Maestra Alison » Advanced Spanish Speakers

Advanced Spanish Speakers

The Spanish class at Lexington School is an introduction to Spanish language and culture.  Students are in Spanish class about 1 to 1 ½ hours per week, depending on the grade.  This program is designed to be a good introduction to Spanish, but it is not designed to maintain, nor create fluency in the Spanish language.  If your child is entering Lexington conversant in Spanish, whether due to a pre-school immersion program, a Spanish speaking home, or a nanny, 1 1 /2 hours a week in an introductory program is not enough to maintain their fluency. 
Evidence has shown that children need to spend several hours (5 to 10 hours per week) interacting in the target language, whether in an organized program, with a tutor or nanny, or conversing with family and friends, in order to maintain fluency. The amount of time spent in Spanish throughout Lexington School’s program is less than they would receive in Spanish 1 at the high school level.  The whole program at our school is basically Spanish 1, yet with much younger students, and much less homework than in High School. 
If your child is conversationally fluent (e.g. can speak in Spanish about their daily activities and ideas), the following are some options than can be pursued in our Spanish class:
  1. Be a model for language learning and help others in the class after finishing their own work.  This creates a leadership opportunity. The child feels proud about their language skills, and helping others further builds their confidence. 
  2. Extend activities assigned to the whole class.  For example, a student can use more advanced vocabulary and/or longer sentences, details, etc. for a writing activity (1st-5th).
  3. They can take on independent projects. The child can show me a draft to receive feedback on their writing before presenting. 
  4. Begin an interactive writing journal between the teacher and student.   
After over a decade teaching in several languages and in various types of bilingual programs, I have found that whether a student wants to extend an activity - do more writing, for example, than others in the class - it has more to do with the type of student that child is, rather than their level of Spanish fluency. For this reason, I encourage family members to contact me to discuss family goals early in the school year if you are interested in academic work beyond what will be covered in our regular program. Every child is an individual and has unique interests and abilities. I would love to hear about them and start a dialog as soon as possible to best address you and your child’s interests and create a timeline and other parameters together.
Please see the list of extension activities below to extend your learning at school or home.
Extension Activities en la clase de español
  • Work on IXL in Spanish. This is a great way to review and learn at your own pace.
  • Raz Kids... pick a book at your own level.
  • Share a skill or personal talent…Is there something you are learning about at home?  Practice (you may want to write it) your presentation and then share it with the class.  Please let Maestra Alison know your idea early so we can schedule a time to meet and prepare.
  • Read a book in Spanish from the library or home. Tell us about it through one of these activities;
    1. Create a poster or other art project about the book, and share it in class.
    2. Write a short description of the setting and/or main events.  Perhaps you want to tell us about the book during class, or, enjoy reading it to a family member, friend, or a pet.
    3. Begin an interactive reading journal with me.  The student writes something about the book, and I respond with comments and questions. 

Songs to extend learning at home
For enrichment at home, youtube has so many songs for children that can help your child hear, read and learn Spanish!  For younger ones, a good place to start is 'Los Pollitos' by Gallina Pintadita. The older students have really enjoyed John De Mado's 'Festejemos' series.  The first one is 'Como es tu familia?'  and they continue on from there.  I'd love to hear if you find others that your child especially likes!
More Tips to maintain home language:
*Consider participating in our Pathways To Multilingualism program!
*Join a group or community to interact with others of the same language.
*Hire a tutor or nanny who speaks and listens to your child only in the target language.
*Join a support community to get tips on maintaining home language.  There are many bloggers  and resources on Youtube.