Hola, my name is Lisette Oquendo and I am Williamsburg Northside Lower School’s new Spanish teacher. I received my MSEd in Elementary Education with a Bilingual Education Extension from Hunter College. I have taught in Spanish Dual language schools in Brooklyn since 1997, and have worked with children in Prekindergarten-Grade 5, developing and implementing the dual language curriculum.
The Lower School’s foreign language program is one of Total Spanish Immersion. This means that from the moment they arrive at my classroom, I speak only Spanish and encourage students to express themselves in this beautiful language. During class, they are engaged in developing their Spanish comprehension, vocabulary recollection, pronunciation, and grammar through a cultural study using songs, poetry, books, interactive activities and visual aids.
Exposing young learners to this rich content, while keeping in mind second language acquisition levels (Table 2.1), allows for the development and implementation of an age-appropriate curriculum. It enables each child to experience success while acquiring the new language.
All students in WNS Lower School are involved in the Spanish program in different capacities. We offer the Pre-K students a Spanish afterschool enrichment program. Parents are welcome to sign up their child for the class at the beginning of the fall semester.
Pre-K afterschool exploring number and animal Spanish vocabulary through poems and interactive visual aids
Students in Kindergarten receive 40 minutes of Spanish instruction one day a week. They also receive an additional 20 minutes of Spanish interdisciplinary instruction during their Morning Assembly. Kindergarteners begin the year learning the structure and procedure of their morning meeting in English, and two weeks later the meeting begins the smooth transition into a Spanish Morning Meeting. They are immersed in the language, are able to make the seamless transition between the languages and are always looking forward to the Spanish Morning Meeting.
Grades 1- 5 receive two periods of Spanish instruction each week. Day one will focus on the Spanish curriculum and day two will focus on aspects of the Social Studies-based Project Work that will be taught in Spanish.
The 4th and 5th graders are using their survey of classroom materials in order to draw their own imaginary classroom, using their growing Spanish vocabulary to label items on their map
Currently, the students have learned the daily classroom routines, fun and informative poems and songs, and how to address one another with introductions, greetings, and polite words through simple role-play. The role-play of simple dialogues allows the student to practice vocabulary and pronunciation, as well as developing their confidence and creativity.
I am excited to be part of the Lower School’s proud tradition of providing students opportunities for growth linguistically, academically and culturally through the Spanish language.
El español vive y crece en la escuela primaria del norte de Williamsburg. (Spanish lives and grows at WNS Lower School.)
Vengan y verán. (Come visit and you will see.)
Lisette Oquendo, MSEd
Header image of Spanish ceramic tiles from spainatm.com.