febrero frio

Hello dear MS families!

While the groundhog may not have seen his shadow on Sunday it still feels like winter in “sunny” Santa Cruz. Our kids are bundled well for these chilly, windy days. With the start of newly introduced lunch time activities in the gym, they remain active and warm while having fun. We have also introduced games, crafts, Ethics Bowl and crosswords during lunch so that they can play as they socialize (always a top MS priority!).

In the sixth grade Spanish class students have been preparing for their visits to our fifth grade peers. The sixth graders have given a “sneak peek” to the younger students of our Spanish Total Physical Response Storytelling curriculum by introducing them “en espanol” to various wacky fruit and veggie characters who live in this fictitious salad bowl of adventure. Our fifth grade friends were intrigued and more than curious about “what comes next” in the three-year series of stories full of mischief and mayhem. While playful to the core, the learning and Spanish growth and acquisition are at the high school level.

Seventh graders are deep into their study of Spanish “Shoe Verbs” or radical stem-changing verbs. The students are, as I like to say, “lean, green conjugating machines” of these challenging present tense verbs including many other regular and irregular Spanish verbs. By using cheesy, playful chants that bring plenty of eye rolling and help “train their Spanish ears”, the students retain the sounds and patterns. While this eye rolling continues (as it must during adolescence) these bright youngsters arrive daily in class asking “Can we please do that cheesy chant again?”. Such is the world of adolescent thinking and behaviors which this ‘ole maestra still LOVES!!

Eighth graders are starting their “Proyectos de Ropa” (clothing projects). Following an in-depth study of all things “Ropa”, the students will create and describe various fashions– fabulous, funky or fanciful— in their projects. The style, size, fabrics, colors, designs, seasonal use of each piece will be described in detail via fashion shows, clothing “lines” for real or paper dolls, for each other, pets or superhero figures. While rich in language that can apply to a myriad of scenarios, this activity allows our super cool eighth graders perhaps one last opportunity to PLAY as their younger selves. Next year in high school this type of play could be socially deemed “totally lame” so let’s keep them young as long as possible here at Gateway School. Play on!! Adults, too, may be more likely to keep play in their lives by instilling it deep into childhood and adolescence.

Our school year pushes on with much still to experience, learn, create, invent and play. It is recommended that we all continue to create and offer many opportunities for playing together as families. Not only is it stress reducing and enjoyable, many brain studies reveal that it is vital for healthy brain development and maintenance. Of course, playing together as a family supports the development and nurturing of healthy family relationships. From experience with my own family even when discord arises in play as it will (“I won…”/”No, I won..!”), we learn how to handle conflict and still hold our love for one another. This seems even more important as we support our children through the often rocky waves of adolescence. Once again, MS families, PLAY ON!!

Warmly y con carino,

Maestra Patty