El mundo de Sra. Brown

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El día de la raza

October 12th marks El día de la raza in Latin America.  This holiday, known as Columbus Day in the United States, The Day of the Great Encounter in Spain and The Day of Indigenous Resistance in Native American communities, is a complicated commemoration.  As a class we discussed the different connotations of each name and analyzed what each title chose to emphasize or minimize.  We also discussed how some of the same battles over land and natural resources that happened during colonial times are continuing to happen in the Latin American world and beyond.

Above, the leader of the Achuar people makes an appeal to stop Talisman Energy from drilling in the Amazon River basin.  I was so impressed with my students’ ability to confront these difficult issues in a respectful and nuanced way.

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Student Reflection

Our class took some time recently to reflect on our strengths and weaknesses as a group.  We had a chance to pat ourselves on the back for the ways we collaborate and stretch our learning.  We also formulated some specific goals for how we could improve as a community of learners.  Afterward, we filled out an individual reflection about our own classroom persona that targeted particular communicative strategies to enhance our synthesis of linguistic concepts.
Here are some anonymous student quotes from that survey:
“Spanish is almost like another me that I can express with more colorful words.”
“Spanish class is like a game of charades for me, but there’s a lot more work involved.”
“I tell people ‘tranquilo’ when they are being hyper.  I like the sound of it, and how it rolls off my tongue.”
“When speaking Spanish or answering questions in Spanish that shy person comes out because I think I might say it wrong or it will sound funny.”
“I think I need to work on not calling out.  Eager as I might be, I think I need to hold back sometimes.”
“I already learned English as a second language, so I have experienced how to learn another language.”
“Worse comes to worse, I guess and get it wrong.  In order to learn, I’m going to make some mistakes.”

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Collaborative Vocabulary Lists

Students in octavo used Google docs this week to create review lists of regular AR, ER and IR verbs.  In addition, they had to include two new verbs that they had never seen before.  Above is a slide show of some of the new verbs the students selected.  Because we could all access the document at the same time, students working in groups of three were able to compile a list of verbs in a specific category and then immediately access the work of the other groups in their class.

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Blanco, negro, chau

Students in sexto used this Luis Pescetti song as a pattern for reviewing the list of adjective pairs that will appear on the test tomorrow.  Students did a great job echoing Luis Pescetti with the right opposite pair.  Some were even able to get the joke at the end of the song!  Then they practiced the opposite echo pattern with our current vocabulary list.

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El mes de herencia hispana

Students in Octavo and Español worked hard on the bulletin board in the dining commons in celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month.  Students in one section of Octavo researched an interesting tradition from the Latino diaspora and presented a summary of the tradition along with a representative photo.  Students in Español I and one section of Octavo researched sayings and expressions particular to different regions in the Spanish-speaking world.  Students in Sexto took a tour of the bulletin board and learned from the hard work of their peers.  Make sure to stop by the dining commons before October 15th to check out our student work!