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Thursday, October 15, 2015

2nd Grade: Our First 6 Weeks

It has been such a pleasure to be with the 2nd graders in Spanish class this year!

Throughout the months of September and October, we have been getting to know each other by sharing our datos personales (personal information) in Spanish.  Much of this is review, and we have been having fun playing games and singing songs to get our brains back in Spanish mode for the new school year.  This review has also been helpful for the students in our class who are new to Baker and Spanish this year, and everyone is settling in nicely.  

Last week we completed a "Todo Sobre Mi" (All About Me) mini poster.  You should have seen this come home in your child's folder at the end of last week.  These are much like  the "star student" posters that many children have done in their classrooms in the past, but in Spanish.  These mini posters tell a lot about each student in our class.  On their mini posters, they are sharing information like their name, age, birthday, residence, their favorite color, and the different emotions that we feel.  

Before students brought their mini poster home to share with family and friends, they had the opportunity to share with their classmates in a casual presentation about themselves. Classroom teachers were so impressed by the students' work, that they have decided to hang them up in the hallway!  Check them out! 

Here are a few statements from their mini posters that you can expect to see and hear your children share with you.  (Hint: click on each link for a translation/pronunciation.)

Mi nombre es _____.

Vivo en _____.

Tengo ___ años.

Mi cumpleaños es el ___ (#) de ____ (month).

Mi color favorito es ____.

Estoy ____ (feeling).

Kindergarten: Our First 6 Weeks

I have thoroughly enjoyed getting to know all the new smiling kindergarten faces at Baker this year!  During the first weeks of Spanish, kindergartners have been spending time practicing routines, practicing directions in Spanish, learning new games and songs, and learning each other's names.  This can be a challenge for both amigos and profe--students are learning to say their names in Spanish, while I am working on (and have just about mastered!) learning all the new names.

Here is a brief summary of some key things we have worked on during these first 6 weeks.

  • As I mentioned in a previous post, kindergartners have been practicing introducing themselves by stating their names and how old they are.  You can ask your child to share our ¿Cómo te llamas tu? song that we have been singing to help us remember how to say our names.  You can also ask your child to show ¿Cuántos años tienes? by holding up 5 or 6 fingers and saying the number in Spanish.  This week, your child will be bringing home a self-portrait with two sentences that tell their name and their age.
  • In addition to practicing our names and ages, kindergartners have been busy learning how to greet each other and tell how they are feeling.  They are such quick learners that now when I see them around the building, they are quick to give me a nice, confident Hola, Profe! (Hi, teacher!).  Many are also ready to tell me how they are feeling when I continue the conversation with a ¿Cómo estas? (How are you?). This is exciting progress--in just 6 weeks, our kindergartners are able to make small talk in Spanish!
    • If you are interested in talking about feelings at home, you can try greeting them at home with Hola, ¿Cómo estas? (Hello, how are you?). They should be able to give you one of three different responses:

We often practice these by giving a thumbs up or thumbs down while saying the word to reinforce what they mean.  Give it a try!

Follow Profe on Twitter!

You can see weekly tweets for Spanish classes in Kindergarten, 2nd grade and 3rd grade on my Twitter account -


3rd Grade: Our First 6 Weeks

This year in Spanish class, third graders will learn all about Mexico.  Students in grades 3-5 have Spanish for 30 minutes at a time (instead of only 20 minutes as in K-2).  This means that we have much more time to explore culture than we did when they were younger (we spent years K-2 touching on the culture of the 5 countries known as the "Andean region" of South America - Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Perú, and Bolivia), and students at this age are typically quite eager to learn about far-off places.  Even more exciting is that now students know enough Spanish to learn about Mexican people and places in Spanish!

During our first 6 weeks of Spanish, we started off learning about Mexico's Independence Day, which was on September 16.  We made a chart to compare and contrast Mexico's independence holiday with the USA's Fourth of July celebrations.  This chart was all in Spanish and included information about important dates, heroes, presidents, and colors of each country's flags, to name a few of the things we discussed in September.

We also watched a video of Presidente Calderón's celebration of Mexican independence, which is also commonly called "el Grito de Dolores".  You can check it out here

In addition to all of this, we have been studying the map of Mexico.  Ask your child about their Mexican ID cards that they created in class!  Their ID card is their Mexican "identity" for the year, with a name, a Mexican city they are from, and an age.  We will be using these "identities" throughout the year to learn more about cities throughout Mexico.  We have also been working using the compass directions in Spanish to identify bordering nations and bodies of water on a map of Mexico.  This is a great way to reinforce Social Studies while learning new vocabulary in Spanish. 

Here is a copy of the map your child has been working with in Spanish class.  Ask your child where they "live" in Mexico.  Also, see if your child can tell you the countries and bodies of water that border Mexico in each direction (norte, sue, este, oeste).  

Throughout the year, we will connect our learning to Mexico and their culture.  We will learn about the climate in various Mexican cities, a variety of landforms and landmarks throughout Mexico, Mexican communities, food, sports, activities, clothing, and more! 

Keep checking back for more updates on the fun we are having in third grade Spanish!

Friday, October 9, 2015

Bienvenidos! / Welcome!

Welcome to my blog all about Elementary Spanish at Baker! My goal is to use this space to share what we have been working on in Spanish class and to post links to websites and materials for enrichment at home.  I'll include lots of links from Spanish vocabulary to google translate, where you can see definitions of words as well as hear pronunciations, if you are not a Spanish speaker yourself.

Here is a brief summary of how we have spent our first 6 weeks in Spanish class.  You can check grade specific posts to read more detailed information about your child's Spanish class.

In all grades, we start the year getting to know each other. This is standard September/October stuff--we just do it in Spanish. A few things that all students have been working on:

* Saying hello and goodbye

* Telling their names and ages

* Telling how they feel

* Telling the weather and the date

For 3rd graders, this is a quick review before we move on to other things; for the younger students we practice these things throughout September and October, gradually increasing vocabulary and students level of conversation with each other as they move up through the grades. We also practice following rules and directions in Spanish, which is important for getting us off to a good start together for the year.

Our most important directions in Spanish are shown below, with a graphic as a reminder of the definition. Can your child tell you what each means, and why it is important?

Friday, April 3, 2015

Grade 2: Los Animales de la Granja

We have recently changed our focus from the winter season to the animals on the farm.  Our second graders are now able to name and describe many common farm animals.  Descriptions might include colors, sizes, some body parts of the animal (notably how many feet), and what (if any) product that we get from the animal.  We have played many fun guessing games in which students describe a secret animal and their partner guesses which animal they are describing.  Try using the descriptive sentences along with the animal game board below to play together with your second grader!

Es _____ (color). / It is ____ (color).

Es _____ (tamaño - grande, mediano, pequeño). / It is ____ (size).

Tiene ___ (#) patas. / It has ___ (#) feet.

Nos da _____ (producto).  / It gives us ____ (product).

Some of the animal products we have been learning about are - leche (milk), carne de res (beef), yogur (yogurt), queso (cheese), pollo (chicken), huevos (eggs), and tocino (bacon).  The children have really enjoyed learning how to say some of their favorite foods in Spanish! 

It's perfectly normal for students to point to the photo to guess the secret animal, or even just say the sound of the animal instead of naming it at first.  All of these responses are signs that your child is learning Spanish much in the same manner as they learned their first language: by hearing others use it and picking it up through games and natural interactions.  Children understand much more than they are able to say in a new language, so don't worry if your child doesn't recite every single statement/description in a complete sentence -- we aren't memorizing for a quiz, but rather making connections among several of the vocabulary units we've encountered to this point.

If you and your child want to try something a little different that what we have done in the classroom thus far, you might want to check out this Spanish memory game.  It uses many of the farm animals we have studied, but also adds some less common ones for enrichment.  In some cases, the game uses slightly different vocabulary than we do in class: this reflects varying usage in different Spanish-speaking countries.  That's another reason why this is a great enrichment activity; if your child finds it confusing, it's ok to skip it.