Urban Discovery Academy

Skip to main content

¡Bienvenidos!

¡Hola a todos! Me llamo Señora Kennedy.
 
A little bit about me:
 
I grew up in a small town in Michigan, in a very big family. I am not a native Spanish speaker - I started learning Spanish in high school and enjoyed it so much that I decided that I wanted to help others learn it, too. Currently I am trying to learn Arabic as my third language. We'll see what comes next!
 
I have been teaching since 2008. I taught K-8 Spanish in Detroit, and a few years ago I also got a Fulbright grant for one year in Spain. That means I got to live in Spain for a year, teaching English, speaking lots of Spanish, and getting an in-depth look at the Spanish language and culture. (I also got to spend a summer walking across Spain on the Camino de Santiago - about 300 miles!) More recently, I made another big trip: I moved across the country to San Diego to teach Spanish here at UDA!
 
Learning about new languages and cultures is very important to me. I believe that making connections and forming positive relationships with people - especially people different from ourselves - is a way to change the violence, misunderstandings, and conflicts that you see whenever you turn on the television. Here in San Diego, almost a quarter of the population speaks Spanish, which makes the Spanish language a crucial way to participate in our local community.
 
I love using technology to learn and to help my students learn. There are lots of exciting digital resources to help you learn a new language and explore new cultures, and I hope to share some of those with you here on this website.
 
I live with my husband and mi gato. I also volunteer with Youth for Understanding (mentoring exchange students from around the world). In my free time, I enjoy writing, photography, dancing, sleeping, spending time outside, drinking coffee, and telling cheesy jokes.
 
I'm on twitter @kennedyspanish and I have lots of resources on my weebly website: kennedyspanish.weebly.com. You can reach me at skennedy@urbansd.com or with the contact link on this page!
 
Need some individual help?
My office hours are Thursday mornings from 7:15-7:45am (in Mr. Chapman's room) or by appointment!
 

Classes

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!
¡Hola, fotógrafos!
 
As we come to the end of the year, we are coming to the end of photo club! Yesterday during club each student worked on picking two favorite photos to print. Depending on how many people contribute photos, we will print and mat 1 or 2 photos per student. If you did not pick two photos yesterday (or if you were not at photo club) you can still add them to this folder by this Saturday. (I will be printing them Sunday. If you would like to print out your own 4x6" photo to bring, you can do that instead!) Please name the files with your name and 1 or 2 (for first and second favorite.) 
 
Here's what our next two meetings will look like:
  • Next week (5/30): We will be preparing some of our photos for exhibition! I will print and bring the photos submitted to me, and we will put them into mats and hang them up.
  • Last week of school (6/6) will be our last meeting of the year. If you want to bring a treat to share feel free! Thanks to Dakota & her family who have been bringing us snacks this trimester, to prevent hangry photographers. :)
I have been so inspired by this group of young artists! If you have not already seen the work they have been sharing on our SeeSaw, click here to see your child's work and here to see our public blog.
 
As always, let me know if you have questions!

Proyecto: Textos Pegajosos (8º)

Preguntas Principales:

  • ¿Cómo aprendo? ¿Cómo me comunico?
  • ¿Cuáles textos quiero usar y compartir?
How often do song lyrics stick in your head? What books do you remember from childhood?  What rhymes help you remember important information? Finding texts that stick with you and communicating with others are both important for meaningful language learning. On your own or with a group, you will be choosing an authentic text from a Spanish speaking culture. This could be a song, a rhyme, a poem, or a book - something meaningful to you and appropriate for your level. You will choose a language goal for yourself, plan how to share that text with your chosen audience, and most importantly identify and hone your skills as an independent language learner as you get ready to move on to high school.
 
See an overview, dates, and resources for our final project below (or on Google Classroom!)
 
 
(The photo is of some of last year's 8th graders teaching 1st grade a song as part of this project.)

Can you help us film our project?

5th grade has been working in groups to plan presentations or videos about our school to share with our pen pals in Spain. They have written scripts and plans, and will be going to various classes and parts of the school to film and/or photograph for their project. I am looking for parent volunteers who would be able to help supervise small groups while they film. This would be on Mondays or Thursdays from 10am-noon. If you have any availability this coming week or in the following weeks, let me know!
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!
 
---
 
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.
¿Cómo es mi escuela?
 
5th grade is describing their school for their pen pals in Spain. Students can use this set on Quizlet to practice vocabulary they need to describe the school. Their pen pals also have this set so that they can practice the English words (and maybe even compete on some games like gravity!)

Photo Club Trimester 3

¡Hola!
 
If you signed up for this trimester's photography club, I sent out a confirmation email to all students and parents! If you did not get this confirmation, please let me know. If you have changed your mind about participating, also please let me know - the club is full and there are others interested, so if you do not want your spot I can pass it on to someone else!
 
Our first meeting will be on April 4th, the Tuesday after Spring break. See all details and our schedule here.
 
A few updates and reminders:
  • SeeSaw: We are sharing our photos using this app that allows us to easily and safely share our learning. For new members of the club, I will send home paper instructions and codes the first week. Parents can sign up to see everything their child has shared, and we'll all share some photos publically on our blog: https://blog.seesaw.me/udaphotography
  • Cameras & Devices: If students would like to bring their own camera or device for taking photos, feel free to give it to me on Tuesday morning and I can lock it in my office until the club time. 
  • Attendance: Please let me know if you will not be able to attend or if you will be picked up early. This helps with planning, especially if we will be taking photos off campus. If you stop attending regularly, there are quite a few other students who would like to be in the club and I can pass on your spot to someone else. 
  • Pick up time: Please remember that our club is finished at 4:45pm. I am delighted to stay after school and donate my time for this club, but I do eventually need to go home or to other commitments. 
  • Snacks: Although snacks are not provided, students are welcome to bring a snack to eat during the beginning of our club. 
  • Volunteers: If parents are willing to come and help out or to walk with us on a walking field trip, please let me know. We'd love to have you!
  • Donor's Choose: I have created a project on Donor's Choose for our club, if you would like to share with family and friends! We have been focusing on free digital resources and using the devices we have access to, but this will allow us to get a few more cameras and supplies to mat, print and present our photos
As always, I am available for any questions and concerns. Thank you for being part of our club! Have a great break, and see you on the 4th!

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.
 
----
 
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.

Español 5º: Trimestre 2

It's hard to believe it's the end of the trimester already!
 
Things we worked on this trimester:
Students used this rubric and checklist to grade themselves before I used it to grade them for this trimester's report cards. 
 
If you have not seen student's progress via SeeSaw, check it out! You can see what we have shared with our class and with our Pen Pals in Spain.
 
 
SeeSaw parent links:

Photo Club Updates!

Today was our last photo club of the trimester. We will not have the club during March to give time for conferences, grading marathons in teacher land, and Spring Break. We will start a new session of this club after Spring Break.
 
It's hard to believe that the trimester is already over!The weeks have really flown by as I've watched this group of young photographers learn and grow together. We've learned how to take good photos using the tools that we have, how to edit using a variety of free programs, and how to creatively challenge ourselves! I've been so inspired by seeing the world through my students' eyes, and I've loved seeing some of our students incorporate photography into other projects. Check out some examples of their work at our blog:

https://blog.seesaw.me/udaphotography

(Parents can also sign in and see all of the things their child has shared via SeeSaw.)
 
A few announcements:
  • Interested in joining or continuing photo club in the 3rd trimester? Details are here and our registration form is here. Deadline for applications is March 17th, and our first meeting will be the Tuesday after Spring Break.
  • UDA Photo Club members are having a photo challenge for all UDA students to submit their favorite photo! Challenge deadline is April 2nd. See more details on our posters around school!
  • Want to support our club? Our club is free and run by volunteers, so we are always looking for help from the community! Come accompany us on a photo walk, share your photo smarts, or help us get working cameras by sharing or donating to our Donors Choose project.
As always, please let me know if you have any questions!

7th graders are working hard on the culminating piece of this trimester's Soy Yo project - creative pieces that express their identity through words and visuals!
 
We're drawing, painting, making word clouds, embroidering, animating, photographing, and writing on ourselves to share bits of ourselves. We can't wait to show off what we come up with at exhibition night on March 2nd!