May 4 - June 8, 2017
In this full day program kids learned Spanish vocabulary through hands-on projects. They made videos, built sculptures and played in the woods while learning words to describe the environment and objects around them. This program was hosted by the Taplin family at their home and workshop in Warren, Vermont.
Session 1: Marble Run
May 4, 2017
Today we practiced counting in Spanish by making a marble run. Kids screamed out numbers, "uno, dos, tres, cuatro..." as the marble moved across each track. They used wood scraps to hold up the tracks, adjusting and tweaking to help the marble maintain momentum. They kept adding onto the track until it extended off the table and into the scrap bin.
The marble tracks were pre-made before class out of scrap 2x3's of varying lengths from 8" - 16". The groove of the track was cut out on a table saw by angling the blade to 39 degrees.
After lunch we took a break from the marble run to play in the woods. The girls learned the word for frog, "rana," as they tried to catch one in the pond. "Rapido, rapido, agaralo! (quick, quick, grab it!)"
We returned to the shop to pick up our mess and for some free building. Gere showed Lucy and Ona how to use her carving chisels on 2x4 scraps. After 15 minutes of carving they started pretending that the blocks were cellphones. They leaned into the idea by carving out screens, buttons and adding nails for antennas.
Session 2: Egg Carts and Cooking
May 11, 2017
On the menu for todays Spanish class was a cart making project using PVC pipe, 2x3's and a huevo (egg). The kids worked together to assemble a cart using drills, screws, and pre-cut 2x3's. They had a model of a cart available to guide them through the building process. Once they finished they carried it down to the chicken coop.
The game component of the project was introduced down in the field by the chicken coop. The object of the game was to transport an egg from the chicken coop into an egg carton 50 feet away. To ensure the safety of the egg the kids were prompted to build a nest from objects around them. They ran into the woods and picked up pine needles, birch bark, sticks and grass to pad the egg. Once the eggs were in place the kids took turns playing and "carefully" pushing their carts to the finish line.
After the race the group deconstructed the carts and reused the wood for a free build session.
After lunch it was time for some self-directed play. A couple of the kids took out pots, pans, tea cups, and plates and started creating a market with food made from sand and decorated with plants and flowers. While they cooked they practiced Spanish vocabulary words like cocinando (cooking), comida (food), and ensalada (salad) to describe what they were doing.
Session 3: Tree Fort and Puzzle Head
MAY 18, 2017
We started the day amongst the trees searching for the perfect spot to build a tree fort. After careful consideration the group picked a spot in a pocket of pine trees. They began preparing the space for construction by raking leaves and hauling away branches.
They unloaded the drills, screws and 2x4's and began building their improvised structure. In just a couple of hours the crew managed to build a structure that could hold everyone.
After eating lunch in the trees we packed up our tools and headed into the shop to begin a vocabulary project. A giant head and face pieces were made out of plywood to be used as a tool for practicing vocabulary for the head such as ojos (eyes), boca (mouth), and nariz (nose).
Session 4: Hoop House
May 25, 2017
Today we assembled a hoop house. We began by laying out the base of the structure with of 2x4's (front and rear) and 4x4's (sides). Four 3/4" diameter holes were pre-drilled into each 4x4's to make inserts for the PVC ends. We bent each PVC rib over one at a time, securing each end with screws. Just as we were draping the structure with plastic it started raining. We added piece of roof strapping to hold down the plastic and jumped in with our things. The hoop house turned out to be the perfect shelter for a wet day.