Mundelein Elementary School District

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Engaging Spanish

Julie Adelman’s desks have been moved to the edge of the classroom. The CSMS students enter, put their backpacks and books aside, and automatically gather in a circle. As soon as the students arrive, class is underway.

“Hola, clase,” Ms. Adelman begins.

The middle school students respond with, “Hola, Señorita Adelman.”

After a warm-up song and a report on the date and weather, Ms. Adelman guides students into discussions about experiences in their daily life: Did you ride your bike to school in the rain?  Who else rode their bike in the rain?  Jessica came to school on the bus. Lucky Jessica!  She didn’t get wet in the rain!  And so on.

It is conversational Spanish at its best. Ms. Adelman incorporates basic vocabulary and grammar into natural conversations throughout the class period.  While students study the foundational material, comprehending the language and using it in conversation remains paramount to success.

“This year I moved the desks and tables out of the way to eliminate any barriers (literal and figurative) to authentic communication. Without a desk to hide behind, students are forced to interact directly with me and each other,” Ms. Adelman said.

In her twelfth year of teaching, Ms. Adelman teaches the beginning-level Spanish course at CSMS to help students develop communicative skills in a new language and introduce them to the process of language learning.  

After two years of Spanish classes at CSMS, students typically advance to Spanish 2 at Mundelein High School and can reach college-level AP Spanish before graduating.

“Our conversations and stories take random turns into the extreme, and that keeps everyone interested. My goal is to give students the language they need to say what they want or share how they feel, which ultimately gives them the freedom to express themselves,” she said. Source: Classroom Video