From kindergarten to sixth-grade, our goal is 90% Spanish during class time. Since that’s only possible within a shared context, all the class content is based in stories. At the primary levels, we capitalize on their shared knowledge of classics like “Goldilocks and the Three Bears” and “The Three Little Pigs.” By third grade, we progress into Biblically themed stories like David and Goliath, the Nativity of the Lord, and la Resurección.
How can third-graders talk about the Bible in a language they don’t speak?? Elementary Spanish at IC is an adaption of a methodology called “Teaching Proficiency through Reading and Storytelling.” The teacher tells one detail of a story and then asks a series of questions of the whole class. In turn, they answer in unison entirely in Spanish:
¿Es Jesús un bebé? ¿Sí o no? → ¡Sí, Jesús es un bebé!
¿Es Jesús un adulto o un bebé? → ¡Jesús es un bebé!
¿Quién es el bebé? ¿Jesús o José? → ¡Jesús es el bebé!
This process subconsciously builds the foundations for word structure, sentence structure, and vocabulary while also building confidence from day one that “I can speak Spanish!”
Meanwhile, our junior high students combine that same TPRS philosophy used in K-6 with additional study of grammar and vocabulary that will allow them to test into high school Spanish 2. This process requires more of an English-Spanish balance than they experienced in the younger grades so that we can analyze the structures in more depth.
By eighth-grade, our students apply and develop their Spanish knowledge in an overview of Salvation History. Beginning in the Garden of Eden and ending in Paul’s missionary travels in the Acts of the Apostles, they study the essentials our family story as told in Sacred Scripture– all en español, of course.