In Preschool, Kindergarten, First, and Second Grades, we explore vocabulary by themes (counting 1 to 10, shapes, body parts, colors, animals, fruits and vegetables, family members, parts of a house, eating utensils, weather, clothing, school subjects, telling time, etc.) through fingerplays and simple rhymes, children’s books and songs.
In Third and Fourth Grades, students will work through the Symtalk curriculum (Level 1 Mis primeros pasos and Level 2 Mis amigos y yo). In addition, they will learn thematic vocabulary after learning a related song and then create class books. Themes may include animals, food, classroom supplies, transportation, places in the city, and more.
At the end of Fourth Grade, students will be given the opportunity to perform some simple skits. Each skit is thematic and will develop vocabulary pertaining to a theme as well as introduce useful colloquial expressions. Fifth Graders continue where they left off at the end of Fourth Grade, working through a total of 15 themes. Sixth Graders complete the final themes of the last skits and then will start Mi Mundo (see below for description).
In Third through Seventh Grades, students will use the Symtalkcurriculum, beginning with Mis primeros pasos (Level 1) and Mis amigos y yo (Level 2). This is a unique visual curriculum which first presents verbs only in the third person singular form (Antonio juega con el perro = Antonio plays with the dog). As students move through the levels of the curriculum, concepts become more complex. By Level 3, Mi mundo, verbs are presented in the infinitive, first, second, and third person singular forms (jugar, juego, juegas, juega). And in Level 4 (¡Hablemos!), students are introduced to the use of the pronoun usted or Ud., the formal and respectful form of you singular. In addition, students will learn songs to reinforce pronunciation and to ensure that useful phrases and thematic vocabulary are retained. Movement and drama are incorporated whenever appropriate.
Fifth, Sixth, and Seventh Grade students will also read a class novel completely in Spanish and complete comprehension activities related to their assigned book. This will happen in the second half of the year.
The Eighth Grade this year will work on acquiring a large number of verbs in the infinitive (100) and a small number of power verbs (5) that they will learn to conjugate, as well as time frames and other glue words to express many ideas easily. In addition to learning to use such useful vocabulary, eighth graders will have projects to complete and present to the class, approximately one per trimester.
While making progress in these curricula, middle school students will have opportunities to move around the room interviewing one another, working with a partner or a small group for charades or pictionary or other activities designed to get kids talking, listening, thinking, reading, and writing in Spanish. All students in Fifth through Eighth Grades will also enjoy the wacky videos and music of Señor Wooly. Students will have online homework using senorwooly.comwhich will require that they listen to songs in Spanish and complete activities that reinforce vocabulary and expressions through listening and reading. Some students enjoy the drill and practice in duolingo.com and so we will spend some time on that site as well. Duolingo has the benefit of requiring listening, speaking, reading, and writing; but Señor Wooly wins hands-down for its música pegajosa (catchy--literally, sticky--music) and fun videos.
Students are excited to earn a fiesta in Spanish class. When a class completes a textbook (see above), the 15 skits that they started in 4th grade, or a novela, en español por supuesto, they will celebrate their accomplishment with a class party--a la mexicana! I am pleased with how much students understand and can express and I am very proud of their pronunciation.