Fifth-Grade Spanish Students Celebrate Día de Los Reyes

Lower/Middle School Spanish teacher José Reyes writes about taking Steward's fifth-grade Spanish classes on a trip to Mexico Restaurant to celebrate Día de Los Reyes.

By: José Reyes, Lower/Middle School Spanish Teacher

Beginning in junior kindergarten, Steward students start learning conversational Spanish. In later years, they continue to study the language and expand their vocabulary as well as their understanding of other cultures. This year, our Lower School students are learning about holiday traditions in various Spanish-speaking countries. A fact that surprised many students was that in Spain and Latin America, Día de Los Reyes Magos (Three Kings Day), rather than Christmas, is an occasion for gift giving. Children all over Spain and Mexico, as well as many Hispanic families in the United States, look forward to waking up on January 6 to find toys and gifts.

Our fifth-grade Spanish classes went to celebrate this holiday with a little fiesta on January 8, 2020 at Mexico Restaurant. We were thrilled to announce that this event was generously supported by one of our own Steward families, the Lara family. They were very excited to collaborate in such a great opportunity for our students and volunteered to host this celebration in their own restaurant, inviting all the students without cost.

This field trip allowed our students to participate in an authentic cultural activity and apply Spanish language skills and cultural knowledge in opportunities beyond the classroom. Before we took our fifth graders to Mexico Restaurant, we practiced the vocabulary of the main Mexican dishes and how to order in Spanish. The restaurant staff mainly spoke Spanish to our students, so students had to express their needs in Spanish.

Taking our students to a Mexican restaurant isn’t just an occasion to savor burritos or quesadillas (although that's certainly a perk!). It is a perfect time to teach students to embrace the diversity of our community and keep their minds and hearts open to differences. Ultimately, it means growth for our school.

Division directors and world language teachers from Streward's three divisions meet throughout the year to discuss goals, challenges, and ways to promote cultural awareness inside and outside of school. We have continued to enrich our activities and programming that enhance an appreciation of diversity and inclusivity within our community.

I’m proud that our school is working toward offering a more comprehensive curriculum to our new Middle School students who are taking Spanish for the first time, and for those heritage speakers who have learned the language informally at home. With this new approach, heritage students will be able to improve their writing and reading skills, as well as speaking in academic settings.

Our department looks forward to continuing this approach and seeing great results in our students and community!





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