World Language: Spanish – Middle School (grades 5-8)

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Students in the 5th and 6th grades learn to express their likes and dislikes, wants and needs using the verbs as a structural base to which they can attach other vocabulary. At the same time, a solid reading and writing foundation in the Spanish language is being established. Phonetics is emphasized to achieve correct reading and pronunciation. Numbers are reviewed and a practical application is exercised daily by asking the date, time of the day or how many items the child can count at a given moment. Vocabulary is reinforced with charades, acting games or role-playing situations. Songs, poetry, short stories and plays provide opportunities for authentic reading and speaking experiences in Spanish. 5th and 6th graders participate in a service-learning project at the El Valor Day Care Center in South Chicago. Fifth graders begin Paso a Paso, a Spanish textbook used throughout Middle School. As we work on the language skills of understanding, speaking, reading and writing, basic grammatical concepts are introduced. By the end of sixth grade, students are able to express themselves in Spanish, using regular verbs in the present tense with selective themes. These themes may include school, time (calendar and clock), family, colors, seasons, entertainment, food, personal descriptions and shopping for clothes. Students also learn some irregular and stem-changing verbs in the present tense, possessive and demonstrative adjectives, prepositions, prepositional pronoun-objects, and numbers up to 10,000. Students can also paraphrase future actions.

In the 7th and 8th grades, students begin to use their reading and writing skills to read Spanish novellas and to write reflective pieces on their lives. Every middle school students researches an area of interest within the year’s cultural unit and produces and presents, in Spanish, a multimedia presentation on the subject. Seventh and eighth graders continue to use Paso a Paso, a textbook used throughout Middle School Basic grammatical concepts are introduced as we work on our language skills (understanding, speaking, reading, and writing.) Over the years, we deepen our understanding of grammatical functions in both English and Spanish languages. By the end of eighth grade, students will have learned the usage of several irregular verbs, a form of the past tense, direct and indirect object pronouns, comparatives, superlatives and informal commands. The context for their vocabulary relates to leisure, vacation, the weather, home, furniture, health, community, movies and TV, restaurants and the environment. 7th and 8th graders participate in a weeklong Spanish immersion experience at El Lago del Bosque, one of the International Villages Camps in Bimidji, MN. In addition, qualified 8th graders have the opportunity of spending a week in an intensive language, service and cultural program in Cuernavaca, Mexico.

Homework reinforces concepts previously explained in class. Language learning is most successful with daily exercises, as if it were practice for a musical instrument. Watching video films in Spanish or visiting a Latino neighborhood or the Mexican Fine Arts Museum may also provide important opportunities for students to use the Spanish they are learning in school.
The Middle School Spanish curriculum enriches our students’ experience through an exchange of ideas and a deeper contact with the Spanish language and the multiple cultures that express themselves in Spanish.

Students have meaningful conversations about their daily lives in Spanish. Increasingly complex oral structures are introduced and rehearsed in regular classroom conversations, and oral fluency increases.

A solid foundation in reading and writing is established, and fundamental grammatical structures are introduced.
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