Step inside Debora Lee’s Middle School classroom and you’re immediately immersed in the Spanish language. Her class is taught entirely en español! When a student doesn’t know a word, she simply asks “¿Cómo se dice…?” and Profe Lee steps in, teaching them new vocabulary and phrases as they go. During a recent class, this writer was amazed to observe the command and fluency these young students are developing.
Each Class 4 Spanish lesson begins in the same way. A student is chosen to stand up at the front of the room next to a bulletin board featuring a large calendar. Using a wooden pointer, this student leads the class through a question-and-answer exercise that reinforces basic vocabulary.
“¿Que día es hoy?” “What day is it today?” the student asked during this particular class. “Jueves,” “Thursday,” her classmates replied.
¿Qué mes es?
What month is it?
El mes es enero.
It is January.
¿Qué tiempo hace?
How is the weather?
Hace frio y está nublado.
It is cold and cloudy.
¿Cuál es la fecha de hoy?
What is today’s date?
Hoy es jueves 17 de enero del 2019.
Today is January 17, 2019.
After finishing this warm-up exercise, the students moved on to the task at hand… group performances based on the silly song "¿Puedo ir al baño?” by Señor Wooly. Song lyrics included:
Maestro, ¿puedo ir al baño?
Yo necesito ir al baño. Por favor.
Le traeré una manzana.
Y lavaré su pizarra.
The song is written from the point of view of a student, asking his teacher if he can go to the bathroom. When the teacher says no, the student begins to beg, offering to wash the teacher’s chalkboard and bring her an apple. The student tries and tries, but the teacher still says no.
After studying the lyrics and memorizing the tune in previous classes, these Middle Schoolers worked in small groups to write their own versions of the song, incorporating new vocabulary terms. In this class, the groups performed their completed songs for their classmates.
One by one, the students had their moments in the spotlight while Profe Lee stood at the back of the room, recording each vivacious performance on her iPad.
One group’s lyrics described a student begging his teacher to let him go home and eat a snack; another asked to go retrieve the water bottle she had left in the park; and a third requested a serving of ice cream.
The performances were full of laughter and smiles, from both the singers and the audience members. After each group took their bows, classmates offered comentarios, or comments, about what they enjoyed, like “¡Muy creativo!” (Very creative!) and “¡Muy divertido!” (So funny!).
Not only were the songs fun and original, they were an effective way for these Class 4 students to put their Spanish vocabulary into use. In the words of one enthusiastic participant, “Those performances were awesome!”
Browse photos from the class below: