Foreign Language

Studying Spanish:  Now is the Time!

Our students will live in a world that is drastically different from the one in which we grew up. The economy is globalized.  Technology is advancing at lightening speed.  World demographics are shifting rapidly.  Closer to home, CA is more diverse than ever. 50% of the state’s population is now Hispanic.  At Journey, we don’t fear such change. In fact, we embrace change as the one of the few constants in life and use this understanding to fuel our passion for teaching in the 21st Century. Scientific studies suggest studying a foreign language increases brain function, neural pathways and cognitive control. In this context, we’re proud of the budding Foreign Language Department led by Senoras Blanco and Ortiz. Their curriculum and instruction aims to teach both fluency and world knowledge.  Or, click here to read research that demonstrates elementary school children are prime for learning a second language, with myriad benefits.

Spanish 1st through 3rd Grade Overview

During the first 3 years of learning, the experience of the student is completely oral. Through gestures, mimicry, recitation of poems, rhymes, songs, games, props, puppets and plays, the child little by little acquires a vocabulary. Stories are one of the tools used in teaching a foreign language. The importance is not in having the children understand every word but in capturing the essence, in imagining the story through the sound and the melody of the language and to enjoy the experience.  In first and second grade sense impressions are received through nature. Activities are taken from the world around us. In the third grade, we introduce the qualities (adjectives) of things (nouns) in a pictorial way.

Spanish 4th through 8th Grade Overview

My objective in teaching Spanish in the Journey School in grades 4-8 is to bring to the students the love and interest for the Spanish Language, to immerse our students into the soul of its cultures, into the genius, individuality, and musicality of the Spanish Language in a Waldorf way!

Since Grades Four and Five are transitional grades in the Foreign Language class, bridges are formed in the language towards the upper grades. What has already been learned by ear is now reviewed and expanded more consciously.  This is done in order to bring to the students a stronger awareness of the structure of the Spanish Language. During these years, the students are exposed to the first grammatical elements, going from the whole to the parts at first, and then to verb conjugations. This analytical activity awakens the child to a greater understanding, as words already used in vocabulary become consciously manipulated in grammar.

In sixth, seventh, and eighth grades, more complex grammar concepts are presented. Moreover, the focus on grammar fosters concentration and strengthens the will in the students. Of course, the curriculum also continues to develop the powers of imaginative thinking, which are actively reinforced through the use of poems, verses, tongue twisters, history, biographies, and dialogues in Spanish!

SPANISH – 4TH GRADE

In Fourth grade the students will create their own “readers”, learning to spell, read, and write in their own words about what they have learned along the previous years. The Fourth graders will learn how to interweave the use of their old and new vocabulary in order to create these stories. They will begin with a clearer understanding of the grammar rules in Spanish, practicing extensively in the classroom setting. Their reading (pronunciation and intonation) abilities will be worked on repeatedly during this year in order for them to acquire the necessary mastery. The 4th graders, through repetition and practice, will have the opportunity to provide keys for conjugating the present tense of verbs ending in AR, ER and IR.

Main Themes:

  • Stories and Legends of Baja California
  • The Animals

SPANISH – 5TH GRADE

During the 5th grade, the students will interweave reading with activities and exercises, and will continue to be guided toward an understanding of grammar and the structure of the language. They will work on enriching their vocabulary, oral comprehension and expression, retelling and reading, expression in writing, phonetics, and grammar. The students will also develop an interest in the Spanish speaking world, through the knowledge of the Ancient Civilizations of the Americas, and through this, they will develop an appreciation for the arts, the folklore, and the cultures of these countries.

Main Themes:

  • Ancient Civilizations of the Americas: Los Mayas, Los Aztecas y Los Incas
  • Geography
  • Art and Architecture
  • Rain Forest of the Americas and their Hidden Secrets.

SPANISH – 6TH GRADE

During the 6th grade, the students develop the interest to cultivate their thinking abilities through enriching materials that will nurture and help the students in their growth as individuals. In this grade, the students are presented with short stories, retelling, readings and interpretations as essential elements for the study of language. The students will express orally and in writing (according to their abilities), their personal impressions towards the material. In this grade we study Spain and the way in which it expanded towards America. Using the reading material, recapitulation, discussion, oral and written exercises, and the writing of brief compositions, the students will acquire greater interest in the foreign language.

Main Themes:

  • Spain: Geography, History until 1492
  • Biographies: El Cid Campeador, Miguel de Cervantes
  • Cantares
  • Cultural aspects of Spain

SPANISH – 7TH GRADE

During this year, the challenge is to keep the language “alive”. This is the year where structure, form, and good discipline have to be strongly implemented in order for the students to work hard, learn, and put into practice what has been taught along the previous years. It is a year where the students will start to draw their own conclusions; therefore, more emphasis is placed into reading and writing, grammar, and vocabulary.

Main Themes:

  • History of the American Continent: General Overview
  • Discovery of America: 1492

SPANISH – 8TH GRADE

During this year, the students try to understand the why and the howof the language. They will develop, through practice and repetition, all the apprenticeship that they have been acquiring in previous years, and the reasons behind the grammatical forms in a logical way. Practical situations will be developed by the teacher that clarifies grammatical concepts and rules, making the students gain another meaning into the language and pushing them to work independently.

Main Themes:

  • Latin American Independences and Revolutions.
  • Biographies of Latin American and Spanish Personalities.
  • Cultural Aspects and Geography of: América del Norte, América Central y Sud-América.
  • Review of General Vocabulary, Basic Conversations, and Grammar.