Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Que tengas un buen día!

It looks like a mouthful, but it's just what we're all feeling:

Que tengas un buen día!

Have a good day!

Click here for pronunciation.

We started our Spanish integration in January saying Buenos dias and Buenas tardes to our buenas amigas and buenos amigos.  Now that we're getting ready for summer vacation, we can wish them un buen día as well.

And, Si te Vienes a Bailar (If You're Going to Dance):

Monday, May 23, 2016

Fifth Graders in a Bilingual Performance at LEAF!

LEAF feels long ago, but we bet our fifth graders are still excited about getting to perform!

Thanks to LEAF in Schools and Streets, all Claxton fifth graders got to experience a residency with M.A.K.U. Soundsystem, an immigrant band now hailing from New York City. Their music combines authentic Columbian Folklore and Caribbean grooves. During their dynamic performances, M.A.K.U. Soundsystem explores how multicultural communities can grow together through a positive perspective encompassing love, hardships, and the embracing of different cultures. Their various musical backgrounds allow them to truly exemplify the idea of World Fusion and bring together a diverse room of listeners through their empowering sound.

M.A.K.U. Soundsystem embodies an active quest for celebrating identity through performance. Throughout their journey, they have explored various musical landscapes from indigenous Colombian compositions to progressive rock, bringing cultural awareness to venues and festivals across the United States and throughout the Globe. 

Best of all for our Spanish integration school, much of their performance is in Spanish. Check out "El Jugo" ("The Juice"):

The residency included a performance for our kindergarten, first, and second graders and a hands-on demonstration.

Thank you, LEAF in Schools and Streets for making this amazing opportunity available for our kids. And thanks to Mr. Butler for making it happen!

uno, dos, tres, cuatro, cinco, seis, siete, ocho, nueve, diez!

We've done it! We can count to ten in Spanish!

This week's Spanish phrase-of-the-week is

uno, dos, tres, cuatro, cinco, seis, siete, ocho, nueve, diez

one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten

It may look long, but it's fun and easy to practice. Next time your Claxton student counts something, challenge her or him to count in Spanish!

Or read a great book that involves counting in Spanish, like Just a Minute by Yuyi Morales, which our wonderful Media Coordinator and Spanish-speaker, Ms. Brown, has read to the kindergarten and first grade classes.

Other fun count-in-Spanish books include Perritos by Sandra Boynton and Cinco Monitos Brincando en la Cama by Eileen Christleow.

And, of course, it's always fun to sing along!

Monday, May 16, 2016

Nueve, Diez!

We're almost finished with the school year, and now we're finished counting to ten in Spanish!

This week's Spanish phrase-of-the-week is

nueve, diez

nine, ten

For pronunciation, click on nueve and diez.

Time for some bailando (dancing)!

Monday, May 9, 2016

Siete, Ocho

We're still counting!

This week's Spanish phrase-of-the-week is

siete, ocho

seven, eight

Click to pronounce: siete and ocho.

A good word to use with our counting is cuantos?, or how many? (Click to pronounce cuantos.)

Over half of our students can now answer the question:

Cuantos años tienes?
(Click for pronunciation.)

How old are you? (or, literally, How many years do you have?)

Tengo siete años.
Tengo ocho años.

And, con sólo cinco semanas por delante/with only five weeks left, we're ready to dance!

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Happy Cinco de Mayo!

Do you know what you're celebrating today?

Do you recognize the names Benito Juarez, Robert Shulfeldt, and Emperor Maximilian?

Ask your Claxton student! Many will be taking part in classroom activities today to teach them the significance of Cinco de Mayo.

Education World explains:

Cinco de Mayo commemorates the 1862 Battle of Puebla, in which a few thousand ill-equipped Mexican citizens defeated a much larger army of highly trained French soldiers. Although the victory did not result in the immediate end of French occupation, many historians believe it indirectly affected the outcome of the American Civil War and led to Mexico's eventual independence. Today, people in both the United States and Mexico celebrate Cinco de Mayo -- the Fifth of May -- as a day of freedom and goodwill. 

Check out these fun activities at Education World and Apples 4 the Teacher

Many of our third through fifth grade students participated in Readers Theater readings that explained the history of Cinco de Mayo. The script appears below. You can have a performance at home, or just read on to learn more about this important day.

Cinco de Mayo Readers Theater

Cast: Narrator; Narrator 2; Students 1,2, 3 and 4; Benito Juarez, president of Mexico; Robert W. Shulfeldt, American ambassador to Mexico; General Záragoza; Napoleon the Third of France; Napoleon the Third's wife, Maria; Swiss Banker; Messenger; Emperor Maximilian; his wife, Carlota

Scene One, An American Classroom in the United States

NARRATOR: Once upon a time, a group of people felt they were not being treated fairly by those who governed them, so they decided to form a new government, with a new president. They wanted the government to treat all people equally; no matter if they were Native American or European, no matter if they were rich or poor.

STUDENT 1: Hey, I’ve heard this story! You’re going to tell us about the American Revolution, right? The war between the British and the American colonists that gave birth to our country, the United States of America!

STUDENT 2: I already know about that too! It’s the story about our first president, George Washington, and how we told the King of England we weren’t going to be part of his country anymore because we wanted to live in a country where people were treated more fairly.

NARRATOR 2: Well, actually, this is a similar story, but it’s about something that happened in Mexico, the country that neighbors the United States to the south. This story took place on the fifth of May in the year 1862.

STUDENT 3: The fifth of May? Hey, isn’t that Cinco de Mayo? I've heard of Cinco de Mayo –its like our July 4th in the United States, right?

NARRATOR: You’re right and wrong at the same time. Yes, the fifth of May is Cinco de Mayo –it’s  is a day of celebration for many Mexicans, like the Fourth of July is celebrated in the United States. But Cinco de Mayo isn’t a federal holiday in Mexico and it isn’t a celebration of Mexico’s independence. In Mexico, Independence Day is on September 16th . That’s the day that’s most  like our 4th of July –the birthday of the country.

STUDENT 4: Hey, my family celebrates Cinco de Mayo! We always go to a Mexican restaurant on that day.

NARRATOR: Nowadays, Cinco de Mayo is celebrated as much in our country as it is in Mexico. Everyone loves to celebrate and have a good excuse to go out to eat and have a party, and a lot of Americans and their families come from Mexico. But not many people can tell you what happened on the fifth of May in 1862 and why it was an important event.  Let’s go back in time and meet some of the people who were part of this important day in history.

NARRATOR 2: It was the year 1862, one hundred and fifty-four years ago. Mexico had a new president who had been elected one year earlier. His name was Benito Juarez (pronounced: Beh-nee-toe Hoo-ah-rez). He was Mexico’s 26th president, and its first president who was a full blooded Indian.

Scene 2, Mexico City, Mexico

BENITO JUAREZ: I am Benito Juarez, the 26th president of Mexico. I was elected to make Mexican governance fair for all. The poor people in our country are tired of being mistreated. It is time to make some new laws and changes. Ever since Mexico fought our War of Independence with Spain, we have not been able to agree on how to make our country work, but one thing is for sure –the rich people have never treated the poor people fairly, especially the Indians.

ROBERT SHULFELDT: My name is Robert W. Shulfeldt, and I am on a visit to Mexico from the United States. I work for Abraham Lincoln, the President of the United States, where the American Civil War is being fought.The Confederacy is trying to break away from the United States so they can continue to own slaves. President Lincoln sent me here to tell the new president of Mexico that we will support him, but we’re so busy fighting the Civil War that we can’t do much until we defeat the Confederacy.

BENITO JUAREZ: It is sad that your country can’t agree either, but at least you’ve managed to make it work for nearly a hundred years. . We have never agreed about things here in Mexico. There has been a lot of fighting ever since we became a country.

ROBERT SHULFELDT: President Lincoln wanted me to tell you that we will help you create a fair country if can win the Civil War and make ours more fair too. If we do, we’ll send soldiers to help your government. In the meantime, we’ll loan you some money, but I’m afraid it can’t be much.

BENITO JUAREZ: Well, I wish you could send us some soldiers now, because France has sent its army here to Mexico to keep me from being president. The French government is afraid I will take money from the rich people to help the poor, and they’re right. But I’m going to try to be as fair as I can about it. After all, the rich people here in Mexico are only rich because they make the poor people work so hard.

ROBERT SHULFELDT: Yes, we are also trying to help the poorest people in the United States, the slaves. They are so poor they don’t have anything of their own. In fact their very lives belong to someone else; they are the property of the slave owners. The slave owners in the southern United States force them to work for no wages and without any choice.

BENITO JUAREZ: Many of the rich people in Mexico have their money because they take advantage of the poor Indians. Many of the presidents of Mexico before me supported the rich. They borrowed lots of money from banks in France and other parts of Europe and they gave away our gold and silver mines to European companies.

ROBERT SHULFELDT: Good luck fighting the French army. They are the best army in the world.

Scene Three, in the palace of Napoleon III in Paris, France

NAPOLEON: I am Napoleon the Third. My grandfather was the great Napoleon Bonaparte. In the year 1810 my grandfather took over Spain and took control of all Spain’s lands, which included Mexico.  The Mexicans, who were already unhappy with Spain, did not want another European country trying to control them, so they fought to become their own independent country. But the Mexicans have never been able to agree how to make a government that works.

MARIA: My Name is Maria, and I am Napoleon the Thirds’ wife. We believe that those people across the ocean in the Americas don’t know how to rule themselves. They need smarter people, like the kings and queens and emperors who rule Europe to rule over them as well. The United States of America is falling apart with a civil war, and the Mexicans have never been able to agree on how to run their country. It is time for the European powers to take over again. Mexico is a rich land with lots of gold and silver, and they owe our banker friends lots of money.

SWISS BANKER: I am a Swiss banker and I just got a letter from Mexico saying they would not pay my bank back for the loans we made to their former presidents. Napoleon the Third, my banker friends and I need your help. You have a great army. Will you send it to Mexico to force them to pay us back?

NAPOLEON: The American Civil War proves that the United States is a failure. I am thinking about helping the South win the Civil War. Then we rulers of Europe can have more control in the Americas. But first, I need to take care of this business in Mexico. Yes, I will send an army there. In fact, we will just take over Mexico, and then all the riches of the land will be ours.

SWISS BANKER: Thank you, Napoleon the Third! England and Spain have said they will help too. We’ll show those Mexicans who’s boss!

NAPOLEON: And then we’ll show those Americans what a foolish idea their “Government for the People and by the People” has been by helping the South win the Civil War! Besides, we need cotton that the slaves grow in the United States. Ever since their Civil War began, the Union has blocked the South’s cotton from reaching us.

Scene Four, in Mexico City, Mexico

BENITO JUAREZ: It has been a tough time in Mexico since I became president. Britain, Spain, and France all sent ships and soldiers to force my government to pay back millions of dollars in loans that Mexico owed to European banks. I was able to negotiate deals with the British and the Spanish, and they have left, but the French are being stubborn. I’ve just received word that their ships have put soldiers ashore and they are marching into the country to try to take over! General Záragoza (pronounced Sar-uh-go-sa), we are counting on you to stop them.

ZÁRAGOZA: I am the Mexican army general Záragoza, and I will do all I can to stop the French invasion! My soldiers and cavalry will meet their army near the city of Puebla!

BENITO JUAREZ: I have just received word that if the French win, they will send a prince from Europe to rule over the Mexicans. What an insult! We don’t want royal aristocrats to rule us; we want a freely elected government.

ZARAGOZA: The 1860’s are proving to be a trying time for the New World Democratic Republics. The United States is at war with itself. The European powers are trying hard to hold onto the power they still have in the Americas and to take back what they’ve lost. I will do my best to beat the French.

Scene Five, In Italy

MAXIMILIAN: My name is Maximilian and I am a prince of the Holy Roman Empire. Although I have a castle to live in, I don’t have my own kingdom because my brother is older than I and he will be the next king of Italy and Austria. Even though I come from a royal family, I’m not even sure I believe in the idea of kings telling everyone what to do. I actually think it’s fairer to let people decide how their governments should work.

CARLOTA: My name is Princess Carlota, and I am Maximilian’s wife. We have just had a terrific offer from Napoleon the Third of France. He wants my husband to be the Emperor of Mexico! Imagine that, our own Empire to rule over! The Mexicans will love my husband because he really wants people to be treated fairly and have their own say in the government. He’s just the kind of leader they need. And he will also make sure that Mexico pays back what they owe the European banks. He could make all sides happy. The Mexicans aren’t really smart enough to make their country work. My husband will show them how it is done.

MAXIMILIAN: I’m not sure this is the best idea, but maybe you’re right, Carlota. Maybe I can fix things for both sides by becoming the Emperor of Mexico. I will form a fair government for Mexico and pay back the Swiss bankers. I guess we will accept Napoleon the Third’s offer.

CARLOTA: Good! As soon as we hear that the French army has taken over, we will set sail for Mexico and have our own kingdom!

Scene Six, Paris, France

MESSENGER: Napoleon the Third, I am afraid I have some bad news. The Mexicans have defeated our French army in a battle outside of the Mexican City of Puebla. On the fifth of May General Záragoza and his men beat the French soldiers. Our invasion of Mexico is not going as planned.

NAPOLEON: What! This can’t be! This was supposed to be easy. The Mexicans are tougher than I thought. But we won’t give up. I have a prince from the Hapsburg family, Maximilian, ready to rule Mexico when we take over. I will send soldiers and supplies to Mexico for as long as it takes. We will pay those Mexicans back for what they did to my army on the fifth of May!

Scene Seven, Mexico City, Mexico

BENITO JUAREZ: General Záragoza, you did an amazing job on the fifth of May, el Cinco de Mayo! Your small band of soldiers beat the best army in the world! Tell me how you did it!

ZÁRAGOZA: My soldiers fought hard. We pretended to be attacking from one direction while most of my troops snuck up from another side. The weather turned bad and the fields were muddy. The French soldiers got stuck in the mud with their cannons and wagons.

BENITO JUAREZ: I heard a rumor that some Mexican farmers stampeded a herd of cows into the French army. What a great idea.

ZÁRAGOZA: I’ve  heard that rumor too. I don’t know if it’s true. But I do know the French retreated and the fifth of May, or el Cinco de Mayo, will always be remembered as a great day for the people of Mexico.

BENITO JUAREZ: Yes! But I am afraid I have some bad news. My messengers have told me the French are not giving up their plans and are sending even more soldiers to try to take over Mexico. How will we ever win the war when they have so many men and supplies that they can keep sending across the ocean?

ZÁRAGOZA: We will tell all Mexicans to remember the fifth of May, el Cinco de Mayo. It is a sign that we can beat the French army. Remember el Cinco de Mayo! That will be our slogan and we will keep fighting!

Epilogue, American Classroom in the U.S.

STUDENT 1: Well, what happened? Did the Mexicans finally win the war with France?

NARRATOR: Actually they lost a lot of battles after that. The French were just so well trained. They had the newest guns and many supplies. Many rich people in Mexico helped the French. The French actually took over Mexico City. Benito Juarez and his supporters had to hide in other parts of Mexico.

STUDENT 2: Did Maximilian become the Emperor of Mexico like Napoleon the Third had planned?

NARRATOR 2: Yes, for a little while he did, and some people say he actually did some good things for the Mexican people in the few years he ruled. But Benito Juarez and his followers never gave up. They remembered the battle of el Cinco de Mayo. It was proof that they could defeat the French, so they kept on fighting. And they did eventually win!

STUDENT 3: So Benito Juarez became president of Mexico again?

NARRATOR: Yes. And guess who helped him and his army finally take Mexico back from Emperor Maximilian and the French.


NARRATOR 2: The United States! After the Union won the American Civil War, hundreds of those Union soldiers went to Mexico and help Benito Juarez. They knew that his brave men had made it so hard for the French that Napoleon the Third had given up on helping the South in the Civil War.

STUDENT 4: Oh, I get it! The battle of el Cinco de Mayo could actually have kept the French from helping the South in the Civil War. That IS important!

STUDENT 3: So Cinco de Mayo is a celebration of freedom! I get it now too!

NARRATOR: That’s right; Cinco de Mayo is a celebration of freedom from being ruled by royal families, a celebration of freedom for all the people of the New World, no matter their skin color, no matter if they are Indians or Europeans. And it’s a celebration of never giving up on a good cause. Remember the fifth of May. Recuerda (pronounced ray-cwayr-da) el Cinco de Mayo!

STUDENT 1, STUDENT 2, STUDENT 3 & STUDENT 4: Remember the fifth of May! Recuerda el Cinco de Mayo!

ZÁRAGOZA: Recuerda el Cinco de Mayo!

BENITO JUAREZ: Recuerda el Cinco de Mayo!

EVERYONE: Recuerda el Cinco de Mayo!

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Celebrating Cinco de Mayo in the Claxton Library

Cinco de Mayo is this week, and although this celebration of Mexico's victory against the French army at Puebla tends to be more of an American holiday than a Mexican one, in the Claxton library we are using the date as a cause for CELEBRATION!

Our read-aloud this week is a counting book that coincides with Claxton's Spanish phrase-of-the-week: cuatro, cinco, seis.

Just a Minute by Yuyi Morales is a Pura Belpre award-winning Mexican trickster tale that tells the story of Señor Calavera (Mr. Skeleton), who shows up unexpectedly at Grandma Beetle's door and ominously insists that she leave with him right away. Wily Grandma Beetle delays him with the preparations for her birthday party—preparations that invite the reader to count with her from one to ten in Spanish. 

By the time the tenth guest ("Diez!") arrives at Grandma Beetle's birthday party, Señor Calavera is having such a lovely time that he decides to let her go on living so he can attend another fabulous celebration next year.

This read-aloud is a great way to have the students practice their Spanish counting, as well as celebrate the rich traditions of Mexican culture through eye-catching, vibrant illustrations.

Bilingual read-alouds are a terrific way to reinforce language skills with your children. I encourage you to visit the Claxton library or your local branch of the public library to find some Spanish/English stories to read this week!

Feliz Cinco de Mayo!

Ms. Brown

Monday, May 2, 2016

cuatro, cinco, seis (4, 5, 6)

How many weeks left in the school year? Let's count down in español!

This week's Spanish phrase-of-the-week is

cuatro, cinco, seis

four, five, six

Click to hear how to pronounce: cuatrocincoseis.

La semana pasada había seis semanas. Last week there were six weeks.

Esta semana hay cinco semanas. This week there are five weeks.

La próxima semana habrá cuatro semanas. Next week there will be four weeks.

That's how we count down!   Seis! Cinco! Cuatro! Tres! Dos! Uno!

Now keep counting with Canción do los Números or, if you're going to dance, Si te Vienes a Bailar: