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Fluency – Will my child be fluent at the end of 8th grade?
When learning our first language, we become what we would call fluent at about 5 years old. If you are awake 14 hours a day, 365 days a year, for 5 years, that is over 25,000 hours of listening, speaking, experiencing that language in every imaginable context. Our students get 39 hours a year at best. At the end of their time in our K-8 school, if they are NEVER absent, NEVER have a snow day, NEVER have a field trip or assembly that interrupts Spanish, then they will have 312 hours. That is the rough equivalent of less than a month in their first language. Considering that reality, is it not truly astounding what they can say and do in the target language? I am so impressed with my students every day when I think of this.
This is why practice at home can be so beneficial to all students of Spanish.
Why Should Parents Be Involved?
It has been said that “parents are their children’s first teachers,” and educational research indicates that when parents actively involve themselves in their children’s academic learning, student achievement is enhanced. The National Parent Teacher Association reported in 1997 that one of the most accurate predictors of student academic progress is the extent to which parents (1) create a home environment that encourages learning; (2) communicate high, but reasonable, expectations for their children’s achievement and future careers; and (3) involve themselves in their children’s education at school and in the community.
World languages are vital in today’s society. Parents who support and encourage their children’s educational efforts can play a major role in their children’s interest and knowledge in this area.
How Can Parents Be Involved? To assist and support their children in the area of world languages:
Encourage curiosity, questioning, exploration, and practice on the internet. Listen to the children’s practice and guide them in finding a way to study that matches his/her needs and learning styles.
Be positive regardless of any difficulties or personal experiences you may have had with learning a new language in school. Help communicate the importance of this subject and expect your children to be successful in these areas.
Help children see the need of a second language in the world around them. Point out how you use or encounter a need for a second language in your work or everyday activities.
Discuss how a second language can be useful in any career. Encourage your children to ask questions about the job requirements and educational preparation needed when they encounter relatives, neighbors, or friends who have related occupations.
Become familiar with national and/or state world language standards and how they are being used to guide teaching and learning in your children’s schools.
Become familiar with the specific mathematics and science concepts and skills expected at various grade levels. Help guide your children in their selection of subjects at the middle and high school levels.
Examine your children’s language materials so that you can show an interest in the topics, concepts, activities, and projects that your children will be experiencing.
Use the computer and the Internet with your children as learning tools to explore the many web sites that provide resources, information, and interesting facts related to mathematics and science.
More Tips for Parents
Parents, REPITITION IS THE KEY TO LEARNING A SECOND LANGUAGE!!!
Is your student studying a little bit each night, or waiting until the night before the test or quiz to cram it all in?
Here are some easy tips you can do to help your students succeed!
1. Use flashcards for vocabulary and grammar, quiz your student with the flashcards.
2. Create a game to play with vocabulary and grammar such as concentration, bingo, 20 questions, etc.
3. Have your student teach you the vocabulary or grammar concept.
4. Ask your student to re-do activities from the book that we have done in class. You could even do the speaking activities together and learn some Spanish yourself!
5. Use the GoOnline icons from the textbook to do activities and games on the computer. Visit http://www.phschool.com and enter in the web codes from the textbook.
6. Help your student make pneumonic devises to remember the vocabulary or certain concepts. (Hace sol, it’s sunny, think of solar.)
7. Ask your student to tell you 3 to 5 vocabulary words a day.
8. For EXTRA listening practice; Listen to Spanish radio or watch the Spanish channel with your student. Many DVD’s allow you to change the language to Spanish, so you can watch your favorite movie in Spanish too, even if it is just a few minutes!
9. Buy your student a Spanish dictionary and encourage your student to look up words in Spanish. The best dictionary is the University of Chicago Spanish Dictionary at Wal-Mart. Cost around $6.00
10. Have your child practice vocabulary and grammar using the useful links, web practice, study stack, and online textbook links to the left of my web page.
11. Many educational studies show that connecting an image with a new word or phrase helps in the learning process. Practice through reading and writing in the language have also been shown to dramatically increase vocabulary and grammar knowledge.
Other Helpful Hints
Benefits of Learning a Second Language
1. Has a positive effect on intellectual growth.
2. Enriches and enhances a child’s mental development.
3. Leaves students with more flexibility in thinking, greater sensitivity to language, and a better ear for listening.
4. Improves a child’s understanding of his/her native language.
5. Gives a child the ability to communicate with people s/he would otherwise not have the chance to know.
6. Opens the door to other cultures and helps a child understand and appreciate people from other countries.
7. Gives a student a head start in language requirements for college.
8. Increases job opportunities in many careers where knowing another language is a real asset.
What the Research Shows
Language Learning Strategies
Don’t be afraid to make mistakes.
Speak to others in French (Spanish/German.)
Watch French (Spanish/German) television programs on cable TV.
Praise yourself for your efforts.
Listen to lab tapes.
Don’t wait for the teacher to evaluate your progress.
Go to a French (Spanish/German) restaurant and order in the target language.
Eavesdrop on people speaking French (Spanish/German.)
Don’t make excuses.
Name objects in French (Spanish/German.)
Relax before going to class and before studying.
Don’t worry about your age or aptitude.
Talk to yourself in French (Spanish/German.)
Try not to translate from French (Spanish/German) to English in your head.
Practice speaking French (Spanish/German) with friends.
Form a study group with classmates.
Review class notes.
Reward your successes.
Guess when in doubt.
Re-write class notes.
Record new vocabulary and grammar in a notebook.
Make review cards grouping verbs, nouns, etc.
Don’t pretend to understand when you really don’t.
Paraphrase when necessary.
Listen to French (Spanish/German) radio.
Rent French (Spanish/German) videos and watch them.
Stay alert; don’t “zone out” in class.
Hang in there; be persistent.
Read ahead in the book.
Use mime and gestures.
Write down words that you don’t know, then find out what they mean.
Keep a language diary.
Keep your expectations realistic.
Make corrections in class when reviewing homework.
Memorize using images, sounds, rhymes (mnemonic devices.)
Teach someone what you have learned.
Be assertive in class.
Participate in group activities in class.
Use cognates for association with English.
Have a positive attitude towards class and the language.
Read French (Spanish/German) newspapers on the Internet.
Use what you learn.
Make study sheets.
Review the day’s lesson after class.
Try not to use the dictionary too much.
Ask for help when you need it.
Visit websites listed for your language
Watch about five minutes of TV a day in Spanish. Watch either a Spanish station, or use the SAP option.
Watch one of your favorite DVDs in Spanish / French with English subtitles.
Go over your vocabulary from Spanish / French class at least once a week.
Listen to a Spanish radio station
Don’t be afraid to talk to native Spanish speakers! Most of the time they LOVE that you are trying to learn their language and this is the best practice you can get!
Speak Spanish / French with your other buddies who took Spanish / French!
Read children’s books or comic books in Spanish / French. They are on-line and at the library.
Get your Ipod going! Download free podcasts or buy your favorite songs.
Youtube videos for language learning.
Concepts of Foreign Languages
Students should spend 30 minutes each night (including weekends) studying
their flashcards and the book pages (7th and 8th grade) of the current and
past chapters. There is always a written assignment given each day. 7th
and 8th graders need to do work in journal every night. Date it, and write
3 sentences practicing what was learned in class that day.
Students make flashcards in class the first lesson, because many do not know
how to make them. After the first lesson, flashcards are homework on the
first day a new chapter is introduced.
Cut 3×5 cards in half and larger cards in thirds or fourths.
If you are restricted in use of paper, use notebook paper divided into even sections. Find either a regular envelope or a plastic one for storage.
When you write the vocabulary, be sure that you cannot read through the card or that will defeat the purpose in having the card.
Using a pencil or colored pencil works well. Colored pencils are also good if you want them to color code feminine/masculine nouns or by parts of speech.
1. Assign the cards for homework.
2. Give students receive a grade: A, C, or 0 the next day for having completed the cards.
3. Only those who have completed the cards can play games using the cards while others work on their
Here is the system students should use to study flashcards:
B group – Have the English or picture side up. Go through your cards and sort them into 3 piles.
A – you know right away
B – you don’t know right away, you have to think about it (5-15 seconds)
C – you don’t know and have to look on the other side of the card.
Pick up the B and C piles and go through them again.
Keep doing this until they all go in the A pile.
When they are all in the A pile, turn them over so the Target language side is facing up. Go through the same procedure as above.
Pick up the B and C piles and go through them again.
Keep doing this until they all go in the A pile.
Other Ways to Study Flashcards