Foreign Language: A First Semester Recap

February 10, 2016

Spanish 1:

We continue to have lots of fun while learning in Spanish 1! Students recently completed their project entitled ¿Quién so yo? (Who am I?), where they were able to show off all they have learned this year, using a slide presentation to talk about themselves and their families. It’s hard to believe they had little to no knowledge of Spanish just five months ago! We have now moved on to discussing students’ daily life at school, such as the classes they take and the things they need to get through the day and complete their assignments. We’ve also begun reading the short novel Pobre Ana by Blaine Ray, which is helping students pick up lots of new vocabulary while improving their reading skills. ¡Qué divertido!

Spanish 2Spanish 2:

The sophomores are currently working on a unit on sports. While students now have a very good understanding and command of reflexive and “gustar”-like verbs, this unit is a fun way to review the material and to prepare for verbs that take a direct object. The students are currently working in pairs, learning new vocabulary and verbs about the sports they practice in real life. They will soon present their projects to their peers and educate them in an interactive way, asking questions in Spanish that their classmates will need to answer using the new vocabulary terms that they just learned about the sport.  We will soon be moving on to the past tense and how to use its different forms (the preterite and imperfect) in context. Students will begin a project about taking a trip to a Spanish-speaking country, which they will present using pictures of themselves in different scenarios, such as at the airport, hotel and sightseeing.

Spanish 3:

We have read selections from many Latin American authors this year, including Eduardo Galeano, Enrique Anderson Imbert, Rubén Darío, Jorge Luís Borges and Marco Deneví. The stories have all played on the themes of reality versus fantasy, and have led students to explore their own creativity, writing their own dialogues and short stories using characters from the stories they’ve read. In addition, we have reviewed grammar topics and tenses such as the present, preterite and imperfect, and are now moving on to the future and conditional tenses.Spanish 3


The Spanish IV AP class has covered numerous topics this year. We began the year by learning about the chagim—Rosh Hashana, Yom Kippur and Sukkot—in  Spanish (¡claro!) using infographs from the website We also read an article, Judíos en la España de hoy, (Jews in Spain today) by Juana Vera which talked about Spanish society’s views of the history of Jews in Spain. Then we moved into the topic of ‘La identidad’, discussing how to define ourselves and our personal values and also how others define us. To see how one 19th century Spanish poet, Jose de Espronceda, defined himself, we read (and listened to contemporary musical versions of) his poem Canción del pirata.

Spanish 4We moved on to the topic of food, during which students wrote, produced and starred in their own cooking shows. We also read several articles on the dangers of junk food. Currently, we are reading the short story Leyenda by Argentinian author Jorge Luís Borges, in which Borges takes the story of Cain and Abel from Bereishit and writes about what it might be like if Cain and Abel were to meet up again after Abel’s death.


The students in French 2, 3, and 4 are continuing to work on their speaking, reading and writing skills. By using online activities, the students have the opportunity to learn real-life dialogues, thus enhancing fluency and articulation.

Recently, French 2 students had the pleasure of singing Adele’s song Hello and Justin Bieber’s songs Love Yourself and Sorry. These songs were performed by French singer Sara’H. The French version was shown and students sang along with the performer—no subtitles needed, since the students knew the English versions! A great experience to learn “living French!”

French 3 has had a busy semester. Each student wrote short stories (fairy tales) using the passe compose and the imparfait.  These tenses are important when discussing the past.  Some students chose to write original tales, while others used familiar fairy tales such as Cinderella or Little Red Riding Hood.  They recently submitted essays on this topic: “If I win the lottery.” This activity allows the students to familiarize themselves with the use of the conditional tense. They also presented individual videos discussing what clothing was in their closets and when they wear this clothing, enhancing their usage of the necessary vocabulary.

French 4 also submitted individual videos in the form of a commercial. They used commercials that we read and heard in class and presented their own interpretations of this commercial.  Students used their own props—some were quite original. Students are also preparing for the scavenger hunt to take place in the spring. They are preparing descriptions of objects to be found and where to find them.  The students in the level 2 class will be the participants.  This will help all levels comprehend the description of objects and how to follow directions.  Stay tuned for the results of this activity in the near future. Merci!