The Grammar School
At The Grammar School, Spanish is taught in fifth through eighth grades. The goal is for students to acquire language proficiency and communication in listening, speaking, reading, writing, and culture. Students learn to appreciate and respect cultures and civilizations of the Spanish-speaking world. Through learning Spanish, students’ thinking becomes more flexible and their minds are opened to the beauty of language. Learning a language will contribute value to their active participation in a global society. Students are presented with engaging lessons that meet them developmentally through different stories, games, and songs. It is very common to hear laughing and “mucho” español when walking by the Spanish classroom. Students who take Spanish at The Grammar School leave with a strong foundation in the language and with great enthusiasm and joy for continuing to learn Spanish and other languages.
In fifth grade, students are introduced to Spanish in a fun and interactive way. The main goal for this year in Spanish is to “feel” the language and have a strong desire to continue learning Spanish. We begin the year by asking questions about why it is important to study Spanish. From there we dive into an array of Spanish topics such as the alphabet, greetings, pronouns, verb conjugations, verbs, school vocabulary, seasons, Spanish poetry, and an extensive study of all the Spanish speaking countries. Within these contexts, students learn to expand meaningful sets of vocabulary, as well as develop a working knowledge of basic grammar and conversation. Students learn poems, fun songs, and perform a variety of weekly skits. During the year, students create their own beautiful books that illustrate their active learning. Throughout the year, we have opportunities to meet Spanish-speaking people in our classrooms. At the end of the year, students are comfortable with speaking, writing, and listening in the present tense. This class meets three times a week.
In sixth grade, students continue to learn Spanish in a fun and interactive way. We begin the class with an array of Spanish games and poems. Students begin to learn more vocabulary, regular and irregular verbs, and TPRS (Total Physical Response through Storytelling) is integrated into the lessons. This is a teaching method that uses listening and responding (with actions) to mini stories and skits. TPRS is a valuable way to learn vocabulary, especially idiomatic terms, and the syntax of the language. Students conduct an extensive study of all the Spanish speaking countries, with a specific focus on Mexico and Latin America. Students also read literature and short stories to gain more vocabulary and grammar. Throughout the year, students are expected to complete a variety of creative projects that reflect their learning. We also have the opportunity to meet Spanish-speaking people in our classrooms. At the end of the year, students are comfortable with speaking, writing, and listening in the present tense. Students meet three times a.
In seventh grade, students participate with enthusiasm from a foundation built in the earlier years. As Spanish skills develop, the teacher draws attention to grammatical details in spelling rules and syntax. Students are introduced to irregular verbs through projects, writing, stories, and games. Students learn poetry and complex grammar though literature and interactive class work. They also have the opportunity to learn about Spain and its profound culture through Skyping with Spaniards and reading “La Adventura de Alejandro.” Students also learn about important cultural issues in the United States. Students review how adjectives work with nouns in a unit that revolves around the Chicano student activist movement in the 1960s. We also have the opportunity to meet Spanish-speaking people in our classrooms. By the end of the year, students are inspired to communicate in Spanish and to continue expanding their knowledge of the Spanish language. The class meets three times a week.
Poetry, songs, plays, speaking and more complex grammar are continued in eighth grade. In addition, students begin to understand and speak in the past tense. In this last year of Spanish, more advanced conversation, grammar, reading, and writing instruction are given. Students begin reading and creating their own similar stories to “La Pequeña Bruja” and “Susana y Javier en Sudamerica.” Students also have the opportunity to Skype with students in Ecuador and Spain and use their Spanish with pen pals. Throughout the year, students are expected to complete a variety of creative projects that reflect their learning for each unit. This is an extraordinary time for students to study and explore old cultures of the American continent. Students study about the Aztecs, the Mayans, and the Incas. There is also an optional service-learning trip to Ecuador. Students are able to use their Spanish and be proud of their abilities. We also have the opportunity to meet Spanish-speaking people in our classrooms. By graduation students are expected to have obtained the level of high novice in Spanish. The class meets three times a week.