As We Transition To The Second Semester

Hello, this is Ana Amaro, Spanish teacher at Stonegate and ZWMS.

Today, I would like to share with you what I do in my classes during the first and the second semesters. First semester is always hard for the kids and sometimes even for me, I have kids coming from Señora Essig´s class, kids who has been with me for 1 year already and kids totally new to Spanish; so in the first semester I try to put all of them more or less into the same level. I work with one text book but 2 different work books depending of their level.

During those first months, we learn or review the verb to be, to have, to like, regular verbs, personal pronouns, articles, feminine and masculine nouns, plural and singular, so at the end of the semester on the last day before winter break, we open our class to the parents and show them our routine in class and everything we learn about conjugation verbs. This class is totally spontaneous, I like to make them think, I challenge them, so that they understand the reasoning of everything instead to “repeating as parrots”.  At the third and fourth grade level, kids have the maturity for my class. It is amazing how fast they can learn. As an adult I think we sometimes underestimate our kid’s capabilities.

In the second semester we start to work more with our books with a lot of new vocabulary. This semester is usually easier for them after the fist challenging one.
In middle school, we review and start  to work with present, past and future, comprehension reading, grammar rules and spelling, accents, etcetera. I prepare them to take a test to be able, if possible, to jump one level of Spanish since in the seventh grade they have to choose a language.

One thing that I love is that in most cases, when the students come to ZWMS we have known each other for one or two years, so it is very easy to work together.
In addition to all the learning, we have a lot of fun too, playing games, roles and watching movies in Spanish (one per week), so they can develop the hearing part of the language. In elementary they ask for subtitles, but in middle school they don’t want to, while they’re watching it, they repeat out loud every word that they recognize.

Also I introduce to them my culture. I am from Spain, so they learn how different Spain is from Latin America. Unlike people born in Latin America, we are Europeans, not Latinos. Our food is Mediterranean style food, which includes a lot of vegetables, fish, meat and fruit. We don’t include corn in our meals and fruits are usually eaten as dessert.

Spain is a small country with a lot of history behind. It is full of castles and the weather in general is not bad, very sunny (especially in the south) while colder in the northern mountains. When talking about languages, we have a few languages spoken in Spain: Castellano (commonly known as Spanish), Basque, Catalan, Valenciano, and Gallego, to name a few.

Castellano is the purest form of Spanish, we pronounce the Z’s, C’s and S’s different from others Spanish speaking countries and we use the person “vosotros”. That means you all in a casual (non formal) way.

I hope that you have learned a little more about how I organize the classes, how it helps transition the kids between grades and a bit more about my country too.

Sra. Amaro
Spanish Teacher and Stonegate and ZWMS

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