Here’s more about this week’s featured classroom:
Teacher: Heather Grisales
Grade: Kindergarten and first
School: Grand Haven Christian School
What makes your classroom special? Our classroom is unique because all core subjects in the classroom setting are taught 100 percent in the Spanish language. At the kindergarten level, after just eight weeks of instruction following a careful and structured timeline (provided by Addalingua), there is no English at all allowed in the classroom.
In addition to the curriculum, what are some things you teach your students? One of my favorite things to teach is Bible and yes, it is all taught in Spanish. As a school the students learn Bible verses for memory and it is no different in Spanish Immersion. We just memorize them in Spanish. We use the NVI (NIV) version of the Bible in Spanish as it is most easily understood and closely related to English. It is wonderful for these students to be able to learn about God and be able to talk about Jesus in both English and Spanish. Who knows just how God will use this second language to further His kingdom through mission trips or in their own communities?
Another important part of my teaching is the teaching of culture of other Spanish speaking countries. It is a challenge to really understand a language if you do not begin to study and know the culture. Each month we study a different country whose language is Spanish. We learn about traditions, customs, food, music, school, dance and much more. We have already learned about Spain, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Panama, Mexico, Puerto Rico and Argentina.
What special project is your classroom working on now? We just began a unit in Science on Light and Sound. In this unit the students will explore how light and sound travel among other things. They will be challenged to build a model of a tree house and have to design where to place windows and what type of window coverings are best to block light. YES, we do it all in Spanish!
How is your classroom involved with the community? We have been involved in the community in various ways. First, we have invited Spanish-speaking members of the community to speak to our classroom about the culture of their birth country. We had Ms. Sandra from Peru, Ms. Geni from Panama, and an aunt of a student who lives in Ecuador. We also took a community field trip to Aldea Coffee Shop, which grows all of their beans in Honduras, Alegría Boutique whose owner is from Spain, and to Don Luis Restaurant. At all three places the students were able to interact using their Spanish skills and they also gained new experiences related to culture.
How do you hope what your students are learning now will affect their future? My greatest hope is that they use the experience of being in a Spanish Immersion environment in a Christian School to further God's Kingdom. I hope that they travel outside of the United States in order to experience what life is like in other parts of the world and how we can all be united by Jesus' love. I hope that my students are always the hands and feet of Christ no matter where the future takes them.