In early November, we celebrated El Día de los Muertos, and students brought in the shoebox ofrendas which they had created in honor of someone who was no longer living. The ofrendas were beautifully decorated and included items that represented the individual and others that are traditional to ofrendas, as we had learned through videos and discussion.
We're working on acquiring language for expressing things in the past. We talk about what we did over the weekend and after school ( your papel verde). We talk about what Lola and the other characters did in the latest episode of Eres tú, María?. We talk about things we used to do when we were younger.
el flamenco - flamingo
el águila - eagle (Remember why it's el, not la?)
¡Qué casualidad! - What a coincidence!
A mucha hambre, no hay pan duro. - Beggars can't be choosers. (To great hunger, there's no hard bread.)
Later in November, we celebrated El Día de Acción de Gracias, Thanksgiving Day. Our animal and expression at that time reflected the theme.
el pavo - turkey
Estoy agradecido(a) por todo. I'm grateful for everything.
In December we added:
el camello - camel (which brought our animal count to 13)
¿Qué tienes? - What's the matter? (idiomatic meaning)
The preceding expression came to us via our new novel, Esperanza. As we began the novel, we did a 5-minute websearch on our phones to find information on the civil war in Guatemala. We discovered some very sobering facts, to say the least. In addition to being a good story, our novel will be rich in history, culture and reflection.
We were busy preparing ourselves for final exams, which included the recitation of a poem by Antonio Machado, a great Spanish poet. You translated a short story, patterned after Billy la Bufanda. I was particularly pleased with the results of this translation. :-) You also demonstrated comprehension of some key vocabulary structures by translating words that were underlined in sentences. Your multiple-choice final included a story to read and a range of items from our semesters work. There were a couple of perfect scores, and quite a few within 5 points of perfect. ¡Buen trabajo!
In our first week back, we wrote and talked about our activities during the winter break. We used that papel verde, again. We also wrapped up our ofrenda project by writing and speaking about the people that we had honored. We practiced pronouncing large numbers by telling year of birth and the year of passing, and we described the individuals with the appropriate adjectives in Spanish.
Our new animal:
el loro- parrot
And our expression:
Año nuevo, vida nueva. (New year, new life) A fresh start!
We talked about the tradition of sharing a rosca de reyes with friends and family on January 6th. In one class, one student brought a rosca that she had baked from scratch and another brought hot champurrado!
The lucky student who found a trinket baked in to her portion is going to bring us a treat on February 2!
¡Viva la cultura! ¡Gracias, estudiantes!
If you had a problem getting your assignments in on time last semester, this is the moment to make a change!
Your assignments are generally small. Get them done so you'll get your credit.
This semester we'll be doing individual culture projects. This will require more out-of-class time than your typical homework. You'll find out more very soon.
I'm happy to be sharing this school year with you. You are wonderful human beings! Here's to a great spring semester!