These next two weeks are a big two weeks for all of us — the big kids (grades 3-5) will be finishing up Spanish for now and going on break so the little kids (K-2) can begin their lessons next week!
I spoke to most of my classes about the break and their folders, and used their ideas to plan for our time off. Many students expressed a deep concern with keeping track of their folders for nearly 5 months, so I have agreed to collect their folders until the first full week of April when our lessons will resume. Several students also asked for a review packet so they could continue practicing Spanish, despite temporarily relinquishing their folders. Ask, and I shall deliver, children! All students in grades 3-5 are being given an approximately 10-page (double-sided) review packet customized for their grade level and the content we have been working on since the beginning of the year. Since they will not have their folders, some of the pages in these packets are plain vocabulary lists so that they can do that activities successfully. A big note to make about these packets: doing all, or any, of the activities is totally optional to students. I will reward students who work hard to practice independently in their off-time by giving them raffle tickets for each activity completed, which will go towards our prize raffle in the 4th quarter. Will you see these packets at home? Maybe. I asked the students I saw today (Monday) if they would be able to keep these packets safe in their homework binders until April, and all of today’s classes said yes. Can they take the packets home? Absolutely! But it’s not a requirement. Can they make up their own review activities? Absolutely!
Grades K, 1, and 2
These are really fun grade levels to work with, but there can be some confusion as we get started, because so much is new, especially for kindergarten and 1st grade.
Kindergarteners will be given a Spanish name, but will not remember it for some time. After several weeks each child should be able to remember their name. Please note that not all names have a Spanish equivalent (and many names are derived from the same original name, so I give different names to avoid mass confusion of why everyone is named Juan – haha!). My goals for giving students Spanish names are twofold: 1. Have fun! Feel Spanish! and 2. Learn to recognize names in Spanish. In the past, I have heard students ask questions about books they’re reading such as “What’s a Juan?” or “What’s a Carlota?” when instead they should be asking “Who is Juan?” and “Who is Carlota?” Hearing their own Spanish name and those of others will expand their understanding of the world, and specifically the cultures and language attached to Spanish.
Another important note about kindergarten is there is NO homework at this level. I give the students a year to develop their reading and writing skills in English before making any practice at home a requirement. But should they want to practice (yet not remember the vocabulary off-hand), please know that my Spanish website, http://www.fcspanish.com, has information, videos, activities, and so much more for all six grade levels in the building!
The toughest part of 1st grade is learning 1. there’s now homework and 2. how to be responsible for and with the Spanish folder. We still do a lot of great learning and have a ton of fun in class, but I do request that students do a brief homework assignment to help solidify their understanding of what we are working on in class. Doing this little bit of practice (usually under 10 minutes) really make the difference in what types of fun activities we can do in class with the language. I make sure to include ALL of the vocabulary needed on the front of the homework assignment in the “vocabulario” section, so when your 1st grader needs a reminder, you will know where to look. I’m happy to go over this with any of you at another time so you understand the format of an assignment so you know where to look for every little thing. Just send me an email or stop by my room sometime (room 200 at O’Hara and room 401 at Hartwood)!
Remembering to bring folders/homework to school can be a challenge sometimes, so I encourage the students to make their backpack the home of their Spanish folders. This way, whether they are at school or at home, whenever they need the folder, it will be there with them!
Second graders are usually old hats at some of our routines for Spanish, and they tend to know that the homework I give is not for torture, it’s for learning and fun! They should start becoming more independent with their work, however, they, too, may need some help in developing a routine to make sure they are prepared for Spanish.
If at any time your child needs help with Spanish, feel free to have them come in early for some extra help! I’ve currently been working with two students, and they are doing really well catching up with the little bit of individual attention. In quarters 2 and 3 I will be at O’Hara in the morning on Mondays and Tuesdays and at Hartwood in the morning on Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays. Just to be safe, though, please send me an email beforehand so I am prepared. On occasion, my schedule changes for meetings or rescheduled classes and I want to make sure that I am there to be with your student.
Thanks so much for being supportive of your children’s foreign language learning! If at ANY time you have a question, don’t hesitate to email or call! My email is email@example.com and my voice mailbox number is 0455 when you call the school system. (412-967-2400).