Rivendell Spanish Language


Rivendell school is back in full swing. Students are eager to learn Spanish and apply their language skills. Here are 10 things Spanish teachers want parents to know:

1. Your child is learning Spanish. They understand and know more than you realize.

2. Language is more than words. We want to connect kids to people, cultures and history behind the words they learn.

3. Spanish is not a foreign language. More than 40 million people in the U.S. speak Spanish at home, and we believe learning Spanish is important for all kids. We also understand cultural identity is complex. We will support all home cultures in any way we can.

4. Learning a language is a lifelong process. Mastering a second language requires many years of consistent exposure and practice.

5. There is a method to the madness. Really! A methodology, in fact. Sometimes it looks like fun and games, but it is carefully structured language input.

6. Language teachers work really hard. Every word we say to our students is the content we are teaching, so we interact intentionally. Each word is an opportunity! We love it, and we get good at it, but it also makes us tired.

7. We appreciate your help. Any contact with Spanish helps your child learn. We are happy to recommend songs, apps, books and ways to work Spanish into your daily routines.

8. The benefits of learning Spanish go beyond the language. Learning Spanish develops vocabulary in English, confidence and an understanding and appreciation of community and the world.

9. We know there is more to your child’s life than Spanish. We care about your child. If there are things we need to know to help them learn, tell us.

10. Learning Spanish is worth the work. Your child will thank you.


Older kids finished a unit on family, community and country celebrations and traditions. They learned that people in Guatemala fly barriletes or kites for Day of the Dead. They decorated barriletes and banderas (flags) and talked about their own traditions. All students learned about Pascua or Easter and the popularity of cascarones or confetti filled eggs. These eggs are cracked over someone’s head to bring ‘buena suerte’ or good luck. In preparation for our ‘Journey to Asia” experience, students compared the Hindu festival of Holi in India with Easter. They discovered that both celebrations happen in spring and involve bright colors.

Middle kids translated a story about a baby elephant and baboon. They made their own books and wore masks to act out the story. Younger kids learned the names of figuras or shapes in Spanish and created their own pictures. Students have been practicing songs and poems in Spanish and their vocabularies and conversational skills have grown.

Mountains, plains and deserts

Preschool and younger kids learned about Three Kings Day and compared celebrations and customs in different countries. They also discussed weather terms and fun activities to do in winter and the snow. Preschoolers practiced poems and songs related to snowmen. Younger kids identified mountains and plains and animals that lived in each environment.

Middle kids also learned about plants and animals that live in the desert and practiced new vocabulary. They listened to Tumbleweed Stew and illustrated food words. Students talked about things they liked and didn’t like using the phrase “Me gusta … and no me gusta…”

Older kids are building their conversational skills. They can talk about their favorite season and what the weather is like during that season. They have practiced map skills and discussed places to travel and modes of transportation. Currently, they are learning vocabulary for electronic devices and how they are used.

Latin American Market

The school wide topic study of Central and South America has been fun to integrate into our Spanish curriculum. The older kids created and designed wonderful crafts to sell at the Latin American market. The entire school shopped at the mercado and spent their ‘pesos’. It was an interesting opportunity to experience the culture and practice our Spanish conversational skills.

The middle kids listened to folktales from Guatemala, Panama and Peru. They re-enacted the story of Conejito, a skinny rabbit that visits his auntie in the mountains to get healthy. He encounters many challenges along the way as he meets animals that want to eat him for lunch. The students did a great job learning phrases in Spanish to retell the story.

All classes have compared the differences in winter holiday celebrations and similarities such as the use of light. Students have enjoyed singing Feliz Navidad and Ocho Kandelikas and decorating tarjetas de Navidad.

Felices Fiestas!

Los mayas, aztecas y incas

Students have enjoyed integrating Spanish with the study of ancient civilizations. Preschool and younger kids learned about the cacao tree and chocolate. While middle kids decorated mayan masks. Older kids are busily preparing their crafts for our Latin American market on November 11th. This event is a highlight at Rivendell as students receive ‘pesos’ to shop at the ‘mercado’. It is an opportunity to experience the culture and practice their language skills. Learning about these people groups and their achievements helps to better understand the culture and customs.

Escuela comienza

School begins! We are busy reading, writing, listening, and speaking in Spanish. Students are practicing pronunciations and improving their comprehension. Younger, middle and older kids have Spanish class twice a week. Preschoolers have Spanish once a week on Wednesdays. Please ask your students what they heard or learned in class. This is a great way to reinforce their language skills and gives them a chance to teach you and improve their retention of material. Here is the schedule: Younger kids Mondays and Wednesdays

Middle kids Tuesdays and Wednesdays

Older kids Mondays and Thursdays

Looking forward to integrating our school wide topics with our Spanish instruction. We will be exploring the solar system, Maya, Inca, Aztec culture and Central and South America. The Latin American market will take place on November 11th.

Cinco de mayo and el mercado

It was fun celebrating cinco de mayo and making maracas. The Preschool, YK and MK enjoyed learning the Mexican hat dance as well. Listening to stories in Spanish and reciting poems and songs helps students to understand the culture and build their vocabulary.

Older kids practiced phrases and dialogue to use in a mercado or Mexican market. They made crafts to sell and signs to advertise their products listing the price in pesos. The crafts were amazing. We have such talented and creative students at Rivendell. The experience is always a highlight of the year. We will miss our graduating 5th graders, but I’m confident in their abilities to succeed. I encourage students to keep their Spanish skills sharp with language apps like Duolingo, reading bilingual books available at the library and communicating when ever possible in the target language. I hope you have a fabulous summer.

Cuentos y dichos

Older students have enjoyed learning some chistes (jokes) and dichos (sayings) in Spanish. It is a fun way to build their reading and comprehension skills. The story “Waiting for the Biblioburro” helps students understand how fortunate they are to have access to books in our wonderful Rivendell biblioteca (library) In other parts of the world, students have very limited access to books brought by camels, burros, elephants, and boats. Students are learning to appreciate the struggles of immigrants as they experienced new foods, language and culture. Literature such as “Abuelo”, “Abuela”, “Amelia’s Road” allow children to relate to the feelings and emotions of others.

Exploring Spain

Students have done a great job exploring the culture and customs of Spain in our school wide topic study of Europe. It has been fun to build our language skills and knowledge of this beautiful country. Students learned that the guitar and flamenco dance originated in Spain. They acquired new vocabulary through traditional Spanish literature such as Medio Pollito , Don Quijote de la mancha and The Story of Ferdinand. Middle kids created the Fuente de Cibeles in Madrid and castles.

Older kids learned a new card game called Manos nervioso. It is a fun way to practice numbers in Spanish and develop quick reflexes. We look forward to learning more about Carnival celebrations and practice reading, writing and speaking in Spanish.

Felices Fiestas

What a fun time of year! Students are learning about ‘Fiestas de invierno’ or winter holidays. We are recognizing the diversity in celebrations and customs around the world. Many holidays incorporate ‘luces’ or lights in their traditions.

The younger kids listened to the story of ‘The Gingerbread Man’ in Spanish and did some role playing with the characters. They practiced vocabulary for body parts and animal names.