Students at Glen Urquhart have the opportunity to study Spanish from the grades kindergarten through eighth and Latin in 7th and 8th grades. Most students graduate from the school having taken both languages. There is also an elective offered for students who want to learn Greek.
In the lower grades, K-5, Spanish classes feature lively activities such as games and songs that help the children develop a conversational vocabulary, a good ear for the language and a good accent, and a love for learning a new language. The goal is for the students to enjoy learning a different language while also learning something about the cultures of Spanish speaking countries. In each grade the lessons are woven into the theme for that year so that students can understand the connections between Spanish and other subjects. They explore cultural differences and similarities and develop an appreciation for the world in which they live.
In the upper grades, 6-8, students continue to develop communicative competence using more complex grammatical structures and a broader base of vocabulary. They have valuable opportunities to use those skills in authentic settings, ranging from the one-on-one interviews with Spanish-speaking immigrants in our surrounding communities, to an optional service trip to work in a Central American orphanage during the eighth grade. Classes are taught almost entirely in Spanish, and connections are continually made with other subjects: with art for the Day of the Dead crafts, with science for lessons on food systems and nutrition, with English as we talk about Seedfolks and community gardens here and abroad, with social studies as we explore culture, human rights and identity, with math as we talk about the metric system, exchange rates, and more. A GUS graduate who has been successful in Spanish classes while here is well qualified to take Spanish II in 9th grade, usually at an advanced level. Viewing of the soap opera Destinos transports students to Spain, Argentina, Puerto Rico and Mexico as they develop listening skills and learn about the diverse cultural heritage of the Spanish-speaking world. Throughout all lessons, we ask how language and culture shapes lives, here in the United States and abroad. Spanish classes offer students a fuller view of where and how they live, and ways in which they might make a difference.