¡Feliz Abril! Happy April!
Even though spring break is over, we still have 2 months to go. The children have been extra wiggly and giggly this week (as have I, I think), but we all need reminding that we still have to put our noses to the grind for a while yet.
Just before break I pulled in a group of 1st and 2nd graders who had achieved 3 strikes for failing to complete homework. What I found with a large portion of this group was that these students, who were frequently choosing not to do homework, did not know how to use their homework to be successful. For a few of them, as soon as I gave them one-on-one instruction in how to use the vocabulary on the front side of their homework as a tool in completing the assignment, they took off. It was phenomenal! I was so proud of them, and they just beamed with pride themselves. Being successful feels good! This is a good reminder for us all that children develop certain organizational skills (mental or physical) in unique ways and at different rates. While some children will be able to look at their homework and instantly know how to use it as a tool, others will not realize this without a little bit of individualized help. Together maybe we can help the students become more independent learners by preparing them with these skills.
So that all of you can problem solve on the home front, I have created a document titled “Anatomy of a Spanish Assignment” in which I labeled the basic elements that you will find on each and every homework assignment. The vocabulary section is especially useful in finding the vocabulary and example sentences (if applicable) that will help students do any writing task in the actual assignment task. You can download this in PDF format here: https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B6yFdEEnOSZyc0Q4dm42QTRNS1U/edit?usp=sharing
Aside from organization training, here are some things that are happening in 1st and 2nd grade:
1. First graders are recording their versions of “Cabeza, hombros, piernas, pies.” You can watch these videos on our website, http://www.fcspanish.com by navigating to Activities –> 1st Grade –> Body….or by going directly to the playlist ☺ : http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLP0aQuaPjKgjzLlZ0uReq9GiaY-5E5jCO
2. 2nd graders are working on being more diligent students. Their practice overall (across all 7 classes I teach) has been much lower than it was in 1st grade. Many admitted to me that they are doing “just enough to get by.” (Yes, that is an actual quote from a 2nd grader.) I try to keep Spanish class fun and engaging, full of exciting projects, conversational activities, stories, and games, but like anything else that’s worthwhile in life, it involves hard work! While some have bought into the hard work system, others have not. With regards to that, we’ve been talking a lot about choosing the right study strategies and making studying fun. I told them that if their studying isn’t fun, they aren’t doing it right! There are so many ways to transform studying into games. If you ever need ideas for creating games, just shoot me an email and I’ll suggest some of the games we use in class.
Phew, that’s all I have for you today. We made it to the end! I hope you’ve found this April newsletter to be informative and useful for keeping these next 2 months of school engaging, fun, and full of growth.
Srta. Jessica Taylor