Communication is at the heart of second language study, whether that communication takes place face-to-face, in writing, or through reading various forms of publications in the target language. Beginning in 2nd grade, we are laying the foundation for the students to be able to read and write in the target language of Spanish. The basic principles of reading and writing start with the knowledge of the Spanish alphabet and the corresponding sound(s) of each of the letters.
To start the year, both 2nd and 3rd grade classes have been working on El Alfabeto / The Alphabet. For 2nd graders, this is the first exposure to it, and we are learning the names of the letters in order, as well as their sounds. We spend a lot of time getting to know las vocales / the vowels, because their name and sound is different than in English, but once you master their names, then you also master their sounds, because they are one in the same. There are only 5 sounds for 5 vowels in Spanish, whereas, there are 14-16 sounds from those same 5 letters in General American English, depending on regional dialect. The consonants in the Spanish alphabet are very similar to that of the English alphabet, except there are a few extra letters in Spanish. Most of the letter names are also close to their counterparts in English, but we do have a few very tricky letters whose names aren’t like those in English, and whose sounds are quite a bit different. Ask your student to tell you the story about the letters “g” (hay), “j” (hoh-tah), and “h” (ah-chay). Our focus is to know the Spanish alphabet letter names in order.
For 3rd graders, this starts off as a review, however, we really concentrate on knowing the names and sounds so well, that we can spell Spanish words using our Spanish alphabet. To be able to say letter names out of order is a much tougher skill than knowing them in order. And, we are working on sounding out Spanish words, using what we know the Spanish alphabet letters sound like, bringing us one step closer to being able to read. We will continue to spell using our Alfabeto españole throughout the year in our different units, and we will work our way up to also predicting the spelling of words based on the sounds we hear in those words. Spelling is so much simpler in Spanish than in English because it is straight-forward…once you know the sound(s) of the letter, it will always be that. Take the letter “F,” for example. If you hear the “ffff” sound in a Spanish word, it will always be the letter “F” making that sound. That is not true in English…it could be the letter “F,” but it could also be “PH” or “GH.”
Something exciting that we use in the Spanish classroom is a set of Chromebooks. I have created a Google Classroom for every 2nd and 3rd grade class that we will use sometimes during class, but the students can also access it at home. I have posted games, videos, songs, and materials that the students can access from home to help them practice in a fun way and reinforce what has been taught in the classroom. They need to sign into Google Mail with their user name, which should be their full first and last name, most of the time with a period between, and then @coalcityschools.org. For example: John.Doe@coalcityschools.org or JohnDoe@coalcityschools.org. Then the students will need to put in their password, which is the same one they use at school. Most of the students have this password memorized. We have already used our Chromebooks in both grade levels.
I invite you to “like” our ES Specials Facebook page. I may post things from time to time of activities that we are doing in class, but you may also see posts from PE, Music, Library, or Art classes, as well. https://www.facebook.com/CCspecialsES/
Keep up the buen trabajo / good work, chicos y chicas! Señora Aldridge is very proud of all the ES students!