Spanish at Our Lady Star of the Sea
Spanish is taught from Year 3 onwards. Each class in Key Stage 2 has one thirty minute Spanish lesson per week and children are encouraged to use Spanish in other ‘5 minute parcels’ throughout the week (doing the register, making their lunch choices, simple instructions etc. or revision of what they have done in that week’s Spanish lesson).
Through Spanish lessons, we hope to engender a lifelong love of language learning. We believe that language learning helps children develop creativity; that it supports oracy and literacy in English; that it helps children develop a greater understanding and appreciation of the rest of the world and in learning a foreign language, children can learn how to learn.
Links are made between year groups and between units within year groups so that new material that is taught builds on what has gone before allowing the children to understand and use more complex sentence structures and verb forms. The phonics and grammar of Spanish are visited and repeated regularly, helping children to build a thorough understanding of the similarities and differences between Spanish and English.
Children develop their understanding of Spanish culture through our annual Holy Week procession, which is based on the Semana Santa processions that take place there, and through bilingual carol concerts we have via videoconference with our twin schools in Spain during Advent.
In Year 3, children learn the Spanish words for greetings, introductions, numbers to 10, colours, pets, days of the week and months of the year. These things are taught first as they are things that can be regularly repeated in different contexts throughout the four years of Key Stage 2. Children are introduced to Spanish pronunciation and phonics and are encouraged to develop a Spanish accent when speaking. When learning the names of fruits and vegetables, children are introduced to the existence of masculine and feminine nouns for the first time and they use the phrases ‘I like’ or ‘I don’t like’ which they will use often over the next four years. Children are expected to read, write and speak in basic Spanish as well as listen to authentic Spanish speakers. The focus, however, is mainly on speaking and listening at this stage. We use games, songs and lots of repetition to help children remember the new vocabulary they learn.
In Year 4, children are introduced to their pen pals who attend a school in Murcia in southern Spain. In geography lessons, children learn about the region and they compare it to our region in England. Having a link school in Spain allows us to give the children excellent reference points and a more authentic understanding of what it is like to live in Spain. Videoconferences and reciprocal letter-writing with their pen pals give the children an authentic audience for their Spanish speaking and writing. The children can practise reading and listening to their pen pals’ work. In Spanish lessons, children build on what they learnt in Year 3 when learning about school subjects. Lessons about shops and directions around the town are based on Murcia and on our local area. In Year 4, children are introduced to more aspects of Spanish grammar: when learning the Spanish for the names of relatives, adjectives are introduced in order to describe other people. The existence of masculine and feminine nouns is explored further when children learn about classroom objects and about parts of the body. Children also learn about jungle animals and how to describe the weather and ice-creams. This summer unit allows children to revise and consolidate some of their Year 3 learning as they create conversations involving greetings, introductions, numbers, days of the week and months of the year.
Most of the units in Year 5 build directly on the Year 4 units. Children revisit school life when they talk about school subjects, incorporating vocabulary and sentence types they have encountered in the Year 4 unit on classroom equipment and instructions. Children are taught some question words and conjunctions so that they can start to formulate their own conversations. The children also revisit the vocabulary they learnt to do with shops and directions in Year 4 and the vocabulary they learnt to do with fruit and vegetables in Year 3 when they create and practise conversations that might take place when shopping at a market. The conjugation of some regular verbs is taught in Year 5 and this allows children to talk about people other than themselves in the various contexts covered previously. Further work on adjectival agreement is done when children learn about clothing. This builds on the Year 4 work on masculine and feminine nouns. Revision of the Year 4 unit on ice-cream flavours works as an introduction to the Year 5 unit on the seaside. The seaside unit also allows the introduction of the “to be able to + infinitive” form which will be revisited in Year 6.
Year 6 Spanish builds further on the children’s Years 4 and 5 learning about the school: learning how to describe the timetable and a typical school day allows the children to use vocabulary about school subjects while they learn how to tell the time in Spanish. The Year 6 unit on sport allows the children to further practise how to conjugate simple regular verbs, in this case ‘jugar’ and ‘nadar’ and the modal verb ‘poder’.
There is further consolidation of prior years’ work on nouns, adjectives, verbs and question forms in the ‘cafe culture’ unit, during which children practise ‘eating out’ role plays.