“¡Hola!” greeted Remedios López Polo, Lower School Spanish teacher, as she entered Room 37. Upon her arrival, Ms. Strate and Ms. Screen’s Class 3 students hurried over to the carpet and gathered in a circle. It was time for their morning meeting session, which would begin by reviewing the day, month and year en español.
“¿Qué día es hoy?” (What day is today?), asked Sra. López to to which the students confidently responded, “Martes, venticinco de febrero,” (Tuesday, February 25).
They quickly discovered that the rest of this particular unit was devoted to practicing números (numbers). In the center of the carpet sat a box of rainbow-colored markers and blank sheets of paper. “Escribe tu número favorito” (Write your favorite number), said Sra. López as each student grabbed one of both objects.
Once everyone was finished and favorite numbers appeared in front of them, Sra. López pulled out a stuffed, multi-colored balón (ball). “Buenos días, cinco,” she said, shaking the hand of student to her right. “Buenos días, dos,” the student responded. Sra. López then passed the ball to her.
This pattern of saying “Good morning,” proceeded by a number, continued in succession around the circle. The students repeated the phrase to the friend on her right – inserting their favorite number – then passed the ball along.
Students had the opportunity to practice a wide range of pronunciations, as Sra. López had requested that they choose a number between 1 and 100. “¡Muchas tienen diecinueve!” she commented, as many students – and Ms. Screen – had chosen the number 19 as their favorite.
Once the ball returned again to Sra. López, she tucked it away and began handing out a worksheet with everyone’s name on it. “¿Cuál es tu número favorito?” (What is your favorite number?) she asked, pointing to a specific student. “Dieciséis,” she replied. Sra. López nodded and wrote down 16 in the box under her name, demonstrating the directions for their next activity.
With a new task at hand, the students hurried to gather clipboards and pencils, eager to complete their worksheet. They were fully immersed in the language, conducting conversations purely in Spanish while collecting their data. They even made note of class pet duck Walter’s favorite number, which is six, since there are six letters in her name.
While you might think speaking a different language at 8:30 in the morning would be a challenge, Sra. López’s animated lesson kept the students engaged and active. To begin practicing much larger numbers, Sra. López instructed, “Escribe tu número de la biblioteca” (Write your library number).
Drawing on what they had just practiced (and a handy reminder taped to the board in case they got stuck), they were able to articulate more challenging numbers, such as “setecientos setenta dos,” (772) and “doscientos veintidós,” (222).
As the clock neared 9:00 a.m., the morning meeting came to its end. “Gracias a ti,” (Thank you to you) said Sra. López. The class repeated, pointing to each of their peers. “Y gracias a mí,” (And thanks to me) she said, gesturing for students to pat themselves on the back.
Students then took a few moments for a “brain break,” before jumping into their next enticing activity of the day: Word Study!