Parents of young students (especially Kindergarten students) may frequently see unfinished work coming home from Spanish. Please rest assured, that unless this work is CLEARLY marked that it needs to be returned (not often in younger grades) none of the papers need to be returned to school.
Why start work we can't finish?
Much like when we learn our first language, the focus when beginning to learn a new language is on speaking. When students get excited about vocabulary, or ask me about new words they want to learn, I try to stay in the 'teachable moment' for as long as possible. This is because one of the key elements of moving information into long term memory is to make it meaningful. If students are excited enough to keep speaking about a topic, or want to learn more words about a certain subject, I try to encourage that when possible. Teaching our children to be curious about language and learning, is always a key goal for me.
That being said, paying attention in a different language is a lot of work. It is creating a whole new path in the brain (different than the path of your first language). Sometimes students need a break from this type of concentration. A Spanish worksheet is a great way to give students a break from that intense level of listening. It also helps students in the process of matching the sounds of the Spanish language to the written word. Additionally, it gives students a chance to personalize the language. To parents, this may often look like your student wasn't working very hard. What it actually means, is we were having so much fun speaking Spanish that we didn't get much time to write any Spanish. Students can try to finish papers at home if they want, but it is not required. We don't want students to feel very frustrated when learning Spanish, as this impedes the learning process, so if your student doesn't know all the answers, that is okay, and even expected at this point in the year. Anything that needs to come back to school will be clearly marked. Thank you very much for your support, and feel free to contact me with questions at any time!
Research shows that information must be meaningful and repetitive to move into long term memory (a fun activity helps our brains pay attention too). At the elementary level we play a lot of games, because they are a great way to move information taught into long term memory. The game below is one great example.
In this game is one kid is it. They have snowballs (bought them on Amazon). The person that is it freezes students by hitting them with snowballs (I've "tested" them at home, you can throw them hard and it doesn't hurt). The student that is hit yells out a phrase for a friend to free them, the friend usually has to say something and they respond as well. For example, I am trying to get my elementary students to say please and thank you. So the frozen person yells "por favor", friend grabs their hand, they have to say "gracias" and friend say "de nada" before going free. Every so often I blow my whistle and the kids lay down and breath in an x shape and I pick a new "monstuo de nieve." You could sub any vocab.
The vocab reviewed (includibg directions) will is:
4, square, congela, amigo, grita, por favor, gracias, de nada, x, escucha, descansa, juega, rápido, triste, feliz, and enojado.
At the start of my teaching career, I had students pick Spanish names, solely because I liked doing it when I was in Spanish. It was a way to make language learning fun, so we tried it. Eleven years down the road, and the activity has become so much more than that, this blog post addresses, what can be in a "name".
Why give students Spanish nicknames?
I am in my 11th year teaching in Saline. I've taught: 3rd grade, 5th grade, Spanish/French/German Intro, Quest, Middle School Spanish, and Elementary Spanish.