Learning Spanish in grade 6
This year, like every year, we have a new group of grade 6 students, who are (mostly) excited to learn Spanish. They think it is a friendly and nice language to learn and usually they have already had some approximation to it through music (thanks to “Despacito” and “Shakira”).
By the Spanish team: Karin Oyarzo, Andrea Romero and Ruben Provincio Kuijk
In Miss Oyarzo’s class, after learning the greetings and helpful questions for the lessons, a student said with effervescency: ‘Spanish is so easy’! Other students shared their excitement about learning a new language, like Leora, who said: ‘I was really happy because I was going to learn a new language, but I got happier when I knew it was Spanish’. Her classmate, Ertem added: ‘At first I thought Spanish was going to be hard, but now I see it is actually easy and fun’.
Roll your rrrrr’s
During the first lessons we learned about the culture and we shared our knowledge about Spanish speaking countries. Many of our students have been in Spain, know Leonel Messi or Shakira and have heard some words like Hola! or Buenos días!. They also learned new sounds, like the distinctive “ñ” or how to roll their rrrr’s.
Ms Romero quickly noticed that her grade 6 is a very active class and that they are very excited to learn the language. This period students are working in groups, so they develop collaborative skills. Besides, in this way students can be aware that learning a new language could be experienced in a different way and that they should support each other in the process.
Concurso de Deletreo
Miss Romero thinks that it is also important to allow students to compare Spanish with their own mother tongue and students have shown their skills when learning words in Spanish, English, Russian, Dutch, Hindi and more. Also, to challenge them to be enquirers, they did some research to find out how many people in the world speak Spanish and also to find out if there were other languages spoken in their own countries besides from the official one.
From all the fun moments we have had so far, it is worth to share the Concurso de Deletreo (Spelling Bee) where students challenged themselves to spell the new Spanish words learned…yes in Spanish! Having fun during the first lessons is part of the didactic method implemented by the Spanish department of ISUtrecht.
‘Two truths and one lie’
Mr. Provencio thinks that one of the most important things when learning a new language is for students to build a positive attitude toward it so it was extremely important to feel comfortable and to have fun in their first Spanish lessons. This was the teacher’s goal for the first week and that is why the lessons where very interactive. For the first lesson, students and the teacher tried speaking a lot in Spanish as much as possible to get used to the sounds and at the same time learn some new vocabulary.
Students also played two truths and one lie where they made sure to pick simple sentences and to use a lot of body language, using words which were similar in English. The students had a blast, and they were encouraged to speak their first sentences in Spanish using some example sentences. This is a great way for students to get to know the teacher and for the teacher to get to know his students.
Once students had built a positive attitude towards Spanish as a foreign language and felt comfortable taking risks, we went on with fun and interactive lessons. One of those lessons was learning the alphabet. And since learning the alphabet does not have to be boring, students used whiteboards and worked in pairs to see who would score the highest amount of points by spelling the words correctly. Students picked their own cool Spanish group-names and aimed to get the highest-score.
All in all, the goal of making students enjoy their Spanish lessons has been achieved and this can be seen both in class and outside of the Spanhis classroom. For instance, when asked what subjects they really enjoy, most of them agreed that it is their Spanish lesson. Mr Lamme (PHE teacher) asked Arvid about how school was going and he replied: ‘I think Spanish is a bit challenging, but I really enjoy the way the lessons are organised and the fun activities we do’.
The Spanish team is very excited to see students build a positive attitude towards learning Spanish early on and look forward to seeing them improve.