February Spanish Newsletter

Feliz febrero! Here are the things you can read about in this newsletter:

1. Finding extra copies of Spanish homework for when your 1st or 2nd grader forgets his/her homework at school or loses it. 🙂

2. Helping develop your child’s sense of responsibility in small steps

3. This month’s lesson focus: Numbers in Spanish

4. Flat Senorita’s Travels

1. Finding Extra Copies of Spanish Homework

There are several ways you can find extra copies of Spanish homework when your child forgets his/her homework at school, completely loses the paper, or even when the dog eats it (which has really happened here before. I’ve received photos.). Though I have links in PowerSchool like we are supposed to, the easiest way is probably just to go to http://www.fcspanish.com -> click on “Las Maestras” (the teachers), scroll down below my picture, and click Senorita’s Tarea/Homework. On that page, you will find direct links to Google Docs for each grade level.

You can also bookmark the Google Docs page here (even easier):

1st grade: https://drive.google.com/folderview?id=0BwSbjCRHPQ-QNzdrZzF6bHNWMU0&usp=sharing

2nd grade: https://drive.google.com/folderview?id=0BwSbjCRHPQ-QLUFqdVJrX1dVRVU&usp=sharing

2. Small Steps to Responsibility

It’s that time of year for me to talk about building independent and responsible students. Transitioning from the “big kids” to the younger ones in the 2nd semester is always a stark reminder for me of how we can and need to support students in developing responsibility for their homework, among other things. The students are actually doing pretty well in the younger grades so far for me (they’re still so excited about Spanish that they want to impress me!), but since my newsletter on responsibility last year received so much positive feedback from parents, I wanted to include it again:

“Working with the little ones now, I am reminded of the developmental process of turning happy-go-lucky preschool children into responsible school-aged children. Children become responsible and organized at different rates (I should know, I was one of the organization & responsibility late bloomers! – my mom will testify on that), yet there are some things we can do to help support them. For one, creating a system of organization will help children develop the necessary routines to build responsibility. Every classroom has a system of organization for homework (a folder, a binder, etc), and reminding students of the procedures already being used in school can help them attend to and rehearse the routine. Sometimes routines for home need to be initiated, like packing our own backpacks before bed. Getting your child involved in these routines will help him/her take ownership of the behavior. Ask some guiding questions – What specials do you have tomorrow? What will you need to pack? As they answer and pack their own bags, they will be practicing a life long skill! Though it’s nice to have them in the nest for now (I mean, look how cute they are!), one day you will want them to fly on their own. Now is a great time to practice ‘flying.'”

3. Numbers Unit in Spanish Class

For the next few lessons in all three grade levels we are learning about numbers. The kindergarteners are just getting exposure to the numbers now, and we are focusing on the low numbers 1-20. Throughout the semester, however, I will teach them about the patterns of numbers 16-99 (they sound like “10 and 6” for sixteen and “ninety and nine” for ninety-nine) and teach them to count up to 100 using the same strategies I’m about to explain for the older kids.

1st and 2nd graders have all learned to count to 100 before. We do this every year. However, with 8 months off between Spanish semesters, they forget quite a bit and that’s totally okay. I am building them back up to that point, hoping that over the 6 years I’ll be working with them, they will master the numbers more and more each year, eventually not forgetting very much at all. What they DIDN’T forget this year, though, was the patterns for putting the numbers 16-99 together! 🙂 They all understand how to say treinta y cuatro (34) as long as they can remember the 10s place number and the 1st place number. This means that as long as they master their numbers 1-9 (really 1-15) and the 10s place numbers to 100, they will be able to count any number between 16 and 100 that they want!

When it comes to the 10s place numbers, we have been focusing on paying attention to the roots and suffixes of each of the 10s place numbers from 30-90. They have a sheet called “Finding the Patterns of Numbers in Spanish” in their folder where we found both the root and suffix together. Basically, in both English and Spanish, the root of the 10s place number matches or is similar to the 1s place number it correlates with. Example: THRee -> THIRty,  FOUR -> FORty. In Spanish it looks like TREs -> TREinta, CUATRo -> CUARenta. The suffix on the other hand, tells us which kind of number we are hearing. In English this suffix is “ty” and it tells us we are hearing a 10s place number. In Spanish the suffix is “enta” (pronounced AIN-tah). When we know how the root and suffix work together to create the 10s place number, we can essentially put back the numbers 30-90 using these two parts of the puzzle. I went over this concept with kindergarten last year, and when asking them now in 1st grade to count as high as they could last week, I heard several of them trying to put the puzzle back together for the Spanish number 40 — they tried every form of “cuatro” (four) to be the root they could think of. They didn’t come up with “cuarenta” exactly, but they came very, very close! I was so proud of them for using their strategies!

rootsuffix (click thumbnail to enlarge)

I’m trying really hard to get the kids to focus on memorizing the numbers out of order, too, as a strategy for counting better in order (and without skipping any numbers). If they focus on memorizing 1-20 and the 10s place numbers, they should be set. But have them take it slow. Start with 1-10. Add in 11-20. Then do the 10s place numbers. Flashcards help a lot, as you can pull out numbers from the pile that students have already mastered and focus on only the numbers that are still difficult. As the “numbers I’m working on” pile gets smaller, the kids get to focus their time on only the hard numbers, and they will also feel a sense of accomplishment to see their “numbers I’ve mastered” pile grow bigger. We’ve talked about this quite a bit in class, but the little ones might need some help and modeling at home to remember to do this when using flashcards.

If you would like to download a Number Toolkit to supplement your child’s learning, or your own, you can do so by clicking here. The toolkit includes much of what the students have already received from me, but it is more concise. It includes: a number chart for 1-100, a breakdown of roots & suffixes for the 10s place numbers, a breakdown of the pattern for putting numbers 16-99 together, the steps students should take to master all the numbers to 100, and flashcards (to be printed double-sided) for all the numbers 1-100!

As always, you can always help your child get more Spanish help on our website. Here’s the direct link to the numbers page: http://fcspanish.com/activities/numeros-numbers/

4. Flat Señorita

Just like the Flat Stanley books, there´s a Flat Señorita and she’s traveling the world! She has taken a few trips, but so far we’ve only received photos back from her trip to Puerto Rico! The pictures are live on Flat Señorita’s site: http://www.findingsenorita.com. On this site, you can see pictures from her trip, see her travel map, and even learn more about the country she went to.

If you are going on a trip to another country in the future (Spring break perhaps?) and would like to take a Flat Señorita along with you, please let me know!

Okay, that’s all I have for you now! Remember Multicultural Night is Thursday, March 20th from 5:30 to 8pm! It’s going to be just as good as last year, maybe better!! 🙂

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