Discovering Identity – in Spanish!
To begin Spring 2014 semester, Spanish classes delve into a unit on “la identidad” (Identity). Along with serving as a quick review of Spanish basics (ser vs. estar, noun/adjective agreement, reflexive verbs), this unit sets the tone for the semester – as students will be investing in their own self-discovery for an entire semester here at Alzar School. Questions that begin with grammatical lessons – “How do I describe myself to a stranger? How do I describe my family?” become magnified in Community Meeting discussions of “hopes and fears” for this unique semester-long opportunity – “How do I see myself? How do I want to be seen? Who do I want to be?” Everywhere at Alzar School students are defining who they want to be as leaders, friends, community members, and students. Will I be “flojo” (lazy) or “trabajador” (hard working)? Will I choose to be “amistosa” (friendly) or “tímida” (shy). As leaders of their own lives, the choice is theirs.
Each week in Spanish 1 and 2, students complete a micro video project on their iPads that focuses on the verbal and written application of a new grammar topic. In the first two weeks students created Match.Com profiles – in which they chose any historical figure and described themselves as if they were on a dating site (the goal: practice using personality and physical descriptors).
Spanish 1 students create a tour of their home away from home – the yurt – in a “Cribs”-style video, in which they put their new vocabulary (“el dormitorio”) and knowledge of adjectives, “hay,” and numbers to practice.
While the symbolism of donning costumes to assume different roles for their peers may not be immediately apparent to these new students, what we will see over the next four months – both in and out of the classroom – is a transformation.
Students now head to Chile to explore a foreign land from the great snow-capped volcanic Andes to aquamarine glacial rivers to the roaring Pacific – where they will put their blossoming Spanish skills to daily use!