“The Spanish teachers are really fun and it is nice to learn a different language.” Seychelle Tonnes
NCA 1st & 2nd-grade Spanish classes are founded upon the TPRStorytelling approach, which utilizes four consecutive steps of language acquisition: hearing, speaking, reading, and writing. Students hear and do (gesture) new vocabulary, respond to questions with short answers and interact using simple greetings in the target language. Songs, games, and skits with silly costumes and/or puppets are all part of the method that has fluency in Spanish as its aim.
Our 3rd -5th-grade Spanish program focuses on one workbook episode (story) per quarter. We start the quarter by learning the vocabulary words that go with this short story and act out mini-scenarios using combinations of these words. Then we work on writing out and memorizing the story. Students work on assignments related to the short story in their workbooks which are due at the end of each quarter. In addition, we teach basic Spanish vocab like colors, rooms of the house, classroom objects, and the calendar. Every time students enter the classroom, the first thing they do is praise the Lord in Spanish, concentrating on one worship song per quarter.
Classes meet twice a week for 30 minutes. Teaching includes a variety of strategies: games, songs, dancing, video lessons, focused vocabulary projects, words with motions, and computer/technology resources. Our focus is strengthening the four mains skills needed to learn a language: listening, reading, writing, and speaking. In fifth grade, we begin using Google classroom for practicing vocabulary at home or on the go.
Middle School Foreign Language
All foreign language courses at Northshore are taught with a method called TPR Storytelling which uses four consecutive steps of language acquisition: hearing, speaking, reading and writing. Students hear and respond to new vocabulary, participate in building stories with that vocabulary, and respond to questions with answers and discussion. Songs, games, and skits are all part of the system that has fluency as its aim. NCA offers Beginning, Intermediate and Advanced Spanish from sixth to 8th grade as well as German and Mandarin. With an increasingly globalized society and a culturally diverse nation, knowing a foreign language is becoming essential.
German 1 & 2 at NCA 6th-8th grade:
Hello, my name is Antje Eichhorn-Scott and this is my second year teaching Middle School German here at NCA. I was born and raised in Germany. Teaching German for me is not just language instruction, but an immersion into another culture. my students not only learn the necessary vocabulary, but they also learn about the culture, history and cuisine of the country.
The introduction to German culture starts at the start of the school year in September with the tradition of a Schultüte – a gift cone – that is traditionally given to children when they start school. First years, just like their counterparts last year received a mini cone with sweets and everyone got their picture taken this year with it, something that I had not done last year.
In October we had our own Oktoberfest and learned all about where it originated and that the name is a bit misleading since it actually starts in September. We had a classroom celebration with Sauerkraut & Wurst and a typical German cake.
In December, we tasted cookies, talked about and made an advent calendar.
We highlighted all the things that came from Germany in our current Christmas traditions and found out where and why they came about.
As a Christmas gift for the whole class I gifted each student with an authentic piece of German school culture – a fountain pen- “Füller”. The whole class participated in training on how to use them and got to take them home over the holiday.
In the New Year we started out with New Year’s resolutions, followed by a celebration of Epiphany on the 6th of January. Students wrote out blessings for each classroom and office in the school and they distributed them throughout the school. The highlight for them was to get dressed up as the Three Holy Kings and go to some of the classrooms and offices to present the blessings.
After Ash Wednesday we focused on lent and how we could prepare for Easter. We discussed fastening or giving something up for the 40 days. This seemed to be something that students were not that familiar with and after giving it some thought I remembered something that I had read and practiced a couple of years ago. Instead of giving something up add something to a daily routine that might be difficult. For the students, I thought it would be a good idea to come up with a list of compliments that they could hand out – so for two weeks we collected compliments and kindnesses.
Before we know it will be summer and the German 2 students are insisting to make our end of the year celebration an annual tradition and the closing to a very busy year. Last year I ended the food unit in June with a German ice cream party. This year, the treat I served last year is celebrating its 50th anniversary. Spaghetti ice-cream was invented in Mannheim, Germany and this year, students will help me to recreate this delicious treat in the classroom. It was a huge hit last year and it looks like it will become a tradition and a rite of passage for each level of German at NCA.
In Mandarin class at NCA, we focus on preparing our 6th through 8th grade students for high school. Our main goal is to encourage students to enjoy learning languages and be ready for high school language classes. Mr. Winningham lived in Tianjin, China for 5 years and pulls from his experiences there to teach the language and to tell about the culture.
The class focuses on speaking and understanding Mandarin in-class and uses homework as a chance to practice reading and writing characters outside of class. Students practice having conversations in Mandarin and have opportunities to give presentations in Mandarin about different aspects of China that they are interested in.
Another topic that is covered practically daily is culture. Students learn about different accents from around China as well as cuisines and history. We have fun in class by playing Chinese games and kicking the “jianzi.”
Grammar and sentence structure is also important throughout the year. Mandarin grammar can sometimes be tricky but it is explained well and students enjoy being able to form their own, fun sentences. Overall, Mandarin class is a fun way to learn a new language while also learning about Chinese history and culture.
Sixth graders receive one semester of Spanish as they move into their middle school years. During this time, they transition from their elementary workbook curriculum and move into a more grammar-focused style by translating silly stories and perfecting the basic vocabulary introduced in earlier grades. They also practice Spanish conversations and record or present them in front of the class. All of their assignments are online and can be accessed through Google classroom. We meet twice a week for 50-minute class periods.
Seventh and eighth grade Spanish is a two-year program focused on teaching the main content of high school level 1 Spanish, and in some high schools, even part of their Spanish II programs. At this level, Spanish is an elective class. We divide this class into two different groups: 7th graders take the Intermediate class and 8th graders take Advanced Spanish. The seventh graders meet twice a week for 50 minute periods and eighth-graders meet three times a week for 50 minutes.
In both 7th and 8th grade we do grammar exercises, record conversations, sing worship songs, practice writing, have weekly homework, read 2 novels, play games and have many other interesting activities. All of the assignments can be accessed online through Google classroom, which helps students who have extracurricular activities keep engaged in class.
Most students who participate in Intermediate and Advanced Spanish can go on to enroll in a high school Spanish II program, but placement depends on their high school’s policy.