Languages are best learned in context, and languages are inherently about community. Therefore, we take an exciting and unique approach to learning Spanish with Aim Academy.
To provide context to our Spanish class, we focus on one topic per year. The topic for 2022-2023 will be geography. Geography is much more than the study of maps. It is the study not only of the land, but of people – how people are shaped by their environment and how they shape it. It is the study of movement and interaction – commerce, migration, the spreading of ideas, the spread and control of diseases. It is the study of trends – economic and political progress, conflict and cooperation. In this class, we will use Spanish-language maps, videos, webpages, documents, and other resources to study these topics, sometimes looking at the entire world and sometimes focusing on Spanish-speaking areas. Throughout the year, students will create and share projects about each topic that we cover. In this way, students will get contextualized practice with reading, listening, speaking, and writing Spanish.
Students in this class will have varied backgrounds and ability levels, but each student will be able to tailor the work to his or her own needs. Parents should also make note that our Advanced Spanish class follows this same pattern, but is taught almost exclusively in Spanish.
Themes for this class rotate through a four-year cycle, on the same schedule as the Advanced Spanish course. In this way, a student can stay in the lower-level course for one, two, or three years, and then progress to the Advanced course when ready. The themes will rotate as follows:
- Spanish with embedded Geography (2022-23 school year and every fourth year thereafter)
- Spanish with embedded Current Events (2023-24 school year and every fourth year thereafter)
- Spanish with embedded Health (2024-25 school year and every fourth year thereafter)
- Spanish with embedded Economics (2025-26 school year and every fourth year thereafter)
Because of the dual nature of each course, parents may want to grant their students credit for both content areas (Spanish and Geography, for instance).
Course objectives are based on the ACTFL World Readiness Standards for Learning Languages, and include the following:
- share information, reactions, feelings, and opinions in spoken and written conversations
- understand what is heard or read on a variety of topics
- present information and ideas in a variety of formats, to explain, persuade, and narrate a variety of topics
- use Spanish to investigate the practices, products, and perspectives of Spanish-speaking countries
- use Spanish to build, reinforce, and expand knowledge of other disciplines (specifically Geography)
- compare aspects of Spanish and its cultures to their own language and culture
- use the language within and beyond class
- develop lifelong habits of language learning
We begin the school year with a pretest and end with a post-test. Otherwise, each week of class follows a uniform format, which is as follows:
- an in-class discussion of the week’s topic
- resources related to that week’s topic
- a project sharing something the student has learned about the topic
- a speaking assignment in which the student answers a thought-provoking question about the topic
- a timesheet that records what the student has done in Spanish throughout the week
Students should plan to work on Spanish for at least 5 days each week and for a total of at least 3 hours throughout the week.
Who should enroll?
Students in grades 8-12 who have had at least one year of previous experience with Spanish. There are no prerequisites for this course. If a student has had several years of Spanish class or other meaningful exposure to the language they are welcome to take Advanced Spanish with Embedded Geography. Parents are welcome to contact Rachel Nance at [email protected] with questions about student placement.
- High speed, broadband Internet
- Microphone and Webcam (for live sessions)
- Streaming video capabilities to watch recorded lectures and other videos related to the course
Evaluation and Feedback
It is our belief that students learn best when they are comfortable and engaged in the work that they are doing. We also believe that languages are learned through large amounts of exposure to engaging, comprehensible input. Therefore, our focus is not on small details, but rather on the big picture. Students who complete their work in a timely manner and make a habit of participating in our weekly live class sessions can expect to do well in the class.
Feedback on specific assignments tends to be supportive feedback rather than corrective feedback, but we do comment on common or easily avoidable mistakes. Students who are looking for more corrective feedback (particularly concerning the mechanics of the language) should consider supplementing this course with our self-paced Spanish Grammar course.
Parents and students can always view the student’s scores through Canvas, and are welcome to contact the teacher with any questions or concerns. Barring unusual circumstances, we grade assignments within two business days of the due date, and we reply to messages within one business day.