In 7th grade Spanish, students have been learning how to describe where things are by using estar + a preposition. They played games with each other like “Where is the pencil? Where are the pencils?”. Students also looked at maps of different cities such as Madrid, Mexico City, Guatemala City, and Quito and then described to each other where different monuments or attractions were in relation to other things so that visitors could find their way around.
Recently, students started unpacking the difference between the verbs ser and estar, which both mean “to be”. Students started by brainstorming different sentences they have heard each of these verbs in and wrote them on a piece of paper. Each table group presented their brainstorm to the class in Spanish. After the presentations, we discussed some specific purposes served by each verb. Estar for example, is a verb we use to talk about the location of an object (the ball is on the table). Ser is a verb that can be used to talk about where we are from and to describe others.
We will continue our exploration of using these verbs with other speaking, reading, listening, and writing activities!
8th grade students have been working hard to master their reflexive verbs! They created how-to guides that explained how to conjugate these different kinds of verbs, which helped them better understand the ways of using and conjugating them. Students flexed their creativity muscles by completing mini-stories using reflexive verbs as well. There were many stories written about the daily routines of children and their families, but also about non-human characters, like trees and ducks as well. The creativity they demonstrated in these stories was fantastic, and made their work enjoyable for them and their classmates.
Don Quixote and Sancho Panza
We have also been learning about how to understand a text written in Spanish, even if we do not understand every word. Students interacted in pairs, only in Spanish, to read a text about a mysterious text message, to answer questions about what happened in the text, and also worked individually to describe what happened in the story. Using strategies like looking for context clues, cognates, and words that they already know, students were able to work through this challenging story and learned more about the famous literary characters Don Quixote and Sancho Panza.
In 6th grade Spanish, students have been learning how to describe different animals with adjectives and verbs. Unlike English, in Spanish, adjectives need to agree with their nouns in number and gender. That means if students wanted to write about a dog, they would need to change their adjective to match the noun. Dog in Spanish is perro. It is masculine and in this case, it is singular. An adjective describing this dog would also have to be masculine and singular. If we wanted to say that the dog was nice, we would say el perro simpático. To add a little more difficulty and action to their sentences, students also incorporated the -ar verbs they have been learning about.
Recently, students completed comics about a character walking through an enchanted forest and narrating the different animals s/he encountered.Descriptions in these comics included happy worms singing, sad gorillas painting, and egotistical foxes dancing. Students put in great work and effort to this project and came up with some very creative descriptions to describe their own enchanted forests.
Students also added to their repertoire of verbs by learning how to conjugate -er and -ir verbs as well. After learning the steps of how to conjugate these verbs, we enjoyed watching this great video to help us practice all of the conjugations! I’m excited to see how students use their new verbs and skills to continue to build on their knowledge of Spanish in fun ways.
Before winter break, students were able to delve into a world of stories in Spanish. They were given many options of books written in Spanish that they were able to choose and practice reading aloud independently for the first half of a class. After this time, students joined together in small groups and read their stories aloud to each other. Using gestures, tone, and body language, they encouraged their group mates to understand what their story was about. After this, students watched and read several versions of a story called “El Principe Ceniciento” which is a play on the story of Cinderella, but with a fairy godmother who was a little confused and not very experienced at her job. Students discussed with each other how they could understand a story all in Spanish if they did not understand each word. They learned that by using their senses, knowledge of basic Spanish, and cognates to follow the story.
After break, students have been working on learning a new kind of verb to be able to talk about their daily routines. These are reflexive verbs, which is a verb where someone does something to themselves, for example “I brush my hair” or “I bathe myself.” Students will continue to practice these verbs by interviewing each other about their daily routines, reading about daily routines of others, and will write about their own.
Over the last few weeks, students in 6th grade have been working with a dialogue and adding to it as we learn new sentence structures. They began by learning about how to greet someone in Spanish and how to say goodbye; paying attention to whether these interactions were formal and informal. They are now turning these dialogues into their final term projects and adding an exchange of how are you’s and conjugated verbs.
In these conversations that students are writing, they have two characters, one formal and one informal. They will use their evolving dialogue structure to demonstrate their ability to address people formally and informally and show their progression of conjugating regular, -ar verbs. Students will also show their knowledge of using different adjectives to describe how they are.
After completing these projects, students will have a firm grasp how to have a simple conversation with new people in Spanish and be able to express how they are feeling and talking about what they and other people in their lives do. I can’t wait to see what they come up with!