MERCADO TEACHES SPANISH SKILLS
May 1, 2007
Author: Michael Ferraresi, The Arizona Republic Estimated printed pages: 2
Language skills are little use to young people unless they actually get engaged
in foreign conversation while looking someone in the eye.
Paradise Valley's Tesseract School recognized that three years ago when it
hosted its first Mercado de Tesseract, which gives students the chance to hone
their Spanish language skills by selling and buying traditional Mexican
merchandise in an open market-like setting.
The third annual Mercado was celebrated Thursday at the non-profit, independent
private school near Tatum Boulevard and Doubletree Ranch Road.
Tesseract teaches children preschool through eighth grade.
Older children set up businesses like taco stands and little shops, speaking in
Spanish with the younger kids to practice Spanish.
"They actually bargain things down in Spanish," said Catharine Steffens, the
school's Spanish Department chairwoman.
"(The Mercado) teaches them to communicate with real people, not just the
The outdoor market theme is based on outdoor mercados in Oaxaca, Mexico.
While eighth-graders created their own companies and marketed their creations
for the Mercado, social studies students were responsible for researching
Mexican folk art, which they created and sold at the market.
Tesseract seventh-graders researched traditional Mexican games and toys and ran
those booths, in addition to food booths.
"They all speak pretty well, so the pressure is on the parents to speak
Spanish," said Marie Learner, whose son, Henry, is a first-grader.
CAPTION: 1. Youngsters buy cake at the Mercado de Tesseract. The school's
Spanish department established the market three years ago so students could
practice their language skills in a real-life situation. CAPTION: 2.-3.
Second-grader Jacob Hayes holds cash to buy a traditional Mexican lucha libre
wrestling mask from a stall set up by Tesseract students. The students create
their own businesses and market their merchandise in Spanish, helping them apply
the language skills learned in the classroom. At left, seventh-grader Angelique
Carswell sells cake for dos dolares Thursday at Tesseract School in Paradise
Edition: Final Chaser
Section: Scottsdale Republic North
Dateline: PARADISE VALLEY
Copyright (c) The Arizona Republic. All rights reserved. Reproduced with the
permission of Gannett Co., Inc. by NewsBank, inc.
Record Number: pho168061397