By this point in the year, both 4th and 5th grade are in their second unit. 4th grade will have one more after this while 5th grade will stay here and simmer awhile. Let me start this newsletter by breaking down the learning in this current unit and what our ultimate goals of it are.
Currently in 4th grade we are learning how to say the date in Spanish. For 3 of the buildings, this will soon be useful, as the 5th graders have the option to volunteer in saying the morning announcements and part of those announcements is said in Spanish. For all students, however, this will be useful whenever they travel to Spanish speaking locations in their adult life, as everything involving transportation, hotel stays, excursions, and the like involve understanding and saying the date. We do not want to purchase a bus ticket for the wrong date, nor do we want to show up on the wrong day for a show or a flight because we misunderstood it.
Learning to say the date can be tricky for students. For one, it involves manipulating a large body of vocabulary to say the desired date. Students need to know all 7 days of the week, all 12 months, numbers 1-31, the word “first” (primero), the phrase “today is,” and the smaller words “el” (the), “de” (of), and “del” (of the). Next, they need to select the appropriate words and phrases and put them together in the correct order – which is different than that of English. Here’s where the trouble for students begins. When they do not work hard enough in the first lessons to memorize all the pieces, they have no brain energy left to give towards the order, and everything falls apart.
FYI: The date sounds like this:
Hoy es martes, el cuatro (4) de octubre del dos mil dieciséis (2016).
The part that is in a different order is the date and month – everything sounds like “the 4 of October” instead of “October 4th.” Literally translated, the date in Spanish sounds like “Today is Tuesday, the four of October of the two thousand sixteen.” It sounds a little odd in English, but this is the way it’s done and students will adjust with enough practice.
I have ample resources for practice in both the students’ packets for the unit as well as on my Spanish website at this direct link to the calendar activity page: http://fcspanish.com/activities/calendario-calendar/
Our ultimate goal for the end of this trimester is to do weather videos in which the students pretend to be a weather reporter. They will say the date and describe 3 aspects of the weather on the fictitious date they chose. They will end up looking something like this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0XRO_uYz_JM
You can download an extra copy of the 4th Grade Calendar Unit Packet here.
In 5th grade we are learning about rainforest animals Our ultimate goal in this unit is to be able to say what animals there are in a rainforest as well as to describe what types of body parts the various animals have. Though the packet given contains all of this information, it will take weeks for us to develop the smaller goals needed to meet this larger goal later. First the students will need to memorize the animals. Next, we will practice simple sentences using the verb “hay” (there is). “Hay” sounds like the English word, “eye.” “Hay un jaguar” is a simple example of this skill, and it means “There’s a jaguar.”
Next, students will learn the body part vocabulary. I do not expect them to memorize every single word on this long list, but at least half so they can use some common words to describe animals at will. After, we will add the verb “tiene” (it has) to our vocabulary list. This verb sounds like “tea-eh-nay.” A simple example is “El jaguar tiene paths,” or “The jaguar has paws.”
Finally, we will develop our ability to add simple adjectives to our sentences. Adjectives can be a hard skill to develop overall because they have a different placement in the sentence (after the noun) and they modify to match the noun’s gender and number. My main focus for the students will be to put the adjectives in the right location. I will expose them to the concept of noun-adjective agreement, and if they can utilize it in their writing and/or speaking, that’s all the better! However, if they are not ready to utilize it, no worries. We have to take slow steps when developing these kinds of skills, and we will all take different sized steps along the way.
The students can practice many of these goals on the Spanish website here: http://fcspanish.com/activities/la-selva-tropical/
Our big project for this unit, which will culminate at the end of our trimester, is to do a rainforest explorer video where the students identify what animal they see in a picture and describe 3 traits of that animal. These will end up looking something like this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?list=PLP0aQuaPjKggZLGD-0p4c_iB5gz3FdxBm&v=rUyXJCMJFjU
You can download an extra copy of the 5th Grade Rainforest Unit Packet here.
That’s all I have for now! I hope you have a fantastic week!
As always, feel free to email me with any questions! -> email@example.com