By Señora Cambra
At Harbor Day School, the goal of the Spanish Language Program is to bring students to a high level of speaking proficiency. We strive to keep students engaged in the learning process through creative activities based on real-life situations. In upper school Spanish class, one way in which we entertain real-life situations is through skits. One way they perform skits is through the use of online applications (apps) that allow students to show what they have learned in a different, creative, and fun way.
One online app that sixth grade students use is called Sock Puppets. This app allows students to record their voices using puppets. During this engaging activity, students showed their imagination putting together a skit then recorded their own voices in conversation mode based on their newly acquired language skills.
Sock Puppets is a wonderful application for second language learners that is used as a formative assessment tool showing what students have learned. It gives students the opportunity to practice their Spanish language proficiency skills. This tool helps students feel comfortable practicing Spanish, lowers their anxiety level, and keeps them engaged.
There are a lot of possibilities for students to communicate their Spanish knowledge. In all Spanish classes, both scripted and unscripted conversations take place for students to achieve a high level of speaking proficiency.
I find it very gratifying to help students develop their ability to communicate in Spanish and observing how they enjoy the learning process. I enjoy watching students succeed and feel pride in themselves. Please enjoy watching some videos that our Spanish students created. Bravo!
Outline of the Spanish Curriculum
The Spanish program strives to bring students to a high level of speaking proficiency. Students are engaged in the learning process through creative activities based on authentic life experiences.
Señora Cambra finds helping students develop their ability to communicate in Spanish and observing how they enjoy the learning process very gratifying. In addition, she enjoys watching students succeed and feeling pride in themselves.
This program includes the development of conversational skills, listening comprehension, reading comprehension, and writing skills. Cultural studies are also included. The program integrates 21st-century skills when students use the Spanish language to engage in meaningful conversation, to understand and interpret spoken language and written text, and to present information, concepts, and ideas. Students practice conversation not only in the classroom but also at home. For example, after covering the lesson on clothing and weather, students interview family members on items of clothing they wear for different weather conditions. Students team up with the third grade or fourth grade students to collaborate share information regarding descriptions of family members and what they like and dislike. Students demonstrate what they have learned through technology, using the application KidPix to write sentences describing certain images they search for related to topics covered in class.
Much of the class is conducted in Spanish to reinforce and build listening comprehension and conversational skills. Lessons in pronunciation deal with vowel sounds, the alphabet, accent marks, stress, and sound discrimination. The vocabulary focuses on greetings, introductions, nationalities, numbers, dates, expressing likes and dislikes, and descriptions of clothing and family members. Students also learn to express possession, describe classroom and classroom objects, say how often they do something, discuss obligations, talk about schedules, ask and tell time, ask questions, say where they are going, order food at restaurants, and discuss plans and sequence events in expressing daily activities. Further topics include weather expressions, places and people they know, invitations, phone conversations, and expressions of feelings.
Grammar studies include the formation of sentence patterns, interrogative words, masculine and feminine nouns and articles, singular and plural nouns, infinitives, subject pronouns, regular (ar/er/ir) verbs, irregular verbs (ser, ir, estar, tener, hacer, conocer), noun-adjective agreement, the position of adjectives, comparatives, stem-changing verbs, direct object pronouns, and the present progressive tense.
The study of Hispanic culture pays special attention to countries like Mexico, Spain, Ecuador, and Peru, and includes folklore, food, music, dress, traditions, geography, and history. This study is enriched by the use of games, pictures, videos, songs, skits, internet educational tools, and supplemental authentic Spanish-language reading materials.
Señora Cambra has been teaching upper school Spanish at Harbor Day School since 2006. She graduated from the University of Central Oklahoma with a bachelor’s degree in business administration. She earned a master’s degree in education with a concentration in Spanish in 1996 through the same university.