Learning Spanish in a Meaningful Way
At Frankford Friends School, we know that learning a language is an interactive process. Our Pre-K through Fourth Grade classes learn Spanish (2 days a week) through using memory tools, color, songs, and patterns to increase their vocabularies. They play games and do skits that will help increase their ability to have practical conversations.
In grades 5 through 8, students learn Spanish using a more formalized process (3 days a week for grade 5/daily classes in grades 6 – 8) which includes reading novels in Spanish. Following a communicative language methodology, our students continually develop the four skills on which language acquisition is based – writing, reading, listening, and speaking. Grammar skills are also built upon and enhanced by games, readings, and songs to ensure a higher level of proficiency.
Students’ repeated authentic exposure to Spanish helps them acquire the language, rather than using a textbook to teach vocabulary and grammar in a vacuum. Students are engaged in literacy and listening, so that when the time comes they will be ready to write and speak in Spanish. Students are encouraged and willing to take risks and make mistakes in their Spanish classroom; feeling comfortable is an important component to acquiring a language. The Middle School Spanish classroom’s library is stocked full of Spanish language novels, graphic novels, and other reading materials collected over the years. Students interact in varied ways with the Spanish language and are offered multiple opportunities for different types of language production.
Classes practice their skills during school trips to Spanish restaurants, on Skype sessions with native speakers, and through filming and recording themselves. Digital tools and resources broaden the span of student listening and speaking skills that can be practiced at home at the students’ own pace. Students also learn about current events and the culture in Spanish speaking countries.