Writing Our Own Bilingual Thanksgiving Story
Paulina Montaldo, New Castle Christian Academy, Spanish Teacher K – 8th
The 4th and 5th graders at the New Castle Christian Academy have worked writing a bilingual story, English / Spanish, about Thanksgiving.
First they wrote their own 400 words Dia de Gracias story in English, using a few of the Thanksgiving vocabulary words that they knew. After a week they brought their drafts for me to review them, and to underline the words that they needed to write in Spanish. The idea was to have them work with their creativity, imagination and of course, using their Spanish vocabulary and learn new words. After their draft was reviewed and corrected, they typed the story splitting the 400 words into ten pages plus cover. Each page had a drawing, I forbid them from using internet pictures. The books were ready on time to exchange with their peers so everybody had the opportunity to share their story with some of the students from their grade. Stories were also read to younger grades before Thanksgiving break. Everybody got to enjoy these awesome Thanksgiving stories. The students enjoyed the project while learning new Spanish words and readers had fun reading these incredible stories on which many times señor pavo was saved by the main character who ended convincing the family about having a vegetarian Día de Gracias.
Fourth grader Mary Baka says that she likes this project because it was fun to write some words in Spanish plus, “I like sharing my story with my friends and listening to their bilingual stories as well. I would like to do a project like this again.” Fourth grader Marisa Saad says, “I like this project because I got to do my favorite thing, create a story, type and draw pictures. It was an awesome project.” Fifth grader Tori Shultz says she likes the project because she got to be creative and learn some new words in Spanish related to family and Thanksgiving.
The New Castle Christian Academy, located in New Castle, Pennsylvania, is an non-denominational Christian school that offers Spanish twice a week to all grades: Kindergarten – 8th. This is my sixth year working with these students. I am also an adjunct faculty member at Youngstown State University. In college I can see the big gap between those students that had a foreign language in early years and those that are taking it for the very first time.