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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!
 
 

Recent Posts

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?

Día de los Muertos

In class we've been learning about some of the traditions connected to El Día de los Muertos - the Day of the Dead.
 
If you'd like to find out more or explore some resources related to this holiday, explore the links below, or check out these local San Diego events!
 
 
CGI Student Academy Award Gold Medal Winner Short Film HD: "Dia De Los Muertos" A short animated film. (Wordless.)
Dia de los Muertos - National Geographic Photos A slideshow of images with explanation of the celebration.
Babelzone - Los Esqueletos Animated adaption of the Costa Rican song. Very kid friendly.
Día de los Muertos y comida: Cementerio de Villa María del Triunfo, Perú Celebrations in Peru. 6 minutes.
Día de los Muertos en Mixquic Video by Youth Bloggers Latin América UNESCO - clips from the local celebrations, with brief explanations in Spanish. 4 minutes.
Día de Muertos en el Centro Histórico Celebrations in Mexico City. 16 minutes.
DiaDeMuertos.com A collection of articles and resources in English and Spanish
Smithsonian Latino Center: Day of the Dead Interactive information. Build your own digital altar.
AZCentral: Día de los Muertos Lots of resources and information.
Ofrenda de Muertos (Infographic) Infographic showing the parts of a traditional ofrenda altar.
Celebra, come, y ríe junto a los muertos: VeinteMundos Interactive article (with vocabulary support) to read and listen to, with more links to videos and other resources.
PicMonkey photo editor "Paint" your face like a calavera using PicMonkey's "Day of the Dead" photo editor.
 

MS Homework Calendars!

The middle school team is happy to announce that we have created shared grade level homework calendars for our classes. Students should also be using their planners to write down reminders in each class, but this is another place for both students and parents to stay up to date on assignments for all classes.
 
The links to the calendars are below. Please bookmark these for further reference. Within each calendar, you are able to click on assignments to see more details and attached files or links.

Students, here are some tips for using this calendar:

  • Compare it to what you wrote in your agenda during class to make sure you didn't miss anything.
  • Set the calendar as the homepage for whenever you open up a new internet browser window.
  • If you are absent, find out what was due or what you missed!
  • Avoid any family drama about whether or not you have homework by showing this calendar to your parents.
Hope these are helpful!