Sending two skiers to the Eastern High School Championships in New Hampshire was icing on the cake for Big Blue's ski racing team.
The ability to communicate in more than one language has long been recognized as a tool for enhancing student achievement. Beginning in the early school years, it is critical for today’s children to develop communicative and linguistic proficiency in English and other languages in order to understand and appreciate the cultural diversity of our rapidly developing global community. Spanish is the base world language at the Short Hills Campus.
In the primary grades (Kindergarten through Grade 3), the Communicative Approach to learning a second language through the interpretive, presentational, and interpersonal modes of communication, the Whole Language Approach, and the Total Response Method highlight the program. These approaches are complemented by the Symtalk and Q-Talk Method of teaching students the fundamentals of the language by utilizing symbols and sound to enhance memorization of vocabulary and basic sentence structure skills. This expedites communication proficiency in all skill levels early in the learning process.
The Grade 4 Spanish curriculum builds upon the previous grade levels. The goal at Grade 4 is for the students to perform at a more advanced level with proficiency in speaking, writing, listening and reading. The textbook, “De Donde Vienes?” supports this principle. Also, more memorization of Spanish songs and poems is deployed as mental exercise for greater retention of information learned. Additionally, we have implemented Q-Talk, a new online language learning program. Q-Talk is designed to support the rapid language acquisition by students through the use of visual cues in the classroom. As a web-based program, Q-Talk requires students to access their workbook, homework, and assessments online.
In Grade 5, Spanish becomes a full academic subject and students receive letter grades for the first time, with the exception of new students who may opt for a modified pass/fail grading system. Classes meet more frequently and students experience more real-life illustrations to foster success in second-language acquisition. In addition to the primary approaches of activity-based learning, the four skills – reading, writing, speaking, and listening, are important components of language comprehension. Level 1A of Como Te Va is covered. Assessment of students is based on class participation, daily observations of oral productivity, performance on tests and quizzes, and other written assignments. Linguistic skills acquired in Spanish are a valuable transferable asset to facilitate the study of any other foreign language at the Basking Ridge campus, where students may choose to continue Spanish or start French, German, Latin, or Mandarin.