Señora Garritano's Spanish Corner
Know what's going on in your child's Spanish class
¡Saludos! I hope this newsletter finds you enjoying the hustle and bustle of the holiday season.
Lots of great stuff has been happening in your son or daughter’s Spanish class, starting with this quarter’s extra credit opportunity, “Lo vimos en español”. Students can contribute something Spanish that they encounter going about their everyday lives and pin it on our class bulletin board. This opportunity ends December 19th.
All classes are excited for our semi-annual FIESTA! Students sign up to contribute items and food to their class’s party. What’s so great about these fiestas is that interested students get to try their hand at preparing an authentic Hispanic dish and share it with the class. Participation is not required but highly encouraged (and we need other things, like drinks and paper products too!). Following is the schedule: Spanish III, this Friday the 12th; Spanish IV, next Thursday, the 18th; AP Prep, next Friday the 19th.
Does your student have Spanish questions? I am always in my room after school on Mondays and Thursdays until 3:10. Additionally, I have many students who are willing to tutor others who might be struggling. Please have your son or daughter see me if they are in need of extra help.
Lastly, if there is something that you would like to get in touch with me about, please don’t hesitate: firstname.lastname@example.org, 330.896.7575 x616247.
Enjoy the rest of the holidays!
We are well into the second quarter and Spanish III students continue to gain confidence in listening, speaking, reading and writing.
Students also took their second IPA (Integrated Performance Assessment—a more communicative approach to language evaluation) last week on our unit over living a healthy lifestyle and continue to grow in their proficiency of the language. During these 2-day assessments, students are evaluated in the following areas: Interpretive Communication (e.g., reading an internet article and/or listening to conversations and presentations accompanied by follow-up questions), Interpersonal Communication (responding with written advice to a stressed-out student) and Presentational Communication (leaving an in-depth voice message for their guidance counselor, explaining why they need to schedule a conference with them). To complete the speaking portions, students use the Sony product, Sony Soloist, in our World Language lab. While they may not willingly admit it, they seem to enjoy using high-tech devices to practice speaking and play it back, reflecting on their progress.
For some creative expression, students composed and edited their very own poems about an animal that related to them.
Spanish IV students have recently been exploring creative expression relating to the environment. In this unit, they will read many types of genres: an essay, poems, biographies and a fable. This is one of my favorite units to teach and the fable, Las abejas de bronce (“The Bronze Bees”) is a student favorite as well. Since we are recently finishing up some nature poems, I thought it was time to allow the students a creative outlet for their expression. This week, students will compose a poem about an aspect of nature that they choose and follow some basic guidelines to incorporate poetic devices. Most students really enjoy creating with another language and take the project very seriously. By the end of the editing process, students will have created an original work in Spanish that parents will want to display on the fridge (illustrations and all!)
The day before Thanksgiving, rather than begin new material, I decided to let the students have a little fun. I got out my six Scrabble sets, and the students played (some for the first time ever) in Spanish! They were amazed at how many words they knew and could contribute to the board. Some even commented that it seemed easier in Spanish than English because of all of the different forms of verbs, nouns and adjective. The winner of each team won bragging rights—and candy. Even at this age, students are motivated by sweets. ☺
Last week, Mrs. Berkhouse’s Spanish III class invited Mrs. Matisak’s Spanish II and my Spanish IV students to attend a presentation by a Venezuelan exchange student completing postgraduate work at the University of Akron. Many of my students asked him questions in Spanish and were so proud of their accomplishment! They want him to come back and just visit our class so that they can ask him more questions. Such experiences are part of the new learning standards for World Languages and I’m glad they are excited to have him back.
Gramática avanzada (AP Prep)
The AP-track students have been using their language skills to read, listen, write and speak about technology and the environment. Since these are recurring themes each year on the AP Spanish Language and Culture Exam (May 2015), we were sure to make the most of it.
One of the activities we did was have a class debate about the 24/7 access to technology (namely, cell phones) in which students chose whether they were on the pro or the con side. Each side presented opening statements, arguments and counterarguments. As you can imagine, there was a passionate exchange of opinions and ideas (all in Spanish, mind you!). This was one of the highlights of my year so far—observing the students use the language to express and support their very personal opinions.
Another activity was to write and perform skits explaining an electronic device used today to people from 500 years ago. Despite the obvious limitations, like a machine for time travel or a very probable language barrier, students did a wonderful job using their imagination to represent what such an exchange would look and sound like. One group even went so far as to compose a mini-musical, using the electric piano as their chosen device.
It might sound like the class is all fun and games, but rest assured that these are but vehicles for student learning and they are doing plenty of that!