October 19, 2016
Next week, students in
Spanish class will work on a new cultural project called Día de los Muertos, where
students will conduct research and provide a one-page summary on this
Latin-American cultural event. Students will create a skeleton and/or skull art craft to go along with their research. Día
de los Muertos is an important celebration in Mexico and other parts of South
America that dates back to the Aztec Empire, before the arrival and conquest of
the Spanish. In recent decades, it also has become increasingly celebrated in
U.S. cities which have significant Hispanic populations (Arizona, California,
and New Mexico just to name a few). Oftentimes in the U.S., Día de los Muertos
is misunderstood as a variation of Halloween, but it is a very different
celebration. It is a time during which families remember and honor their loved
ones (family members or pets) who have died. Death is celebrated as a natural
and normal part of life. During this project, sinceSpanish
is an elective, we will focus on foreign language (Spanish), cultural awareness
and include the five
C’s of the Foreign Language Standards: Communication, Cultures,
Connections, Comparisons, and Communities.
Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if
you do not wish for your child to participate, no explanation needed. Your
child may also approach me in class and let me know that he/she will not
participate and I will have another project ready for him/her to work on. Student’s grade will not be
affected if they choose to not participate in Día de los Muertos project.
Here are some project examples:
Ortiz, Spanish Teacher
Smith Middle School
¡Hola! My name is Blanca Ortiz and I will be your child’s Spanish language teacher for this year. I look forward to working with your child and exposing them not only to the richness of the Spanish language, but also to the cultural expressions that distinguish each of the countries of Latin America, Spain, and the Caribbean.
The Spanish program at Colonel Smith Middle School will provide an opportunity for students to be exposed to Spanish through the use of diverse teaching methods. While the main goal is the acquisition of Spanish, it should be understood that culture and language go hand-in-hand.
Principles and Assumptions
The Spanish program at CSMS is an integrated learning system based on a number of principles and assumptions:
It is possible for students to use the language creatively from the outset and, therefore, free expression can and should be encouraged.
Student-student and student-teacher interaction should be based on tasks that simulate real-world situations.
Trial and error are a necessary part of the language-acquisition process.Contexts should be selected according to the frequency with which they occur in real life so that students can readily relate to them.Everyday spoken Spanish does not include every vocabulary item and every grammar structure available in the Spanish language. Materials should therefore include the elements most frequently used by native speakers in daily life.
Grammar should not be presented for its own sake, but as a means of transmitting a spoken or written message as accurately as possible. Grammar is the means for effective communication.
Learning and appreciating the different cultures of Spanish-speaking countries is an important part of learning the language.
This will be a fun filled year of learning a new language and becoming more aware of a new culture. I hope that each of you will take the time to read this carefully and keep it throughout the year for reference. If you have any questions, comments or concerns, please let me know as soon as possible. My door is always open (“Mi casa es su casa.”)