Urban Discovery Academy

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Español 8º

Sara Kennedy
2016-2017 Year


Course Description

¡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/UDAHW8th

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!

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.)

Proyecto: Una descripción de nuestra escuela

Check out this preview of one group's project! 8th grade is working on a project to describe their school, using the vocabulary and grammar from their current unit. They will create presentations or videos to share with our pen pals in Spain. I meant this to be a somewhat small mini project, but as soon as I introduced the idea our creative 8th graders just took off with some very elaborate plans! We look forward to sharing what we come up with. Project overview is here: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1JimtusOP_YxayLhh4EkHF2H4D1N0UbS2TNLqii_99ao As always, reminders and resources for our assignments are posted on Google Classroom and our shared homework calendar: http://tiny.cc/UDAHW8th

Edmodo Pen Pal Project

In 7th and 8th grade we will be participating in a pen pal project with some students in Spain. We will use Edmodo (an educational network) to respond to questions in English and Spanish.
Students will be signing up for Edmodo during class next week, and parents will have the ability to sign up for an account if they would like to see our discussions.
Please see the attached letter (bilingual in English & Spanish) for more information and a description of how Edmodo works. 
¡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.)
Amigos Falsos
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 

8th Grade Field Trip!

In 8th grade, we have a field trip on November 4th to see a Day of the Dead altar presentation in Sherman Heights Community Center. We will be going during our Spanish & PE time (8:15-10:30am.) The students have a permission form to sign at home. The due date is Oct. 28th. We still need parent volunteers, if you want to go as a chaperone. There is a copy of the permission slip and more details in the attached file. Thank you!

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!

Zine Fest this past Saturday was a success! We displayed and distributed lots of student zines, got donations for future zine projects, chatted with the community about their experiences learning languages, and made some zines with some new people! We couldn't have pulled off this project without all the help from parents and community volunteers, who helped print zines, fold zines, lend us canopies, and so much more. ¡Muchísimas gracias!
After grading the zines I hope to display them in the school. Grading may take a little bit of time, since I will be out of town Friday through Sunday for a family wedding. I want to make sure I give your hard work the attention it deserves, so they might not be completely graded until next week. However, I have updated PowerSchool to show which zines have been turned in and which have not - feel free to take a look if you are worried.