Songs, Storybooks, Service and Spanish
Students in Spanish 8 (middle school) and Spanish II and III (upper school) had the opportunity to visit with Spanish-speaking and other ELL students in Ypsilanti public schools on April 25, expanding a pre-existing cultural exchange.
Eighth grade Spanish students visited Estabrook Elementary School in Ypsilanti where they put their Spanish knowledge to good use. Greenhills students read original stories, ones created throughout the year in Spanish class, to roughly 50 Hispanic children. The air was filled with laughter (and Spanish!) as students bonded over books, puppet shows, arts and crafts, jokes and songs. It was a very rewarding experience!
Upper school students returned to Perry Development Center, reading with kindergarten and first grade students both storybooks they had written in Spanish as well as other books, and also playing games with them. Perry received a donation of English children’s books from Greenhills students.
Following their activities with the Ypsilanti students, Greenhills students had an authentic Mexican lunch at Sabor Latino restaurant in Ann Arbor, sampling empanadas argentinas con salsa chimichurri, flautas, enchiladas, quesadillas, totopos, salsa, arroz, frijoles and for dessert freshly made churros. The students greatly enjoyed the all-you-can-eat buffet and visiting with each other.
Spanish students were delighted by the trip and offered the following comments:
- Josie Chey (8th): Something I really enjoyed about Estabrook was being with the kids and talking to them in Spanish and using my Spanish knowledge with them. I also liked reading them the books we made.
- Evan Kanji (8th): Going to Estabrook was really cool! I think that reading to the kids helped me bond with them. They seemed like they were enjoying it – I know I certainly was – and it was just really rewarding. We all got a lot out of it.
- Nina Joss (9th): It was so much fun to spend time with these kids. They were all so happy and you could tell that we all were enjoying it as much as they were! My buddy even hugged me when I left.
- James Carr (11th): The bond made between the students at Greenhills and the students at Perry was special and will likely never be forgotten.
Spanish teachers at Greenhills believe the reason we learn Spanish is to communicate and form bonds with other Spanish speakers, which is exactly why the Estabrook/Perry trips are such a valuable experience. Our students see firsthand the importance of learning new Spanish vocabulary and grammar because it is applicable in the real world. Greenhills Spanish students don’t simply study Spanish in order to earn a good grade in class. Rather, they study Spanish because it’s fun, valuable and practical.
— Elaine Moffat, Greenhills Spanish teacher