This feature sheds light on the work students and teachers are doing, and it lets the community know what makes each class special.
Here’s more about this week’s featured classroom:
Teacher: Señora Katie Mueller
Grades: Young Fives through fourth grade
Schools: Griffin and Lake Hills elementary schools first semester; Mary A. White and Rosy Mound elementary schools second semester
What makes your classroom special? My classroom is a special, and with that it is a fun place to be! The language and content learning lessons include movement and music, so the energy in here is high. Each class that I see meets for 50 minutes at a time so I like to keep things moving along to not only engage students but make the best use of our time together.
In our Spanish class students are saying and hearing things in a new way and sometimes this can feel challenging for them, so when introducing new content I have learned through research and practice that it is important for recognition and cognition that students are in a low stress environment, for this reason I incorporate learning activities that are meaningful AND fun! Also, for those students that are already familiar with using or hearing the Spanish language it is a unique part of their day where they get to be helpful for their classmates and teacher, and see the language concepts come together.
In addition to the curriculum, what are some things you teach your students? We use the Spanish language to show/use our manners, practice interpersonal communication skills, strengthen our thinking and stretch outside of our learning ‘comfort zone.’ We talk about using a growth mindset, that there are not limits to what we know, and not to be afraid or fixed about what we are capable of. The reason these concepts are important is because I would like my students to be respectful members of our community, open and ready to communicate with others, and to be excited about learning something new no matter the topic!
What special project is your classroom working on now? Each grade level has age appropriate lessons that are generated based on using Spanish language learning in areas of content (home classroom connection), community (elementary school specific), and celebration and culture.
By the end of October and beginning of November, classes will be involved with the cultural piece of the program where they will explore, discover, and create in a unit geared around Día de los Muertos, and lower grades will have a similar mini unit highlighting culture, celebration and looking at similarities and differences.
How is your classroom involved with the community? In our Spanish class we have an opportunity to develop global learners, this has a great benefit for our students, families and community. In our class we generate an awareness and sense of acceptance of differences between individuals no matter if it is in regards to language, race, learning style, culture, and/or beyond. This awareness progresses into creating an environment that encourages a greater acceptance of ourselves and of others. Also, as global learners our students have the opportunity to reach out and communicate with a greater number of individuals.
How do you hope what your students are learning now will affect their future? My hope is that my students continue to challenge themselves as language learners, and use these skills to promote self-acceptance and appreciate differences. I hope that they continue pursue opportunities where they can use the Spanish language as a tool, and that they continue to understand that all the practice that we have done will only help them in their future as communicators and knowledge-full contributors to society- I love telling my students that when we try our hardest in Spanish class it helps us be better at Spanish, but it also strengthens our brains which helps us as readers, in math, writing, and other parts of ourselves as learners. The benefits of language learning at this young age will help them in so many areas of their learning lives and I hope that they continue to have a love and mindset for learning new things.