Spanish Newsletter

  • 5/28/21

    Posted by Phyllis Hopp on 5/28/2021

    holy family


    It is full speed ahead as we wrap up this unique, wonderful year! I wish all of you a healthy, peace-filled summer  : ) 


    Kindergarten and First Grade: Kindergarteners and first graders have been busy counting everything in sight (even dinosaurs!!) and doing addition in Spanish! Also, when they ask each other such things as, "How many smiley faces do you have?", or share info such as, "I have eight triangles.", they are communicating (in Spansih!!) in a very real, genuine way : ) 


    Second - Third Grade: Second and third graders have been very busy getting comfortable communicating with the days of the week through a variety of diffentiated, communicative activities! (They still love to sing and rap, too : )


    Fourth - Fifth Grades: Fourth and fifth graders have been giving it their best and having fun learing a song about school items/subjects (4th) and learning how to describe people (5th), and are becomong experts at letter/sound correspondence along the way! (This is setting them up for success in reading and writing.)  **They are also living out this year's school theme of taking on the heart of Jesus as they work in small groups, and I have to say it is beautiful to witness and be a part of it! As they have to come to a concensus on answers, explain their rationales, help partners see where they may have mistakes, be open to feedback themselves, and engage in the vast array of situations involved in group work, these students have been consistently kind, brave, respectful, and considerate : )


    Middle School

    Eighth Grade:  I can't believe we only have one more week together! The eighth graders have been really pushing themselves during this last blast of learning, and are going to enjoy a well deserved fiesta next week : )

    Seventh Grade: Seventh graders have been working hard around the topic "What makes life interesting??...people, actions, and descriptions!!! 

    Sixth Grade: Sixth graders have just started presenting the first original skits and are doing a FANTASTIC job!!! Your students are hard-working, brave, funny, and creative, and it is  awesome seeing how their contenet knowledge and confidence levels have expanded since September : )

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  • 4/26/21

    Posted by Phyllis Hopp on 4/26/2021

    holy family  

    Spring is trying to decide (sort of!) to arrive in State College! The number of instructional days remaining may be getting smaller, but the energy, focus, and enthusiam your students bring to class definitely is not! I thank God every day for the gift of working with them!



    Kindergarten: Kindergarteners are all-in as we have just started "officially" exploring numbers! Just as a heads up, we are going to be reading a fun book in Spanish, Ten Puppies, where the puppies get up to all sorts of silly antics! Watch out if they ask you to take them to the pet store!!!)

    First - Grade: First graders have been working hard on their Hail Mary, and giving it their best counting up a storm!

    Second - Third: Second and third graders have decided that knowing the days of the week is very important for them to know...they dont want to go to the wrong Special or miss their after school activities, and they need to know when to go to church. (That warmed my heart!) They've been having fun learning a song (along with physical gestures I added to enhance better comprehension and longer retention) about the days of the week. Ask them to share it with you! (If you don't like rap music, don't ask your third grader ; )

    Fourth - Fifth Grades: Fourth and fifth graders have been giving it their all! I have  coordinated their interactions so that as they've been communicating with school items and increasing number vocabulary, they are also becoming more cognizant of, and proficient at, letter/sound correspondence in Spanish. This is setting the stage for succesful reading and writing!


    Middle School

    Eighth Grade:  Eighth graders have been turning up their brain power as they have been exploring one aspect of the concept of conjugation (how the verb changes according to whom is doing the action). This expands their ability exponentially to communicate to and about  things that are genuinely meaningful to them!!!

    Seventh Grade: Seventh graders have been working hard as they have been increasing  their verb vocabulary and expanding their ability to use the verb to like , which functions very differently in Spanish than in English. Even though it is challenging, students love to ask and talk about their own and others' likes and dislikes, and so the communication is real!

    Sixth Grade: Sixth graders have been doing a super job learning and communicating about the weather.You may have some future weathermen/women in your future!

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  • 3/30/21

    Posted by Phyllis Hopp on 3/30/2021


     The sun is out, Easter is around the corner, and life is good at OLV!!!



    Kindergarten: Kingergarteners have been doing a super job and having fun as they sang, described, and talked about animals! Even though we are going to start our new unit on numbers, we will continue to recycle and re-visit the topic of animals, as well as colors. The idea is that as the students learn new material, a consistent weaving of previously learned information into the current leaning will enhance long-term retention, and make their communication even more meaningful!

    First - Second Grades:  Students have had a great time as they reviewed/learned about animals and "spent some time at the farm"! It is very exciting to see them gain confidence in their Spanish-speaking abilities as I have them use vocabulary with which they are comfortable as a base for genuine interaction (real talking, with a purpose!) with their classmates! 

    Third - Fifth Grades:  Students have really been turning on their brain power as they have been learning and using question words in Spanish, as well as question phrases that they need in our language classroom! (How do you say _____ in Spanish?, What  does ____mean? etc.) It is very exciting to see them gain confidence in their Spanish-speaking abilities as I have them use vocabulary with which they are comfortable  (such as numbers or school items) as a base for genuine interaction (real talking, with a purpose!) with their classmates! 


    Middle School

    Middle school students deserve some BIG applause for the tremendous job they did on their respective projects! From crazy-priced school items to famous Hispanics and Americans, and from introduction conversations at mid-west diners, tropical beaches, and scary back-woods mountains...students did awesome work!!! All of the projects were also interactive, involving the presenters asking questions to the audience and/or vice versa. This makes the whole project more meaningful! For the seventh and eighth graders, it also gave them the opportunity to talk "on their feet" (no  prepping). It was great to see them really interacting, with their own questions and own new knowledge to share... in Spanish!!




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  • 2/26/21

    Posted by Phyllis Hopp on 2/26/2021

    holy family feb

                                   Snow days and delays may have slowed us down a bit, but nothing stops the Spanish at OLV!!!



    Kindergarten: Kingergarteners have been working hard and having fun learning more about animals. We are just starting today to sing about them, too!

    First - Second Grades: First and second graders took a pause from communicating about animals to get into the Saint Valentine spirit! I taught them a little sing about children around the world wanting love and friendship...and they love it! I am sure they would love to share it with you : )

    Third - Fifth Grades: These students are open and fearless and totally embracing Spanish! I did a whole introduction to Saint Valentine and the legends surrounding the connection to our current customs of this holiday, exclusively in Spanish...and they got it!  


    Middle School

    Eighth Grade: Students are continuing to give it their best as they develop their accuracy and fluency in preparing for their upcoming presentations. (introducing their choice of both hispanic and non-hispanic famous people)

    Sixth and Seventh Grade: **** Note: There has been a large number of missed in-person classes with these two grades. I only see them on Mondays and Tuesdays, and that is when the majority of our snow days and holidays fell! Yikes!

    Students have been working dilligently (and dramatically!) on their projects, which have just started being presented : )


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  • 1/29/21

    Posted by Phyllis Hopp on 1/29/2021



    What a fabulous start to the new year, with students giving their best in their work and as being true disciples of Jesus! 


    Elementary School

    Kindergarten: Students have been super into our color theme (they keep wanting to know more...I LOVE it!!) as they use them with meaningful phrases (Do you have.../ I have..../ Who has.../ What color is...?) The premise is that students are not memorizing word lists, but rather using new vocaulary in a meaningful, real-communication way!

    First and Second Grade: Students were fascinated and have continued to explore and compare/contrast the holiday of Three Kings Day, a very significant holiday in many Spanish speaking countries! They have loved learning about the different customs, playing vocabulary games (always with real Spanish phrases!) and getting the opportinity to be the "teacher" at the front of ther room, asking questions and giving feedback, again, all in Spanish! The language is basic, but it is REAL, genuine communicating! AWESOME !!!

    Third, Fourth, and Fifth and Grades: Students had a great time asking each other questions (all in Spanish!!) abouty their favorite gifts and memories from the Christmas holiday! They have also engaged in a variety of group work activities and games (which I created around them having to get information from each other using real Spanish questions and phrases!) in preparation for our upcoming discussion on Saint Valentine's Day. On a side, but very important note, I always try to weave our school theme (this year: Take on the heart of Jesus!) into our activities, so that it is not just somethimg we say, but that it is something we DO.  We've had discussions about, right now, in our classroom, what does taking on the heart of Jesus look like? What does it sound like?.... and the students have been all in! It has truly warmed my heart to see students watching out that if someone does not have a group, they invite them into theirs; if a student is having a hard time remembering a phrase , another student kindly helps show them where to find it...the list of your students really LIVING the OLV theme is long and beautiful, and you should be very proud! Thank you again for sharing your most precious gifts with me : )


    Middle School

    Sixth and Seventh Grade: Students have been giving it their best during their project work days and are just starting to present this week! If you have time, please ask them about it; maybe they will give you a  sneak preview : )

    Eighth Grade:It has been tremendous to see these students getting "A Ha" moments as they are revisiting previously introduced topics, but now at a more complex level, all of which is broadening their ability to communicate!(such as with the verb "gustar/to like" , which involves using indirect object pronouns, and functions very differently than it does in English.)They will be getting the parameters for an upcoming project next week!


    Sixth Grade: The Crazy Store! : numbers through sixty and classroom objects

    Seventh Grade: Our OWN Dialogues!  : partners set the context and create/write/and perform their own dialogues (including all topics learned thus far)





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  • 12/18/20

    Posted by Phyllis Hopp on 12/18/2020


    Holy Family

    ¡Hola and Feiz Navidad! It is definitely a blessed season here at OLV!

    Elementary School

    For first through fifth grades, we took a little pause in our curent instructional topics to get into the Christams spirit, learning about Saint Juan Diego and Our Lady of Guadalupe or Three Kings Day, a holiday with great significance in many Spanish speaking countries! Kindergarteners were super engaged adding to their color words, and trying to take my job being the "teacher"!


    Middle School

    Sixth and Seventh Graders have been busy (and happily surprised!) realizing how much Spanish they can use, and have just now started working on new projects! Eighth graders have been working hard and are getting comfortbale with how adjectives function in Spanish (very differently than in English), all of which is strengthenig their abilitiy to describe people (a language function that is interesting and meaningful for these students!)

    Sixth Grade: The Crazy Store! : numbers through sixty and classroom objects

    Seventh Grade: Our OWN Dialogues!  : partners set the context and create/write/and perform their own dialogues (including all topics thus learned)





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  • 11/30/20

    Posted by Phyllis Hopp on 11/30/2020



    Can you believe we are celebrating Advent? Time definitely flies when you are having fun and working hard, as all of the students in Spansh class have been doing recently!


    Elementary School

    Kindergarten: The students have been very engaged as we read a book titled "Dónde Está...?"/ "Where Is...?". They loved the physical gestures I introduced as we read the story, and they were very dramatic as they did them themselves, along with articulating the accompanying Spanish words and phrases, to work together to re-tell the story! It involved some basic shape, locational preposion, and animal vocabulary. The book was in black and white, and many students were quick to point out that, "...the colors were missing!" This was my intention, and I am going to use it to introduce colors next week : ) 

    Also, below please find the link to the upbeat song, "Buenos Días", in which the students had fun learning some common phrases and daily activities; ask your child to "teach" it to you if you have time!


    First - Third Grades: In all classes we have been doing some type of Thanksgiving activity in which the students can learn how to express in Spanish the things for which they are thankful. I want to share with you how beautiful it was for me to hear all of the "things" your chidren are thankful for: snuggling on the couch with their famiy, playing board games with their siblings, walking the dog and getting to talk  "a whole bunch" (their words) with just one parent, and getting to pray in school and go to chutrch with their friends.I feel truly blessed to be around these students' genuine and spiritual nature. Please know that one of the things I am most thankful for in my life is the opportunity to work with and get to know your child. Thank you : )

    Fourth - Fifth Grades: Near the Mexican holiday Day of the Dead, students had watched a two minute singing video involving silly skeletons and their antics. As they had a great time learning how to describe (and copy!) their actions, I used this as an opoportunity to subtly introduce verbs and phonetic concepts in Spanish, on differentiated levels of depth for the two grades. The students were all in, giving it their best, and being brave with Spanish! Awesome!!


    Elementary School

    Sixth Grade:  Students have been working on classtoom questions, the alphabet, and numbers from twenty through one hundred. They have been great at finding and expressing patterns in the number chain, and grasping the rationale behind doing so: when they understand something versus just memorizing, they increase their ability to retain, and thus use the new information!

    Seventh Grade: Students have been working on how/when/with whom to use their intro questions, and are starting to learn an additional way to express time in Spanish. Overall, they are doing a super job getting comfortable hearing and using a ton of Spanish!

    Eighth Grade: Students have been busy reviewing and expanding their knowledge of subjects, pronouns and verbs. They have also been working on their fluency and pronunciation, and becoming very adept at using what they know (both concrete Spanish and foreign language comprehension strategies) to decipher meaning!

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  • 10/30/20

    Posted by Phyllis Hopp on 10/30/2020



    It has been a productive and exciting few weeks as your children have been working hard and getting comfortable using Spanish in class!


    Elementary School

    Kindergarten: Students had a great time hearing about the little mouse and his entrance into Kindergarten! They were enthusiastic participants as I engaged them in pre-, during, and post- reading activities, all of which work to increase student comprehension. (I would do this in English, "sandwiched" by the equivalent in Spanish, and sometimes only in Spanish with lots of visual and/or physical gestures as support. They did a great job!) The students have also been enjoying learning how to express a few common phrases and daily activities with an upbeat song, "Buenos Días". I think dancing and movement make everything more fun (the educational researchers have also shown that, when learninng new material, it promotes comprehension and longer-term retention!), so I created actions to go along with each portion of the song. They are giving their best, every class!!


    First - Second Grades: Students have been engaged in a variety of learning activities with colors. As they participate in some exciting games using color vocabulary, I am structuring the activities and games in such a way that they require the students to verbally engage with each other in Spanish. It may include asking another student, "What color do you have?", or a student "teacher" asking the class, "How many of you have blue?", and then making a graph that the class can comment on. This is all in line with (and which I passionately espouse!) the tenet of second language acquisition research that true learning in the second language classroom can only take place when there is an opportunity for genuine communication (there is a real purpose and desire for students to interact.) The students are having a good time and learning!


    Third Grade: In the spirit of community building, students have been learning and using question words. They have also been busy "rapping" in Spanish! (Ask them about the cute "¡Hola, hola! ¿Cómo estás?" song from last year that I ramped up for them!)


    Fourth - Fifth Grades: As they have been reviewing and expanding on school items vocabulary, students have gotten familiar with classroom procedures for working in pairs and small groups (an integral element of our Spanish class), as well as working in whole group activties. With only thirty minutes once a week, it is crucial to maximize every minute. The students have been very attentive (great job!) to the various transition procedures, which allows us to engage in more genuinely communicative activities! There is a tenet of second language acquisition research (which I passionately espouse!) that true learning in the second language classroom can only take place when there is an opportunity for genuine communication (there is a real purpose and desire for students to interact.). As they interact, they are REALLY talking and communicating and getting things done in a whole new language! How awesome!!


    Middle School

    Students have been working hard and rising to the challenge of using as much Spanish as possible in class! As the semster moves on, please remind your student that it will take consistent and active participation to get full credit for classwork and participation activities. (As the sixth grade students have been getting acclimated to a high level of Spanish input and the requirement of them using what they know when speaking, I have been lenient with grading for those students who were outide of their comfort zone : ) Overall, middle-schoolers have been doing a wonderful job, and it has been extremely rewarding for me to see those students, who were initially reluctant to offer answers or ask questions as I was talking in Spanish, to now see them actively contributing and taking risks in Spanish! This is due in large part to the AWESOME group of  young people here at OLV! They are kind and respectful to each other and have really created a sense of community and genuine caring in our classroom..all of which is crucial to having students put themselves out there when learning a second language.

    Sixth grade has been working on classroom questions to get information/clarification, as well as really using (vs. just knowing) the alphabet!

    Seventh grade has been involved in an in-depth review and then recycling/usage opportunities with that material, as well as starting to learn how to talk about the weather.(Ask your student about the sad drama one of their classmates "experienced" due to a terrible rain storm!! This is a story I told ALL in Spanish...and they GOT IT!! SO cool!!)

    Eighth grade has been doing the same type of review, while also starting to acquire the necessary components to be able to discuss their favorite famous people!

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  • 9/24/20

    Posted by Phyllis Hopp on 9/24/2020

     Holy Family


    What a wonderful few weeks, with a lot of learning and fun going on as we have been getting to know each other and come to an understanding of classroom expectations and procedures!

    Grades K - 5:

    I see these students once a week for thirty minutes and we maximize every minute! The students have been reviewing and expanding on ways people introduce themselves and learn information about new people they meet. This week, kindergarteners will be exposed to Spanish classroom and color vocabulary as we read a book about the exciting adventures of a mouse during his first days of school! (They have been very excited making solid predictions , as they are now "expertos"!!) First and second graders graders have been enriching and engaging in real communicating with their Spanish color vocabulary; third through fifth graders have been doing a wonderful job processing a lot of Spanish input and learning (at graduated levels of difficulty) how to share information abouth themselves! All students have been learning useful phrases for whole class and small group activities!

    Middle School:

    It has been an awesome start to the school year, all of us working together to give our best and establish a sense of community. Learning a second language involves taking risks, and that is why it is imperative to create an atmosphere of team-work and respect in our Spanish classroom. One of the ways a student feels comfortable in class is by being very clear on what the expectations are, and in our classes, my expectation is that the students are going to hear and produce the most Spanish possible. The students have really risen to this challenge! Earlier in the month, the sixth grade students learned, and the older students reviewed, a variety of phrases and questions that are already helping them to comprehend increased Spanish input in class, as well as express their needs and share their thoughts in Spanish! (I love this!!) We have begun reviewing/expanding upon previously learned information (differentaited levels of difficulty) and then using them in genuinely communicative activities. After conducting assessments across all three modes of communication: (interpretive, interpersonal, and presentational), I planned this step-back to the basics for seventh and eighth graders with a dual purpose in mind: strengthen the students' proficiency in these areas and also use these topics as a vehicle to get students accustomed to really using what they know in a meaningful way!

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