K and 1st Grade Spanish Immersion


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Classroom Reminders

Posted by Mikal Sparkman on February 26, 2012 at 10:50 PM Comments comments (0)

As we move into Spring (and I hope we eventually do!) let's remind our kids that we need to 

1)Listen in Spanish class, especially so that we can learn new words in Spanish. Repeating those words after hearing them is great. If we talk while the Spanish teacher is talking, we cannot hear any Spanish.

2) Sit next to kids who will help us learn and not distract us.

3) Follow directions quickly so that we may have more time to get to more activities.

We are getting into the last quarter of first grade and some of our expectations are more complex. It takes more concentration to do some of the things that you heard about and saw at conferences, so the kids need to spend more time thinking and less time talking and joking. There is a lot of joking around between kids and that makes for a difficult time getting through some of the books and lessons. I will have to be in touch with individual parents, as necessary, but for now a reminder from parents about these expectations would be very helpful.


Ram All-Day Camp 2012 will be all day long and will be science-based. It will take place June 25-29th from 9am-4pm, unless the ASD notifies me that we have to change the date or times. There will be activities in Spanish and English, both, and opportunities for sports, art, dance, and multicultural activities. Papers went home last week, but I can send something home if you need another. Preregistration is $50, and the final deadline will be the beginning of May. Space is limited and we have registration forms coming in already, so don't delay! The  preregistration form is also on the home page of this website so you can download it.


Happy New Year!

Posted by Mikal Sparkman on January 7, 2012 at 12:20 AM Comments comments (0)

Welcome to 2012! Aren't you glad the holidays are over? It's a good thing it only lasts so long. Now it's time to get back to work!

We are beginning a Transportation unit and I will be sending home vocabulary pertaining to that. Remember that kindergarteners have Spanish in the morning now, and first graders have Spanish in the afternoon. The specials schedule stays the same. 

There are two Spanish classes starting for parents, and I have noted them on the calendar:

Wednesdays will be the original Nuts and Bolts of Spanish for Parents, 6:30-8pm, at the River of Life Church on Voyles Drive in Chugiak.

Tuesdays (6:30-8pm) will be the continuation of that class, Immersion for Nuts, where the nuts who have graduated from the first class get to practice and utilize their Spanish the same way the kids do at school. The last time I offered a Spanish Immersion for parents (2006!)  it was a blast! They all ran around gibbering at each other in Spanish and laughing at themselves, and learning in the process. So much fun!

Let me know if you are interested in either of these classes.


Thank you/Update

Posted by Mikal Sparkman on November 28, 2011 at 11:20 PM Comments comments (0)

Thanks to all of your for your efforts Wednesday for our feast. We had a great time. The kids were adorable and there was plenty of food!

If you see me walking funny, it's because I apparently re-broke my second toe (next to my big toe) during all that chaos and I have to wear a weird boot on my foot for a month. I don't think I will tolerate it well, however, so you probably won't see me wearing a weird boot unless I have to...:/

We are beginning our two week pizza bonanza where we do pizza vocabulary for several days, so get ready. I had originally planned for a pizza day on December 6th, but I may have to move it to Thursday, December 8th. I will let you know. That will come up quick!

I will also be sending an e-mail asking for volunteers to help with making our Christmas CDs. Any Tuesday or Wednesday volunteers are welcome this week!

Holiday Treats

Posted by Mikal Sparkman on November 19, 2011 at 12:40 AM Comments comments (0)

The kids are practicing a song and a dance to share with you on Wednesday. We hope that you can come and see it.

Los niños están practicando una canción y un baile para compartir con ustedes el miércoles. Esperamos que vengan para verlos.

I am going to need some help with my annual Christmas CD, if anyone is available. I need to make 41 copies to hand out the day after Thanksgiving break. I will also need a volunteer to help with the Cancionero, or the songbook, that goes with it. There are 25 songs and the words to all of them for the kids to read and learn.

Necesitaré un poco de ayuda con mi disco navideño, si  alguien este disponible. Necesito hacer 41 copias para repartir el día después de las vacaciones del día de acción de gracias. Además, necesito un voluntario para ayudar con el cancionero de villancicos que va con el disco. Hay 25 canciones y la letra de ellas para los niños que las puedan leer y aprender.

Special Events

Posted by Mikal Sparkman on November 8, 2011 at 12:45 AM Comments comments (0)

This week we are going to work on general foods, such as breads, meats, dairy, and vegetables. We will have an ongoing art project, also. I would love to have the kids create a "refrigerator" out of a cardboard shoebox, so if you have a shoebox or two please send them in!

The kindergarteners are working on Spanish vowels. First graders might take time to review them, too.Here are some links:

Las vocales

Las vocales- Plaza Sesamo

We are leading up to some special events. On Wednesday, November 23, we are going to put together a feast and we need as many parents as possible to help the kids to prepare it. Our feast will include various Hispanic foods that we will make in our classrooms. If you are interested in helping out, please send an email.

Also, our Cantemos Juntos presentation will be coming up on December 9th. Our first graders will be performing a smokin' hot SALSA, and the kindergarteners will be performing a traditional Jaliscan-style jarabe. Here are the clothes that the kids will need to wear for the performance:

  • The kindergarten boys will need to wear black pants, white long-sleeved shirts, and black shoes, if possible. We will have hats, chalecos, and other things we will work on getting. Seamstresses welcome. I have ideas.:)
  • First grade boys will wear black pants, long-sleeved black (or very dark-colored) shirts, black shoes, and a brightly colored tye, if they have one. Salsa dancing is fancy stuff. If you have a problem collecting these things, let me know.
  • Kindergarten girls will have traditional Ballet Folklorico skirts provided, and I have some blouses that are kindergarten-sized, too.
  • First grade girls need to wear a flashy short dress (as fancy as your little lady will wear--say YES to sequins and sparkles!!) in a bright color, with tights, and fancy shoes with little heels (not the ankle-breaking kind, however).

We have some time, but it's Alaska, so supplies run short quickly.

Spelling tests from last week went home today.  Hopefully your child gave those to you! The packets from last week will go home tomorrow for first grade, and Tuesday or Wednesday for Kindergarten.

Paperwork! Spelling!

Posted by Mikal Sparkman on November 3, 2011 at 1:15 AM Comments comments (2)

I love Day of the Dead, but once we get past the conferences, the art projects, and the carnival, I'm glad to move on!! I hope that your children enjoyed it as much as I did. The decorations are amazing and the kids did a beautiful job. The macaroni skeletons glow in the dark, so they will look great on the wall in their rooms (next to the psychedelic masks) if you are so inclined.

Also, the first  Spanish spelling test is Friday for first graders. I hope your child told you, and that  you received the triangle homework sheet with the spelling work that I promised you at conferences. It came home Monday in the folder Heather told you about,

Heather and I have been convinced by our conferences with you all that we need to do a better job for you with documenting your children's daily work habits. This will benefit you and us, as we can see where they excel, and where they need some improvement. We will also see what times of day are the most difficult, if they do have those times.

In the daily folders that come to and from school every day  you will find a brightly colored sheet that will require a daily signature. This sheet will provide you with information about what is going on in both English and Spanish, during lessons, routines, and work times. This will be a great starting point for conversations at home regarding what is happening at school, especially if you get shrugs every time you ask, "How was your day?"

We are going to send these every day with your child, and we are going to ask that they be returned to us DAILY. If you see this will be a problem and want it sent only on Thursdays, let us know so we will not send it home. If your child perceives that you will not look at it, then his/her work habits will not benefit from this routine.

We are also instituting a Leadership Board in both classrooms. As per our discussion in class, leaders are people who can ignore inappropriate behavior and do what they know is right no matter what other people are doing. They are kids who also follow directions the first or second time they are given, and encourage others to do the same. We are trying to inspire our students to be independent and follow their hearts, even when distractions abound. We know that you are teaching your children to make good choices, and we are encouraging them to take your advice by not being lead astray by others who may  have temporarily forgotten to think first before acting, either in the classroom, cafeteria, or on the playground. This is a skill that will last a lifetime. Please help us to build on it.

Ask your child what good choices he/she made today in school when you look at the daily sheets that are coming home. Comments/questions are welcome.

Very Cool!

Posted by Mikal Sparkman on October 21, 2011 at 10:50 PM Comments comments (0)

We have had a fun week in Spanish! We have:

  • made large skeletons and decorated them to reflect the ways that people celebrate Day of the Dead with their families
  • used symmetry and patterning to create Day of the Dead masks with neon paints that will glow in black light
  • made skeletons of Qtips
  • made beautiful pasta skeletons and painted them with glow-in-the-dark paint
  • made 57 whole-head shaped sugar skulls (with the help of Amy Belmear, Shannon Zink, Jenna Ross, Mandy Pogany, and Bonnie Mendoza)
  • danced to and sung skeleton  and Day of the Dead songs (you will see these come home next week)

We will still be decorating our room for the carnival by making florescent spiders, creating watercolor Halloween scenery (florescent crayons, anyone? Not markers, just crayons), and decorating our Day of the Dead Mexican Sugar Skulls(send frosting that has an applicator tip). What a fun and busy week it's been. I hope your kids have enjoyed it. There's another full week coming!

Don't forget to double-check the conference schedule. It is posted on the calendar. There is not much flexibility, so let us know if your time does not work and we can move it to another week, if necessary.:)

Day of the Dead Introduced!

Posted by Mikal Sparkman on October 17, 2011 at 10:25 PM Comments comments (5)

The kids were interested in the celebration of the Day of the Dead. They may come home and want to talk about family members who have passed, and I hope this is not too painful for anyone. We tried to stay on the up side of this discussion, sticking to funny stories. I told them about my Grandaddy who fell down the stairs and left a huge hole in the wall with his ginormous head. Sounds terrible, but he was so hard-headed we teased him for years about that. In our family, we spend a lot of time telling funny stories about people we love who have passed on (and those who haven't! Ugh!). It keeps us positive and preserves those good memories. Skeletons aside, this holiday is intended to do just that.

Remember, we are NOT celebrating Day of the Dead in the classroom. We are just learning about it as part of a social studies unit. We are learning about cultures different from our own. That is a vital part of Spanish Immersion, and part of the social studies standards, in general.

We cut out almost life-sized skeletons today, and will put them together tomorrow. We will pose them to illustrate the things that are done in Mexico to celebrate Día de los Muertos: singing, dancing, eating, visiting, drinking hot chocolate, listening to music, telling stories. This will be a quick verb review. 

We have one parent who can come to help with the sugar skull preparation. Any more takers? I will be out Wednesday, 10/19. So, Thursday and Friday for that.

On another note, we still need white yarn, if you can spare any. We are making spiders to decorate for our carnival.

I'm going to send an e-mail to let people know about our school blog. I welcome your comments and suggestions. :)

Day of the Dead

Posted by Mikal Sparkman on October 16, 2011 at 12:00 AM Comments comments (0)

You may be wondering what we will be learning about Day of the Dead. It is a celebration in Mexico that happens on November 1 and 2, where families remember family members who have passed on by fixing their favorite foods, listening to their favorite music, and visiting the cemeteries. The grave sites are filled with marigolds, candles, and foods, inviting those memories (and yes, possibly "spirits") to return to visit.  We won't be discussing much of or focusing on the spiritual side of this celebration, but will be discussing the purpose of the celebration, which is to remember people that we love.

We will learn a little about the symbols and decorations that I mentioned above, and we will make a lot of skeletons. I will use skeletons to review body parts and introduce some verbs as kids pose the skeletons to illustrate them. We will then use the skeleton artwork to decorate our classroom for the Halloween carnival. There are also some pretty fancy floral designs we can have fun with  while exploring Day of the Dead. All of it will be pretty cool lit up with black light at the carnival!!!

The sugar skulls are a traditional treat and decoration (usually not eaten, unless you are a desperate little kid) made of sugar and frosting, and little candy designs. Making these is something the kids will always remember, and in reality they do not come out looking super scary or anything. The top picture is sort of what we will end up with, and the bottom is what we wish they looked like. Ours will be 3D like the ones in the bottom picture, that is, if we get them made. :) Parents are welcome to send in all kinds of fancy things to stick onto the skulls, and I will give explicit instructions NOT to eat them. You may want to buy things too small to choke on, given that they will be stuck on a very large sugary object. We can glue with frosting, and parents can send that in, too. All colors, plus white, would be great.

I sure hope more parents log on here to read this, or else it's just a few of you getting this information! Have a wonderful weekend! :D

First Grade Math

Posted by Mikal Sparkman on October 11, 2011 at 12:20 PM Comments comments (0)

You may have noticed the timed tests coming home in your child's folder (assuming those folders are still coming every day!) These tests are done to develop and practice addition skills and speed so that kids can spend time learning new concepts and not have to stress over the basics, like simple addition. We are hoping to develop what is called "automaticity" with our sums of numbers 0-9.

If you see a page come home with a score, and it is unfinished, that score is how many your child completed correctly in 5 minutes. You may have your child complete the sheet at home for practice and I will reward them with a scented sticker if they turn it in. Kids may also take home extra sheets for practice.

If a child scores 95% or more, they move on to the next number up, 2s or 3s, etc., up to 9. After that, we can begin with "restas" or "subtraction."

So far, the kids are saying "YAY!!" when it is time for "sumas de 5 minutos" or "timed addition tests," as they like to challenge themselves. I hope that you and your child find this practice helpful.:)

Es posible que se dara cuenta de los examenes de tiempos limitados que mando con sus hijos (con tal que las reciban cada dia!) Estes examenes se hace para desarollar y practicar las habilidades de adicion y rapidez para que los ninos pasen tiempo aprendiendo nuevos conceptos y no se preocupen de los basicos, como adicion simple. Esperamos desarollar lo que se llama "automaticidad" con nuestras sumas de los numeros 0-9.

Si vea una pagina calificada, pero no completa, esa calificacion es de cuantos que terminara correctamente en 5 minutos. Puede hacer que su hijo termine la hoja en casa para practicar y le recompensare con una pegatina de perfumas si me la entregue. Los ninos tambien pueden llevar a casa las hojas de practicas extras.

Si un nino logra 95% o mas, se mueven hasta el proximo numero, 2s or 3s, etc., hasta 9. Despues, podemos empezar con "restas" o "subtraction."

Hasta ahora, los ninos dicen 'YAY!!" cuando es hora de hacer las "sumas de 5 minutos" o "timed addition tests," asi que se puedan adelantar. Espero que usted y su hijo encuentren que la practica sea util.


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