Small modeling clay figurines and excited kids filled the room for a fifth-grade Spanish class “gallery opening”. Señora Andrade calls out “Oh, clase!” to gather their attention and lay out expectations of the gallery walk. She speaks in a mix of Spanish and English, making the learning touchpoint feel familiar— exemplifying how to fluidly connect thoughts, words and phrases with ease.

Today’s projects were inspired by the animated short film, “El Vendedor De Humo” by Jaime Maestro, the story of a scam artist who turned ordinary objects into magical experiences in an attempt to steal valuables from the citizens of a small hillside town. Class began with a presentation by a group who elected to create a graphic novel recreation of the film, complete with music and voice-over. Their original drawings drew big smiles and laughter from their classmates. Other groups chose to sculpt their moment of transformation from the film, using a mix of clay mediums. After creating their artwork, students attempted their first ever paragraph-length writing to describe their moment of transformation in Spanish. At each station, students read their prepared text aloud in Spanish, clarified meaning, and then offered each other feedback in English, establishing understanding and encouragement amongst peers. Language fosters enriched connection, one of our important community values at DCD. Through their Spanish language experience, students grow into transformed, expressive citizens of our community and beyond!