What will students study in Spanish this year?
We will start at the very beginning with introductions and family but will be covering a range of other topics, such as house, pets, places in town, leisure activities, weather and future plans. We will also cover different grammatical aspects: how verbs work, some different tenses or word order. Not all students have studied Spanish at Primary School, so we dedicate attention to every detail and ensure students have a solid ground knowledge before we approach more complex content.
From the beginning we teach the grammatical structures of the language and the relationship between sounds and spelling. This enables students to become real Spanish speakers as it gives them the tools to manipulate the language for themselves. All our lessons use a mix of listening, speaking, reading and writing. There are opportunities for videos, songs, games and computer-based activities to help bring the language to life and impart an understanding of the Spanish culture. We offer extension activities for more advanced learners.
Building on the foundations, in Year 8 students will broaden their vocabulary and learn a wider range of structures, so that they can build extended sentences, refer to past events and future plans and ask and answer questions. Specific topics include account of a holiday, food, clothing or shopping. All of them observed from a Spanish perspective, as the aim is to equip students with the tools to confidently form language of their own now and to understand the cultural aspects.
What are the major assessments this year?
There will be formal end of unit assessments and also three term assessments that will cover what has been learnt throughout the whole year. Each teacher will set ongoing grammar or vocabulary tests and will regularly assess and give feedback on written work. There will also be initial assessments at the beginning of each unit to corroborate students’ prior knowledge that is linked to the unit that is about to start, in order to inform the teacher on how to best approach the unit.
What do assessments test?
These assessments will address different skills (listening, speaking, reading and writing) as well as vocabulary and grammar.
What are the expectations of my child in Spanish?
The course is 5 hours a fortnight for Year 7 and 4 hours a fortnight for Year 8. Homework consists quite frequently at the beginning on learning vocabulary or grammar, and it is important that students see this as real homework. It may also be a written or comprehension activities. Students’ written work is marked carefully ensuring that appropriate feedback is provided with the purpose of enabling the student to improve their work and their understanding of the subject. We purposely identify the type of error rather than simply writing in the correction. It is expected that students will bring a small Spanish dictionary to lessons.
How can I best support my daughter in Spanish?
The best way to support your daughter is by taking an interest in her language learning. It is not necessary for you to know any Spanish, although it is great if you do. Otherwise, asking her to explain what she has been doing in class, testing her on the vocabulary she has learnt, and looking through her work with her will help her consolidate her learning. Support your daughter’s efforts to use her own language in her written and oral work rather than relying on technology such as Google Translate or similar. Electronic translation tools give strange translations and lead to errors which use of a good dictionary (online or paper) can avoid. Above all, always encourage and praise her efforts generously!
Whom should I contact for further advice or information?
Please, feel free to contact your daughter’s teacher in the first instance but Mr Castro as Head of Modern Foreign Languages is available on firstname.lastname@example.org