A How-To Guide...in Spanish

You’d be hard-pressed to find anyone who actually enjoys reading directions. It’s a truth universally known that you always have five random pieces of screws and nuts left over when you assembly a piece of Ikea furniture.

But, let’s take that up a notch.

Students in Brenda Semmelrock’s Honors Spanish 3 class gave directions in Spanish to their fellow students to create several items as the class followed along. Semmelrock charged the students to find a craft or project that they wanted to teach the class. The projects ranged from paper snowflakes, origami, paper flowers, marshmallow snowmen, bookmarks, tic tac toe games, and bakeless cookies. The lead student brought the materials (paper, scissors, etc) to the class and distributed them to their classmates so the class could learn the project as it was explained to them. “Since they were teaching, the class had to review commands. ‘Cut the paper.’ ‘Use this glue.’ They did very well with the commands. Most of them had a handout of the process as well. It wasn’t easy,” Semmelrock explained.

Semmelrock’s Spanish 2 class created scrapbooks of a family vacation. Each student brought in six photos from vacation and wrote a descriptive paragraph to accompany each photo. “I got to see them in action with their writing in class. They were writing in the immediate future (progressive) and present tense. They used solid grammar so you could get a good understanding of what they are trying to say,” she said. She described the students’ work as going ‘above and beyond” in terms of creativity and neatness. Everyone shared their project with a partner in class as Semmelrock stopped to each table and surveyed the conversations between the two students. Rather than read verbatim off their scrapbook cards, Semmelrock asked the students to summarize their work. “There were some great exchanges in Spanish, some really good conversations,” she said. Semmelrock said one student had to leave class during the partner exercise and when he returned to class, he presented his scrapbook in front of the entire class.  “He did a fabulous job in front of the class - an outstanding job. He used the correct grammar, looked at his audience. I was very impressed, she said.

Both of these projects encompassed reading, processing, vocabulary and communicating out loud in an authentic real-world learning manner.
Located in West Hartford, CT just steps from Blue Back Square, Kingswood Oxford is a private school inspiring co-ed day students in grades 6-12 with a college preparatory curriculum. Empowered students become clear confident communicators, resourceful problem-solvers, and ethical leaders. KO: where unlimited potential meets endless opportunities.
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