Saturday, May 2, 2015

La Maestra de Espanol

In college, I was a Spanish major. I spent a summer abroad in Seville, Spain. It was honestly one of the greatest times of my life. Seville is a beautiful city with so much to offer.  During my time abroad, My roommate Katherine (who is one of my dearest friends from college--and a new mama!) and I lived with a wonderful host mother and her pre-teen son. We never spoke any English with them, and was shocked to hear my Senora speak perfect English when, at the end of my program, my parents came and took her out for dinner as a gracias for taking such good care of me all summer. Although my Spanish was pretty proficient prior to my time living in Spain (I began taking Spanish in 6th grade and it was one of the only classes in school that I actually enjoyed), by the time I left Spain, I was fluent.

Left: Katherine and me, before a bull fight!
Right: Me, with a bull's ear (a common prize in bull fighting)
Katherine and me at the Plaza de Espana (apparently they filmed a Star Wars here...)

Flash forward seven years, and unfortunately, I have had very few opportunities to use my Spanish language skills. During grad school, I did work one summer as a counselor in a Spanish-immersion day camp. I always relished the times in NYC when something broke in my apartment and Victor, the building's trusty fix-it man (who barely spoke any English), would come and I could chat with him in Spanish.

Where I currently teach, there is no foreign language program. I decided to take it upon myself to introduce my students to the language that I love so much! Once a week, we dedicate a 45 minute block to Espanol. Parents are very enthusiastic about their children beginning to learn a new language!

At the start of the year, I introduced the names for days of the week and names of the months. We also discussed la clima and different ways to describe the weather outside. Each morning, after we say our greeting and read our schedule for the day, we go over el calendario:

The kids always argue about whether the weather is hace buen tiempo or hace mal tiempo. It appears that many children in my room enjoy rain and think the weather is great when it rains! Go figure!

In math, we were studying geometry, so I did some activities to expose the children to names of shapes in Spanish. We also used our understanding of los colores to do some activities where you had to match the shape with the description in espanol. For example, draw a picture of un circulo rojo. 

Over this past year, we have learned basic Spanish vocabulary for themes like animals, clothing, body parts, transportation, feelings and emotions (which have done wonders for our community building!) and family members. Currently, I am planning on tying in our fairy tales genre study by introducing some cuentos de hadas. I just picked up this and this from my local library to read with the kids next week! I love bilingual books!

I feel very proud of myself for taking on this challenge, and I feel like it has been a success! It has been great hearing the children speak un poquito de espanol and I hope that this might encourage them to continue practicing Spanish (or another language) as they continue through school!

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