
2This term, second graders transitioned to a storytelling unit, where student-created characters and culturally authentic settings created a unique blend of fiction and non-fiction.  Plot: Bobby/Shù the grasshopper/saltamontes is flying in his paper airplane [or: surfing on his surfboard], when a sudden and violent thunderstorm causes him to crash off the coast of Brazil.  Most unfortunately, he lands in a ‘no-parking/estacionamiento prohibido’ zone in the backyard of a gigantic butterfly who, up until the crash, had been sleeping quite peacefully.  The blast jolts him awake and naturally initiates a few karate battles between the two insects.  In fugitive-mode, our protagonist hightails it to La Tierra del Fuego (Land of Fire) archipelago off of Chile and Argentina, and then Monte Fitz Roy (Fitz Roy Mountain) in Argentina.  At some point, he also disappears into a Time Machine Void to visit the dinosaurs.  Oh no! 

Second graders had fun traveling around the globe [virtually] to check out the weather forecast in these places as well as other locations (chubascos/downpours; tormentas/storms; nublado/cloudy).  Later on, students inspected real Argentine pesos and tried to wrap their brains around why money is worth different amounts in different countries; discussed military time; saw a video of a recent volcanic eruption in Chile (Calbuco); repeatedly listened to the songs Madre Tierra and ¿Adónde vas?; and played Policías y ladrones outside.  Gracias for a fabulous year.
3This 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).
4This term, students in fourth grade extended their understanding of the word ‘pueblo’: the town does not only exist within the four walls of the Spanish Cave, but also beyond it… and thus a parque/park was borne.  This outing begins with a class conversation: “¿Qué queremos? Queremos ir a jugar al fútbol en el parque” (What do we want?  We want to go play soccer at the park).  Later, fourth graders request relevant vocabulary; the doctoras/doctors and enfermera/nurse pack up their medical bags in case of an emergency; and students head out to play with a Guatemalan saying on their minds, “Ganamos, perdimos, igual nos divertimos” (we win or we lose, either way we have fun). 

Partway through the game, there is a ‘half-time show’, where a talented gymnast performs complicated flips, round-offs, and cartwheels for the class; and when it is time to go, they form two lines/filas and say, “Buen partido/good game”.  Later on, students saw photos from my trip to Iguazú Falls (Cataratas de Iguazú) in Argentina; discussed what Spanglish is; and had a game week in the target language (Spanish Monopoly, rompecabezas/puzzles, La Guerra/War [card game], Spot It, and Bingo).  Prior to catching a flight back to their hometown, fourth graders took a day to learn about and taste the traditional friendship drink and famous tea of Argentina, called Yerba MateHasta la próxima (until next time), citizens of Ijusthaditville, España.  Gracias for a beautiful year.
5This term, students in fifth grade continued practicing for the Latin American Showcase.  They also worked on brainstorming creative costume ideas, gathering items for their prop boxes, and editing the PowerPoint slideshows.  Eventually, it was time: fifth graders wrapped up the final details for their program, and then performed the much anticipated theatrical debut.  Students should be immensely proud of their dedication, grit, and linguistic and theatrical skills.  As a result of all of their hard work, the show was a tremendous success.  Congratulations!!  The remainder of the quarter was divided between two main foci: grammar and soccer.  Essentially, the former is taking all of the linguistic knowledge they have, and dividing it into categories—“Oh, so those are verbs/nouns/adjectives in Spanish.” 

Fifth graders let this new information digest out on the soccer field.  Some days, however, students’ strong interest in linguistics superseded their desire to play: cue ensuing discussions regarding the intricacies of translation.  For example: “Caras vemos, corazones no sabemos” means “Don’t judge a book by its cover”, but literally translates to, “Faces we see, hearts we don’t know”.  Moreover, in order to make Dr. Seuss’ books rhyme, translators worked for an entire year translating the text—yikes!  Machines can’t necessarily read between the lines, hence why some of my friends still have jobs (~as translators and interpreters).  Gracias for a highly productive year.

Resumen Q3, 14-15 (K-5)

Grade
KThis term, students in kindergarten continued learning the names of all of the Spanish-speaking countries on the tape floor map.  However, because Pato insisted on teaching, there were constant wordplays and distractions.  For example, after tasting a [plastic] pear in Perú, he decides that he doesn’t like it, exclaiming, “EKK! [wah-door]” (Ecuador), and then traveling through the door/puerta to the next country.  Later, he meets a bee in “Colom-BEE-ah”, doesn’t know which way “Venez-WAY-lah” (Venezuela) is, and gets thirsty in Nicaragua (“knee-car-AGUA”).  In the end, kindergarteners were teaching Pato… 

When they had mastered the bulk of the map, students transitioned to acting out their individualized password cards—“Hmm… how can I become a basket/cesto?  A fort/fortaleza?  A fairy/hada?”—and enjoyed ‘stopping’ in the country of their choice when it was time to change action commands.  In-between the numerous snow and cold days, they also learned a song about ten little fish/diez pececitos; read Los hechizos de Chela La Lela (Batty Betty’s Spells); played Spanish Bingo; watched Pocoyó: El gran tobogán/Pocoyó: Loula huele mal; and elected either to play/jugar or color/colorear on activity days (juguetes/toys, peluches/stuffed animals; papel/paper, marcadores/markers, crayones/crayons).  Gracias for another memorable quarter.
1This term, students in first grade continued learning through the ‘continuously evolving’ activity centers.  First graders focused on honing their writing skills—e.g., not looking at the bilingual signs to spell a word in the target language (tarjetas/cards)—and building their vocabularies.  Words take on a new level and layer of importance when they are acquired in a meaningful context, and so while some are learning ‘caballero’ (knight), others are learning ‘cinta’ (tape), depending on their interests.  When the caballero-student decides to, quite literally, connect two knights in shining armor with tape, s/he learns from the cinta-student. 

During this process, first graders are frequently subjected to unanticipated follow-up questions, to work on linguistic spontaneity.  For example, “¿Qué quieres construir?  ¿Por qué?  ¿Qué haces?” (What do you want to build?  Why?  What are you doing?).  While students begin the year with a very basic Q&A in the target language, this conversation grows, builds and continuously spirals throughout the months so that by the beginning of April, students feel confident with a variety of questions and answers.  In-between snow/cold days, they also practiced naming the Spanish-speaking countries on the tape floor map in the Spanish Cave; made Mi libro password booklets; and read La Mariposa by Francisco Jiménez.  From “Creative Crafts”, stickers, and colored paper, to rubber ducks, tire swings, and scaly crocodiles, it has been a fun quarter!
2This term, students in second grade were given a certain radical freedom—to choose any word in the universe as their new password.  The results were impressive and not always literal.  For example, one student choose, “Something” (algo) so as to cleverly include everything, while another decided on something more concrete but rather ephemeral: “Fireworks” (fuegos artificiales).  Later, and as a creative thinking exercise, students tried to ‘become’ these words in their action commands.  For the password, “pollo polaco” (Polish chicken), second graders clucked the Polish word for chicken [kurczak] as they strutted around the Spanish Cave. 

After practicing naming the Spanish-speaking countries on the tape floor map, students were assigned a country in which to park themselves after each action, and had twelve syllables—estacionamiento prohibido—to get there.  No one else was allowed to park in their space, rather, country, hence the translation, ‘No parking’.  In-between snow/cold days, second graders also worked on reading a class script, (an extension of their mini-dialogues from the second quarter); learned about the concept of ‘Spanglish’; discussed the differences between translation (written) and interpretation (spoken); tried their hand at pronouncing a mouthful of syllables: La República Dominicana/The Dominican Republic (‘lah ray-POO-blee-kah-doe-me-knee-kah-nah’); and danced to the song Madre Tierra ♫ by Chayanne.
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 fourth grade were required to think creatively when their beloved town was moved, well, across town (to the St. John building).  Instead of relying on the same old, same old, fourth graders delved into the challenges of a relocated classroom, err, pueblo most audaciously—redesigning, revamping, and redecorating—for the purpose of improving upon their original ideas.  Where should the panadería/bakery be located now?  What about the Azkaban prison?  How could vendors re-imagine the concept of a mercado from South and Central American countries to fit their own town? 

While this progression and conversation occurred quite naturally, it was also beautifully reflective of the creative thinking process: are students generating new ideas (divergent thinking)?  Are they taking risks?  Can they overcome and push past the mental obstacles of an idea that results in complete and utter failure?  Did they synthesize their experience into a cogent, cohesive product (convergent thinking)?  The creative thinking process manifested itself not only within the confines of the town expansion, but also in students’ linguistic development.  Do students put language together in unusual and novel ways, beyond what the teacher has taught?  Does the product work (was the message communicated effectively)?  Welcome to a new era, the age of creative thinking!  Fourth graders have hit the ground running; gracias for another magical quarter.
5This term, students in fifth grade began preparing for their Latin American Program.  After familiarizing themselves with each of the six scripts, fifth graders were assigned permanent groups and plays.  Since then, students have been working on using appropriate vocal intonation and expression; facing the audience and planning out where they want to stand on stage; adding relevant movements; brainstorming what type of music might be fitting for certain scenes; and memorizing their lines. 

They have had several combined classes, during which time groups present a previously selected and rehearsed scene, and their peers evaluate the performances [on a rubric], paying special attention to audience engagement.  As the culminating program of their Lower School Spanish experience approaches, students’ excitement is on the rise; please come join us on Friday, May 15, 2015 @1:30pm in the Community Room. 

Resumen Q2, 14-15 (K-5)

Grade
KThis term, students in kindergarten listened intently as their dear friend Pato took on more of a leadership role, for better or worse.  His first idea for a project actually turned out quite well.  One afternoon, he invented a game: after drawing a rectangle on a piece of paper, dividing the shape into columns and filling in the mini-rectangles with bold, vibrant shades, he stood up the corresponding markers on each narrow quadrilateral.  A single spurt of water resulted in an impressive domino effect of the markers, and left an even more impressive design on the paper: smeared colors, lines, and water all mixed together. 

Later, kindergarteners had the opportunity to create their own beautiful marker/water patterns, and then cut out snowflakes from the dyed paper.  His second idea—to learn the names and locations of Spanish-speaking countries on the tape floor map in the Spanish Cave—was successful for kindergarteners, but not necessarily for the highly unfocused [divergent thinker?!] duck.  Chile?  Well, it’s a good thing I’m wearing my warm Christmas sweater!  Argentina?  Arrr, I’m a pirate!  No, Pato, in Spanish it’s pronounced ‘Ar-hen-TEE-nah’.  A pirate (arr) and a chicken (hen) drinking tea (tee)?  Cool!  (Nah.)  What about Uruguay?  You mean the circle?  I got an A+ on shapes in Math class: triángulo, círculo…  Well, at least kindergarteners understand!
1This term, students in first grade began exploring the Spanish written word in greater depth.  In addition to reading the daily letters from Pato and their own individualized password cards (aka sight words), they also wrote out their Activity Center wishes each day on the mini class whiteboards.  This process involves all students requesting whiteboards (pizarrón, por favor), chatting with their neighbors—“¿Qué quieres hacer?” (What do you want to do?)—and then completing the sentence Quiero… [dibujar] pero necesito… [papel] (I want [to draw] but I need [paper]) at their own pace, while student helpers ask their peers what color marker they would like to write with. 

Sentences vary from day to day and week to week, which allows first graders to see the possibilities of linguistic versatility as well as get a lot of practice.  To enforce the idea of ‘versatility’, students also made “Me gusta” (I like) collages with their favorite infinitives (jugar/to play, dormir/to sleep, etc.) and an excess of glitter sprinkled all around the page.  Last but not least, they played Luz roja, luz verde (Red Light, Green Light) in the target language; asked one another what they wanted to do and recorded the information, survey-style; and worked on possessive articles (Lego station: ¡Mi caballo!  My horse!  Art station: ¡Mi papel!  My paper!).  Gracias for a great quarter.
2This term, students in second grade spent the bulk of their time reading, practicing, and later presenting humorous mini-dialogues in the target language.  They worked on adding expression (‘talk with your hands!’) and vocal inflection so as to better understand the emotion behind the words.  Here is a sample script: Estoy aburrido(a)./¿Quieres comer un tomate?/No, gracias./¿Quieres comer cinco tomates?/No me gustan los tomates./¿Quieres comer mil tomates?/¡Te dije que no!  (I’m bored/Do you want to eat a tomato?/No thanks./Do you want to eat five tomatoes?/I don’t like tomatoes./Do you want to eat one-thousand tomatoes?/I told you no!).  The last line is from the Sr. Wooly song, ¡PAN! (BREAD!), and is pronounced: ‘tay-DEE-hay-k-no’. 

Second graders had fun pretending to be frogs and jumping on every syllable to practice the tricky phonetic combination.  Additionally, students made comecocos, or fortune tellers; taught Pato how to sound out words in Spanish (a rather exigent task, considering his general inability to focus on anything relevant); learned how to dance the Merengue in a circle with their peers, while shaking a pair of authentic maracas from the Dominican Republic (aka place of origin of the Merengue); and had fun jamming to a few of their favorite songs (Colores, colores; Botas perdidas; Billy la bufanda).
3This 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!).
4This term, students in fourth grade chose new [fruit and vegetable] identities as part of the pueblo/town simulation, with the understanding that their English name and person ‘no longer exist’ in the Spanish Cave.  In addition, fourth graders have also begun opening new businesses.  Now, for example, there are a few street musicians who play on the classroom keyboard and earn their living from passers-by (propinas/tips); students who buy tickets to watch Sr. Wooly videos at the town cine/movie theater; and generous customers who allow the party shop to thrive financially. 

However, a few strange developments have made life anything but normal: increasing tension relating to the overtly amorous conversations between a girl and her novio/boyfriend, Diego (¡Mi amor!/My love!), led several town residents to the brink of insanity.  It was therefore incumbent upon those affected to visit the town doctor(a)/doctor for some much-needed terapia/therapy.  The rabid raccoon (mapache rabioso) that escaped from the zoo also spent some time in a group treatment center.  The most effective cure?  Un abrazo/a hug.  Students—rather, citizens—refocused their attention amidst the unanticipated chaos with a call-response echo: ¿Qué queremos?/¡Queremos trabajar! (What do we want?  We want to work!).  Gracias for another memorable quarter.
5This term, students in fifth grade advanced to Creative Class Storytelling 2.0, as the following plots clearly illustrate.  Hunt: After the evil team steals the Sr. Wooly password, Sr. Wooly drives a lagoon blue Beetle car to his great-grandmother’s house and tries to call the police.  However, another evil force—a group of Teletubbies whose leader happens to be Peppa Pig—has taken control of the police station.  The evil Teletubbies travel through the vortex part of their máquina/machine to the planet Neptune.  There, they see an enormous, spicy pepper who wants to eat them.  The pepper succeeds, but then the seeds in his brain instruct him to jump and, well, the contents of his stomach are emptied.  ¡Qué asco!/Gross! 

Byerley: As it turns out, the pollito-soldados (chicken-soldiers) are actually evil and try to kidnap Uni-maíz-io (lead singer of the band, “Dirección Equivocada”/Wrong Direction).  Boberto saves her, though, so then the chicken-soldiers get angry and brainstorm another plan: this time, with a machine and their evil force/fuerza malvada, they bring Uni-maíz-io to the dark side.  As Uni-maíz-io is trapped in the dark side, Boberto obviously needs to save his future wife, so his shouts, “¡Mi amor!” (My love!) in her direction.  The power of true love rompe/breaks the dark side’s evil force, Boberto proposes again, and this time Uni-maíz-io says yes.  Awww.

Resumen Q1, 14-15 (K-5)

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

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

In addition to storytelling, kindergarteners also played Roca-papel-tijeras (Rock-paper-scissors) in the target language, watched the theme song video from Rompe Ralph (Wreck-It Ralph), and read a special book for Halloween: Bruja, bruja ven a mi fiesta/Witch, Witch, Come to My Party.  Gracias for beginning the year on such a fast-paced and wonderfully creative note.
1This term, students in first grade alternated between Story Days and Activity Days, although the two oftentimes overlapped and blended into one.   For example, once Pato mentioned that he would like to visit the piñata hanging from the eighteen-foot ceiling in the Spanish Cave.  But what could he use as a mode of transportation?  The class decided on an avión de papel/paper airplane, and after making one for their friend, joined in on the fun themselves and made their own models.  Another day, he couldn’t get his beak out of a book, rather, novel—Don Quijote (the 900-page, 400+ year-old Spanish literary masterpiece)—and students pestered him to share the story. 

As a result, the Spanish Cave transformed into a stage where student actors and actresses had fun acting out the famous windmill chapter with Don Quijote, Sancho Panza and, of course, the windmills.  As the first quarter winds to a close, students have become confident with both writing and explaining what they want to do each day (Quiero colorear/jugar/construir/pintar/dibujar/ir afuera/ver; I want to color/play/build [with Legos]/paint/draw/go outside/see [a video]), and also reading the daily letter from Pato.  In addition to the stories and activity centers, first graders also watched a silly song called “¿Puedo ir al baño?” (Can I go to the bathroom?), and practiced lining up backwards in number order.
2This term, students in second grade had fun learning about The Adventures of Pato—one of the most mischievous stuffed animals in the Spanish Cave.  When necessary, they also helped discipline the sometimes quite rebellious and stubborn duck: ¡No puedes hacer eso!”  (You can’t do that!).  Second graders also played the “¿Qué haces?” (What are you doing?) class game from last year; learned how to say “I love/I’m lovin’ it” or “I don’t love/I’m not lovin’ it” via the McDonald’s tune in Spanish: (No) me encanta ♫; rehearsed a mini-play in the target language; played a hot/cold type of game called “Busca el murciélago” (Look for the bat), to integrate with their regular classroom bat study; learned about accent marks in Spanish; worked on experiencing pure boredom in order to associate the emotion with the word ‘aburrido(a)’; and wrote out what they wanted to do on their miniature whiteboards, commenting on each other’s ideas in Spanish. 

Additionally, students made a cultural analogy—Ohio:football::Argentina:Tango—and saw photos of an Argentine milonga band, heard the song La cumparsita to give them a sense of what Tango music sounds like, discussed the differences between Tango and Salsa, and then used all of their muscles to maintain good posture and take their first steps… T-A-N-G-O (American style Tango basic).  Gracias for a great quarter.
3This 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.
4This term, students in fourth grade excitedly delved into the task of creating their own pueblo/town.  After hailing a taxi to the airport, showing their boarding passes and boarding the plane, fourth graders sat back and relaxed, enjoyed beverages, and chatted until landing.  As they officially stepped into their town for the first time—Ijusthaditville, España—the actual simulation commenced, and students signed a Language Pledge, promising to use solely the target language in the Spanish Cave.  After establishing bank accounts, buying their own mansions and designing the interior of their homes, fourth graders began looking for work and creating their own businesses. 

A typical day consists of students striving to use the language in a variety of meaningful contexts and situations.  As a result, the learning environment tends to be more boisterous than not, but in a lively, jovial sort of way, where fourth graders spend their time traveling to the bank, taking out money, working at the local shops, buying, selling, bargaining, trading, and occasionally employing ‘frantic gesturing’ when they find themselves unable to recall vocabulary or simplify an idea.  In addition to the town, fourth graders also took an ‘English day’ in order to integrate with their regular classroom curriculum, and talked about words in other languages that are untranslatable…  
5This term, students in fifth grade spent the bulk of their time on creative storytelling in preparation for the student-written Spanish plays performed at the Latin American Showcase (May 15, 2015 @1:30pm).   Inspired by Argentine animals, abstract paintings, fuzzy photographs, troll-goblin statues and more, the stories evolve through question and answer type discussions and cannot help but grow a life of their own. 

As a result, characters such as Betsy la vaca (Betsy the Cow) and Boberto la berenjena genial (Bobert the Awesome Eggplant—who is actually a coatí) are wildly popular among students, and have gone on some crazy adventures involving one-thousand angry fruits, the International House of Thumbs, a golden plunger, a magical pink cape, and an army of chicken-soldiers, to name a few.  Additionally, and in-between chapters, fifth graders also chose to be embajadores/ambassadors of a [specific] Spanish-speaking country; presented their own original stories in Spanish to the class; and traveled outside to play fútbol/soccer to work on instinctually responding in the target language.  Gracias for a great quarter!

Resumen Q4, 13-14 (K-5)

Grade
KThis term, students in kindergarten experienced the world from a duck’s perspective.  However, it should be noted that this is not merely any duck, but rather the world-renowned, forever young, mischievous yet adorable stuffed animal Pato.  Examples detailing his thought processes as follows: When Patito noisily sipped a large glass of water (consequently filling the plastic rubber duck cavity with liquid), Pato invented a game that resulted in a domino effect of markers, and beautiful water patterns and designs (chorro de agua/spurt of water).  When Pato learned how to play Roca-papel-tijeras (Rock-paper-scissors) and Pollo-pollo-arroz/Chicken-chicken-rice, he asked to combine the two activities by making a mini-menu booklet, which later inspired an in-class restaurant simulation. 

When Pato tripped over a hairdryer and—believing it to be a monster caught in a spider’s web—began running for dear life, kindergarteners began to understand his unique point of view.  Oh Pato, we love how you think!  In addition to the lessons in perspective-taking, students also heard a new song in honor of the baby chicks that lived in their regular classroom (Los pollitos dicen pío pío pío); played Spanish Bingo; watched a few Pocoyó episodes; and read a book called El artista que pintó un caballo azul in order to inspire their own charming drawings.  Gracias for an amazing year.
1This term, students in first grade participated in an interactive class drama presentation in the target language.  In the story, a police officer was guarding a pile of stuffed animals, but decided to take a short siesta.   Meanwhile, multiple thieves dressed up in silly disguises stole stuffed animals as well as the police officer’s key.  All of the ladrones/thieves were sent to la cárcel/jail, but ended up playing with the toys there because the police officer fell asleep again.  Students wrote out and made a goanimate.com video of this class drama on the SMART board. 

Later on, first graders ventured downstairs in the tunnels to hang up pictures of monsters and goblins on the wall, and searched for each others’ frightening creatures; read La Mariposa (The Butterfly); were introduced to the Sr. Wooly song ¿Puedo ir al baño? (Can I go to the bathroom?); had fun forming words and mathematical equations with their bodies; made boats out of Popsicle sticks, cinta/tape, and pipe cleaners (requested by color and quantity desired); and finally, made a bar graph of what they wanted to do—x axis, ideas; y axis, number of votes.  Based on the data, students’ favorite activity was traveling outside to play Policías y ladrones/Cops and Robbers (descanso/rest or break, when out of breath; libertad/freedom, when escaping from jail).  Gracias for a fantastic year.
2This term, students in second grade approached their language study through a variety of games, creative class stories, and written activities.  The students’ most-requested game was when the teacher pretends to give a boring addition lesson, and one second grader is secretly given permission to ‘act out’ and be silly.  When the teacher looks at her list of students and decides to call on the one who is acting out, she ‘finds’ said second grader and demands, “Qué haces?” (What are you doing?), to which s/he responds, “Nada” (nothing). 

Later on in the quarter, students created a spooky plot around the word pesadilla/nightmare, which is not to be confused with quesadilla.  While both classes had very different ideas, they agreed that including the powerful magical chant, “Abracadabra, pata de cabra, ¡chiquitipuf!” was a must.  Students were tickled pink to learn that ‘pata de cabra’ means ‘goat foot’.  In addition, second graders created their own comics; demanded the password from their peers (dime la contraseña o no puedes pasar/tell me the password or you can’t come in); practiced counting backwards from ten in the target language; pretended to buy items from the toy shelf with faux euro bills; and learned the names of all of the Spanish-speaking countries in South America by jumping from one to the next on a tape map on the floor of the Cave.
3This 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.
4This term, students in fourth grade played Spanish Monopoly; bought mansions and created a handmade map of the town; discovered that the map is authentic and of downtown Buenos Aires, and that the main street, or Avenida 9 de Julio, happens to be one of the widest in the world (with a whopping sixteen lanes of traffic); opened up a café, and then sipped and learned about the traditional friendship drink and famous tea of Argentina, called Mate; and extended their understanding of the word ‘pueblo’: The town does not only exist within the four walls of the Spanish Cave, but also beyond it… and thus a parque/park (in which to play fútbol/soccer) was borne. 

Not long after, fourth graders learned of a dramatic new development.  The town had suffered a desastre natural/natural disaster, and as a result, no longer exists.  Following the initial shock, fourth graders began to wonder—what if your friend has a sweater and you don’t?  Rationally minded individuals suddenly become desperate, even when la fuerza/the force—illustrated by a ping-pong ball levitating above a hair dryer—is on their side.  Thankfully, the Red Cross/La Cruz Roja was able to collect and donate $50,000 to all citizens affected before things got too out of hand.  Students read the generous letter and began planning how to spend the cash (needs vs. wants).  Gracias for an incredible year. 
5This term, students in fifth grade continued rehearsing for their Latin American Program, and really honed in on the details (e.g., big or small facial expressions and bodily gestures, squeaky and/or deep growling voices, and movement with purpose).  Students also practiced performing the plays sans props, and then offered positive and ‘constructive criticism’ feedback to their peers following each presentation.  After working on transitions and polishing their acting skills, they had a wonderful dress rehearsal in front of the entire Lower School.  Their final culminating program for parents and friends that Friday was an equally huge success. 

Congratulations to all—you were spectacular!  Subsequently, fifth graders reviewed songs from years past (Ave María, Botas perdidas, Wavin’ Flag); watched the newest Sr. Wooly videos; had fun reciting their lines from the Spanish plays in different contexts; got a taste of language-learning the traditional way—via grammar—to prepare students for Middle School and beyond; and practiced naming all of the Spanish-speaking countries in the world by jumping from one to the next on a tape map on the floor of the Spanish Cave.  The majority of fifth graders already knew all of the countries, so the goal was more time-oriented for this grade level: Can you jump on and name all of them in less than fifteen seconds?  Gracias for a great year.

Resumen, 13-14 (Grade 1)

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

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

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

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

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

Resumen Q3, 13-14 (K-5)

Grade
KThis term, students in kindergarten learned that while Pato flew south for the winter, Oso had no intentions of leaving whatsoever; in fact, he was quite content to hibernate in his cueva/cave until the warm temperatures returned.  While he slept, kindergarteners imagined what types of provisions he might be storing with him.  Oso took a break one day from his busy schedule of siestas to report that he ate REAL eggs for his winter breakfasts.  Students did not believe at first, and thus a thorough inspection took place. 

From shaking and then hearing the yolk jiggle inside, to cracking the eggshell and seeing a beautiful spider web pattern form, to finally smashing it, at last kindergarteners realized that it was most definitely not de plástico (¡Rompe el huevo!/break the egg!).  Later on, students compared and contrasted the size and color of US money with Euros, and then ‘bought’ juguetes/toys, peluches/stuffed animals, or comida/food with their earnings; heard Ven a la carrera (Pocoyó) and Suéltalo (Frozen); and finally, received a real, live phone call one day, which informed that Pato was on his way home and eager to share his adventures with everyone.  From talking parrots and not-so-scary dragons, to erupting volcanoes, magical lightning bugs and a shark that ended up eating the treasure, Pato had quite the story to share.  What a great quarter!
1This term, students in first grade played a variety of games to escape the ugly winter doldrums.  In one, the teacher pretends to give a boring addition lesson, while one first grader is secretly given permission to ‘act out’ and be silly.  For example, students can sit in their chair upside-down, take a sombrero and maracas from the toy shelf and start dancing, or even hide underneath the table.  When the teacher looks at her list of students and decides to call on the one student who is acting out, she ‘finds’ said first grader and demands, “¿Qué haces?” (What are you doing?), to which s/he responds, “Nada” (Nothing).  Students also played Spanish Bingo, Simon Says, Hot Potato with practice counting backwards from ten, and Pato-pato-oca

The latter quickly morphed to “Tomate-tomate-tocino” (tomato-tomato-bacon) for the sheer delight of being able to make ‘sopa de tomate’, or tomato soup, when someone was tagged and sent to the ‘soup’, and as an extension, first graders learned a rhyme to accompany the game: “Bate-bate-la sopa de tomate (Stir-stir-the tomato soup).  Students also listened to the ever-popular Rompe Ralph (Wreck-It Ralph) theme song, and learned that rompe means break.  To illustrate this point, the class made an inedible soup with broken rotten eggs, slime, baking soda, vinegar, and food coloring (¡Qué asco!/Gross!; ¡Chévere!/Cool!).  Adiós, winter blues!
2This term, students in second grade spent time reading postcards from their beloved stuffed animal friend Pato and learning about all of the places he traveled.  First, he flew to Argentina and saw Iguazú Falls; then he went to Machu Picchu in Perú (students were able to explore a 360⁰ panoramic views of the Incan ruins online at www.airpano.com); and finally, he visited an active volcano in México named Popocatépetl (“poe-poe-KAH-tay-peh-tle”).  Second graders practiced pronouncing the mouthful of vowels, and decided that should it erupt, the threat of red hot lava rushing toward him would surely encourage Pato to return home. 

Imagining the very real perils of this possibility, they had fun creating a soft chanting-beat with the words “Peligro/danger” (i.e., the boys repeat peligro-peligro-peligro, while the girls repeat danger-danger-danger; and then they switch words).  When Pato finally returned, the class celebrated with a “Play Day” to welcome him back to the Spanish Cave.  In-between the numerous snow days this quarter, students also took several translation tests; watched a new Señor Wooly song called Las excusas; posted a ‘brick’ to the Spanish Word Wall Castle; and made comecocos, or fortune tellers, using tijeras/scissors and green or yellow paper.  Note: Next year, Pato needs to have a serious chat with Punxsutawney Phil…
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 fourth grade focused their energies on two specific goals each class (¿Cuál es la meta?/What is the goal?).  Generally speaking, the goals tend to be to repeat a certain linguistic structure as many times and in as many relevant contexts as possible in the town simulation.  For instance, “¡No puedes hacer eso!” (You can’t do that!), “Quiero comprar eso” (I want to buy that), and “¿Por que?” (Why?), can easily be incorporated into almost any conversation.  Moreover, students who take piano lessons were permitted to play songs from memory for the citizens of Epicville or Marlow Mayhem on the classroom teclado/keyboard.  Excellent performances resulted in several very affluent musicians (propina/tip). 

In addition, fourth graders learned that Wikipedia has a wonderful translation feature on the sidebar; deduced what names of BrainPop videos were using common sense and logic (e.g., La gran explosión/The Big Bang); participated in a Virtual Word Search; rehearsed and then presented dialogues in the target language in front of their peers; generated their own linguistic discussions as they helped each other translate their pen-pal letters from Mexico, and worked on rough and final drafts of their letters, attaching tiny gifts of appreciation for their new friends (e.g., origami, beaded bracelets, stickers, etc.).  Gracias for another outstanding quarter.
5This term, students in fifth grade continued with their daily board work translation exercises, and wrote back to their pen-pals.  They also began discussing and preparing for their Latin American Program.  Because fifth graders chose to write the plays this year, they were given class time to brainstorm adventures for their characters and to incorporate facts about their Spanish-speaking countries into the plans.  This resulted in complex, wildly creative historical fiction plots focusing on the most famous of stuffed animals in the Spanish Cave: Pato

Later—after the stories had been converted to script-form—students broke off into small groups and began rehearsing both individually as well as in front of their peers.  Fifth graders worked on taking their time, reading between the lines, and adding relevant actions, and are beginning to understand how to add humor and advanced expression to their roles.  As the culminating program of their Lower School Spanish experience approaches, students’ excitement is on the rise; please come join us on Friday, May 2, 2014 @1:30pm in the Community Room.

Resumen Q2, 13-14 (K-5)

Grade
KThis term, students in kindergarten continued creating wildly imaginative stories.  However, instead of just passively listening to the comprehensible input, they began playing a more active role in the plots.  For instance, in one adventure, the suspense of a crocodile on the point of devouring Pato led to a tangential activity, where students had fun simultaneously opening and closing hard cover books at different speeds, mimicking the scary jawbone action (abre/open; cierra/close).  The consequent delay of his demise allows our beloved stuffed animal to discover a treasure chest full of balloons, and as a result, proudly parade around with a green bag of air—until he chances upon a box of thumbtacks. 

He is wisely advised by the anxious kindergarteners to not touch, but in the end, curiosity kills the source of entertainment.  Students also drew out the sequence of events in La casa adormecida/The Napping House; played a detective hide-and-seek game; traveled outside to the playground, shouting, “¡Tobogán!” as they slid down the slide; and [repeatedly] listened to the theme song from Wreck-It Ralph, ¿Cuándo te volveré a ver? (When Will I See You Again?), after Pato decides to head south and escape the polar vortices.  Finally, kindergarteners had several activity days, in which they could either jugar/play or colorear/color.  Gracias for another brilliant quarter!
1This term, students in first grade continued adding and expanding upon their various activity centers.  For example, one week first graders built structures out of Legos and/or popsicle sticks, and the following week, they deepened their understanding of ‘construir’ (build) by molding and later painting various structures out of air-dry clay.  Partway through the quarter, first graders practiced using their new ‘connecting’ words to combine activities—y/and; con/with—and either read, wrote, or voiced their preferences aloud. 

Many students seemed to appreciate the official nature of submitting what they wanted to do in written form (e.g., “Quiero jugar con mi amigo Fred/I want to play with my friend Fred).  In addition, they also chose new professions passwords to integrate with their regular classroom; read the daily letters from Pato and the book, El artista que pintó un caballo azul (The Artist Who Painted a Blue Horse); discussed the difference between amigo and amiga; made postre/dessert collages to practice asking for materials; played Spanish Bingo and Roca-papel-tijeras/Rock-paper-scissors in the target language; and were introduced to the witty ‘class conversation’ games that will reappear throughout the remainder of the year.
2This term, students in second grade continued practicing the basic steps to the Salsa and Tango.  When second graders felt confident, they presented this knowledge, as well as a Spanish mini-play, in front of an audience (Wintersteller: Upper School Spanish I class; Lipowski: Lower School Assembly).  Subsequently, students continued hearing about The Great Adventures of Pato and teaching their friend that puedo (I can) and PlayDoh are not the same word.  And then one day… Pato vanished.  A week later, students read in a handwritten postcard that their beloved protagonist had flown south of the equator, to Argentina, in order to escape the polar vortices and drab, hoary landscape of winter in Ohio. 

In his absence, second graders took some time to get a feel for the South American country, looking at pictures of the famous Iguazú Falls (waterfalls) and typical Argentine foods (beef!), and listening to Argentine Tango music.  In addition, they made and then colored ‘talking-bookmarks’ of either Don Quijote or an Aztec warrior; listened to Mayan, Náhuatl, and Quechua tunes (indigenous languages); watched the movie Wreck-It Ralph/Rompe Ralph in the target language (Spanish voiceover with English subtitles); and sang along with two very catchy Señor Wooly songs: “¿Puedo ir al baño?” (Can I go to the bathroom?), and “¡PAN!” (BREAD!).
3This 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!
4This term, students in fourth grade received letters and photos from their pen-pals in Oaxaca, Mexico; chose new Spanish identities, with the understanding that their English name and person ‘no longer exist’ in the Spanish Cave; tried their hand at several translation exercises; sang along with the overly dramatic Sr. Wooly video, ¿Adónde vas? (Where are you going?); and, of course, continued with their pueblo simulation.  In addition to the usual browsing, buying, selling and even trading, several instances of corruption were also witnessed; members of the police department were allowing prisoners—i.e., thieves sent to la cárcel/jail for petty crimes—to escape in exchange for [plastic green] money. 

Such blatant injustices and brazen disrespect of the law led to a ban on all criminal activities.  Later, students refocused their attention with a call-response echo in the target language: ¿Qué queremos?/¡Queremos trabajar! (What do we want?  We want to work!).  Other town updates as follows.  Epicville: Students have created an Apple Store, where they sell technological gadgets and devices to their peers, such as handmade laptops and teléfonos inteligentes/SMART phones.  Marlow Mayhem: Students have added a cine/movie theater, where they sell tickets to anyone and everyone who would like to watch a show.  Gracias for another exciting quarter.
5This term, students in fifth grade spent a good deal of time recycling and reviving vocabulary from years past.  Whether it was through creative short stories (both spoken and written), Señor Wooly song-lyric videogame challenges, Class Wordles, animal password cards, daily online weather forecasts (comparing temperatures in other ciudades/cities and países/countries), songs-that-get-stuck-in-your-head-and-don’t-leave (Botas perdidas/Lost Boots), class plays, or translation exercises on their miniature whiteboards, fifth graders had fun combining old and new information. 

They also had a few class discussions about meta-linguistics, and tried to define “Language” itself—not an easy task.  Later, students used their detective skills to identify and label twelve paragraphs written in different languages and alphabets.  Last but not least, fifth graders chose new identities (or Spanish names) for the New Year, and began discussing the presentation format of their Latin American Festival program, scheduled for the beginning of May.  Mark your calendars!

Resumen Q1, 13-14 (K-5)

play-doh, play dough, creative, creativity, fantasy, bake, tinker, children, play, fun
Grade
KThis term, students in kindergarten let their imaginations run wild.  Straightforward, one-dimensional stories evolved into highly complex sagas, growing longer and more complicated from one week to the next.  A new week merely indicated a new chapter. 

From a loud alarm clock brriiiiing that catapulted Pato across the Spanish Cave, to disappearing ink on the SMART board, to rubber duck witches materializing out of thin air, to an evil bat-ghost kidnapping a flower and bringing her to a tower in a faraway land (and, of course, the quest to rescue said flower), to Pato conquering his fear of heights and fear of the dark, to a short video about castañuelas/ castanets, to hungry dragons, parachute fun, leaf collecting, Shadow Tag, and a cluster of grapes that turned out to be a bottle of purple paint—so that’s why Pato is sporting a purple beak these days…—the linguistic journey [clearly] never ceases to be original.  Gracias for beginning the year on such a fast-paced and wonderfully creative note.
1This term, students in first grade alternated between Story Days and Activity Days.  On the former, students tended to ask Pato was he was doing, and oftentimes he would invent a wild adventure (that coincidentally included Activity Day vocabulary).  Once, though, he couldn’t get his beak out of a book, and students pestered him to share the story.  Because it was either that or a time-out from Señorita, Pato began to relate the adventures of his hero, Don Quijote de La Mancha, to first graders.  He started with the renowned windmill chapter, and conveniently, students were able to make connections with the windmills in this novel and the windmill in The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind

The class so enjoyed hearing about the Spanish literary masterpiece, that from that point forward, Pato focused all of his energy on the book.  Students also translated the daily message; played Luz roja, luz verde outside; read two books in the target language; and practiced answering the question, “¿Qué quieres hacer?” (What do you want to do?), on Activity Days, with one of four choices: Quiero jugar/I want to play; Quiero dibujar/I want to draw; Quiero ir/I want to go; or Quiero pintar/I want to paint.  Gracias for a fun-filled start to the year.
2This term, students in second grade had fun learning about The Adventures of Pato—one of the most mischievous stuffed animals in the Spanish Cave.  When necessary, they also helped discipline the sometimes quite rebellious and stubborn duck.  One day, second graders watched as Pato created an enormous mess of toys, and then decided that he wanted to play with his stuffed animal friends instead.  When he later asked to play, the class responded, “Pues, déjame ver… ¡no, no puedes! (Well, let me see… no, you can’t!). 

Because he claimed he had to read the answer in order to understand it, the class spelled it phonetically on the board—“p(ways), day-hah-may-bear”.  Naturally, his response was not to clean up his toys but rather, “A BEAR!  Oh no!  Run, everyone, run!”  When they weren’t putting him in a time-out or teaching Pato to read, students learned about the Spanish literary masterpiece, Don Quijote; talked about el and la words in the target language; played a game called “Busca el murciélago” (Look for the bat); decorated a house and car for Pato; practiced reading action words on the board; rehearsed their lines in a Spanish play; and learned the basic step to two Spanish dances, the Salsa and the Tango.  Gracias for a great first quarter.
3This 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!
4This term, students in fourth grade excitedly delved into the task of creating their own pueblo/town.  After establishing bank accounts and buying their own mansions, the actual simulation commenced.  A typical day in either Epicville (Papageorge) or Marlow Mayhem (Marlow) begins with workers being dismissed to their jobs.  Businesses open at this point include the banco/bank, juguetería/toy store, tienda de arte/art store, and teatro/theater.  Later, students travel around town, taking out money from the bank, buying what they need and want with realistic-looking euros, communicating solely in the target language, and occasionally employing ‘frantic gesturing’ when they find themselves unable to recall vocabulary or simplify an idea. 

It is amazing how innovative fourth graders become when they are desperate to express a thought.  In addition to working and living in the pueblo, students also translated key words in their constellation poems from English to Spanish; signed a Language Pledge promising not to speak English within the walls of the Spanish Cave; tweeted their favorite movies; learned how to use the internet dictionary www.wordreference.com; wrote letters to their pen-pals in Oaxaca, Mexico; and worked on a “Class Wordle” of all the words they know in the target language.  Gracias for a great start to the year!
5This term, students in fifth grade chose a class mascot to be the main character in their class stories.  From this point, creativity took the reins…  Hunt: A crazy scientist, aka Pocoyo, takes the pato-bailarín as his prisoner, but the dancing duck grabs the flag of Spain, knocks him down and escapes in a pink shoe to South Sandwich Islands.  Byerley: Enemies of the beloved Snurkey (and the Butler) are established in the form of an evil team—Darth Vader, Turkal, Professor Coco-Mantequilla and Barney.  One night, Snurkey is hungry while watching the Barney Show.  He ends up entering the ‘pixeled void’ and eating Barney, thereby destroying one-quarter of his enemies.  Still hungry (and presumably scared for his own personal safety), he escapes to the Arctic Circle. 

Fifth graders also selected a Spanish-speaking country to represent as ambassador/embajador(a); practiced identifying banderas/flags from the Spanish-speaking world; sang along with the bilingual song Wavin’ Flag—played at the 2010 World Cup—before traveling outside for Spanish soccer games (fútbol/soccer); had their first free-write of the year (with partners); and signed a Language Pledge promising not to speak English within the walls of the Spanish Cave.  Gracias for an exciting start to the year!

Resumen Q4, 12-13 (K-5)

Grade
KThis term, students in kindergarten chose new sea creature passwords, and then practiced their action commands all around campus, exploring the tunnels, playground, and Upper School hallways in the target language.  Integrating with their regular classroom content, students also practiced springing out of their ‘huevos’/eggs and hatching into pollitos/baby chicks.  Later, they placed themselves in the chicken’s position, and imagined what it would be like inside the shell… probably dark!  One day, they tried to watch a chicken/animal sounds video called Pulcino Pío, but Pato kept getting scared whenever Señorita turned out the lights. 

To help him overcome this fear, students taped paper wings onto glow sticks and made luciérnagas/lightning bugs (luz/light).  Next, kindergarteners traveled to the auditorium and flew around their pink, green, and orange glowing fireflies in the pitch black environment.  They also gaped at the colorful shadows on the ceiling high above and whispered, “Oscuridad” (darkness) whenever the disco ball light was turned off.  Even in the darkest of dark rooms, Pato felt safe and calm with all of his friends around, and decided that darkness doesn’t always have to be terrifying.  In addition, students played Spanish Bingo, Sombra/Shadow Tag, and Pato-Pato-Oca/Duck-Duck-Goose.   Gracias for an amazing year.
1This term, students in first grade increased their vocabularies through a wide variety of songs, games, and password exercises.  After choosing new identities—i.e., Spanish names—first graders sang along with a catchy tune called, “Yo me llamo” (My name is).  Later, they had fun playing Spanish Bingo, Luz roja, luz verde/Red Light, Green Light, Policías y Ladrones/Cops and Robbers, and a detective game.  In the latter, someone steals an object from a cauldron and hides it, and then students have to figure out what is missing, who stole it, and where it is in the room. 

First graders also made miniature password books for all of their passwords from the entire year; sorted the money in the Spanish Cave, while simultaneously exclaiming, “¡Soy rico(a)! (I’m rich!); followed step-by-step instructions to make their own paper airplanes; selected multiple adjectives to describe their passwords; and heard a book (El despegue de Romeo y Lou/Romeo and Lou Blast Off) in both English and Spanish.  It has been a busy end to the year!
2This term, students in second grade continued with their storytelling unit.  Here, they learned that their beloved murciélago/bat had disappeared over Spring Break.  This was the catalyst for a frantic search until, when interrogated, the witch handed over a post card addressed to the class from the bat… with a post mark from España/Spain!  After traveling via Google Earth to a street level view of Madrid, Spain, second graders ‘explored’ the city and found the building from the post card.  Students received another card not long after, but the third one took a while to arrive and had a different postmark—evidently, their dear friend had flown from España all the way to México, and was staying at a hotel near the famous volcano Popocatépetl

Pronouncing the multi-syllable Nahuatl word proved to be quite the challenge.  For a change of pace, students also learned the basic step to the Cumbia; played Hide and Go Seek and Red Light, Green Light in the target language outside; made miniature password books for all of their passwords from the entire year; read two e-books in Spanish (Los gatos garabatos; Daniel quiere un dinosaurio); and finally, circled back around to a mini-story about a monster that liked to eat stinky socks.  Gracias for a wonderful year!
3This 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!
4This term, students in fourth grade learned of a new dramatic development in el pueblo: A natural disaster had struck.  While they no longer had bank accounts, housing, or any physical possessions aside from the clothes on their backs, fourth graders did have… a [faux] Twitter account to vent their frustrations in the target language.  Following the initial shock, students were led through a string of real-life possibilities and emotions: Desperation, violence (i.e., a paper-ball Dodgeball war, err, game), the need to emigrate, passing through ‘customs’, Red Cross donations, et al.  When students recognized the necessity of emigration, they were shown numerous photos of Spain and Argentina, and then voted on where they wanted their new pueblo to be located. 

Both classes chose Puerto Iguazú, Argentina, and very ironically, were able to connect their simulated experience of a natural disaster in the pueblo to an actual natural disaster in the world: The flooding in Argentina over Spring Break.  Starting from the ground up, fourth graders found part-time work in a local library, and eventually moved up the corporate ladder to their dream job (masseuses, lawyers, veterinarians, etc.).  Later, students learned about and were able to sample the national tea (and very popular ‘friendship’ drink) of Argentina: Yerba MateGracias for an incredible year.
5This term, students in fifth grade spent a good deal of time preparing for their Latin American Festival plays.  They first used rubber ducks to map out where their characters would be on stage, and later worked on memorizing lines, reading with expression, and adding physical gestures and movements to reflect the narration.  The culmination of all of this hard work resulted in two highly successful dress rehearsals for Lower School students and a polished final program for parents (which included four Spanish plays, Latin American cuisine, tri-fold presentations, and a Spanish soccer game). 

Additionally, students watched a video about the possibilities for linguistic expression (21 Accents: Amy Walker); discussed a language Infographic about the hardest languages to learn coming from English; and composed a postcard written from the point of view of the Spanish explorer Hernando Cortes.  They also continued playing fútbol, and were assigned lines for a daily ‘class conversation’ prior to the outdoor games.  Fifth graders have done a great job this year of applying the target language in a meaningful context.  Gracias.

Resumen Q3, 12-13 (K-5)

Grade
KThis term, students in kindergarten shifted from passive to active participants in class.  Instead of simply listening to stories and acquiring language (input), kindergarteners became physically involved in the stories and began producing a lot of Spanish (output).  For example, after the good shark finds the treasure before the bad shark, he offers to share all of the toys/juguetes with everyone in class; therefore, students had a play day, and practiced requesting names of toys they knew in the target language.  They also lined up all of their chairs in a row one day, and created a large sofá on which everyone could lounge—chaquetas/jackets were the ‘cushions’. 

When kindergarteners began responding to action commands, the sofá became a train with one person ‘left behind’, shouting “¡Espérame!” (Wait for me!).  Kindergarteners also played Hide and Go Seek in the Spanish Cave; read and later colored the book, Jugando a las escondidas con Zog (Playing Hide and Go Seek with Zog); received brand new, sea creature passwords; learned that Salsa is both a food and a dance; practiced opening and closing hard and soft cover books at different speeds (abre/open; cierra/close); and performed their action words all around the school—through the tunnels, in the Upper School hallways, over near the Admission’s Office, and beyond.  Gracias for a fantastic quarter!
1This term, students in first grade continued hearing mini-stories in the target language.  Because the majority took place in space—from ball games sans gravity, to plastic bugs literally taped to a spinning disco-ball planet (which created colorful insect-shadow-outlines on the wall)—students allowed their science backgrounds to inform and guide the plots. 

First graders also practiced reading sight words in the target language; chose new passwords based on if they were an el word or a la word (‘boy’ and ‘girl’ words, respectively); created costumes out of the cloth in the Spanish room in order to dress up as their passwords; played Spanish Bingo and a “¿Qué es esto?” (What is this?) game; talked about Spanish diminutives (perro/dog🡪 perrito/puppy; gato/cat 🡪 gatito/ kitten); defined similar-sounding words (e.g., fiesta/party and siesta/nap); and made aviones de papel/paper airplanes.
2This term, students in second grade began a storytelling unit.  Instead of multiple, unrelated mini-stories each class, however, second graders ended up creating a quarter-long tale about a red Martian and a purple Martian.  Essentially, the red Martian steals all of the purple Martian’s money, and tries to escape in his getaway vehicle, but the car breaks down, and he has to buy a new one.  The new one is too small, so he goes to a witch for some shrinking powder, but the witch is evil and the powder turns him into a bat.  When the witch is chasing after the bat, she raises her magic wand to cast a spell, but drops her bag of potions in the process; the magic dust falls down, down, down… and lands in the Spanish Cave.  To be continued…

When they were not talking about magic potions and the like, students learned the basic dance steps to the Tango, Salsa, and Merengue; practiced saying, “Voy en segundo grado” (I’m in second grade) for their speeches (public speaking); participated in a scripted class conversation with their peers; played a game called, “Busca el murciélago” (Look for the Bat); read their action commands on the SMART board, instead of hearing them aloud; enjoyed watching several episodes of Pocoyó; and chose new passwords based on if they were an el word or a la word.  Gracias for a great term.
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 fourth grade took some time to deconstruct the Spanish structures that they already know.  This was accomplished primarily via ‘wall word searches’.  That is, fourth graders had to first find the relevant signs on the walls of the Spanish Cave, and then piece together the answers for a variety of translation exercises.  The two class sections also had a friendly competition, in which students became word detectives, pouring through both translated and culturally authentic texts, searching for (and later recording) as many words and phrases as possible that they recognized in the target language. 

Fourth graders also focused on deciphering the difference between “Voy a hablar/I’m going to talk” and “Estoy hablando/I’m talking”; wrote back to their pen-pals in Mexico, and glued candy hearts with Spanish words onto the letters—e.g., AMIGO/friend; and worked on two short class plays.  The first play was a formal meeting with an unexpected visitor, while the second was more mystery-themed (the aftermath of a toy store robbery).  Finally, fourth graders made Spanish fortune tellers, or comecocos, to practice uncommon color shades for the outside flaps (primrose/prímula), and the challenging phrase, “Voy a ir” (I’m going to go), for the inside flaps.  Gracias for another great term.
5This term, students in fifth grade put their theatrical skills to the test.  In lieu of the password routine, fifth graders were assigned lines in a class script, which they practiced together each period.  Once students had mastered their lines, they began adding expression and personality, which really allowed the plays to come to life.  Fifth graders also started analyzing the verbs and vocabulary they know from a grammatical perspective; putting this information in chart form helped to organize their knowledge in a mathematical way, and point out subtle patterns in the language. 

In addition, students learned a little bit about linguistics and where sounds originate; listed pairs of rhyming words in Spanish, and then wrote original raps with these words to an instrumental background beat; presented a short story in the target language to their peers; and continued playing fútbol/soccer matches outside when the weather cooperated.  Their March homework challenge was to watch a movie in Spanish (Spanish voiceover with English subtitles).  Gracias for another great term.

Resumen Q2, 12-13 (K-5)

Grade
KThis term, students in kindergarten continued creating imaginative class stories.  Here, the celebrated pelefante makes the acquaintance of many lively characters (in both dreams and waking life)—from a duck with a magical cape, to a witch casting silly spells, to muttering Chinese and Russian ducks who don’t speak Spanish, and a big, bad shark who doesn’t want to share a buried treasure.  Kindergarteners also chose brand new passwords, began logically stringing action commands together (e.g., freeze like ice, melt into a puddle, jump over the puddle, then swim through the water), and heard two books in the target language: The Runaway Tortilla and Cómo el Grinch robó la Navidad/How the Grinch Stole Christmas.  Gracias for another fun-filled quarter!
1This term, students in first grade continued adding various activity centers.  For example, one week, and in order to experience the infinitive ir/to go, first graders gave examples of where they wanted to go (Quiero ir a Chile), and then, quite literally, went places, traveling all around the school and even outside.  Another week, students had fun molding various shapes of their own creation with air-dry clay/arcilla, sticking on palos/(Popsicle) sticks and plumas/feathers to add some flair, and later painting their small sculptures with washable paints.  In addition to stating what they wanted to do each day, students also learned how to ask what others wanted to do, and practiced writing and recording this information on a chart handout.  Finally, first graders began hearing mini short stories in the target language to practice hearing all of their acquired vocabulary in context.  Gracias for a fantastic quarter!
2This term, students in second grade continued working on their conversational skills via class games and activity days; listened to familiar children’s songs in the target language; and made new password cards for their birthday months.  They also illustrated a class book, in which each second grader is mentioned on a different page in the context of a short story.  Later, second graders were introduced to the Spanish, world-renowned, literary masterpiece Don Quijote de La Mancha by Cervantes.  They learned that the main character, Don Quijote, is an old man who loves to read about knights in shining armor.  However, he gets so involved with this fictitious world that he decides to become an actual knight, and right all of the wrongs in the real world, which, naturally, causes some problems.  Nine-hundred pages of problems, to be precise…
3This 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.
4This term, students in fourth grade chose new animal passwords; reviewed gerunds and incorporated them into el pueblo (e.g., trabajando/working); settled into a routine to determine who works where each week; read and presented dialogues, and then integrated these written dialogues into the pueblo simulation; dived into challenging translation exercises (English to Spanish, which is generally more difficult than Spanish to English); and discussed Spanish accentuation.  Fourth graders also composed letters to their pen-pals in Oaxaca, Mexico.  After writing rough and final drafts in the target language, students decorated their papers with patterned designs, colorful feathers and ribbons, little pom-poms, and other fun do-dads.   Some even attached tiny gifts for their new friends.  Gracias for another great quarter.
5This term, students in fifth grade heard the second Latin American legend of the year (La casa embrujada/The Haunted House); worked on asking and answering questions with extended responses; learned basic steps to the Salsa and Cha-Cha, or two ballroom dances that originated in Cuba; identified patterns (converting gendered nouns); and continued creating their own class stories and playing soccer in the target language.  Students also had their first few free writes in Spanish (stream-of-consciousness writing), and extended their password routine to include entire sentences, versus single nouns.  Gracias for such a fun and productive quarter!

Resumen Q1, 12-13 (K-5)

Grade
KThis term, students in kindergarten let their imaginations run wild.  Straightforward, one-dimensional stories evolved into highly complex sagas, growing ever longer and more complicated from one week to the next.  A new week merely indicated a new chapter!  From the infamous pelefante winding up in jail week after week, to parties celebrating his release (thanks to a flying duck-reindeer), to magic tricks with disappearing marker ink, to chicken soup cooking adventures, to spinning disco-ball planets and a pato-marciano trying to adjust to the strange environment here on Earth, to crocodile encounters, pizza and popped balloons, the linguistic journey never ceases to be original.  To tame the madness, students heard a scary—but “normal”—book in Spanish at their Halloween party (Bruja, bruja ven a mi fiesta).  Gracias for such a fun and productive quarter!
1This term, students in first grade sat wherever their password card appeared each day.  First graders also stated what they wanted to do each day, requested the appropriate materials in the target language, and then proceeded to paint (Popsicle sticks with watercolors), build (colorful wire creations), sew (with felt and string), play (with Lincoln Logs), and draw pictures they found in Spanish books.   They know that they can only touch something in the Spanish room if they know and/or are willing to learn the name for it.  As students become comfortable with the vocabulary, more “activity centers” are added.
2This term, students in second grade sat wherever their password card appeared each day.  For review purposes, they began the year earning money for correct responses to translation questions (Spanish to English).  This money was then used to buy items from the Art Center.  If the activity they desired to pursue was ‘more expensive’, second graders collected extra cash by learning their peers’ passwords.  A bilingual web of communication, or information exchange, was thereby established, gently encouraging students not only to learn from the teacher, but also from one another.  Later on, students presented mini-dialogues in the target language (public speaking skills).  Students will focus on building and honing their conversational skills from this point onward.  ¡Hasta la próxima!/Until next time!
3This 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.
4This term, students in fourth grade excitedly delved into the task of creating their own town (pueblo).  After establishing and building their own bank accounts—learning and recording teachers’ Spanish passwords was one way to earn money—the actual simulation commenced.  A typical day in the pueblo begins with fourth graders stating where they are going to work.  Businesses open at this point include the banco/bank, juguetería/toy store, and tienda de arte/art store.  Later, students travel around town, taking out money from the bank, waiting in line, purchasing items, occasionally getting fined for speaking English, and buying houses or renting apartments, should they so desire.  Workers are paid with realistic looking Spanish paychecks, and students oftentimes tip their peers for a job well done.  Thanks to all residents for bringing the word p-u-e-b-l-o to life.
5This term, students in fifth grade recited their passwords, listened to songs from various Spanish-speaking countries, and practiced reading contextualized language every class period.  They also heard the first of four Latin American legends (a Cuban tale about the importance of learning another language); created their own class story; and played soccer on Fridays to work on responding instinctually in the target language.  In addition, fifth graders had several highly academic meta-linguistic discussions in English about Spanish.  Kudos to all for an excellent start to the year.

Resumen Q4, 11-12 (K-5)

Grade
KThis term, students in kindergarten let their imaginations run wild.  Straightforward, one-dimensional stories evolved into highly complex sagas, growing ever longer and more complicated from one week to the next.  A new week merely indicated a new chapter!  A few plot examples include: a frog who wanted to catch a praying mantis with his sticky tongue; a scam artist cockroach who helped a pig steal the Angry Birds’ eggs; the reappearance of el pato malo (the bad duck); a magical Cinderella key used to unlock a jail cell; the day Lady Gaga placed a gigantic telescope against the window inside her Harry Potter-like castle; a flying book that transformed into a peacock wearing blue shoes after the main character was startled by a loud clap of thunder; and a Martian who was forced to stop at multiple stoplights out in space while driving to Earth in his flying car. 

Kindergarteners also traveled around the border of the front field of the school to learn the word tree/árbol; created an assortment of shapes out of Popsicle sticks and pencils; and went fishing for objects in a “pond” in the Spanish room to review basic nouns in the target language.  What a wonderful year it has been!
1This term, students in first grade worked on their public speaking skills in the target language.  After one person at each table asked, “¿Qué quieres hacer?/What do you want to do?”, the others answered individually in Spanish, “Quiero [jugar]/I want [to play]”.  To extend their responses, students learned the word “con/with”.  For example: “Quiero jugar con mi amigo Peter/I want to play with my friend Peter; Quiero jugar con mi amiga Jane/I want to play with my friend Jane; Quiero jugar con los patos/I want to play with the ducks”. 

Later, students interviewed each other and recorded what they wanted to do that day and what they wanted to be when they grow up.  The rest of the quarter—after the daily password routine—was spent on free play days.  Informal, creative play in Spanish class is stressed in the younger grades to encourage language immersion versus rote memorization.  “Therefore, you best of men, don’t use force in training the children in the subjects, but rather play. In that way can you better discern toward what each is naturally directed.” –Socrates
2This term, students in second grade played a hide-and-go seek game with their password cards; read and later presented scripts to the class entirely in the target language; had a wonderful linguistic discussion comparing various languages and alphabets; identified the distinct beats of Salsa and Tango music, and then learned the basic dance steps to each one; simultaneously all forgot their passwords one week (Se me olvidó/I forgot); practiced interrogating their peers in Spanish (¡Contesta la pregunta!/Answer the question!); and finally, mastered a challenging question from a Señor Wooly song (¿Dónde estabas a las tres de la tarde ayer?/Where were you at three in the afternoon yesterday?).  Students spent the last week talking about how to incorporate Spanish into their summer plans.  For a plethora of ideas and resources, please visit my website.
3This term, students in third grade took time to pull apart and break down memorized sentences/expressions into individual words and transferrable units—essentially, deconstructing language.  They were also challenged to translate in the opposite direction, from English to Spanish, instead of Spanish to English.  Stopping to think about how language is structured led to many valuable discussions throughout the quarter which, in turn, helped students to make a slew of connections. 

Different light bulbs were turning on every day.  For instance, although third graders had accepted that “el/la/los/las” all mean “the” in Spanish, they never knew the logic behind it (i.e., masculine and feminine nouns).  Near the end of the term, students used their in-depth knowledge of the language to create and present original dialogues and stories to their peers.  Kudos to all for a job well done!
4This term, students in fourth grade continued honing their language skills while working in the pueblo.  Fourth graders focused on expanding their conversations to longer, more involved exchanges; breaking down complex ideas into basic linguistic structures for the purpose of communicating an idea (versus being “poetic” or “academic”); expressing different points of view; and taking risks with the language.  The latter implies that students do not rely solely on the information or vocabulary given, but instead are willing to experiment grammatically in order to make the language their own. 

Likewise, the pueblo itself has the ability to grow into and become “its own”.  For example, perhaps the most thrilling week of the quarter occurred when the addition of a tax collector changed the generally amiable ambiance to one of revolt and strikes (huelgas).  Citizens were charged with taxes (impuestos) for anything and everything.  The pueblo lives and breathes because of days like these; the town is both real to students and realistic by nature.  As a result, students are emotionally involved.  They are not merely translating vocabulary words; they are, very literally, living the language.  Gracias for an incredible year.
5This term, students in fifth grade presented two dress rehearsals for their peers prior to the actual Latin American Festival.  Complete with a wide variety of music selections (from James Bond to Handel’s “Messiah”) and a strong command of the target language, the performances were all highly successful.  Fifth graders spent the last portion of the year using their legend vocabulary to create an imaginative plot in Spanish.  The class decided to base the action around a friendly walrus and his arch-nemesis, Garfield.  Finally, students were challenged to present an original story in Spanish in groups of two.  Gracias for a fantastic year.

Resumen Q3, 11-12 (K-5)

Grade
KThis term, students in kindergarten began stringing their action word commands together to create miniature role-plays and to continue creating class stories.  Previously, kindergarteners would be instructed to “fall down” as a command.  Now, one student spins around, becomes dizzy, and falls down, at which point the other student runs over and asks if s/he is okay.  Pretend injuries always serve as excellent story starters, and moreover, incorporate kindergarteners into the stories as active actors and actresses (with “lines”–or cued responses–in the target language) instead of just passive audience members.  Gracias for another great quarter.  
1This term, students in first grade learned the names of all of the Spanish-speaking countries in South and Central America by jumping on the tape floor map in the Spanish room.  People tend to think that only Mexico and Spain speak Spanish, when in reality, there are over twenty countries with Spanish as their official language.  First graders also helped create several class stories, and heard a couple of books in the target language.  While class stories include vocabulary students already know, books in the target language incorporate “out-of-bounds” words and force first graders to intuit (via pictures and intonation) the storyline.  You see, it is all about stretching the linguistic mind…
2This term, students in second grade worked on their public speaking and leadership skills in the target language.  For example, instead of the teacher saying, “Dime la contraseña/Tell me the password” as students entered the Spanish room, the Star Student did.  Once inside, one student at each table would ask his/her group, “¿Qué quieres hacer?/What do you want to do?”, and the other group members would answer, “Quiero jugar contigo/I want to play with you”, or “Pues, déjame ver, no sé/Well, let me see, I don’t know”. 

Later, each group presented to the class entirely in Spanish.  As their confidence with the language developed, second graders also had to ask and answer a basic question–one question and answer per table:  ¿Qué día es hoy?/What day is today?  Hoy es jueves/Today is Thursday.  ¿Qué tiempo hace afuera?/ What’s the weather like outside?  Hace sol/It’s sunny.  ¿Cuál es la fecha?/ What’s the date?  Es el ocho de marzo/It’s March 8th.  ¿Qué hora es?/What time is it?  ¡Es hora de jugar!/It’s time to play!  Gracias for a great quarter!
3This term, students in third grade began a storytelling unit.  On Mondays and Tuesdays, the teacher produces language for third graders to absorb and digest (via highly imaginative class stories).  Stories help students to synthesize all of the vocabulary they have been acquiring and put it in a meaningful context.  More importantly, students’ creative minds make for some very memorable characters—from the grey hippopotamus HWMNBN (He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named), to a Lego-man named The Lady in White, to an evil dentist and his pet bird, to the ghost named Steve who really wants to eat some sausage and bacon, third graders let their imaginations run wild. 

On Fridays, students are responsible for producing language in a more flexible, free-play type of environment.  They also changed their passwords several times this quarter, and learned the names of the Spanish-speaking countries in South and Central America by jumping on the tape floor map in the Spanish room.
4This term, students in fourth grade learned the names of the Spanish-speaking countries in South and Central America; wrote back to their pen-pals in Oaxaca, Mexico; and re-birthed their pueblo/town from the first quarter.  A typical day in the pueblo begins with fourth graders stating where they want to work—at la juguetería/the toy store, el banco/the bank, la tienda de arte/the art store, el cine/the movie theater, la escuela de danza, arte, música y karate/the dance, art, music, and karate school, or la librería/the book store. 

Later, students travel around town, taking out money from the bank, waiting in line, buying items, returning products, stopping by the casino to play a card game, getting temporarily thrown in the calabozo/dungeon for speaking English, and practicing a lot of spontaneous Spanish in practical, real-life situations.  A new money system was also instituted, in which students lose money for speaking English and earn money by speaking Spanish.  Congratulations and thanks go to all of the citizens of Legoville for bringing the word p-u-e-b-l-o to life.
5This term, students in fifth grade spent the first half of the quarter studying and rehearsing their lines for the fourth legend of the year: El hijo-ladrón (Guatemala).  They also wrote back to their pen-pals in Oaxaca, Mexico.  Later on, fifth graders were assigned their official performance groups for the Latin American Festival on Cinco de Mayo (May 5th). 

Students will work in-depth on one legend until that time, using a genre-specific lens (action movie, thriller, comedy, musical, or drama) to guide their decisions regarding music selections, gestures, humor (or a lack thereof), and costumes/props.  Fifth graders have really hit the ground running and are off to a great start.  You can definitely feel the buzz of creative energy!

Resumen Q2, 11-12 (K-5)

Grade
KThis term, students in kindergarten spent the bulk of the quarter creating imaginative class stories.  From the infamous bad duck winding up in jail week after week, to parties celebrating his release, to the good duck’s cooking adventures, to Santa Claus getting caught in a snowstorm, to a witch shrinking all of the tables in the Spanish classroom, and to the appearance of a life-size castle, the linguistic journey never ceases to be original.  In addition to honing their comprehension skills, students also worked on public speaking skills in the target language by commanding their peers with Spanish action words (baila/dance, corre/run, etc.).
1This term, students in first grade changed their passwords to colors and foods.  They also studied a plethora of weather expressions, and learned how to ask what the weather is like outside.  When first graders felt confident with the new vocabulary, they worked in groups to rehearse their lines for a short News Show in the target language.  After practicing, they presented – reading from the “teleprompter” when necessary – in the cardboard frame of a television.  Students also wrote what they wanted to do each day (either on note cards or the whiteboard) after reading the Daily Board Message together with the class.
2This term, students in second grade really focused on reading the target language.  Instead of the teacher verbally articulating action commands, students read the word on the board and then performed the action.  Second graders also read, illustrated, and stapled together their own miniature Spanish books.  Near the end of the quarter, they even read and acted out a story about a student who stole a stuffed animal from another student, complained to the teacher, and then watched in disbelief as the teacher escaped with the stuffed animal!  Finally, students identified words they knew in children’s Spanish books, and wrote those words on the board.  “Books are a banquet for the mind… Stuff yourself.”  -Charles Schultz
3This term, students in third grade worked hard to understand subtle differences in the target language.  Specifically, third graders learned how to change infinitives into gerunds (i.e., “to play” to “playing”) in Spanish; and how to differentiate the following: What do you want?  What do you want to do?  What are you doing?  Do you want [to play]?  Why?  Following the Line Leader rotation of their regular classroom, students – instead of the teacher – also took turns demanding the password(s) from their peers as they entered the Spanish room.  Finally, third graders made miniature flip cards in the target language (No me molestes, estoy jugando/Don’t bother me, I’m playing).  Some students continue to carry these cards with them everywhere, for fear that they may be interrogated in the target language without one…
4This term, students in fourth grade created a story in the target language about a man named Bob who wanted a cat named Bob.  The story had multiple twists and turns, and ended up on the top of Mt. Everest.  There, the man named Bob learned that the cat named Bob was guarded by an entire army, and that he needed the password to enter.  At this point, fourth graders voted on how to end their epic tale of the notoriously daft Bob, but their conclusion was ultimately quite inconclusive.  The Bobs’ fate will therefore be determined at a later date.  Students then analyzed the story they had created from a grammatical perspective.  Once they understood the basic sentence structure, fourth graders had the tools to piece together their own original sentences and produce their own mini storybooks.
5This term, students in fifth grade received scripts and group assignments for two more Latin American legends.  The first was called La casa embrujada (The Haunted/Enchanted House), and was based on a legend from Peru.  The second was called El collar de oro (The Gold Necklace), and was based on a legend from New Mexico.  For both of these plays, students began to take note of the details of good acting: Create movement with purpose!  Expression matters!  Always face the audience!  To emphasize the latter, students used rubber ducks as their understudies, and drew pictures to represent the stage and scenery.  Moving an object helped to emphasize where the actors were at all times, especially during stage entrances and exits.  Students are becoming increasingly more creative in their performances, which is excellent to see.

Resumen Q1, 11-12 (K-5)

Grade
KThis term, students in kindergarten had their own animal password to enter and exit the Spanish room.  Students sat wherever their password appeared each day.  Kindergarteners also reviewed vocabulary from PK (via class mystery stories), learned more action words, started recognizing sight words in the target language (juguete/toy, caja/box, ropa/clothes, animalitos/little animals), and read a scary book in Spanish at their Halloween party (Bruja, bruja ven a mi fiesta).  It has been a fun and productive quarter!
1This term, students in first grade had their own shape password to enter and exit the Spanish room.  Students sat wherever their password appeared each day.  First graders also stated what they wanted to do each day, requested the appropriate materials in the target language, and then proceeded to paint (Popsicle sticks with watercolors), build (colorful wire creations), make animal tails (out of tape and string), draw pictures, and read Spanish books.   As students become comfortable with the vocabulary, more “activity centers” are added.
2This term, students in second grade had their own secret password to enter and exit the Spanish room.  Students sat wherever their password appeared each day.  Second graders also truly experienced language this quarter.  Whether they were balancing rulers (reglas) on their heads and noses, venturing outside to collect more leaves (hojas) than the other class, flying paper airplanes (aviones de papel), measuring how far they could broad-jump in feet and inches (pies y pulgadas), playing games (busca el murciélago), or conversing in a “NO ENGLISH” environment, students began to understand that being able to translate a word or phrase is just as important as having a context for that word or phrase.  The root of language is experience!
3This term, students in third grade had their own secret password(s) to enter and exit the Spanish room.  Students sat wherever their password appeared each day.  Third graders also memorized the equivalent of “Eeney, Meeney, Miney Moe” in Spanish (Pito, pito colorito); pretended to play school, with students taking turns as the ‘mean teacher’; auditioned for the popular television shows American Idol and America’s Got Talent; performed mini-skits in Spanish as robbers tried to invade the royal kingdom; and finally, learned a song called ¡PAN! (“BREAD!”).  
4This term, students in fourth grade had their own food password to enter and exit the Spanish room.  Students sat wherever their password appeared each day.  Fourth graders also reviewed vocabulary from last year; set up businesses and worked in their class town (Legoville); were introduced to a new Señor Wooly song called Anita,¿adónde vas? (Anita, where are you going?); and have already written two letters to their new pen-pals in Oaxaca, Mexico.
5This term, students in fifth grade had their own secret password(s) to enter and exit the Spanish room.  Students sat wherever their password appeared each day.  Fifth graders also heard the first of four Latin American legends that they will study this year.  It was called The Mouse Who Knew How to Bark (or La ratona que sabía ladrar), and is based on a legend from Cuba.  Students spent the bulk of the quarter studying and rehearsing their lines for this legend (that has been converted into a play).  The rest of the time was spent drafting and composing letters to their new pen-pals in Oaxaca, Mexico.

Resumen Q4, 10-11 (K-5)

Grade
KThis term, students in kindergarten reviewed numbers, family members, and days of the week with their long-term substitute (while I was in China).  Students also exercised their reasoning skills in the target language, as part of the daily routine for the fourth quarter was to read a Spanish book at the start of every class.  Using familiar vocabulary and visual cues (pictures), students quickly deduced and were able to translate the main ideas of numerous books, including: Perro grande, perro pequeño; El cuento de Ferdinando; ¿Eres tú mi mamá?; Bizcocho encuentra un amigo; Huggly y los libros; David se mete en líos; Cucú, te veo; Lo siento, Samuel; and No, David

As a final project, kindergarten students illustrated and wrote two of their secret passwords (contraseñas) on a note card.  Students use these passwords to enter and exit the Spanish room.  Students also learned how to introduce themselves and speak with expression in the target language.  It has been an absolute joy working with your children this year.  Gracias.
1This term, students in first grade practiced saying days of the week, months, and numbers (1-30) in Spanish with their long-term substitute.  They also read several bilingual books together, and reviewed body parts vocabulary (while I was in China).  Later on in the term, first graders were challenged to write – instead of simply read – the Daily Morning Message in Spanish on the board.  They also practiced writing their requests (or questions) on the board. 

That way, students could share with one another what they were writing, and peer-edit when necessary.  Writing also helped students with their phonetic understanding of the language (looking at the letter “j” and pronouncing it like an “h”).  Lastly, first graders reviewed all of the vocabulary from the year, and surprised themselves with how much they could recall.  Gracias for a super year!
2This term, students in second grade practiced saying days of the week, months, and numbers (1-30) in Spanish with their long-term substitute.  They also read several bilingual books together, and reviewed food and body parts vocabulary (while I was in China).  Later on in the quarter, second graders focused on responding instinctually in the target language, and trying to use as many high-frequency expressions as possible during class time. 

Students spent the last few weeks of the school year learning how to spell and write correctly what they have been saying all year long.  The culmination to this hard work was a “Note Card Project”, where students had to write down 1) what they wanted, 2) what they needed in order to do what they wanted, and 3) what they didn’t want.  On the back, they wrote their passwords.  Second graders wrote several rough drafts, one final draft, illustrated their cards, and then handed them in to be laminated.  They are now able to read, write, speak, and comprehend what is on the card.  Congratulations to a job well done by all!
3This term, students in third grade really played with the target language.  To learn the question, Can I sharpen my pencil?, the teacher presented a dreadfully boring, pretend grammar lesson, only to be interrupted every ten seconds by students asking, Can I sharpen my pencil?  Naturally, two more seconds into the make-believe lecture, the grinding of the electronic sharpener drowned out the tedious explanations.  Another game evolved when an overabundance of English flooded into the Spanish classroom one afternoon. 

When students became hyperaware of how much English they were using, they put forth their best effort to eliminate it during the last few weeks of school.  In the game, students actually led the class as “teacher”.  For example:  You!  What do you want?  I want to play with the caterpillar (toy).  A dramatic pause for effect then occurred, followed by the response: Yes, you can / no, you can’t.  If a student was talking, the “teacher” would respond:  Silence!  Pay attention!  Sit down!  If a student was accused of speaking English, the student would respond:  I’m so sorry!  Cued responses ensured students’ comprehension; third graders had to understand the Spanish they were hearing in order to respond with a contextually appropriate phrase.  Gracias for a fabulous year.
4This term, students in fourth grade studied an abridged version of Miguel de Cervantes’ masterpiece, Don Quixote de La Mancha, with their long-term substitute (while I was in China).  Because fourth graders also study Shakespeare in their regular classroom, they were able to make connections between the two writers (who both lived during the same period and actually died on the same day in 1616).  Partway through the quarter, students returned to their ever-evolving pueblo.  One day, something quite interesting occurred: there was a big commotion in the town square… something about customers leaving one shop and traveling across town to a similar shop… with lower prices… and better service… hmm. 

This, as the class learned, is called competition, and is exactly what happens in the [real] business world.  To ease the tension as well as get them thinking, students were told to list specific reasons re: why clients should come to their store.  The pueblo lives and breathes because of days like these; the town is both real to students and realistic by nature.  As a result, students are emotionally involved.  They are not merely translating vocabulary words; they are, very literally, living the language.  Gracias for an incredible year.
5This term, students in fifth grade worked with their long-term substitute to create DVD’s of the legends they have been studying and rehearsing all year.  Complete with Spanish dialogue and English subtitles, the DVD’s were a success, and therefore shown at the Latin American Festival.  Following the festival (and my return from China), students spent the last few weeks of school synthesizing all of the vocabulary they have been learning via lively, informal discourse classes. 

When the weather finally improved, the teacher ratified an amendment: students could play Spanish soccer outside for half of the class, if and only if they were excellent listeners and participated in the target language in the classroom on any given day.  This motivational method (as their minds began to drift to summer vacation plans) worked like a charm to keep fifth graders focused and on task for their last few weeks in Lower School.  Gracias for an outstanding year.

Resumen Q3, 10-11 (K-5)

Grade
KThis term, students in kindergarten began to use the target language with their peers.  Previously, kindergarteners were accustomed to answering ¿Cómo estás? with a variety of responses (Estoy/I am… feliz/happy, triste/sad, cansado(a)/tired, bien/good, mal/bad, aburrido(a)/bored, así-así/so-so, etc.).  Now, students are expected to ask their classmates this question, and listen to the answer at the beginning of every class.  Students also learned how to ask, ¿Puedo ir al baño?/Can I go to the bathroom? and ¿Puedo ir a tomar agua?/Can I go get a drink? 

If students ask to get a drink and the teacher asks why, they know to answer, [porque] no tengo hambre.  Tengo sed.  / [because] I’m not hungry.  I’m thirsty.  The second part of the quarter dealt with getting more specific in their [toy] requests.  That is, en lieu of asking for the toy, students worked on expressing I want this toy.  “This” changes in Spanish depending on what one is referencing, so this will be an ongoing discussion throughout the year.  But kindergarteners have done a fine job this term accepting that fact.  It has been an absolute joy working with your children this term.  Gracias.
1This term, students in first grade extended their “Can I…?” questioning to the extreme.  The following is a list of questions that most students have mastered: Can I go the bathroom?  Can I play with…?  Can I draw on the board / with paper?  Can I paint?  Can I sit here?  Can I sleep?  Can I get a drink?  Can I read a book?  Can I build something?  First graders also became accustomed to answering the question, ¿Cómo se dice, “…” en español/inglés? / How do you say, “…” in Spanish/English? 

This question was later used to test first graders’ knowledge when translating the Daily Spanish Message on the whiteboard.  Initially, the Daily Spanish Message stated facts about the day in the target language, but as students’ reading comprehension improved, the teacher would slyly change an obvious truth (Hoy es domingo / Today is Sunday).  Now, students immediately recognize what is incorrect and confidently declare what the message should read.  Gracias for a great term.   
2This term, students in second grade continued with the communicative-oriented focus and worked on acquiring more practical language (high frequency words/phrases).  Students spend the first five minutes to ten minutes every class listening to their peers 1) ask permission to do specific activities, and 2) request specific items or materials, all in the target language.  After that, students begin mixing old and new vocabularies.  Second graders choose activities that interest them, and tend to pursue one in particular class after class. 

In other words, students are constantly creating and adding on to their ideas, constantly digging deeper, constantly growing.  As a result, their vocabularies grow with them.  For example, this week a few students asked if they could paint some miniature clothespins they found.  The answer was yes, provided they learn the word for clothespins (pinzas).  Second graders are now working to take apart memorized expressions and reapply the words in different contexts and situations.  This particular skill, once mastered, allows for advanced personal expression in the target language.  Gracias for a fabulous term.
3This term, students in third grade focused on creating two incredibly elaborate class stories.  The first story eventually ended when snow days interfered and everyone lost track of the plot, and the other has really only just begun.  Students this year are quite detail-oriented, in the sense that instead of lasting two or three days, class stories tend to spread themselves out over three or four weeks each.  This means that: characters have very pointed motivations about what they are doing and why; students have time to illustrate the fortalezas y castillos (forts and castles) where all of the action occurs; and interesting vocabulary from the entire year – in addition to previous years – begins to pop up (armada/armada, soborno/bribery, pulpo/octopus, etc.). 

When students ask in the target language to draw a certain part of the story, the teacher generally agrees, with the right to, well… heckle.  So, this is the octopus’ fort – the what? – so this is the octopus’ fort – the what? – so this is the pulpo’s fort – the what? – so ésta es la fortaleza del pulpo – oh, now I understand…  Language is a sentient being!  A living thing!  Students are now beginning to understand that, from the moment they step in the Spanish room, if you know the word, you must use it!  …or else the conversation will not advance beyond – the what?  What did you say?  You must understand, my English is very poor.  In fact, I do not really speak it at all.  Gracias to all for another great term.
4This term, students in fourth grade continued working in the class pueblo, and even named it (El pueblo de las sombras / Shadow Town).  Fourth graders take their roles quite seriously, and alternate working as store clerks, police officers, advertisers, or customers.  A typical day in the pueblo involves trips to multiple businesses and a lot of Spanish.  For example, at the local cine, or movie theater, students pay cinco euros (five Euro) to watch the latest Señor Wooly video: El banco.  Students announce show times, collect dinero, and then happily sing along in Spanish until they are forced to hand over another five Euro or be on their merry way. 

Some students spend class time buying property (outlining houses and other businesses on the floor with masking tape), while others prefer to script, rehearse, and later perform dramas at the local teatro (theater).  Fourth graders even discussed running for town offices, and actually gave some terrific political persuasive speeches one day, but ultimately decided that the teacher should remain in charge.  It is therefore with much pride that I, the official mayor of Shadow Town, must thank the citizens of Shadow Town for bringing the word p-u-e-b-l-o to life.
5This term, students in fifth grade continued to learn about and apply the details of good acting to their roles in two more legends: El collar de oro (New Mexico) and El hijo-ladrón (Guatemala).  They first directed their attention to gestures, and then later worked on including expression in their portrayal of a character.  Students discussed how posture, walking, accents, and facial expressions can drastically alter one’s perception of a person.  A “swagger” can define someone even before s/he utters a word. 

After having studied Latin American legends all year long, fifth graders are now prepared to put the final touches on their end-of-the-year performances for the Cinco de Mayo Festival.  As students begin memorizing lines, gathering props and costumes, and designing backdrops, please do not hesitate to ask for time/location details.  You will not want to miss this great event!

Resumen Q2, 10-11 (K-5)

Grade
KThis term, students in kindergarten increased their Spanish vocabularies through a variety of songs, books, and games.  First, they learned and/or reviewed the song, Tengo hambre, Señor (“I’m hungry, Señor”).  But one day, Señor – a puppet in the Spanish room – was accidentally misplaced, and students spent the entire period watching the invisible Señor fly above everyone’s heads and cause mischief, all in the target language.  Kindergarteners enjoyed this so much that several classes were spent discussing the invisible puppet’s location and what he was doing at the moment (flying in a rocket ship, dancing, eating a banana, etc.).  Invisible animals always keep you on your toes. 

Recently, students also learned a short bilingual song (Adiós, amigos), and listened to several books in Spanish (i.e., ¿Quién está durmiendo? and David se mete en líos).  Finally, students played a game called Busca el murciélago (“boose-kah-ell-moor-see-A-lah-go”), where kindergartners hide and then look for a bat (the animal) in the classroom.  It is a hot/cold type of game that is fun for all ages.  As the Q & U wedding approaches, special emphasis has also been placed on using good manners in the target language.  Gracias for another great quarter.
1This term, students in first grade added a bit more formality to their daily routine.  At the start of each class, the teacher took attendance, addressing students as señores and señoritas (plus their respective last names).  After taking attendance, a weather reporter (dressed up in cape and tie) asked the class, ¿qué tiempo hace afuera? – or, what’s the weather like outside?  Students then proceeded to answer using expressions from the entire year and even negating some to state the opposite (e.g., it’s not sunny outside).  First graders have also been learning the days of the week in their regular classrooms, so on occasion they are tested in the Spanish room (to read and pronounce the words). 

Curricular integration allows students to realize that Spanish exists outside of the Spanish room.  To further this thought, students were required to ask the teacher certain questions and their peers other questions in the target language during class.  Spanish needs to be woven in and around the students’ worlds, not just alive in the occasional dialogue between student and teacher.  As a final culmination to the quarter, the two first grade classes competed against one another in a noun challenge competition.  This was timely, as students had just discussed nouns, verbs, and adjectives in their regular classrooms.  Each class listed over fifty nouns in the target language.  Congratulations to all!
2This term, students in second grade worked on acquiring practical language.  “Practical” in this sense refers to “usable language”, or high-frequency words/phrases that students hear and speak every day.  Second graders present dialogues and perform various role-plays in Spanish using this practical language in front of the class (public speaking).  A typical conversation might go as follows:  I’m bored.  What do you want to do?  I don’t know. What do you want to do?  I don’t know.  What do you want to do?  Well, let me see… I want to read a Harry Potter book.  What do you think?  I think that’s silly.  I don’t like Harry Potter. 

Students quickly realize that what they study in Spanish class is a mirror image of the language used in the real world.  As a result, they begin to apply the target language outside of the classroom – at lunch, recess, or even in the hallway.  All the while, second graders are gaining valuable communicative skills: asking questions, providing answers, expressing personal opinions (such as likes and dislikes), negating sentences, and conjugating verbs.  Understanding grammatical technicalities is not the emphasis at this point.  Right now, the objective is to converse naturally with their peers in a foreign tongue.  And what could be more fun than that?!  
3This term, students in third grade intensified their study of the famous “PAN” (or “BREAD”) song.  That is, after begging to listen to and sing along with this song every single class – for the entire class – students easily memorized all of the lyrics.  One student actually found a class singing and acting out the lyrics on YouTube, and after viewing it, third graders agreed that they could put together a much better video.  As a result, students auditioned for and then began rehearsing a dance piece choreographed for the song. 

When some of them finally tired of it, the class took a break from rehearsals and transitioned to storytelling.  With their richer vocabularies, third graders were able to spend the bulk of January inventing an extremely imaginative story about a dragon living on the tiny Pacific island of Tonga.  Students will return to filming the final “PAN” song product, but for now, they seem quite content drawing elaborate maps (of the story’s setting) and stretching their creative minds to push the plot forward.  Gracias for an exciting quarter.  
4This term, students in fourth grade developed a working Spanish town (pueblo) in the classroom.  It all began with a toy store, art store, and library, so that students would use the language not only with the teacher but also their peers.  Students took turns working in each location: ¿En qué te puedo ayudar?” (How can I help you?).  The customer would then reply, “Yo busco… /A mí me gustaría…” (I’m looking for…/I would like…), the object of course dependent on where s/he was shopping. 

Partway through the term, fourth graders learned a new Señor Wooly song called, Anita, ¿adónde vas? (Anita, where are you going?).  If students did not answer the question when asked, or if they spoke English, they were temporarily sent to the calabozo (dungeon) – and thus, the pueblo birthed a new business of sorts.  More recent additions have included the following: a candy store, hotel, bank, restaurant, theater, and fortune teller.  As a result, students have shifted their attention to the financial realm, specifying what items each business offers, and how much they cost (in euros).  Students seem to appreciate the interactive, kinesthetic nature of the pueblo, probably because it so closely parallels the workings of the real world.  Moreover, it is a nice extension of their classroom popcorn business.  Gracias for a fabulous term.
5This term, students in fifth grade really honed in on the details of good acting.  Beginning with La casa embrujada, students first performed as an entire group.  To emphasize how both people and objects should come alive onstage, one student was even assigned to play the kitchen stove (“sizzle, sizzle”).  Next, students broke off into groups and began rehearsing.  Their focus changed slightly each week: Create movement with purpose!  Expression matters!  Always face the audience!  Students had several dress rehearsals in the Spanish classroom, and then moved up to the LS Assembly room to be videotaped with props.  Fifth graders also graded each others’ performances with rubrics. 

Most recently, students have experienced a schedule change for Spanish: instead of two large blocks of time for Spanish each week, fifth graders have had Spanish for shorter periods of time, five days a week.  This is a trial run; it will be interesting to see if this makes a difference or not in students’ learning.  During this time, students have been introduced to their third Latin American legend this year: El collar de oro (The Gold Necklace).   Next term, fifth graders will be rehearsing this legend and beginning to prepare for their end-of-the year debut on Cinco de Mayo.  Expect more details about this to come home in April.

Resumen Q1, 10-11 (K-5, 6)

Grade
KThis term, students in kindergarten reviewed and expanded upon their large base of knowledge from last year.  At this point, they are working with a lot of vocabulary, and the trick is to keep all of it on the tip of their brains.  To accomplish this, students helped create several silly stories about two of the rubber ducks that live on the toy shelf in the Spanish room.  Good storytelling will always involve a wide range of vocabulary, so it seems the ideal way to review old words while at the same time sprinkling in more challenging phrases. 

Kindergarteners also responded to action + object commands, asked and answered basic questions in the target language, read a scary book about Halloween, and played or colored (their choice).  Informal, creative play in Spanish class is stressed in the younger grades to encourage language immersion versus rote memorization.  Gracias for a great quarter! “Therefore, you best of men, don’t use force in training the children in the subjects, but rather play. In that way can you better discern toward what each is naturally directed.” –Socrates
1This term, students in first grade immersed themselves in a world of fantasy and adventure.  Beginning as princesas and príncipes, students were paid in Monopoly money (or dinero) for superb behavior at the start of each class.  But the amounts were intentionally random, so as to insert a few all-important expressions into the curriculum (e.g., “I want more money!”).  With this dinero, students proceeded to buy toys from the toy shelf in the Spanish room.  The biggest difference from last year is that students are now asking questions about what they can and cannot do or have, versus stating what they want and assuming they will receive a positive response. 

Students have also started sounding out and identifying more words and expressions on signs around the Spanish room, which is wonderful to see.  A typical Spanish class involves deciding what the weather is like outside each day (by reading the window signs), asking and answering questions in the target language (both as a class as well as individually), listening to the famous “¿Puedo ir al baño?” song, searching for hidden juguetes (or toys) as part of the clean-up routine, and whispering a secret password as they exit the Spanish room.  It has been a fun term!
2This term, students in second grade truly experienced language.  Whether they were balancing rulers (reglas) on their heads and noses, venturing outside to collect more leaves (hojas) than the other class, flying paper airplanes (aviones de papel), or simply conversing with their peers in Spanish, students began to understand that being able to translate a word or phrase is just as important as having a context for that word or phrase.  The root of language is experience!  “Leaf” is both a combination of odd geometric shapes (letters) as well as a crunchy, red thing on the ground in the fall. 

The overarching goal this quarter was to begin getting more specific in their requests.  Instead of, “Can I have that, please?”, students worked on replacing “that” with an exact noun and understanding the noun as a tangible thing, not just a word.  Second graders also worked on stringing together longer phrases and having extended conversations: ¡Quiero dibujar!  ¿Puedo tener una regla y una hoja de papel, por favor?  Or perhaps more comprehensibly in English, “I want to draw!  Can I have a ruler and a sheet/leaf of paper, please?”  Students’ drive to learn a lot and have fun at the same time is great to see.  Gracias for an exciting quarter.
3This term, students in third grade achieved verbal mastery of basic object vocabulary, multiple idiomatic expressions, and simple verbs.  As a result, students come to class eager to apply their knowledge via lively, informal discourse between the class and the teacher.  Every few weeks, third graders took a break from the routine and did something completely different. 

Whether it was memorizing tongue twisters to present in front of their peers (public speaking), computing math problems in the target language (fastest answer wins!), or listening to songs in Spanish, students seemed to enjoy the change of pace.  Presently, third graders have begun learning a song entitled “PAN” (or “BREAD”), which can be found at www.senorwooly.com under MUSIC.  If you have a spare minute, it is worth checking out at home with your child; the tune is catchy and sticks in your brain.  Gracias for a fantastic quarter.
4This term, students in fourth grade focused on two aspects of learning a foreign language: linguistics and culture.  Students first worked on the art of translation.  This was accomplished individually, with partners, and in choral translation as a class.  Some days, students worked hard just translating the written word, honing in on the details.  Other days, fourth graders translated and then acted out extended readings, phrase by phrase.  They took the role of reader, translator, or actor, and then rotated parts so that everyone had an opportunity to participate.  Even audience members had required, cued responses. 

Partway through the term, fourth graders entered the world of dance.  Because the Cha-Cha, Rumba, and Salsa all originated in Cuba, and because dance in general is an important part of Hispanic culture, fourth graders learned the basic dance steps of those respective Latin rhythm dances.  One day, girls and boys even “danced together” (without touching hands, so as not to spread cooties), so they could see how the footwork fit together.  Gracias for a great term.
5Students in fifth grade will learn about many different Latin American legends this year.  This term, fifth graders spent the bulk of their time studying and rehearsing their lines for two of these legends (that have been converted into plays).  The first was called The Mouse Who Knew How to Bark (or La ratona que sabía ladrar), and was based on a legend from Cuba.  The second was called The Haunted House (or La casa embrujada), and was based on a legend from Peru. 

“Studying” a legend involves the following: listening to a summary of it in Spanish several times, in order to build up students’ vocabularies; drawing out the legend so they can visualize it onstage; translating the script together as a class; rehearsing in groups with a student-director in charge; and later performing the legend in Spanish in front of the class.  During this process, fifth graders also learned and practiced the basic dance step for the Cha-Cha (a rhythm dance that originated in Cuba), to add a dose of culture to the curriculum.  It has been an exciting quarter.  Gracias.  
6This term, students in sixth grade spent the majority of September and October playing soccer during class time.  Students were required to speak in the target language only, and worked on acquiring practical, high-frequency words and expressions on a daily basis.  Sixth graders also commanded their peers in the language, narrated what was happening as it happened (more difficult than one might imagine), and then, as the weather worsened, stayed indoors to create and present stories in the target language.  Pop quizzes ensured that students kept key vocabulary words and expressions on the tip of their brains at all times.  It has been a fun quarter!

Resumen Q4, 09-10 (K-5, 7)

Grade
KThis term, students in kindergarten first learned a new password: la contraseña, or password.  While the bulk of the quarter was spent increasing students’ vocabularies and cementing those words in their minds, the real focus was on linguistic expression.  Kindergarteners can memorize vocabulary easily, but for them to internalize it, they need to experience language.  Thus, “playtime” continued to be a necessary element of Spanish class, and as we reviewed vocabulary and expressions from the year, I began to notice something beautiful occur: attached to language were context, meaning, and expression. 

When one student angrily yelled “¡PARA!” at his friend for touching his newly constructed bridge, I knew that “STOP!” was really ingrained in his mind; the command was fueled by emotion, and not a teacher demanding answers.  Kindergarteners also learned about the history of the Mexican holiday Cinco de Mayo, and later memorized all of the Spanish-speaking countries in South America by jumping from place to place on my floor map.  It has been a great year!  “Therefore, you best of men, don’t use force in training the children in the subjects, but rather play. In that way can you better discern toward what each is naturally directed.” –Socrates
1This term, students in first grade took synthesizing to a new level.  That is, students are now familiar with a variety of action words, nouns, and questions; therefore, utilizing these action words and nouns and questions, and combining them in a sensible manner seemed the most logical next step.  So… what is better than a story?  A live-action play!  Acting quickly became the new rage in first grade as stories about famous actors and actresses traveling to far-off lands (like México or Venezuela) unfolded onstage, err, in the Spanish classroom. 

Basic questions transformed into heated dialogues between thieves and their respective prison guards: [impatiently, from his/her jail cell] – Can I go to the bathroom?  [And the stern response] – No, never!  In addition to developing their aural comprehension and expression via Spanish mini-dramas, students also learned all of the Spanish-speaking countries in South and Central America by jumping from place to place on my floor map.  Gracias for a super year!  “Thought is the blossom; language the bud; action the fruit behind it.” -Ralph Waldo Emerson
2This term, students in second grade continued with the conversation-oriented class structure and were exposed to more comprehensible input.  They also learned basic salsa and samba steps (culture/music), and spent several classes creating a Spanish comic strip with partners.  The last half of the quarter, though, was spent on learning all of the eighteen Spanish-speaking countries in Central and South America by jumping from place to place on my floor map. 

Second graders really seemed to enjoy this geography unit, to the extent that students spent entire periods challenging one another: who can name and jump on all eighteen countries the fastest?  Any individual time over fifteen seconds was totally unacceptable for these overachievers, and one student even brought his/her time down to six seconds.  Geography is important, particularly for Spanish class, because people tend to think of Mexico and Spain as the Spanish-speaking countries in the world, whereas in reality, there are twenty-three Spanish-speaking countries.  We only got up to eighteen because, well, the Atlantic Ocean is really big… (mucha agua).
3This term, students in third grade finished memorizing the first few stanzas of the song “PAN” (or “BREAD”) from last quarter.  To accomplish this, third graders studied the lyrics in both English and Spanish; illustrated the song’s plot; practiced singing the words in groups; and lastly, set up the Spanish classroom as a restaurant and acted out everything in conjunction with the lyrics.  Switching modalities – from the musical to the physical – students extended their language study to include the great outdoors. 

Fútbol (soccer) is the sport for Spaniards, and thus, sports vocabulary came into ‘play’, along with several games of tag and hide-and-go-seek.  Students are now very comfortable with and accustomed to hearing all instructions and game rules explained in the target language.  In fact, I am generally reprimanded if/when I switch to English.  Finally, students memorized both Pito, pito colorito (Eeney Meeney Miney Moe) as well as all of the Spanish-speaking countries in Central and South America (by jumping from place to place on my floor map).  Students have made great strides with their linguistic progress this year.
4This term, students in fourth grade accomplished a lot.  They continued playing soccer and Dodgeball outside, and really internalized the vocabulary and expressions, so that “outbursts” (But he started it!  ¡Pero él lo empezó!) were based on emotion and not translation.  Conversely, students also became accustomed to translating and then acting out extended readings, phrase by phrase.  Fourth graders took the role of reader, translator, or actor, and then rotated parts so that everyone had an opportunity to participate. 

Even audience members had required, cued responses.  Finally, students learned all of the Spanish-speaking countries in Central and South America by jumping from place to place on my floor map.  While every student in the LS had a geography unit this quarter, fourth graders truly mastered the map.  They worked together as a team to beat their overall time (every student names every country), and should be immensely proud of their efforts.  
5This term, students in fifth grade spent the last few weeks of April working out the final details of their Latin American Festival performance.  Following their highly successful debut on Cinco de Mayo, students took a more scientific perspective on language for the remainder of the quarter.  That is, fifth graders analyzed the vocabulary with which they were already familiar, and grouped together rhyming words. 

To prepare for this challenging task, students were taught multiple tongue twisters in Spanish.  This helped students switch from thinking about language as meaning-based to thinking about language simply as a set of sounds.  Later, they used this data to create their own Spanish “raps”.  Students also were exposed to the invaluable website www.senorwooly.com (songs in Spanish and English), and ended the year with a final exam.  Gracias for a great year!
7Reading and Writing Unit: Students begin this unit with a 500 word typed story project.  Students use both class time and time outside of class to create their own creative or realistic story.  Overarching objectives include using a wide variety of vocabulary and applying age-appropriate writing process strategies (prewriting, drafting, revising, editing, publishing).  Every day someone does not come to class prepared, students listen to the song Las excusas for purposes of language acquisition (past tense and direct object placement) and pronunciation.  After students have presented their impressive compositions, seventh graders begin their last novel of the year, Robo en la noche

Initially, students are assigned chapters to read for homework with follow-up quizzes and discussions in class; but choral translations prove to be more effective in measuring their comprehension of a chapter.  Therefore, part of this final unit of the year is spent translating together and answering/asking questions about each chapter.  Costa Rican culture is also explored.  During this time, students also learn about verb conjugations and other grammar patterns, and work on translating phrases and sentences from English to Spanish as well as Spanish to English. 

Students are encouraged to ask questions if/when they notice patterns in language.  This last unit is a continuous open forum for grammar questions, and it is exciting to watch students discover grammar rules on their own.  This year, students ended the year with a trip to a local Mexican restaurant, Jalapeño Loco, in order to put their linguistic knowledge to the test in an authentic setting.  An actual [final exam] test was also administered at the end of the year, following the field trip.

Don Quixote unit, Create-A-Myth Project, Extended Reading Project, Boardwork, Reader: Piratas, Native speaker, PK Story Project, Conversation Days, Movie/translation unit, Discussed circumlocution, Song: Las excusas, 500 word typed story project, Reader: Robo en la noche, Grammar, verb conjugations, *Writing-intensive course

Resumen Q3, 09-10 (K-5, 7)

Grade
KThis term, students in kindergarten continued learning through play, but several new ideas were introduced as their linguistic confidence began to increase.  First, there are now passwords to enter and exit the Spanish room.  Initially, the whole class had one password; now, students have their own unique passwords (aka their favorite animal in Spanish).  Second, and following the class greeting and weather report, there are two options: playing or coloring.  Students state which activity they would prefer, answer a few follow-up questions, and then play or color. 

Finally, as the most recent addition, students have been formally introduced to the Spanish written word.  This means that they must complete at least one written activity each week (before playing), which not only improves their reading skills, but also helps them to reason in the language.  Also, they are encouraged to ask questions to clarify any directions, but know that I will only respond in Spanish.  If a student does not understand something, nearby translators – or their fellow peers – are ready and willing to help out, resulting in a very bilingual environment.
1This term, students in first grade began linking related phrases and questions.  For example, instead of simply asking, Can I play?, students also had to state why and be very specific: I’m bored, Señorita… can I play with the ball?   Or, Can I build something?  I need paper and scissors.  After we added Can I sit here? and Can I watch TV? partway through the quarter, we watched Toy Story II during class time in the target language. 

Students shouted out words they understood and I listed them on the board; first graders were excited to see that we filled the entire board one day.  Last but not least, students have thoroughly enjoyed the latest listening activity, which almost all grades have listened to: the official ¿Puedo ir al baño? song.  You can check out this song at home with your child (English translation included) at www.senorwooly.com.  Let me know what you think!
2This term, students in second grade adjusted to a more conversation-oriented class structure.  Once they had mastered six basic opinion statements – I love it, I like it, I don’t like it at all, that’s not true, etc. – they split off into pairs to ask what they liked / loved / didn’t like (while tossing a ball [una pelota] back and forth).  This made for a boisterous but vocabulary-rich environment.  Class discussions about likes and dislikes also helped review object and food vocabulary from last year. 

Students spent the second half of the term creating monsters out of various art materials in the Spanish room (body part vocabulary), and also continued with the storytelling theme from last quarter (comprehensible input).  Ultimately, though, the class has been much more conversation-oriented this term.  Students seem to enjoy the goofy nature of these dialogues; i.e., as their vocabularies expand, so do their ideas…
3This term, students in third grade adjusted to a more performance-based class structure.  This particular unit began as a class “Game Show”, where students were assigned specific roles (camera people, lights, action, “Applause” signs, contestants, etc.), and progressed to partner mini-dramas performed during class time, all in the target language.  Because I have a collection of 80+ unique rubber ducks, one week, students created a story about a specific duck, and later presented their written work to the class. 

Another time, the whole class invented a story about a fake Hannah Montana (who wore a blue cheerleading pom-pom as a wig), with actors and action et al.  Presently, students have begun learning a song entitled “PAN” (or “BREAD”), which can be found at www.senorwooly.com under MUSIC.  Students have really done well with the shift from input to output-based activities this quarter.  Excelente.
4This term, students in fourth grade built a bridge between two different sections of knowledge in their minds.  Students have mastered a fair amount of informal discourse expressions and vocabulary – for example: Can we go play soccer outside today because everyone wants to, what did you say, what do you think, you are crazy, I want to play, but the girls don’t want to play, etc.  Students also know story structure and related vocabulary – for example: There is a boy, his name is Fred, Fred lives in Ohio, Fred likes to play soccer, one day Fred is sad and cries a lot because he can’t play, etc

As a result, when students begin combining the two vocabulary sections, fluid Spanish just falls out of their mouths.  Conversations and stories suddenly include sentences and vocabulary rich with multiple perspectives.  If any of you recall the term, “verb conjugations”, this is it – but sans the headaches and rote memorization.  Instead, this quarter fourth graders played Dodgeball and soccer, learned the chorus of Eye of the Tiger, and even practiced reading aloud and acting out a story about a baby who sings hip-hop.  It has been a fun term!
5This term, students in fifth grade began wrapping up their yearlong legend/drama theme.  Students have studied and performed the following plays in Spanish class: La ratona que sabía ladrar (Cuba), El collar de oro (Nuevo México), La casa embrujada (Perú), and El hijo-ladrón (Guatemala).  They have also been formally introduced to the timeless novel Don Quijote de La Mancha (España/Spain).

The aforementioned four plays will be performed at this year’s Latin American Feast on Cinco de Mayo.  Therefore, much of the past quarter has been spent rehearsing lines, connecting students’ words with their actions, and working on both aural and bodily expression.  Please come and support your child as s/he takes a part (or several) in presenting legend-based plays from around the Spanish-speaking world.  More details TBA.
7Movie/Translation Unit: Around the third quarter, students need a change of pace.  They have been writing, reading, speaking, and listening to Spanish all year long, and it has become just another class.  But language study, as the Ohio Standards state, must include enrichment and enjoyment.  Students need to understand where and how they can pursue their own research and study of a language outside of class.  In this digital age, then, developing a movie/translation unit seemed to open up a world of possibilities. 

The first step is to inform students that one can change the voiceover and subtitles on most DVD’s out there.  The second step is to discuss that voiceover and subtitle translations can and do differ; therefore, what students read on the screen versus what they are hearing – even if both are in Spanish – will not necessarily be the same.  Students compare and contrast which they prefer and why: English subtitles with Spanish voiceover, Spanish subtitles with English voiceover, or Spanish subtitles with Spanish voiceover.  Students discover that their preference is usually in line with what type of learner they are (more visual or more auditory). 

As far as the actual movie watching goes, students are given vocabulary to look/listen for each day.  Each night, they are required to write a 100+ word summary in Spanish of what they saw, using this new vocabulary.  When controversial issues arise, they are encouraged to include their own opinions, so that the summary becomes more of a movie review.  Some days, students answer questions about the movie in Spanish.  Other days, students compose their own questions about the plot and characters as they are watching.  At the end of the week, the teacher compiles these questions and a Jeopardy game is played, with the goal of strengthening students’ memories in the target language. 

At this point, the objective is no longer about “memorizing vocabulary”, but instead about remembering movie plots and facts entirely in the target language.  Students’ awareness is also raised with respect to different Spanish accents.  A movie recorded with Spain-Spanish speakers will have a different sounding “yo” than a Mexican-Spanish speaker “jo” (both signifying “I”).  In one movie, students are able to hear an Italian man speaking Spanish, and immediately notice the different accent/rhythm. When students watch a movie with English subtitles and Spanish voiceover, they also pick up on the flexibility translation allows.  For example, “guapo” is translated in one as “purty”. 

In addition, students are asked to describe their favorite part of the movie, thereby honing in on connecting clauses (“I liked when the man who/that was wearing a black shirt…”).  Finally, students marked on a world map the countries where characters traveled (geography), and then compared and contrasted it to their own ethnic background.  Near the end of the unit, students played a circumlocution game.  Later, students reflected on how they instinctively circumlocute in their native tongue, and discussed how they could apply those same strategies in Spanish as well.

Resumen Q2, 09-10 (K-5, 7)

Grade
KThis term, students in kindergarten adjusted to a more informal style of teaching via, well, play.  There is an enormous toy shelf in the Spanish classroom, which has been invaluable this quarter in pushing students to apply what they have learned in natural discourse.  As a result, our dialogues generally proceed as follows: What do you want [which toy]? / I want the shark. / Why? / Because I like it. / When? / Now / Do you want the small shark or do you want the big shark? / I want that one!  Please! 

Because 95% of students want a different toy within about ten seconds, they tend to get a lot of practice.  And for the 5% who are content with their first toy, I make sure to travel around the room and ask [in Spanish] what they are playing or if they would like a different toy.  As their confidence grows, the dialogue likewise evolves into more complex questions and responses.
1This term, students in first grade extended their “Can I…?” questioning to the extreme.  The following is a list of questions that most students have mastered: Can I go the bathroom?  Can I have that? Can I lift that [up]?  Can I draw on the board / with paper?  Can I paint?  Can I sleep?  Can I get a drink?  Can I read a book?  Can I play with that?  Students also worked on describing themselves and others, using both adjectives and occupations (e.g., I’m tall and pretty or I’m an artist). 

As a result, class time is spent with students asking permission to do things – usually with follow-up questions: Do you need a marker? or Where is it? – and a lot of natural interaction in the language.  Students are especially motivated because as long as they ask in Spanish, they are allowed to do these activities.  Class therefore begins with a greeting and weather report, and then branches off into various activities spread out around the room.  Their general enthusiasm to learn is wonderful to see and should be applauded – it is a bit infectious!
2This term, students in second grade had greater exposure to contextualized language, or storytelling.  But listening to stories is not merely a passive experience; rather, students must add their own creative ideas to the teacher’s basic outline of a story.  For example, one day, Fred was really angry, so he stole ten thousand grapes from Giant Eagle, ate all of them in one sitting, and then wound up in the hospital with a bad stomachache

Students would supply the number of grapes and the store name, and the teacher would find Fred’s motivation for committing such a dreadful crime.   Bizarre details like “ten thousand grapes” and “a bad stomachache” tend to engage students and spark their imaginations.  In addition to creative stories told in the past tense, students also had a culture/geography lesson with a native speaker from Spain (España), and as a spin-off from one of our class stories, designed their own castles (complete with kings, queens, and dungeons).  It has been a fun quarter!
3This term, students in third grade continued with the “informal discourse” theme.  Students come to class, copy their vocabulary from the board into their notebooks, and then proceed to speak and ask questions in Spanish for the remainder of the period.  This can mean anything from discussing if So-and-So can fly, to who gets to sit in the teacher’s chair, to having a Harry Potter Wand-Off (where students cast spells on one another in the target language). 

Some days, we shake up the routine: third graders compose dramas in their notebooks and later perform them with their fellow peers.  And one week, we watched the movie Balto in Spanish to see how many words they could identify.  The overall focus this quarter has been on stringing key phrases and vocabulary together to create real conversation – in other words, fluency.
4This term, students in fourth grade acquired a solid foundation of basic storytelling vocabulary.  This, in turn, enabled them to participate in a Story Gift Swap around the holidays, where students a) chose someone’s name out of a hat; b) wrote a personalized story for their Secret Person – using information gathered earlier; c) wrote a corrected final copy of that story and decorated the page artistically; and d) finally presented the story to their Secret Person. 

Students should be proud of all the hard work they put into this project.  In addition to a plethora of verbal and written storytelling this term, students also memorized all four verses of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer in Spanish.  Several students even chose to sing the chorus over the intercom to the entire LS on the last day before the holiday break.  Excelente.
5Students in fifth grade spent the bulk of this term studying and later performing two more plays.  The first was called The Gold Necklace (or El collar de oro), and was based on a legend from New Mexico.  The second was called The Haunted House (or La casa embrujada), and was based on a legend from Peru. 

To prepare for the eventual performances, students: 1) listen to a summary of the legend, thereby building up their vocabularies; 2) draw out the play from memory in comic-strip form to begin visualizing it onstage; 3) translate the script in class; 4) audition for parts; 5) rehearse in groups; and 6) perform it in Spanish in front of the class.  It is a long process, but the end product is well worth the effort.  Fifth graders should be proud of their accomplishments.  Their listening, speaking, reading, writing, and acting skills have all improved since the beginning of the year.
7Reading/Speaking Unit: Students begin this unit with a novice-level Spanish reader, Piratas.  Seventh graders read and answer questions about each chapter at home, and then come to class prepared to discuss.  The teacher retells any chapters confusing to students in the target language (TPRS style).  Students also begin class every day with “Boardwork”, or questions written on the board in the target language, which they are expected to answer in complete sentences.  The teacher varies the questions so that specific grammar points can be emphasized each week.  Sometimes, for variety, the class has “Conversation Days”, where students are given a set amount of time to develop a dialogue, story, or role-play (in pairs or groups of three). 

Students are not permitted to write anything down with this exercise, so as to mimic a real conversation.  For example, a prompt might be to build a story around the question, “What happened?!”  Goals include using a variety of verb tenses and persons and vocabulary.  Students then grade one another’s presentations, and top presenters receive a free homework pass.  This unit’s final project combines writing and speaking with a PK Story Project.  Here, students are assigned one to two students in the PK class.  Then, seventh graders gather personalized information about students, and include these details in a written, illustrated Spanish story of their own creation. 

When the final products are finished, seventh graders share them with respective PK students.  This forces students to focus on writing for a specific audience.  This year, students also had a surprise visit from a native speaker (from Spain).  They spent a class period asking questions in the target language for the speaker, which she gladly answered (in a Castilian accent!).  Students also compared and contrasted how many languages an average European speaks versus an American and the reasons why that number differs.  Lastly, students listened to phrases in twelve different languages and tried to identify them (Hindi, Italian, Portuguese, Russian, Arabic, Spanish, etc.).

Resumen Q1, 09-10 (K-5, 7)

Grade
KThis term, students in kindergarten began their Spanish study with an animal unit.  Their very first word was “duck” because I have a collection of twenty-nine rubber ducks in my classroom, and this tends to cause immediate interest and excitement among students of all ages.  Students were asked basic questions about ducks – where they live, what they eat, how they move – in Spanish, and then, naturally, they were given special permission to become ducks. 

As an extension to this unit, students were taught a bilingual rhyme describing their likes and dislikes, so that they could express whether or not they liked ducks (or sharks or fish, etc.).  Most recently, students in kindergarten have been practicing a children’s song from Colombia.  It has been an absolute joy working with your children this past quarter.  Gracias.
1This term, students in first grade immersed themselves in a world of fantasy and adventure.  Beginning as princesas and príncipes, students were paid in Monopoly money (or dinero) for superb behavior at the start of each class.  But the amounts were intentionally random, so as to insert a few all-important expressions into the curriculum (e.g., “That’s not fair!”). 

The real fun began, however, when students delved into question formation: Can I have [that toy]?  Please, Señorita?!  Or in our restaurant simulation: “Hi, I’m …  What would you like?”  And the creative response: “Hmm, can I have three tacos, a pizza, and some French fries?”  Naturally, students paid with their dinero, and one class even went so far as to assign prices to each item listed on the menu, thereby limiting what one could order.  What fun!
2This term, students in second grade acquired Spanish vocabulary via multiple hands-on science experiments.  Amidst floating and sinking rubber ducks, flying paper airplanes, hopping contests, and ruler-balancing competitions, students picked up key vocabulary that should help to ease them into their next unit: extreme storytelling.  As we transition from more kinesthetic to visual and auditory lessons, students will have greater exposure to the Spanish written word, through both reading and writing.  Their growing interest and confidence in the language are wonderful to see.
3This term, students in third grade achieved verbal mastery of basic object vocabulary, multiple idiomatic expressions, and simple verbs.  As a result, students come to class eager to apply their knowledge via lively, informal discourse between the class and myself.  They have become accustomed to requesting items, disagreeing about who gets what, defending their positions, and later justifying why such named item belongs to them. 

The beautiful thing about this process is that for students, class has become more about the language than the toys.  They understand that it is a game, and they want to listen and respond.  Who gets what is [usually] irrelevant.  They are progressing rapidly with the language, and their enthusiasm is to be applauded.
4This term, students in fourth grade were given two to three language structures (i.e., words and/or phrases) per class on which to focus and internalize.  After hearing the structures numerous times and in different contexts, students began to feel more comfortable with the words, and subsequently started applying them in spoken and written stories of their own creation.  From Spanish Madlibs to chapter stories to very creative dialogues, students have officially entered the storytelling realm.
5This term, students in fifth grade began by memorizing a Spanish rhyme both to boost their linguistic confidence initially, and also to emphasize pronunciation and phonetics.  Its equivalent in English is closest to Eeney Meeney Miney Moe (or Pito, pito colorito).  Next, students took a few weeks to study and then later perform a Cuban drama in Spanish for their classmates. 

The last portion of the quarter was spent on comprehensible input, where students are given two to three language structures per class on which to focus and internalize.  After hearing the structures numerous times and in different contexts, students began to feel more comfortable with the words, and subsequently started applying them in spoken and written stories of their own creation.  Their growing confidence with the language is wonderful to see.
7Students begin the year with an in-depth unit about Don Quixote.  During each class, students learn about another one of Don Quixote’s crazy adventures, for the dual purpose of exposing them to a rich variety of vocabulary as well as re-training their ears after a long summer (comprehensible input).   This eases them into the year because the focus is on comprehension, not output or production.  Thus, students hear sentences containing natural language and work on acquiring Spanish sentence structure.  Moreover, they are exposed to a world-famous piece of Spanish literature, rich with culture, history, and vocabulary.  Partway through the unit, the roles are reversed: students hear the stories in English, and must translate and retell them in Spanish (both verbal and written). 

Chapters explained in English are also discussed on a higher intellectual level than what would normally be possible in Spanish.  Role-plays, review games, and dialogues are sprinkled throughout, and the term culminates with the Create-A-Myth project and an extended reading project.  For the Create-A-Myth project, students first summarize one assigned chapter of Don Quijote in their own words.  Then, in partners, students use technology to create a modern, updated version of that respective chapter (with moving, animated characters online).  Students present the project in front of the class, reading typed captions below each “comic”.  Students are graded on accuracy of content, preparation for presentation, eye content and use of voice/elocution.  For the Extended Reading project, students read seventeen mini-chapters entirely in Spanish (900 words), and draw out each chapter with detailed illustrations, according to what s/he read.