La Hora de Español

Haddonfield Public Schools: 1st Grade World Language Class

"We are Family!"

In first grade World Language class, students acquired family member vocabulary through an effective method called total physical response (TPR). TPR enables students to acquire vocabulary through physical body movements. The brain can easily recall the vocabulary word that is associated with the body movement, and the information is stored in their long-term memory. You can see examples of the students in action when you click the Vimeo link below to access the video we created.

After the first graders internalized the vocabulary, they were able to use it to engage in interpersonal communication! Students practiced asking and answering "What's your mom's name? What's your dog's name?, etc".

  • ¿Cómo se llama tu papá?
  • Mi papá se llama Frank.

Then, students expanded their Spanish vocabulary by acquiring descriptive words such as intelligent, funny, curious, artistic, strong, athletic, happy, crazy, and soft etc. The students had lots of fun acting out the adjectives. Engaging in meaningful conversation is an important task in language performance, and the students loved asking each other about their family and pets.

  • ¿Cómo es tu hermana?
  • Mi hermana es inteligente y atlética.

We were inspired by a popular children's book by Hanoch Piven to design a culminating project. Students needed to describe their own family members/pets or fictional family members/pets using the adjectives that they learned. Then they used their artistic skills to create portraits of their family. They drew objects to show us what each family member is like. For example, if I wrote "Mi mamá es inteligente y curiosa," then my drawing of my mom's head could be in the shape of a light bulb to represent intelligent, and her nose could be a magnifying glass to represent curious. The first graders' creative wheels were spinning for this project!


Students were assessed on their presentational speaking skills about their family members. In Spanish, adjectives need to agree with the gender of the noun. For example, Mi hermano (brother) es atlético y mi hermana (sister) es atlética. Little did the children know that they were learning an important and tricky grammar concept! This is a concept that is very new and different to English language learners so it is totally normal that errors are made. This is part of the language learning process. The most critical thing is that the students are creating, playing, and speaking in the target language, Spanish! Our goal is for the children to be engaging in meaningful communication!

Tatem Students Use Green Screen!

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We used green screen technology to transport ourselves to different locations to talk about our families!

I set up a huge green screen sheet in the art room and Spanish class took place in the art room that day. Standing in front of the green screen, the students acted and asked questions to their peers about their family members. Using iMovie software, I was able to take the video clips that were filmed in front of the green screen and turn that green wall into a background based on what the students were speaking about. During editing, the computer replaced every green pixel with a pixel from the background that I chose (ex: living room in a house). If your child was wearing green/blue-green that day, he/she may appear translucent since he/she was blending in with the green pixels of the green screen.

The students asked me to send the link to you so they can show you and watch as many times as they want! I am totally impressed! You can watch the video by clicking the link below. The link is also on my eBoard under 1st grade videos. The video is password protected to protect your child's privacy. You can only access it using this password: tatem

Watch our Green Screen Video

  • Please know that this video is set to "private." You are only able to view it because I am providing you with the link and password. The password is: tatem
  • The children's privacy and protection are of utmost importance.
  • They are very excited to be able to watch this video at home now.