Stepping into Room 33, this visitor couldn’t help but smile at the joyful exuberance permeating this Lower School classroom. As an upbeat tune, “Mi Familia,” poured from the speakers, the Class 2 students waved their arms in the air and paraded around the blue rug.
“Mi mamá, mi papá, el bebé y yo,” they sang. “¡Mi hermana, mi hermano, esta es mi familia!” (My mom, my dad, the baby, and me. My sister, my brother, this is my family!)
Leading this lively contingent was Lower School Spanish teacher Isamar Rosado-Aponte, who incorporates music, dance, skits – and no shortage of fun – into her lessons. The topic of this particular class, as the song revealed, was family.
Thus, through this engaging, fast-paced lesson, the students strengthened their written and oral skills by practicing the Spanish words for relatives. Because Class 2 has been studying Spanish since Kindergarten, the class was conducted almost entirely en español.
“¡Perfecto!” Maestra Rosado praised the class after they enunciated each word in the “Mi Familia” song. As they sat cross-legged on the rug, she then directed their attention to the smart board on which her lesson plans were illuminated.
Hoy vamos a (today we are going to)
Practicar en pareja (practice in pairs)
Presentar de memoria (present by heart)
Maestra Rosado asked for volunteers to help explain each step in the process. Several hands shot up, and she called on a few students to define certain words for their classmates. To ensure everyone’s understanding, they were permitted to answer this part en inglés.
After quickly reviewing the male and female names for relatives, with the assistance of an illustrated family tree projected on the board, Maestra Rosado held up a large cardboard frame resembling a television and a portable microphone. In an official-sounding voice, she pretended to be a Spanish-speaking newscaster. The students giggled with delight. Soon they would use these props to interview each other about their families.
But first, the students needed to complete their scripts and practice their exchanges. In pairs, they found spots at the tables throughout the classroom and began to write responses to the family-focused questions. While each student had her own worksheet, the task was collaborative.
Together, they tackled queries like ¿Cómo se llama tu mamá? (What is your mom’s name?) and ¿Cómo se llama tu hermano o hermana? (What is your brother or sister’s name?). After filling in the blanks in neat pencil, they took turns asking and answering the list of questions.
After a period of energetic work, Maestra Rosado collected the scripts. It was show time! In fast succession, the pairs took their places inside the make-believe TV screen and assumed the personas of professional reporters. The student with the microphone asked her partner questions, then they switched. With no papers allowed, the students had to speak from memory, a formidable challenge they all tackled impressively.
As this animated class revealed, the students in Class 2 seem to relish the opportunity to communicate in Spanish, approaching their learning with interest and enthusiasm. Without question, these scholars are well on their way to becoming skilled Spanish speakers and more informed citizens.