Spotlight: Spanish by Viva el Español

1st through 4th Grade Teachers – Francisca Acevedo & Johanna Pumarrume

5th Grade Morning Spanish Teacher – Teresa “Tessy” Pescador

Program Supervisor: Angélica Baraona

The Spanish program via Viva el Español is one of the many programs paid for by the Crocker PTA and not through Federal, State or city funding. Please donate to Annual Giving to continue to keep this and our other programs running!

Q. What is Viva el Español?
Viva el Español is a non-profit organization founded based on the belief that learning a foreign language in the pre-school and elementary school years is an essential part of a child’s education and development. Now in our tenth year, Viva el Español has taught Spanish to thousands of children at their Lafayette location and at more than 30 pre-schools, elementary schools, and middle schools all over the Bay Area. We offer classes for all age groups and proficiency levels– including bilingual children, teenagers, and adults. Viva el Español also offers theme-based winter/summer camps and teen internships, enabling children and teens to make substantial improvements in Spanish proficiency over the summer months.

About Our Curriculum:
Our curriculum is designed to spark and expand children’s interest in Spanish by engaging them in creative activities including music & movement, arts & crafts, interactive games, and literature. It was initially developed by a teacher who has a master’s in teaching Spanish, and who also developed curriculum used in the New York City public school system for teaching Spanish under a grant from the Coca-Cola Foundation. Since then, our curriculum has grown to encompass new themes, grammatical concepts, and cultural activities, while following the same format and philosophy. We have a library of over 1,500 books in Spanish; 1,300 songs; and a wealth of games and interactive activities shared by all teachers.

Our methodology uses a full-immersion approach, and our focus is on comprehension and oral production early on, supported by reading and writing activities. We provide families with resources that can be used to extend learning from classroom to home, and host optional special events and field-trips for families, where language can be used in context.

About Our Teachers:
Our teachers are all native Spanish speakers with experience working with kids in a wide range of settings. They are trained by us in techniques of teaching Spanish as a foreign language. We have several in-service training sessions per year ranging on topics from songs & games, classroom management, child development, orchestrating a Spanish class performance, completing progress reports, and more. In addition, teachers are supported by our Manager and Director of Elementary School Programs who coach, mentor and supervise our elementary school teachers.

Q. How many hours does the program run and how is that time spent?
Francisca and Johanna are on campus Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday from approximately 9am to 3pm. They spend time with all Crocker kids between 1st and 4th grade– visiting each classroom twice a week for a total of about 1 hour of Spanish exposure per class, per week.
Tessy meets with a group of 5th graders in the Multi-Purpose Room on Monday & Wednesday mornings, from 8-8:30am.

Q. What is the background of each of the teachers?

Francisca Acevedo – 1st – 4th Grade Teacher
Of Mexican heritage, Francisca was raised in Sacramento and has lived and studied in the Mexican states of Jalisco and Zacatecas. While her career has been as a Tax Analyst, her passion lies in children’s education. She joined Viva el Español to “motivate children in a positive, dynamic way in their early stages of life.” Francisca has experience teaching ESL at the high school level, and has also been a leader in a Youth Group Ministry program and she is a catechist. Additionally, Francisca has completed various Early Childhood Education units at Chabot College. In her free time, she enjoys coordinating Weddings & Quinceañeras, relaxing with friends and family, going to the movies, dancing, as well as exploring the Bay Area. This is Francisca’s seventh year teaching with Viva el Español.

Johanna Pumarrume – 1st – 4th Grade Teacher
Johanna is from Lima, Peru, where she studied teaching English as a second language. For two years, she taught English to students from first to sixth grade. As so, she employs the methodologies learned to teaching Spanish as a second language. Johanna has her Associates Degree in Early Childhood Education from Merritt College, and she is working towards transferring to East Bay University where she will major in Human Development. In addition, Johanna already has a California Associate Teaching Permit and is working on obtaining her Master Teaching Permit with a specialization in children with special needs. Johanna loves teaching! In her free time, you may find Johanna reading books, writing poems, or dancing salsa and merengue. This is her fifth year teaching with Viva el Español.

Teresa “Tessy” Pescador – 5th Grade Teacher
Tessy is originally from Mexico. While residing there, Tessy had the opportunity to do Social Work at a local orphanage where for three years she coordinated fun, educational events for the children of the home. In her studies, Tessy has received certificates for courses in speed reading and rapid comprehension in Spanish. Currently, she is pursuing a degree in Sociology/Social Services at Laney College. Tessy has experience as a tutor and baby sitter. She also comes from a family of teachers. In her free time, she likes to read, watch movies, and dance salsa. This is Tessy’s first year teaching with Viva el Español.

5. Please describe the curriculum and how it differs by grade.
Our curriculum is designed to engage all of the child’s senses through music and dance, arts and crafts, storytelling, and culture — the Spanish student at Crocker Elementary is exposed to the Spanish language while having tons of fun!

The dynamic Spanish Classroom works closely with the students of each class, learning *new* and relevant topics that are welcoming and exciting.

Each age-group/grade has it’s own curriculum, tailored to their level and educational needs. Using a scaffolding methodology, each year builds upon the last. Additionally, grammar is taught innately through the development of the child’s language acquisition, and reinforced with written work, art projects, and dialogue exercises.

A typical class may begin with circle time, in which our signature song “Hola hola hola” is performed. This song serves as a building block for furthering Spanish language education as it is a great opportunity for the child to begin to learn and use Spanish verbs! Depending on their grade level, the students may proceed with in-class written work, a cultural project, educational games, or an arts activity. We also include storytelling into our curriculum to further auditory comprehension.

Themes visited this year, per grade:

1st grade –
Los saludos y los sentimientos, greetings & feelings
La clase, the classroom
El alfabeto, the alphabet
Los números, numbers
Los colores, colors
Las formas, shapes
La fruta, fruit
Me gusta, I like
El cuerpo y soy así, the body and this is how I am
El clima, weather

2nd grade –
Los sentimientos, feelings
El calendario, the calendar
Las estaciones, the seasons
El clima, weather
La ropa, clothing
La casa, the house
La familia, family
Las mascotas, pets

3rd grade –
La hora, telling time
Las comidas, food
El restaurante, the restaurant
Los transportes, transportation
Los viajes, trips/travel
Perú, Peru

4th grade –
El dinero, money
El mercado/México/Perú, the market/Mexico/Peru
Las profesiones, professions
Latinos Famosos, famous Latinos
¡De película!, movies
Las comidas, foods

5th grade, Before-School Spanish Class –
Los transportes, transportation
Los viajes, trips/travel
Las direcciones, directions
La ciudad, the city
Las compras, shopping

Q. Can each of the teachers please tell us what they love about this job?

As an individual, I love being spontaneous, creative, and silly! I also enjoy dancing and singing very much, and of course, speaking Spanish while proudly sharing my cultural traditions. It never crossed my mind that these qualities would come in handy! I LOVE to teach. It is incredibly rewarding to see the impact it can have on these beautiful beings. What is most satisfying, is listening to students who spontaneously sprinkle Spanish words into their daily conversations; be it during recess, asking their teachers for school materials, or greeting their parents after school. To see and hear this among our students is worth it all!

-Francisca Acevedo

The best part of being a Spanish teacher is that I can teach children not only a new language, but also the cultures of different countries. In class, we discuss traditions from various Spanish speaking countries, such as: Mexico, Peru, Spain, Costa Rica, Chile and more! It is of great satisfaction to see and hear children in the hallway saying “Hola, ¿Cómo estás?” I notice their efforts in using a foreign language. Being a teacher provides you with the opportunity to introduce children to a world of new experiences; learning a new language by using their cognitive, physical, and social-emotional skills.

-Johanna Pumarrume

I believe that being a teacher is one of the most honorable professions in the world. It is of great satisfaction to watch students develop through the learning process, as they acquire new knowledge and skills. It is also amazing to see how young boys and girls cultivate their own strategies to learn, as a result of the application of our own teaching methodologies.

-Teresa “Tessy” Pescador

Q. Can you provide an example of how what you do has made an impact on a kid or the kids at Crocker?

We can write books on examples! For me, however, I find it the most rewarding when you are given the opportunity to connect with a child, captivate him or her in class and spark their enthusiasm for learning a new language. As a teacher, you hope to impact your students in some way. As so, when you greet a child who can demonstrate his comprehension and fluency by speaking in full, complete sentences and engaging in fascinating conversations in Spanish, you are simply blown away — our hearts melt!

-Francisca Acevedo

As a team, Francisca and I believe that the children at Crocker have a huge potential for acquiring a foreign language. Additionally, they are so lucky to have families that value, enrich, and motivate their children at such a young age.
Along with preparing our every-day Spanish curriculum, it is the result of a positive and supportive environment that our Spanish students feel confident when communicating in Spanish. We strongly encourage children to use their Spanish skills not only in class, but also in their daily life.

-Johanna Pumarrume

Kids are always watching everything, and in particular, most of the time, the teacher is the focus of attention. It is therefore very important to keep track of the instructions and materials given to the students, to fulfill a certain task or objective. Many times students learn without being conscious of their own progress, but at some point in time, they realize with great joy that something has been settling in their minds. It is in those magic moments, as teachers, we can enjoy seeing big smiles and wide opened eyes full of surprise.

-Teresa “Tessy” Pescador

Q. Anything else worth mentioning that parents might be interested in knowing?
A great article with regards to how learning a second language is excellent for cognitive development!

Thanks to all who support the PTA to have the educational opportunity of learning Spanish available at Crocker. To keep this and our many other wonderful programs running, please donate to the PTA through Annual Giving. Any amount helps!