Mon, Oct 24, 2016

¡Bienvenidos al aula de español! I hope that this welcome can in some way reflect the tremendous amount of positive energy that the boys have maintained in Spanish classes as we are fully immersed in our tenth week of this school year. While many of you may recognize some of the same themes in this newsletter as were in those from last year, please indulge me as I review the goals of our World Language (Spanish) curriculum and also highlight our accomplishments to date.

First and foremost, there is the hope to nurture within each boy a global vision by exposing each to another language and culture. Language is much more than a set of new vocabulary and grammar rules. History, geography, religion, gastronomy, and many other facets of a culture are inextricably linked to one's language. A full understanding of a language cannot be attained without an appreciation of the corresponding culture(s).

The World Language program at PDS provides an initiatory endeavor into a lifelong journey of multilingualism. First and foremost, all instruction is geared toward fomenting meaningful excitement among our boys, creating an internalized vision of the ability to communicate in multiple languages, and a sustained desire for continued language study. While there is the recognition that the elementary years of language study are more a point of departure than the arrival at high level proficiency, a setting is provided for the student to attain an early understanding of Spanish.

Many may remember my past references to the ideas of Dr. Stephen D. Krashen, the man who many regard as the authority on modern language instruction. Simply put, Krashen’s research pointed to the idea that true language proficiency is the result of  acquired language, while learned language is comprised of formal instruction about the language, such as grammar rules. Putting the latter before the former (learned - acquired) only inhibits early language proficiency. There is a role for a working knowledge of grammar rules, but only as a tool for honing language proficiency after a certain degree of it has been established. Think about it. Do parents present their toddlers with vocabulary lists and grammar lessons on the front end of a child’s language development?

For a more in depth description of Krashen’s theory, click here.

Proficiency is the ability to deliver and receive communication that is situationally appropriate. Given that language is acquired and not taught, the role of the instructor becomes one of a facilitator of this acquisition who creates classroom activities to flood the student with comprehensible input (CI), along with visual cues, role plays, and an array of activities that foster a situation where there is CI + 1. In other words there a repeated presentation of understood vocabulary and structure, always with the addition of one little degree of newness or difficulty.

In our Spanish classes, each lesson plan is based upon a set of communicative objectives, rather than an isolated list of vocabulary or a specific grammar rule. The majority of the instruction is done within the target language, while at the same time trying to remain loyal to the notion of “comprehensible input + 1”. There is constant recycling of old language structure with the addition of new material. While there is intentional overlap of communicative objectives between grade levels, as students progress the breadth and depth of understanding and production should increase and be enhanced.

So far this year we have worked to become proficient in these areas:

  • Greetings/Introductions
  • Describing ourselves and others (tall, blonde, skinny, athletic, etc.)
  • Describing our surroundings (things in our classroom, …, the globe, the universe)
  • Giving physical descriptions of our things (colors, etc.)
  • Counting things
  • Comparisons of inequality (I’m taller than Mark, etc.)
  • Comparisons of equality (José is as lazy as Juan, etc.)
  • Days of week, date, seasons of the year
  • Expressing likes and dislikes using infinitives (I like/don’t like to swim, watch tv, read, etc.)
  • Expressing preferences using infinitives (What do you prefer to do? I prefer to play soccer. He prefers to sleep, etc.)
  • Expressing wants/desires (I want / He wants to study, etc.)
  • Expressing physical and mental states with “tener” idiomatic phrases (I’m hungry, thirsty, hot, cold, sleepy, lucky, in a hurry, afraid, etc.)

The majority of this work is done orally in the target language, and the boys have video recorded themselves speaking at several points thus far. For a taste of what this is producing, you should ask your son to show you his Spanish video journal entries that he has placed in his Spanish folder on Google Drive.

You should keep in mind that language proficiency is a continuous process and some errors are normal and should be expected at this stage. Linguists often refer to this stage as “interlanguage”, where the speaker still deals with heavy influence of the native language.

Finally, join me in encouraging any boy who is timid to lower his level of anxiety when it comes to willingness to participate. No one should fear being “wrong” while attempting to communicate in Spanish. This is what Dr. Krashen calls the affective filter. Boys who are less inhibited, more highly motivated, less anxious, and with high self-esteem will advance more quickly through this language acquisition process. Personally, I have always found my journey to multi-lingualism to be one of the most rewarding and exciting parts of my life and I constantly look for ways to transfer my excitement to your son.

As always, thanks for your continued support (gracias por su apoyo contínua.)

Russ Norment

Mon, Oct 24, 2016

¡Bienvenidos al aula de español! I hope that this welcome can in some way reflect the tremendous amount of positive energy that the boys have maintained in Spanish classes as we are fully immersed in our tenth week of this school year. While many of you may recognize some of the same themes in this newsletter as were in those from last year, please indulge me as I review the goals of our World Language (Spanish) curriculum and also highlight our accomplishments to date.

First and foremost, there is the hope to nurture within each boy a global vision by exposing each to another language and culture. Language is much more than a set of new vocabulary and grammar rules. History, geography, religion, gastronomy, and many other facets of a culture are inextricably linked to one's language. A full understanding of a language cannot be attained without an appreciation of the corresponding culture(s).

The World Language program at PDS provides an initiatory endeavor into a lifelong journey of multilingualism. First and foremost, all instruction is geared toward fomenting meaningful excitement among our boys, creating an internalized vision of the ability to communicate in multiple languages, and a sustained desire for continued language study. While there is the recognition that the elementary years of language study are more a point of departure than the arrival at high level proficiency, a setting is provided for the student to attain an early understanding of Spanish.

Many may remember my past references to the ideas of Dr. Stephen D. Krashen, the man who many regard as the authority on modern language instruction. Simply put, Krashen’s research pointed to the idea that true language proficiency is the result of  acquired language, while learned language is comprised of formal instruction about the language, such as grammar rules. Putting the latter before the former (learned - acquired) only inhibits early language proficiency. There is a role for a working knowledge of grammar rules, but only as a tool for honing language proficiency after a certain degree of it has been established. Think about it. Do parents present their toddlers with vocabulary lists and grammar lessons on the front end of a child’s language development?

For a more in depth description of Krashen’s theory, click here.

Proficiency is the ability to deliver and receive communication that is situationally appropriate. Given that language is acquired and not taught, the role of the instructor becomes one of a facilitator of this acquisition who creates classroom activities to flood the student with comprehensible input (CI), along with visual cues, role plays, and an array of activities that foster a situation where there is CI + 1. In other words there a repeated presentation of understood vocabulary and structure, always with the addition of one little degree of newness or difficulty.

In our Spanish classes, each lesson plan is based upon a set of communicative objectives, rather than an isolated list of vocabulary or a specific grammar rule. The majority of the instruction is done within the target language, while at the same time trying to remain loyal to the notion of “comprehensible input + 1”. There is constant recycling of old language structure with the addition of new material. While there is intentional overlap of communicative objectives between grade levels, as students progress the breadth and depth of understanding and production should increase and be enhanced.

So far this year we have worked to become proficient in these areas.

  • Greetings/Introductions
  • Describing ourselves and others (tall, blonde, skinny, athletic, etc.)
  • Describing our surroundings (things in our classroom, …, the globe, the universe)
  • Giving physical descriptions of our things (colors, etc.)
  • Counting things
  • Comparisons of inequality (I’m taller than Mark, etc.)
  • Comparisons of equality (José is as lazy as Juan, etc.)
  • Days of week, date, seasons of the year
  • Expressing likes and dislikes using infinitives (I like/don’t like to swim, watch tv, read, etc.)
  • Expressing physical and mental states with “tener” idiomatic phrases (I’m hungry, thirsty, hot, cold, sleepy, lucky, in a hurry, afraid, etc.)

The majority of this work is done orally in the target language, and the boys have video recorded themselves speaking at several points thus far. For a taste of what this is producing, you should ask your son to show you his Spanish video journal entries that he has placed in his Spanish folder on Google Drive.

You should keep in mind that language proficiency is a continuous process and some errors are normal and should be expected at this stage. Linguists often refer to this stage as “interlanguage”, where the speaker still deals with heavy influence of the native language.

Finally, join me in encouraging any boy who is timid to lower his level of anxiety when it comes to willingness to participate. No one should fear being “wrong” while attempting to communicate in Spanish. This is what Dr. Krashen calls the affective filter. Boys who are less inhibited, more highly motivated, less anxious, and with high self-esteem will advance more quickly through this language acquisition process. Personally, I have always found my journey to multi-lingualism to be one of the most rewarding and exciting parts of my life and I constantly look for ways to transfer my excitement to your son.

As always, thanks for your continued support (gracias por su apoyo contínua.)

Russ Norment

Mon, Oct 24, 2016

¡Bienvenidos al aula de español! I hope that this welcome can in some way reflect the tremendous amount of positive energy that the boys have maintained in Spanish classes as we are fully immersed in our tenth week of this school year. While many of you may recognize some of the same themes in this newsletter as were in those from last year, please indulge me as I review the goals of our World Language (Spanish) curriculum and also highlight our accomplishments to date.

First and foremost, there is the hope to nurture within each boy a global vision by exposing each to another language and culture. Language is much more than a set of new vocabulary and grammar rules. History, geography, religion, gastronomy, and many other facets of a culture are inextricably linked to one's language. A full understanding of a language cannot be attained without an appreciation of the corresponding culture(s).

The World Language program at PDS provides an initiatory endeavor into a lifelong journey of multilingualism. First and foremost, all instruction is geared toward fomenting meaningful excitement among our boys, creating an internalized vision of the ability to communicate in multiple languages, and a sustained desire for continued language study. While there is the recognition that the elementary years of language study are more a point of departure than the arrival at high level proficiency, a setting is provided for the student to attain an early understanding of Spanish.

Many may remember my past references to the ideas of Dr. Stephen D. Krashen, the man who many regard as the authority on modern language instruction. Simply put, Krashen’s research pointed to the idea that true language proficiency is the result of  acquired language, while learned language is comprised of formal instruction about the language, such as grammar rules. Putting the latter before the former (learned - acquired) only inhibits early language proficiency. There is a role for a working knowledge of grammar rules, but only as a tool for honing language proficiency after a certain degree of it has been established. Think about it. Do parents present their toddlers with vocabulary lists and grammar lessons on the front end of a child’s language development?

For a more in depth description of Krashen’s theory, click here.

Proficiency is the ability to deliver and receive communication that is situationally appropriate. Given that language is acquired and not taught, the role of the instructor becomes one of a facilitator of this acquisition who creates classroom activities to flood the student with comprehensible input (CI), along with visual cues, role plays, and an array of activities that foster a situation where there is CI + 1. In other words there a repeated presentation of understood vocabulary and structure, always with the addition of one little degree of newness or difficulty.

In our Spanish classes, each lesson plan is based upon a set of communicative objectives, rather than an isolated list of vocabulary or a specific grammar rule. The majority of the instruction is done within the target language, while at the same time trying to remain loyal to the notion of “comprehensible input + 1”. There is constant recycling of old language structure with the addition of new material. While there is intentional overlap of communicative objectives between grade levels, as students progress the breadth and depth of understanding and production should increase and be enhanced.

So far this year we have worked to become proficient in these areas:

  • Greetings and introductions (Good morning, What’s your name? My name is …. Pleased to meet you. Likewise. This is my friend ….)
  • My / his name is
  • Saying the day, date, and seasons
  • Giving physical descriptions of ourselves and others (I am / he is redheaded, etc.)
  • Pointing out, counting, and describing classroom objects (There are three blue chairs, etc.)
  • Describing likes / dislikes (I like / don’t like to play tennis, etc.)
  • Responding to interrogative words (Where is…? Who is …?, etc.)
  • Pointing out / naming continents / countries on map
  • Auditory comprehension practice listening to native speed speech
  • Describing one’s emotions (I am happy. He is sad. You are mad, etc.)
  • Expressing “wanting to” do something (I want to eat, sleep, play, etc.)
  • Responding to informal commands in conjunction with body parts vocabulary (Touch your nose, etc.)
  • Pointing out body parts (This is my head, my mouth, my arm, my leg, etc.)

The majority of this work is done orally in the target language, and the boys have video recorded themselves speaking at several points thus far. For a taste of what this is producing, you should ask your son to show you his Spanish video journal entries that he has placed in his Spanish folder on Google Drive.

You should keep in mind that language proficiency is a continuous process and some errors are normal and should be expected at this stage. Linguists often refer to this stage as “interlanguage”, where the speaker still deals with heavy influence of the native language.

Finally, join me in encouraging any boy who is timid to lower his level of anxiety when it comes to willingness to participate. No one should fear being “wrong” while attempting to communicate in Spanish. This is what Dr. Krashen calls the affective filter. Boys who are less inhibited, more highly motivated, less anxious, and with high self-esteem will advance more quickly through this language acquisition process. Personally, I have always found my journey to multi-lingualism to be one of the most rewarding and exciting parts of my life and I constantly look for ways to transfer my excitement to your son.

As always, thanks for your continued support (gracias por su apoyo contínua.)

Russ Norment

Mon, Oct 24, 2016

¡Bienvenidos al aula de español! I hope that this welcome can in some way reflect the tremendous amount of positive energy that the boys have maintained in Spanish classes as we are fully immersed in our tenth week of this school year. I have been excited to get to know this group of third-grade boys and truly hope to inspire similar excitement among the boys as they grow in their proficiency with Spanish. With this in mind, I would like to review the goals of our World Language (Spanish) curriculum and also highlight our accomplishments to date.

First and foremost, there is the hope to nurture within each boy a global vision by exposing each to another language and culture. Language is much more than a set of new vocabulary and grammar rules. History, geography, religion, gastronomy, and many other facets of a culture are inextricably linked to one's language. A full understanding of a language cannot be attained without an appreciation of the corresponding culture(s).

The World Language program at PDS provides an initiatory endeavor into a lifelong journey of multilingualism. All instruction is geared toward fomenting meaningful excitement among our boys, creating an internalized vision of the ability to communicate in multiple languages, and a sustained desire for continued language study. While there is the recognition that the elementary years of language study are more a point of departure than the arrival at high level proficiency, a setting is provided for the student to attain an early understanding of Spanish.

Perhaps the most influential contemporary voice in shaping the most successful modern language classrooms is the renowned linguistics professor Stephen Krashen, whose Theory of Second Language Acquisition (Krashen, Stephen D. Principles and Practice in Second Language Acquisition. Prentice-Hall International, 1987) has radically transformed the approach of teachers. Simply put, Krashen’s research pointed to the idea that true language proficiency is the result of  acquired language, while learned language is comprised of formal instruction about the language, such as grammar rules. Putting the latter before the former (learned - acquired) only inhibits early language proficiency. There is a role for a working knowledge of grammar rules, but only as a tool for honing language proficiency after a certain degree of it has been established. Think about it. Do parents present their toddlers with vocabulary lists and grammar lessons on the front end of a child’s language development?

For a more in depth description of Krashen’s theory, click here.

Proficiency is the ability to deliver and receive communication that is situationally appropriate. Given that language is acquired and not taught, the role of the instructor becomes one of a facilitator of this acquisition who creates classroom activities to flood the student with comprehensible input (CI), along with visual cues, role plays, and an array of activities that foster a situation where there is CI + 1. In other words there a repeated presentation of understood vocabulary and structure, always with the addition of one little degree of newness or difficulty.

In our Spanish classes, each lesson plan is based upon a set of communicative objectives, rather than an isolated list of vocabulary or a specific grammar rule. The majority of the instruction is done within the target language, while at the same time trying to remain loyal to the notion of “comprehensible input + 1”. There is constant recycling of old language structure with the addition of new material. While there is intentional overlap of communicative objectives between grade levels, as students progress the breadth and depth of understanding and production should increase and be enhanced.

So far this year we have worked to become proficient in these areas:

  • Greetings and introductions (Good morning, What’s your name? My name is …. Pleased to meet you. Likewise. This is my friend ….)
  • My / his name is
  • Saying the day, date, and seasons
  • Giving physical descriptions of ourselves and others (I am / he is redheaded, etc.)
  • Pointing out, counting, and describing classroom objects (There are three blue chairs, etc.)
  • Describing likes / dislikes (I like / don’t like to play tennis, etc.)
  • Responding to interrogative words (Where is…? Who is …?, etc.)
  • La tienda de Luis, Spanish language series geared at lower elementary second language learners. Topics covered in this series include:
  • Interrogatives, telling time, colors, numbers, clothing, different stores in a town, pastimes, pets, etc.

Much of this work is done orally in the target language, and the boys have shown a great deal of excitement while actively using Spanish. You should keep in mind that language proficiency is a continuous process and some errors are normal and should be expected at this stage. Linguists often refer to this stage as “interlanguage”, where the speaker still deals with heavy influence of the native language.

Finally, join me in encouraging any boy who is timid to lower his level of anxiety when it comes to willingness to participate. No one should fear being “wrong” while attempting to communicate in Spanish. This is what Dr. Krashen calls the affective filter. Boys who are less inhibited, more highly motivated, less anxious, and with high self-esteem will advance more quickly through this language acquisition process. Personally, I have always found my journey to multi-lingualism to be one of the most rewarding and exciting parts of my life, and I constantly look for ways to transfer my excitement to your son.

As always, thanks for your continued support (gracias por su apoyo contínua.)

Russ Norment

Last modified on October 24, 2016
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Presbyterian Day School (PDS) is a private, Christian preschool and elementary school serving 600 boys from 2-years-old through 6th grade.

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