Jul 28 Standards-Based Teaching and Instructional Materials in the Spanish as a Foreign Language Classroom
Dr. David McAlpine University of Arkansas at Little Rock
The students in my Methods of Teaching Second Language class don’t believe me when I tell them that my best Spanish teaching experience in forty years was in a middle school classroom! It’s true! Those of you just beginning your career in a middle school will soon learn this, and those of you who are middle school “lifers” already know that these youngsters in grades 5-8 respond to content that is connected to their everyday lives and to instruction that actively involves them in the learning process. Your middle school Spanish students may show higher competencies in the three modes of communication than many of their high school counterparts because of their openness to learning new concepts, their curiosity about themselves and others, and their unabashed willingness to be a part of real-life situations.
How can the Standards for Foreign Language Learning in the 21st Century help create an engaging atmosphere for middle school students? Let’s look at the 5Cs and try to draw some classroom ideas from them.
Students can learn a lot about the different cultures around the Spanish-speaking world by visiting the restaurants in your community where Spanish is spoken. At the beginning of each school year, I challenged my students to find and visit these restaurants. Of course, I offered extra credit if the students brought in a receipt and wrote one paragraph essays detailing their experience, but my students were happy to learn about the culture, so they did it for their personal enjoyment and not the extra credit (at least that’s what I like to think).
Now that I look back at the extra credit I gave out, I realized the kids mostly went to Mexican restaurants. Yes, Mexican food is delicious and yes, it is a Spanish-speaking country, but we want our students to look beyond Mexico and gain some experiences from other Spanish-speaking countries. And we want to remind students that food is a great way to incorporate cultures from the Spanish-speaking world into our everyday lives.
So I think I’d like to issue another CHALLENGE:
By: Andrea Roberson
No Bake Mexican Hot Chocolate Cookies
Yields: 24 cookies
2 cups cooked rice
- 1 cup peanut butter
- 1 cup coconut
- 2 cups cocoa powder
- ½ cup flour
- 8 tablespoons cinnamon
- 2 tablespoons chili powder
- 2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
Combine rice, peanut butter, coconut, 1 cup cocoa powder, flour, 4 tablespoons cinnamon, chili powder, cayenne, and brown sugar in a blender or food processor. Pulse until all the ingredients are well combined and stick to the sides of the bowl.
- Use a small scoop or a tablespoon to form the mixture into small balls.
- In a separate bowl, combine the remaining cocoa power and cinnamon. Roll the balls into cocoa powder and cinnamon.
- Place the balls on a sheet pan, two inches apart, and flatten. Refrigerate for at least two hours.
Dr. Emily Spinelli Executive Director, American Association of Teachers of Spanish and Portuguese. Professor Emerita of Spanish, University of Michigan-Dearborne
For many years the foreign language profession viewed the teaching of language and the teaching of literature as two very separate and distinct activities. At all educational levels the reading of literary texts was often seen as a task that only very advanced students could undertake. As a result, the early years of instruction were generally devoted to learning the language so that students could study literature in upper-level courses.
Every year, Americans around the nation get together to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month from September 15th through October 15th. The contributions Hispanic Americans have made to the United States are endless and inspiring, and they have had a profound and positive impact on our county.
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