Our language program is geared toward increasing tools for interpersonal communication and fostering a global perspective. It addresses the 5Cs: communication, culture, connections between disciplines, comparisons between languages, and communities of language speakers. Our language program focuses on Spanish because it is a language that students encounter in daily life in New York City. Middle School Spanish becomes more immersive over the course of the three years. We expect students to be able to engage as fully as possible with the people they encounter; our aim is for students to be proficient Spanish speakers by the end of Middle School.
Spanish in sixth grade promotes a solid foundation as well as a strong connection between the academic aspect of learning a second language and real-life language usage. The emphasis is on speaking, comprehension, and building vocabulary. Through hands-on projects, study of Spanish-speaking countries, and skits, students learn about both cultural components and grammatical structures. For students who have had previous Spanish instruction, classes will be more intensive with a focus on conversation.
In seventh grade, goals of the Spanish program include becoming more fluent in conversation, understanding grammatical forms, and improving students’ ability to write. Students learn a variety of verb tenses and conjugations in order to increase their ability to communicate effectively. They delve more deeply into stem-changing verbs and learn how to speak about comparisons. The seventh grade curriculum is designed to align with students’ current level of Spanish proficiency.
In addition to strengthening their conversational skills, eighth grade students learn to present information effectively both orally and in writing. As part of their growing ability to think abstractly as well as their increased knowledge of grammar and vocabulary, eighth graders have opportunities to study activism and social justice issues taking place in Spanish-speaking countries around the world. As part of their grammar study, eighth graders expand their ability to employ a variety of verb tenses with a focus on irregular verbs. Students who are interested in more advanced language learning in high school prepare for placement exams.
What are the key components necessary to be able to communicate in another language?
What cultural variations exist in the language?
What does language tell us about culture?
What can we learn about our own language by studying a second language?
How do we understand our place in the world and make global connections?
How does studying a language other than English influence our world perspective?
Key Spanish Language Skills: Middle School
- Engage in conversation.
- Understand and interpret written and spoken language.
- Present information, concepts, and ideas orally and in writing.
- Understand cultural differences between native speakers of the language and speakers of American English.