The ultimate goal of taking Spanish in middle school, high school, and beyond is to become proficient in Spanish. We will begin our journey to proficiency on the first day of class.
The journey will begin as it begins when we acquire our first language: by listening. Students will be expected to listen and react to what they hear. If students do not understand what they hear, they must stop me with a non-verbal cue. That cue will be demonstrated in class. There will be plenty of listening and movement during the first weeks of class. The focus of the first weeks of class will be on a limited set of vocabulary and verbs. There will be the alphabet, numbers, greetings, and culture, but the vocabulary and verbs will be implemented via stories.
There will be stories. The stories will be spoken. The stories will be acted out. The stories will be written. The stories will be read. The stories may be silly at times, but the stories will be part of building proficiency in the language. You may have to listen to the stories as read to you in English. That is part of connecting the language to people outside the classroom.
Classroom time will be dedicated to listening, speaking, reading, and writing in Spanish. There will be time for explanations in English. There will be activities for students to do with classmates. There will be small-group and whole-class activities.
There will be homework. Students may have to read stories (in English) to an adult. Students WILL have weekly listening assignments. Check the listening assignment page for the appropriate grade. All listening assignments will remain posted during a marking period.
Listening assignments will contain lesson material that will be applied in class. Listening assignments may be note-taking activities. Such notes will be done at home instead of taking time to present in class. When done outside of class, the notes allow students time to reflect and review the material as needed. I check and grade homework assignments.
There will be quizzes. The quizzes will reflect what we have practiced in class. If we practice vocabulary, then students are expected to know the vocabulary. There will be assessments to evaluate reading and writing if we practice reading and writing. However, vocabulary is the most important. Students will have difficulty reading and writing if they have a limited vocabulary.
It takes practice like dancing, sports, and a musical instrument. Some techniques may take more practice, some less. It all depends on the learner. It also takes perseverance and effort. Think of me as a coach as much as a teacher.
- Greg Knowles