Dame Cinco – A Day in the Spanish 3 Classroom

Alzar School | 10.02.21

Walking into the cozy Spanish 3 classroom, you are immediately greeted by Señor Davis. “Hola! Como estas?” His warm and welcoming Spanish greeting sets the tone for the class, one that is engaging, interactive, and conducted entirely in Spanish.   

At Alzar School, teachers work particularly hard to create engaging lessons where students participate in bilateral exercises and smaller group conversations. For some teens, actively participating in an entire academic class period is both daunting and tedious. However, when asked, students in our Spanish 3 class say that the small class sizes along with the strong relationships they build with their teachers and peers make academics less intimidating and competitive, and more stimulating.

Davis Cowles teaching Spanish 3 students.

Easy music welcomes the six Spanish 3 students into the classroom. The day’s prompt, “Dame cinco!” or “give me five”, is written on the whiteboard and immediately gets them up and moving around to greet their friends with a high five. Diving into the class period, Davis keeps students engaged in what could be mundane vocabulary and pronunciation memorization by having students rotate around, stomping feet, and dancing while chanting Spanish vowels. His mnemonic dazzles the class and ignites them with laughter. This active teaching style is typical in the Alzar School classroom and fuels student learning.

For the remainder of the class, students move into pairs to work on sentence formation and using correct tenses. Finally, each pair offers a mini-lesson that they created, incorporating their peers in fun, fill-in-the-blank exercises. As one student said about academics at Alzar School, “I’ve been afraid to speak up and make mistakes in classes before, but here I don’t feel judged for making mistakes.” This Spanish 3 class is representative of academics at Alzar School; it actively engages and empowers students to be learners, teachers, and leaders.