In Upper Elementary Spanish we continue to build on our students’ receptive language skills with an emphasis on speaking skills, but we also introduce reading and writing in Spanish. UE Spanish is organized by grade level (UE Lowers, UE Middles, UE Seniors). Each class meets two times per week for 45 minutes. For a small group of students who speak Spanish at home, we offer a modified program in which they come together for lessons once a week, and they join their grade-level classmates for a second class session.
In UE and MS we seek to provide students with many opportunities to be exposed to Spanish. It is for this reason that we use a thematic approach where key vocabulary and functional language structures are practiced and modeled through audiovisuals, songs, dialogs, pantomimes, and story telling.
At this level only simple grammatical structures are introduced in order to lay out the foundation of more complex structures and topics that will be studied in Middle School. The grammatical structures studied in this level include:
- number and gender agreement
- personal pronouns
- conjugation in the present tense of regular and some irregular verbs
- expressions of likes and dislikes.
Some of the themes studied in UE are:
- Personal introductions
- hobbies and pastimes
- describing family and friends
- talking about school activities and schedules
- complaining about house chores
- ordering food
- describing animals
- asking for directions in a city
In UE Spanish, homework is all about practice of the material that has been taught in class. I expect students to spend 40 minutes per week practicing Spanish at home. I strongly recommend that they do 8 minutes of work, five times each week or 10 minutes 4 times per week and to avoid doing all 40 minutes in one day. Spreading it out is more effective and memorable.
Last year we began to assign online homework using QUIA where I created customized games that helped students learn vocabulary.
In addition to QUIA, for this year we purchased students licenses for QTalk, a method that uses visual and auditory cues that help with memory and retention.
Also, I have asked your children to create and account in Edmodo, an online site that provides a safe and easy way for the class to connect, check homework assignments and get direct links to class activities and videos.
The Spanish teachers are constantly educating ourselves and investigating the best teaching methods that can help your children reach their full potential. Your help is also necessary to reach this goal.