Here is a list of frequently asked questions, in case you cannot reach me when you wonder:
Q: Will I be be fluent in Spanish by the end of this course?
A: No, you will not be fluent even by the end of your 8th grade year. Learning a language is a very long and slow process. Ask your parent how long it took you to become fluent in English and that is a language that surrounds you 24/7. We only have less than an hour a day in class and only for less than 180 days a year.
Q: How much Spanish can I expect to learn?
A: It depends on each person's ability, work, practice, exposure, and effort (TV, music, social media, books, etc.) but our main goal is to move from a Novice Low (no real communication) to a Novice Mid or higher (very basic but real communication) by the end of middle school.
Q: What can I do to improve my Spanish?
A: Use class time wisely, listen carefully to the Spanish spoken, keep an updated notebook, review daily, play the recommended games at home, and find oportunities to practice Spanish outside of class often.
Q: I don't know anyone who speaks Spanish outside of class. What can I do to speed my learning process?
A: You can do things outside of class to help you out. For example, listen to music in Spanish, watch TV or shows in Spanish, play games with friends who speak Spanish, read books, follow Hispanic famous people on social media, try to say the names of things in Spanish when you see them, etc.
Q: Will we have tests?
A: Do not stress out about the word "test." Simply do your best on every assignment we have and you will be fine. You won't even know it was a test because they look like any other assignment we do. All I want you to do is prove to me that you understand when you read (Interpretive Reading), understand when you hear Spanish (Interpretive Listening), you can communicate with someone else (Interpersonal), you can communicate in writing (Presentational Writing), and you are understood when you talk (Presentational Speaking.)
Q: What other kinds of assignments are graded?
A: Daily grades are usually for completion and may include bellwork, homework, participation, notebook...) and Tests/Assessments could be answering questions, researching something, projects, notebook too, etc.)
Q: What are the Spanish class rules?
A: We follow the school rules posted in the students handbook including dress code, absences, electronics, and behavior but in Spanish class they can be summarized in ABC and D. A = Actively participate (just sitting in class is not active participation), B = Behave well (if you wonder if something will get you in trouble, it probably will so ask before doing something), C = Comply every time (follow instructions as instructed by me), and D = the golden rule is Do as say and you will be okay!
Q: What things should I avoid doing?
A: Some things I do not allow in class are gum/food/open drinks, roaming/getting into other people's area/property/space, sleeping/putting head down, bad attitude/disruption/disrespect/horseplaying, cheating/sneakiness/Google Translate, using electronic devices (laptop/tablet/phone/gaming devices) without my permission...
Q: Do I have homework?
A: Yes but it usually does not seem like you do. All you have to do is review the vocabulary we have learned so far. You can do it by using flashcards you create (on index cards or electronic), playing the recommended games, or going over your notes.
Q: How do I turn things in?
A: Some assignments are electronic so you will click Turn In in Google Classroom or submit them to me electronically. Others are assigned on specific websites and I will have access to see your progress. If you turn in something on paper, make sure you have: a) Your full name (first and last), b) the date in Spanish, c) our class period number, d) my name, and e) the title of the assignment. You will lose points if I don't have all your heading information.
Q: Can I do things for extra credit?
A: Absolutely! You can earn extra credit on a daily basis and every little point adds up. I give frequent opportunities along the course (i.e. bringing items for cultural celebrations, answering correctly in Spanish, actively participating at times, completing some work, donating school supplies, volunteering…)
Q: What do I do if I miss school/Spanish class?
A: Let me know ASAP and I will tell you what to do.
Q: Can I schedule tutoring?
A: If I see that you are working hard in class, completing all your work on time, behaving in class as I expect, asking valid questions, keeping your notes up to date, but still struggle, then we can schedule a tutoring session just for you during lunch time. This is very different from private lessons (which I do not offer), where people learn new things on a one-on-one basis, and the tutor charges money.
Q: Do you give bathroom passes?
A: Yes. You will receive 6 hall passes per 9-weeks term. However, they are worth 5 extra credit points each (total 30) and most students prefer to keep the points. I strongly suggest that you go to the bathroom before class starts so you don't have to use the hall pass. They are really meant to be used for emergencies and unless you are a very unlucky person, nobody has 6 emergencies every 9 weeks.
Q: What if I do have to use a hall pass?
A: Raise your hand. Ask me in Spanish ¿Puedo ir al baño, por favor? I approve it, you will fill one out and I will sign it. Then, you will sign out on the hall pass binder and move your number Mickey on the board. When you come back, you will put the hall pass in the bucket, move your number Mickey, and sign in the binder. As you can see, it is a complex process but if you have to go, you have to go.
Q: What do I do when I get to class every day?
A: After you answer the Spanish question correctly at the door, put your backpack/lunch box/purse under your chair, and start working on the bellwork.
Q: What should I do if I see things that don't belong to me in my area? What if I see some inapropriate writing/objects inmy area?
A: Please, report them to me ASAP. You don't want to be blamed for something you didn't do/have.
Q: What is my class job?
A: I will assign a specific job to you or your table every 3 weeks. It is related to your seating area. There are many jobs in class but everyone is responsible for their own personal area as well. Make sure it is clean and clear of any objects that don't belong on the table.
Q: I have lunch during your class time. Can I take my backpack to the cafeteria?
A: No. You must leave it in my classroom. You can only take your lunch box (if you bring one.)
Q: What do I do at the end of class?
A: 3 minutes before the bell rings, I will let you know that is time to start cleaning up. Sit on your assigned seat and collect all your belongings. Do not roam around or mess with other people's belongings. When the bell rings, get up, push your chair in, and walk out of the classroom in an orderly manner.
Q: Is this class easy?
A: No, it's not. Even though it covers basic content (i.e. colors, numbers, greetings, etc.) similar to a Kindergarten class, it is in another language so it will be challenging, especially if you are in an Advanced class (2nd or 3rd year). What we learn here is the same that is taught at the college level for Spanish I. You can do it if you do the work!
Q: Is it fun?
A. Yes, most of the time but you are still working. It cannot be chaotic. There is a plan and a reason to do things a certain way.
Q: Are you very strict?
A: I like to have fun and play games, sing, dance, compete, etc. with you but I am strict on deadlines/due dates and when I grade. I am trying to train you to be very attentive to details, especially about spelling and grammar, because one misspelled word or a missing accent mark can change the meaning entirely in Spanish. Students call me Mamá Lucy because I will love you but get on to you as well (when needed) just like a mom would do. Basically, I am your school mama.
Q: How can I earn the Seal of Biliteracy?
A: The best way is to learn as much Spanish as soon as possible and continue practicing, improving, and expanding it every year until you graduate. That's why I strongly suggest that you start taking it in the 6th grade. You will have 3 years of experience by the time you leave BVMS and then take the next levels of Spanish at GHS. At the end you have to demonstrate you have enough literacy in both languages to earn the Seal. For more information, click on the Seal of Biliteracy link on my school website.