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A day for language

Fiesta shows off students' Spanish skills

Fiesta shows off students' Spanish skills

May 06, 2004|by SCOTT BUTKI

scottb@herald-mail.com

Students at Greenbrier Elementary School on Wednesday performed the hokeypokey, did math problems and sang songs but they did it with a twist: in Spanish.

This school year, Greenbrier became the first elementary school in the Washington County Public Schools system to have a Spanish program.

A student assembly was held in the school gym Wednesday to celebrate Cinco de Mayo. It gave students a chance to show off some of the Spanish they learned this year and to share that knowledge with the rest of the school, Principal Elaine Semler said.

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Cinco de Mayo - the fifth of May - commemorates the Mexican victory over the French at the battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862. The victory was an important step in Mexico's fight for independence.

Each grade gave a presentation, ranging from singing songs in Spanish to doing the Mexican hat dance.

Students danced the macarena and the "El Oogie Boogie," which is the Spanish version of the hokeypokey dance. They also played a Spanish version of the game "I Spy."

During a song about an elephant, a few fifth-grade students used props to simulate elephant trunks and ears.

Some of the girls wore tissue-paper flowers in their hair.

Before each presentation, a student explained in English what was about to be done using Spanish.

"This morning the third grade will be sharing some of the typical games Mexican kids might play. First is jump rope," Desiree Brewer, a third-grade student, said.

"Uno, dos, tres, cuatro," students counted aloud as girls jumped roped.

Zachery Harris, a third-grade student, explained that Mexican children like to play soccer although they call it football. "Meta!" he said when a goal was made. "Meta" means goal in Spanish.

"Hola," fifth-grade student Ari Church said in greeting. "Mathematics in English and Spanish are very similar."

She and others in her class read aloud some math problems and answers in Spanish.

"It has been a very long assembly and it has been a very wonderful assembly," Semler told the students before they returned to their classrooms.

Later in the day, the students attended an assembly with a flamenco dancer and sampled Mexican cuisine.

Children learn foreign languages faster and more easily than adults, Semler said.

Studies have shown that students with a good grasp of foreign languages perform better in other subjects, she said.

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