Urban Discovery Academy

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¡Bienvenidos a la clase de español!
 
We will be using Google Classroom for assignments, resources, and reminders this year. Students should be signing in regularly with their student accounts.
 
We also have a shared homework calendar to help keep track of assignments from all classes: http://tiny.cc/UDAHW6th

Recent Posts

It is the time of year when students and parents are asking how to improve their grade before the end of the year!
 
I try hard to make grades in Spanish reflect a few things:
1) A student's work at learning a language
2) What students know and can do in Spanish
 
This year middle school has separated grades into Project/Product, Process, and Skills/Content. I have found this very helpful for making these grades clearer, and I hope it has been clearer for families and students, too. Many of my students have found that is impossible to get a great grade in my class without completing any homework outside of class. This is because learning a language requires practice beyond the classroom, and how much time students spend on practicing is directly related to how much they grow. With this said, my policy has been that students are not able to make up missed homework since the purpose of homework is consistent, ongoing practice outside. Students can improve their language proficiency (and often their grade) by practicing more, but if they have not practiced or completed work until the end of the trimester it is not possible to get an A (unless they have a time machine.)
 
If students are not happy with their current grade, they do have one option since we do not have regular June homework (due to the end of the school year.) Students have a chance to get some extra points if their grade is below 100% by doing the following:
  1. Get in some more practice by completing at least 2 new skills on Duolingo (not counting what is included on May homework)
  2. Complete a survey about what homework options you tried and enjoyed this year, and opinions to help me improve our practice options for next year! 
Details and the survey are available on Google Classroom. 
 
As always, Tarea de mayo is due on the last day of the month. Don't forget that this can include work on skills or projects that you complete at home!
 
A few 6th grade reminders as we come to the end of the trimester!
  • Our Lotería projects were due last Friday! We are excited to display them at exhibition and present and play them in class. I am still in the process of grading these projects, but I have marked them as collected, missing, or incomplete on Power School and sent student email reminders to all students who are not finished.
  • As always, Tarea de mayo is due on the last day of the month. We do not have regular homework for June due to the end of school, but students have a chance to do extra Duolingo and take a survey to get some extra points if their grade is below 100%. Details are on Google Classroom.
  • As always, I am available during office hours and lunch/recess on Fridays for extra help!
I am excited for summer, but also for the chance to work with this group of students for 7th grade!
In 6th grade we just started a project that combines the traditional Mexican Lotería game with the language skills we have been learning in class! After playing the game in class, students have been looking at a collection of creative Lotería decks (both historical and contemporary) to learn and review words in Spanish, and to learn about the rules for the gender of nouns in Spanish in a hands-on way. After seeing these creative examples, students will create their own version that shares information about themselves, using the Spanish skills we have been learning so far this year. For most students, this will include descriptions and interests. For native speakers, we will include accents and stressed syllables.
 
It's been a lot of fun so far to play Lotería in class and to see all the creative versions, from the traditional Don Clemente versions you can buy in most Mexican grocery stores to the more recent Space Lotería by Chepo Peña. I can't wait to see what our creative students come up with themselves!
 
 
Check out the project overview here with more information, links, and resources: tiny.cc/UDAloteria. A rough draft will be due (in their project packet) on 4/27 and the final Lotería will be due 5/18 before camp. All project due dates will be posted on our homework calendar: tiny.cc/UDAHW6th
 
I have designed and planned this project to be completed in class, but if students are absent or off task they may need to catch up at home or during office hours. At home for homework, students should be practicing their describing adjectives (which we will be using during this project, and which are a review of skills from the end of 5th grade.) They will have a vocabulary quiz on 5/4 on these adjectives. Remember to log any at-home practice on the report for tarea de abril!
 
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En la clase de español, acabamos de empezar un proyecto con la Lotería Mexicana. Después de jugar la Lotería en la clase, los estudiantes han usado una variedad de Loterías históricas y modernas para repasar y aprender palabras en español y explorar las reglas para el género de los sustantivos en español por una manera interactiva. Después de examinar estos ejemplos de loterías creativas, cada estudiante creará su propia versión que comunica información personal, usando las palabras y la gramática que estamos practicando en la clase. (Para todos los alumnos, nos enfocamos en describir actividades y gustos. Para los hablantes nativos del español, nos enfocamos en las sílabas tónicas y la acentuación.)
 
Nos hemos divertido con el juego de Lotería en la clase y la exploración de Loterías creativas (de las versiones tradicionales de Don Clemente hasta la nueva Space Lotería de Chepo Peña.) ¡Espero con anticipación ver las Loterías creativas de nuestros estudiantes!
 
Aquí hay el enlace para una descripción y todos los recursos que corresponden al proyecto: tiny.cc/UDAloteria. Entregarán una copia borrador (en su paquete del proyecto) el 27 de abril, y la fecha de entrega para la Lotería Final será el 18 de mayo, antes que salir para AstroCamp.  Como siempre, las fechas de entrega están en nuestro calendario de tarea: tiny.cc/UDAHW6th
 
Mi plan es que los alumnos terminen este proyecto en clase, pero si hay ausencias o si no usen su tiempo en clase en una manera productiva, puede ser que necesitaren recuperar este tiempo en casa o durante mi horario de oficina. En casa, los alumnos deben practicar sus adjetivos de descripción, que vamos a usar en este proyecto. (Es vocabulario del año pasado.) Tenemos una prueba de vocabulario el 5 de mayo con estos adjetivos. ¡Pueden incluir práctica de vocabulario en su reportaje para la tarea de abril! Para hablantes nativos, la cosa más difícil es escribir estas palabras, y les recomiendo Spell o Gravity, actividades en Quizlet, para practicar.

La Misma Luna - Permission

Queridas familias,
 
En la clase de español vamos a ver La Misma Luna, una película que trata de un niño que viaja solo de México a Los Angeles para reunirse con su mamá. Cómo la clasificación de la película es PG-13, quería avisarles. Esta clasificación es por lenguaje (leve) y unas situaciones peligrosas, pero en mi opinión no es nada muy serio y creo que es apropiada para su edad. También creo que es una película buena y oportuna para nuestra ciudad fronteriza, y que puede presentar oportunidades de conversaciones importantes.
 
Hoy he enviado una carta a casa con sus hijos, para que usted pueda avisarme (por devolver el papel firmado, o por correo electrónico) si no quiere que su hijo/a vea esta película en clase. Si tiene la autorización de verla, no es necesario avisarme ni enviar el  papel. 
 
Como siempre, estoy disponible para cualquier pregunta o duda.
 
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Dear families,
 
In Spanish class we will be watching Under the Same Moon, a movie about a young boy who travels from Mexico to Los Angeles to reunite with his mother. Since the rating of the movie is PG-13, I wanted to notify you. The rating is due to mild language and some dangerous situations, but in my opinion it's nothing too serious and I believe that it's appropriate for their age. I also think it's a good movie and a timely one for our border city, and that it can foster some important conversations in class.
 
I sent a letter home today with your student, so that you can let me know if you do not want your child to watch this movie - either by signing and returning the paper, or by email. If s/he has permission to watch it with us, there is no need to let me know or return the paper.
 
As always, I am available for any questions or concerns.
6th grade has been talking about preferred activities in Spanish. (Unidad 1 Lección 1 in our textbook.) Before break they created Vocabulario Creativo using this vocabulary, either on paper or digitally. We have been practicing in class, and they will have their first vocabulary quiz of the year on Thursday, January 19th. They will need to recognize and understand these activity words in Spanish.  (They should have these words in their Spanish notebook.)
 
My skills quizzes are worth 10 points and can always be retaken (before the end of the trimester) since their purpose is to see what students know and what they need to practice.
 
Students have lots of practice activities linked on Google Classroom. Recommended practice resources:
  • Come in and study with us on Fridays at lunch! (In Ms. Sullivan's room)
  • Quizlet, which allows students to practice in a variety of ways (visual/audio flashcards, matching games, self-quizzes, printable flashcards, etc.)
  • Printable memory game
If students practice at home, they can count this as a homework activity and add it to their monthly Spanish homework report.
¡Feliz Año Nuevo!
 
This year on New Year's Day, a friend asked me 3 questions that she uses for reflection on her birthday.
  1. What are you proud of in the past year?
  2. What do you want to leave behind you?
  3. What do you want to do in the coming year?
I liked these as an end-of-the-year reflection, and I brought these to our Spanish classes this first week back. We made trophies for ourselves for things we were proud of from last year, wrote down things we want to leave behind in 2016, and wrote down hopes for 2017.
 
We put a lot of things into our ¡Fuera, 2016! boxes, and ripped them up (which always feels good.)
 
Negatividad
Odio
Racismo
Amigos Falsos
Tristeza
Miedo
 
You can check out some of our trophies and resolutions in the upstairs hallway near middle school, and add some of your own. 

It was a good way to start the new year. I'm so grateful to be part of the UDA family for another year.
Lectura Independiente en español: Independent Reading in Spanish
 
One of the challenges of working with a very diverse range of language levels is finding materials that are appropriate for each and every student - from new Spanish learners to native speakers. Over the years I have been trying to collect a variety of Spanish books to meet all my learners' needs, and figure out the logistics of using that book collection without a classroom.
 
This year there have been some exciting developments. We got a very nice rolling bookshelf, copies of all middle school class novels in Spanish, and 3 iPad minis thanks to a DonorsChoose project. In class we have been learning how to find books that are just right for our levels (using the "five finger rule") and doing some independent reading in class. Students are also able to check out Spanish books to read as homework. Check out some of the books from my collection here: https://profesara.libib.com/ (This is not yet a complete list. I am still working on scanning and labeling books, and am looking for parent and student volunteers who might like to help!)
 
Other reading resources:
  • For everyone: 
    • The San Diego Public Library has an excellent collection of books in Spanish for kids, teens, and adults.
    • Looking for more book ideas? Here is my ever-growing wishlist of books in Spanish (that I've resisted buying so far!)
  • For novice learners:
    • For beginning readers, build vocabulary (and fight world hunger): Free Rice 
  • For young readers:
  • For teen readers:
    • Read about current events and a wide variety of topics and answer comprehension questions with Newsela (You can adjust the reading level on each article.)
    • Read online magazines in Spanish:

Middle School Clubs: Student Interest Survey

As a middle school team we've been talking a lot about the "middle school experience" and getting feedback from students and parents on how we can improve.
 
One thing that is new this year is that all students have enrichment for one trimester (Visual Arts, STEAM, & Performing Arts) along with Spanish & PE all year. While this is a great way to create some really in-depth projects and fits with our school mission, many students have expressed that they miss electives. We have been talking about ways to offer more student-selected and student-driven activities, as well as creating opportunities for 6-8th groupings. One way we want to do this is through UDA clubs! Many students are already participating in some (like the Handbell Choir, Ballroom Dancing, and Art Club!) but we would like to add more clubs for the 2nd Trimester. 
 
Last week I emailed students this survey to gauge interest in several student clubs that teachers are available to lead. If any students still want to share their opinions, please do that before this weekend! (Students will need to be logged into their UDA email in order to see the survey.)
 
We will be reviewing the results and deciding which clubs we should start and when they should be held. More information to come soon!

Last week we spent time learning about the celebration of El Día de los Muertos.
8th grade took a field trip to the nearby Sherman Heights Community Center to explore community altars set up there. It was a great field trip and I would love to set up a display there next year!
 
After we learned about traditional items used for ofrendas, we set up our own in the empty middle school lockers. We will leave these up through exhibition week until Thanksgiving break, so please stop by and check them out!
 
Recursos: Día de los Muertos 

Tarea de octubre

All students should have turned in their September homework last week! I am in the process of grading that homework, but PowerSchool is updated with whether or not it has been turned in, even for the work I still need to grade.
 
This is just a reminder that October's homework is posted in Google Classroom. Since 6th grade has access to Google Classroom now, they will be turning in their report digitally instead of on paper. (7th & 8th grade are already familiar with this process!) Homework is always due on the last day of the month, though you might want to turn it in a bit early if you'll be doing other fun things on Oct. 31st.
 
As always, please contact me if you have questions, or stop by office hours!