All posts by sleighninger

Preguntas, Preguntas, Preguntas

In order to get our brains thinking in Spanish, we begin each class with some sort of preguntas (questions) activity.  Students practice exchanging information about their names, origin, age, birthday, likes and dislikes, favorites, feelings, and even capitals of Spanish-speaking countries.  Most students love to chat, so this is a great way to get them talking in Spanish.  We have had to be creative with our paired activities in order to maintain physical distance. One of the favorites this year is Preguntas con La Rueda de Nombres (Questions with the Wheel of Names). Check out the fifth graders in action!

Sixth Grade Culture Projects

Sixth graders are gearing up to present their first Spanish culture projects of the year this Friday.  Students have been using Fridays to research and complete a project on a Spanish-speaking country or countries of their choice.  Some examples include informative travel videos, how to videos of authentic crafts, recipe books, cooking demonstrations, or performing an authentic dance or song. Through this process students broaden their global lens and share what they learn about other cultures.  While the final product is what students present to peers, an emphasis is also placed on the process and what they learn from the experience of completing the project.  Some key elements used on the rubrics for assessment include overall effort, collaboration, correct use of grammatical structures and vocabulary, pronunciation, time management, and evidence of preparation.

Updates From Spanish

Masks and physical distance have not stopped the joy of learning in Spanish classes this year! Students are well into their first thematic units.

First grades students have reviewed the alphabet, colors, and numbers, and began learning about various items found in the classroom. Their cultural focus for the 1st trimester is the country of Honduras. See if they can show you were it is on the map!

To connect with what they are learning in their classroom, 2nd grades students are learning the names of planets and other space vocabulary in Spanish. Soon, they will begin to research and write a short report in Spanish about one of the planets.

Third graders are learning various words and phrases to use when in nature or when traveling. They also began researching and creating a Google Slide presentation about the country of Honduras.

In fourth grade, students have entered the wonderful world of verb conjugations. They have learned how to conjugate the verb ser (to be) in the present tense and how to apply it using simple sentences. They are also working on presentations about the culture of Nicaragua.

Fifth grade students are creating Google Slide show presentations to share about their favorite pets. They are utilizing the present tense to write  Spanish descriptions about each animal’s characteristics, features, and habits. Fifth graders are researching the culture of Nicaragua.

In middle school, sixth grade students are learning how to conjugate stem-changing verbs, make comparisons, and describe foods. Their first thematic unit is Vamos a comer! (Let’s Eat!). Students are learning vocabulary and phrases needed when ordering food at a restaurant.  They are also working in groups to create their own restaurant, complete with a menu and a presentation in Spanish about their concept, decor, favorite dishes, etc.

Viernes Culturales

Becoming proficient in a second language is not solely about  memorizing vocabulary, learning new phrases, and conjugating verbs.  It is also important to develop a better understanding of the culture of other countries and how their unique qualities compare and contrast to our own. Familiarizing ourselves with another nation’s way of life helps to broaden our global lens. This is an important element to The Summit’s Spanish program.

Fridays are dedicated to exploring various Spanish-speaking countries around the world.  In the lower grades, students spend each trimester learning about a different country’s geography, flag, coat of arms, popular landmarks, animals, music, etc. 3rd through 5th graders dive a little deeper, by independently researching and creating presentations about their findings.

The upper grades take this one step further by doing their own research on a specific country of their choice and completing a cultural project that is presented in front of their peers.  Some of these projects include Google Slide presentations, musical performances of an authentic song or dance, cooking demonstrations of an authentic dish, travel videos, board games, and travel brochures.

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Spanish classes are off to a fantástico start!  At The Summit, students receive Spanish every single day…TODOS LOS DÍAS!   Some of the highlights so far have been students choosing their very own Spanish name to use throughout the school year and playing one of the all-time favorite Spanish games,  Mono Loco or Crazy Monkey.  Mono Loco is a game that gets students up and moving around, while they practice their Spanish-speaking skills with peers.  Adding physical movement to the classroom is a powerful tool when learning a second language. While the weather cooperates, it also allows students to get outside, but still stay physically distanced.  We will utilize this method, called TPR (Total Physical Response) throughout the year.

If you haven’t done so already, take a moment to subscribe to the Spanish blog!  It will keep you up-to-date on what’s happening in the Spanish world at The Summit.

Feliz Verano (Happy Summer!)

This last trimester of school has certainly been a wild ride with many unexpected bumps and turns. Nonetheless, we have grown so much and  were still able to find the joy in learning Spanish, even at a distance. Below you will find a lower school and upper school choice board of activities to explore.  There are a variety of different enrichment opportunities to keep your Spanish skills sharp this summer. Feliz verano!

Lower School Enrichment Activities

Upper School Enrichment Activities

Culture Day 2020

Despite the distance, Culture Day 2020 was a huge success!  Students were able to join various live Zoom sessions throughout the day to participate in different cultural activities.

Señora Raven kicked off the day with a traditional game of Lotería.  Similar to Bingo, students used jelly beans, skittles, dried beans, etc. as markers as they tried to be the first person to cover four pictures in a row on their board.

Upper school students Sydney and Emily did an amazing demonstration of two traditional dances. Students learned each step alongside them and then were able to put all of the steps together to create one beautiful dance.

Mrs. Teed had an exciting soccer challenge.  She and a guest demonstrated how to dribble a soccer ball with your feet and then challenged the students to see how many times they could dribble the ball without it touching the ground.

After lunch, students were able to join Mrs. Bradley to create their very own sugar skull drawing. With simple, step-by-step directions, Mrs. Bradley demonstrated how to draw these amazing works of art by hand. They turned out amazing!

Students learned how to make authentic tortillas with Señora Leighninger. Students were able to follow directions and make delicious tortillas in their own kitchens using masa and water. From there some chose to eat them with honey or even made tacos.

We ended our day with a fun Spanish Jazzercise class led by Ms. Amy. It was a great way to get our bodies moving, listen to Spanish music, and burn off those tortilla calories!

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Culture Day


Culture Day may look a little different this year, but we will still be celebrating the Spanish-speaking countries and cultures this Friday, May 8th.  A Culture Day choice board will provide students with a variety of different activities to complete throughout the day.  Additionally, there will be live Zoom experiences with Summit faculty, staff, and upper school students.  Check your email for a schedule of events, but here is a sneak peak at some of the live opportunities:

  • Join Señora Raven for a traditional game of Lotería
  • Summit upper schools students, Sydney and Emily, will teach you an authentic dance
  • Are you up for a soccer challenge with Mrs. Teed?
  • Learn how to draw your very own sugar skull with Mrs. Bradley
  • Get moving with Ms. Amy during a Spanish Jazzercise class
  • Join Señora Leighninger for a live demo on making authentic tortillas.

La casa de mis sueños

2nd grade students have been learning common vocabulary and phrases used around the house.  Students have utilized different educational websites, watched videos, played interactive games,  and attended weekly Spanish Zoom meetings to become more comfortable with the Spanish terms for parts of the house, rooms in the house, appliances, and furnishings. As a final project, 2nd graders designed la casa de sus sueños, or their dream house.  Students were encouraged to use their creativity to include all of the typical rooms and parts of the house, along with any other fun ideas and features. They labeled each item in Spanish and will be completing a writing project this week to describe their creations.  I want to live in some of these houses! Check them out.

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Many of our lower school Spanish thematic units this trimester are focused on animals.  In connection with their science and social studies topics, students are learning about arctic animals, forest animals, animals in Missouri, insects, and rain forest animals.

As a culminating project, students are creating their own AlebrijeAlebrijes, created in the 1930’s by Pedro Linares, are brightly colored Mexican folk art sculptures of imaginary creatures.  You may recognize the term Alebrije from the recent movie Coco, where several of these spirit animals played a role.  Here is a video furthering explaining Alebrijes.

Students were challenged with incorporating features from at  least 3 different animals they have learned about into one unique Alebrije. This week they will be writing a description (in Spanish, of course) about these new, colorful creations. Check out what they have come up with so far!

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