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¡Bienvenidos!

¡Hola a todos! Me llamo Señora Kennedy.
 
I'm so excited to spend another year with all of you. This is my fourth year at UDA and my tenth year teaching! 
 
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. My favorite part of knowing more than one language is that it has connected me to people and places in the world that I never would have imagined otherwise. 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 injustice that we often encounter in our country and our world. 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 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 spend time on grading your creative projects, activism, writing, photography, dancing, sleeping, spending time outside, drinking coffee, and telling cheesy jokes.
 
I'm on twitter @kennedyspanish (where I try to share photos of the stuff we are doing in class!) 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? Come see me:
  • Tuesday & Friday during 6th/7th grade lunch (11:50-12:35)
  • Tuesdays after school (3:30-4:30pm)
  • Before school by appointment!
 
 

Classes

Recent Posts

Proyecto: Caprichos Modernos

Queridas familias,
 
Me alegre compartir nuestro proyecto nuevo que vamos a empezar esta semana. Es un proyecto que conecta el español, el inglés, la historia y el arte. Al final vamos a presentar los productos finales en una exposición al final de marzo (antes de nuestras vacaciones de Primavera.) 
 
Más detalles:
Es posible que nuestros estudiantes no pueden imaginar que hacen sus maestros durante de los miércoles, después de los estudiantes salen al mediodía. Tenemos varias actividades del aprendizaje profesional, y en las ultimas meses hemos pasado muchas horas planeando proyectos juntos. Ahora me emociona la oportunidad de compartir estos proyectos con ustedes, y a ver lo que producen nuestros estudiantes creativos. 
 
Como vamos a explorar varios mensajes en español (de anuncios comerciales hasta arte callejero) siempre busco más ejemplos y recomendaciones de anuncios, artistas, o grupos favoritos que comparten sus mensajes en español.... especialmente aquí en San Diego.
 
Como siempre, estoy disponible para cualquier pregunta o comentario.
 
----
Dear families,
 
I'm excited to start our 7th grade cross-curricular project this week. It is a project that will connect Spanish, English, History, Math and Art, and will culminate in a exposition at the end of March (before Spring break.) Check out the details below!
You might wonder what teachers do on our Wednesday half days each week. We have all kinds of professional learning on Wednesdays, but recently we've been doing some intense project planning. I'm so excited to share the results with our students and families, and to see what our creative students come up with!
 
Since we will be exploring a variety of messages in Spanish (from commercials and marketing campaigns to street art) I am always looking for more recommendations of favorite Spanish commercials or artists who communicate in Spanish, especially locally in San Diego. Please feel free to share!
 
As always, I am available for any questions or concerns!

Our butterflies we made at the beginning of the year have arrived safely in Mexico! This week we will be learning about the schools where they ended up, and perhaps even catching a glimpse of our butterflies in the hands of the Mexican students. 
 
We are also learning about what a typical day might be like in that region of Mexico, with this slideshow and a printed e-book. This is a chance to practice our reading skills in Spanish, and to compare our daily lives at UDA to the lives of the school children we've connected with through the Journey North project.
¡Cartas de Sevilla!
 
It was an exciting week in 7th & 8th grade, as we finally got a response from our pen pals in Spain! Students are working on responses now, so we can send off the next batch of letters next week.

Acitrón de un fandango

Here's a circle game we tried in 5th grade last week! It's a bit challenging, especially for people like me who are more "word smart" than "body smart." (Don't know what kind of "Smart" you are? Here's the quiz we took a few weeks ago.)
 
See videos of this game in action and learn more about the history and meaning of this rhyme at Mama Lisa's site (which also has a lot of other rhymes, songs, and games from around the world.)

Tarea de febrero (February homework)

During the 2nd semester I'm introducing monthly homework options in 5th grade! Those of you who stopped by during our recent Middle School Information night may have gotten a preview. I have been using a similar format in middle school this year, and it has been a great way to give kids lots of options for practice, regardless of levels and interests. 
 
To learn a new language, practice outside the classroom is important. I am trying to help develop students' skills as independent language learners, and some of that includes figuring out ways to practice that are just right for each person! We also took the Birmingham Grid for Learning test to find out what kind of "Smart" we were, and hopefully that information can help students explore effective ways to practice and explore.
 
This week I gave students a paper in class this week with activity options for February. There are two sets of options. (I gave each student both, so they can choose what is right for them.) Click below to see a copy of these options! Each activity has a description and instructions. Some of them require you to write down information, or attach some other kind of proof. 
Students should complete at least 1 activity each week (4 for the whole month.) For the first week, we had a chance to try out some of these activities in class. Some favorites were Free Rice, Duolingo, and independent reading from my collection of Spanish books. Students should complete other activities at home and keep track of what they have done with the homework paper. All evidence will be turned in at the end of the month.
 
Parents, please look over the options and help your child pick something that is just right for their language level, interests, and access to resources! Let me know if you have any questions, comments, or suggestions for new activities to add to our options next month. 

Mensajes del Agua

In 4th and 5th grade we are using the song Mensajes del Agua (by Macaco) to practice some reading in Spanish (of the lyrics and of a short biography of the artist) and to talk about the message of the song: We are a "sea of people," different but equal. We examined some similarities and differences between our school and a school in Spain through watching this great lip dub music video version by Colegio El Chaparral.
 
(It turns out that this was the perfect week for a song about water, too!)
 
Here are some of the activities we have been doing in class:

Paz y Libertad

We are learning Paz y Libertad (by José-Luis Orozco) in 3rd grade. (It's pretty catchy, so maybe the tune has made its way home!)
 
Here is a video version that another school made, if you want to sing along.
 
In class use the version from his album De Colores. Here is the Amazon link if you are interested.
7th and 8th grade students did a great job on our translation project for the Fr. Joe's Villages donation drives in December. Students chose between three options for this projects, depending on their skills and interests:
  1. Creating Spanish posters advertising the drive (for families and community members who speak Spanish.)
  2. Translating the list of items needed for the care package.
  3. Writing encouraging notes in Spanish to include with the care packages.
Students got some valuable practice with translation and teamwork, and got to use their language skills to make a positive difference in their community. UDA was able to donate around 200 care packages to Fr. Joe's Villages.

Care Package & Sock Drive at UDA!

This December at UDA we are conducting a Care Package and Sock Drive to help our neighbors in need, through Father Joe’s Villages. In 7th and 8th grade Spanish class we are doing a translation mini project as a way to help spread the word to community members and UDA families who speak Spanish, and to get some experience in translation.
 
Please see the flyers below and contribute to this charitable drive if you can!
 
(As always, middle school students can see details of this assignment and any others on their homework calendar and on Google Classroom!)

¡Juegos locos!

I wanted to share some games that students have loved in class, in case they want to play them at home!
  • GeoGuessr.com This is a fun way to practice geography, but you'll often need your language skills (and just general powers of observation!) The game drops you somewhere in the world and you have to guess where you are using clues from what you see around you. There is a Spain map so you can specifically practice your Spanish skills, or you can challenge yourself by playing the whole world map.
  • Kahoot is an interactive practice game we've played in class. It can get very competitive! If you'd like to play with friends, here's a link to the one we played in class: ¿Qué tiempo hace?
 

Daily writing in Spanish

In 4th & 5th grade we have been writing daily "journals" with the language we know - the date, the weather, etc. This has been a good way to reinforce writing skills along with our interactive practice.
 
Students rate themselves on their writing in the same way I rate them, with the Common Core scale:
 

Objective: I can use the Spanish we have learned in class.

  • 0 or N/A - Did not complete (or lost paper)
  • 1 - Wrote only a little with a lot of support.
  • 2 - Still developing skills learned in class.
  • 3 - Used words from class and resources for daily journal
  • 4 - Correctly used words beyond what we learned in class
My goal is to get students to at least 3 by the end of the year - many students are not there yet, and that's okay! Writing takes practice in any language. Want to get more practice? Keep writing at home, too!
By now our symbolic monarchs are on their way to Mexico!
 
Participating in the Journey North project has already been so valuable for our Spanish classes. We learned about monarch butterflies, about their winter habitats in Mexico, and about the people who take care of them - both caring for natural resources so real butterflies have a habitat, and taking care of our symbolic monarchs during the winter!
 
I also got to see my students learn other important things: how to be ambassadors of peace, both in the world and in the classroom. Making our class butterflies took a lot of teamwork - students brainstormed ideas, decided if they wanted to make theirs look more realistic or more symbolic, and talked about ways to make sure everyone's ideas were included.
 
I wonder what butterflies will come back to us in the Spring?