After a particularly tough year (for several reasons, not worth mentioning here) I was somewhat dreading the thought of teaching summer school. I had to create the class, sell it to the kids and commit to 2 hours a day for 6 weeks. The idea was to make it a pre-AP enrichment class. To my delight and surprise I ended up with a few more than the 10 I needed for the class to run. Wanting to stay away from activities requiring worksheets I’ve been mixing lots of conversation, daily songs, individual web exploration and have tried to be spontaneous. One great activity that presented itself was a Skype session with one of our students studying in Santa Rosa, Argentina. We huddled around the laptop and chatted with her and her host family about small town Argentina, schools, asados, futbol andperceptions they had of our country and vice versa. A question her host parents had was, “How can you get kids to want to come to school in the summer”? Good question. The great thing is that, with this group of kids, what was to be a 1/2 hour conversation turned into 1 1/2 hours of cultural immersion. The kids had a great time and I think all walked away thinking, “Hey, I might want to go somewhere too”. Bacano!
A couple of weeks later I took them to another high school where a former student and fellow Spanish teacher showed them around his school’s community garden. He had dreamed up the idea several months ago and put the plan into action by acquiring business and school support as well as the involvement of several departments. Muy bacano. We picked weeds, planted a tree, watered and chatted the whole time in Spanish. When else would the kids have learned rastrillo, pala, regar, gusano, and injertar (I had to look this one up!)? We followed this up with a visit to the local Casa de Esperanza which serves the needs of the Hispanic community in Waukesha.
All this to say, I’ve had a great time teaching summer school. The kids are engaged, they’re speaking all in Spanish and they’re reconnecting with the language via their own interests. Super bacano!