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Garden City Life - Schools

Foreign Language Fun

Vocabulary key to comprehension

It might be cold outside, but at Stewart School, the FLES (Foreign Language in Elementary School) students are just warming up. If you walked down the hallway of Stewart School recently, you’ve often heard them singing as well as practicing their foreign language skills.

Second-graders are learning numbers from 0 to 31 in Spanish. They are able to express their age and ask others how old they are as well. Soon, they will be able to solve simple math problems in Spanish, reinforcing place value skills in their second language, to connect with the regular second-grade classroom curriculum. Students have learned the months of the year, too, so they can eventually express the date of their birthdays.

Meanwhile, third-graders have been hard at work learning the body parts through a series of hands-on activities including “Simon Sez,” making flip books, and creating a spinning wheel with the body parts. After learning the parts of the face, they listened to Señora Gutierrez describe a silly face and then by using eye, nose, ear, mouth and teeth cut outs, created a face to match the sentences they heard. Next, they wrote their own silly face sentences and drew their “crazy creation.” Students also learned how to express which body part hurts, and have learned the song, “Me Duele la Cabeza.”

Fourth-grade FLES activities have focused on the house. In addition to learning the names of the rooms of the house and some furnishings, comparisons were made to the students’ homes and those in Spanish-speaking countries. As a culminating project, students wrote essays in Spanish describing their own homes.

Fifth-graders focused their learning on the topic of shopping. They learned the names of the various stores, and using the food vocabulary learned in fourth grade, they learned to describe the items they wanted to purchase in each store. They used the new vocabulary to write a paragraph about the various stores, and they described their favorite store. They also drew and colored pictures of themselves in a diorama of their favorite store. After each class completed its writing, students created a graph which illustrated the favorite store for their class. Finally, students worked in small groups to create a supermarket “sale” flyer in Spanish. They created a store name, translated over 20 items, used promotional wording, converted the prices to Euros, and included pictures of the items sold.

Antonietta Gutierrez is a FLES teacher at Stewart School.