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¡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

Pen Pal Permission Form - 5th - SeeSaw

In 5th grade we are starting a pen pal project with a school in Camarillas, Spain. We are excited to communicate in Spanish and share details about what our respective schools are like. This is a chance for all our students to learn about some very different environments, and to put our language skills to use!

You can learn more about the school we are communicating with and see some of their projects on their blog:

I sent home permission forms today. (A copy is attached here!) Please see the permission form for more details. Parents should sign it and return it this week so that students may participate in this project.

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. 
5th graders have been talking about their interests in Spanish, using a variety of activity verbs. Students did a Vocabulario Creativo activity in class where they illustrated and shared some of their vocabulary via SeeSaw (check out this sample, and D.F.'s example above!)
Here are some resources to practice these words: 
  • Practice with a variety of resources via Quizlet (You can hear the words, play matching games, practice spelling them, quiz yourself, and print out flash cards.)
  • Play this Jeopardy-style quiz show with some friends (This is the one we played in class!)
Here are some free photo editing tools we have been using in our photography club! Have any other ideas? Let me know!
Editing on a smartphone or tablet?

Snapseed (App available for iOS & Android)

This is my favorite app that I have used with kids of all grades (Kinder through middle school!) It is easy to use and has lots of tools. Search in your app store.

Editing on a chromebook or computer?

Easy to use and simple! This is good for beginners.

Sumo Paint https://www.sumopaint.com  
This is like a free online version of photoshop. It is more complicated, but has a lot of features. (7th grade is using Sumo Paint this trimester for a project, so may already be familiar with it... or will be using it soon!)

Polarr https://www.polarr.co

This is another program that feels like Photoshop. When you go to the website, click "Web Browser" and "Open Polarr Photo Editor" in the corner to get to the free version.

The new UDA Photography club has met a few times so far and I'm loving working with this group of young photographers!
Here are some resources for club members:
  • Slides from class (if you were absent or if you just need to remember what we talked about!)
  • SeeSaw Student Login 
    • Click Sign In
    • "I'm a Student"
    • "Email Account"
    • "Student Sign in with Google"
    • Log in with your UDA account
  • Parent SeeSaw Login information will be sent home next week!
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.)
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:

Tarea de noviembre: 5th grade Spanish homework

After 2 months of having homework options for Spanish, we are getting a little more high tech! Students can keep track of the practice activities they do at home on paper, or in a Google Doc via Google Classroom! We have been using Google Docs and Google Classroom a bit in the classroom, both as useful tools for sharing information and to help get kids ready for middle school where they will be using even more technology tools.
Here is a copy of our homework options and report, or students can go to Google Classroom and log in with their UDA email. (Middle school siblings might be able to help, since by now they are pros at Google Classroom!)
As always, I am available for help!

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!