Laura Rowley, Spanish Specialist
Bachelors in Secondary from Education, Central Michigan University
Certifications: Spanish, English, Special Needs
Master’s In the Art of Teaching, MaryGrove University
Laura recently moved to Traverse City. She is grateful to be a part of the kind and welcoming TCH community. She and her husband enjoy spending time with their grown children, hiking with their dogs, discovering new places to camp and travel to.
Karin’s Class 4/14/22
It is so good to be back with this wonderful group of kids! There are so many activities I want to do with the students which are centered around this latest unit! We are learning twenty-four new verbs in their infinitive form. We are learning personal pronouns. On top of that (which is a lot), I am going to introduce a great number of cognates which are words that have the same meaning and sound similar in Spanish and English. This is all in an effort to really stretch and expand everyone’s ability and confidence in speaking and understanding as much Spanish as possible!
Students got into groups of four and worked on memorizing twelve verbs this week. They did everything from chanting the words and their meanings to doing a much quieter activity where everyone practiced matching the words to pictures of the same meaning. This seemed to keep everyone engaged and having fun! Last week we did the same thing with twelve other verbs and they seem to have lots of them under their belts. I’m especially excited about helping the students learn to respond to and even elaborate a bit about what they prefer, want, need, like, and are able to do. We have started conjugating all of those verbs and I had students add a page to their folders that shows the endings for regular verbs as well as a couple irregular verbs.
We also played a game with over-sized, homemade dice with personal pronouns written on each side. They rolled the die and then practiced saying the pronoun in English. After they got a handle on the pronouns they would roll the die and conjugate the verb “preferir”, to prefer.
I have a couple projects in mind to get these talented Spanish- speaking students writing and reading so much more in these final nine weeks of school.
Nadine’s Class 3/9/22
For some of the students our study of how to talk about the date, the days of the week and the seasons in Spanish will be review. For others it is a brand new topic. I have created a calendar for the class which will be a good visual tool to help students memorize the days of the week, the months of the year, the seasons and weather phrases as well. Each student will be given the opportunity to reply in Spanish to the questions, “What is today’s date?”, “What is today’s weather like?” and others. We just started this new unit this week and students have are making drawings for each season. They were instructed to draw something they love about each season, something they like to do or what it looks like outside during each season. The other great thing about our practice with the calendar is that we can reinforce how to say numbers one through thirty-one
After a couple more weeks of calendar practice we will be changing our focus to learning about how the verb “tener” (to have) is used in Spanish.
Karin’s Class 1/12/22
We have been having quite a lot of fun in Spanish class recently! After wrapping up the first unit of the year (directions and numbers through one thousand) we started a unit about “los animales salvajes” (wild animals) and will continue to practice numbers as well. The students have spent time quizzing each other about the vocabulary, learning how to say the names of many wild animals like kangaroo, bear, and dolphin. They each made a chart of habitats in their folders which reflects which habitat(s) the animals live in. From the level of participation and the amount of laughter I think I can accurately report that the favorite activity was charades. Students had the opportunity to act like the animals on our list and their acting was creative and often hilarious!
Today I introduced a question. ¿Cuál te gusta más? (Which animal do you like better?) Every student had a picture of one of the animals on our list and they took turns talking about which animal they preferred. Everyone seemed engaged and interested in responding to the question in Español, which is not always the case!
Next week students will be writing about their favorite wild animal. We will continue to study verb conjugation which will allow students to write even more about their animal. It is very exciting for me to see everyone growing their skills in Spanish.
We have been having quite a bit of fun in Spanish class! A couple of weeks ago we wrapped up our unit about emotions. There were a few games that we played to reinforce the new and, I would say, rather challenging vocabulary. As usual, we took a short assessment to see how much students were able to learn during this unit. There were many children who made significant improvements to their vocabulary.
Our gears have shifted to a new unit which I think the students might find more interesting. The vocabulary and phrases are going to be centered around things we find at school. I have introduced about twelve new words thus far. We will also work on expanding our ability to count in Spanish. Some students have already mastered counting from one to ten! I hope to get many students counting to thirty by the end of this current unit. When we return from the holiday break we will dive right into a new activity that will combine counting and school supplies. When we find the time we also review vocabulary and replying to commonly asked questions. During this unit we will also take a look back at what we learned last year in our unit about clothing.
We have been busy learning how to talk about where things are using phrases like “a la derecha de” which means “to the right of.” Each student drew a picture of something they knew how to say in Spanish. Then they put those pictures in a place where they could describe where it was in Spanish. For example, if someone had a picture of a cat and it was behind the chair he/she would say, “El gato está atrás de la silla.” We have done other activities to reinforce vocabulary and build conversation skills centered around where things are located in relation to another thing. Now that we have practiced saying these phrases, next week students will be doing an activity where they will be asked to write sentences using this focus vocabulary.
The other focus of our first unit this year is learning to count to one thousand! They have practiced with partners during class and there is an activity I have left in the classroom for them to practice on their own. The numbers in Spanish follow a pattern very similar to the one we use in English.
In honor of El día de los muertos (The Day of the Dead) which is celebrated November 1st and 2nd, we have started learning a new, silly song called Las calaveras (The Skeletons). It’s all about what the skeletons are doing at each hour of the day and night! Next week I am going to share a slideshow containing a number of beautiful pictures of El día de los muertos celebrations along with some history and other facts about The Day of the Dead.