Admin

Foreign Language

High school boys and girls dressed up with Mexican sombreros in Spanish class.

Chair: Ms. Elena Birman

ebirman@flatbush.org

The Foreign Language Department at the Yeshivah of Flatbush is at the forefront of World Language Education. Our curriculum is aligned with the national and international standards of ACTFL, AATSP and the College Board.

Department Goals

We pride ourselves in combining the expertise of native teachers as well as cutting edge instruction tools. Our textbooks, as well as various assignments are accessed digitally through internet links with relevant and interesting topics for full engagement of our students. Our activities and project based learning allow the students to access the language as well as the culture through multimedia sources and resources as well as language labs. As part of our unique curriculum students are exposed to Jewish culture in different foreign countries.

As we align with the national standards and our high caliber of instruction, our students are eligible to participate in the National Spanish Examination offered online by the American Association of Teachers of Spanish and Portuguese. Our students rank yearly among the top scores receiving Gold, Silver and Bronze medals as well as Honorable Mentions. This is an invaluable extracurricular activity which is well respected in their college admission journey.

Our mode of teaching relays multifaceted levels based on the four skills of language acquisition:
Listening: Students listen to authentic material based on relevant topics to their everyday life. They are also exposed to different colloquial vocabulary as well as accents and nuances.
Reading: Students read about modern topics related to culture, literature, performing arts, etc.
Writing: Students are trained to write different kinds of essays as well as email replies about different contemporary themes.
Speaking: Students actively speak in class, as well as record themselves on their electronic devices and send these voice notes to the teacher through different applications; whether it’s an individual recording or a conversation activity between two or three students.

Freshman Curriculum

Level 1 Spanish
By the end of the academic year, students will be able to converse in Spanish on vocabulary topics such as food, clothing, sports, hobbies and leisure time, family, travel and vacation, holidays, events and other activities. In terms of grammar, students will be proficient in Present Simple and Progressive tenses as well as an introduction to the Preterit as a past tense.
Throughout the year the students prepare mini projects on various vocabulary groups as they are studied. They prepare quizlets and other digital assignments on these topics. At the end of the year, students prepare and present a group project centered on a specific modality which varies from year to year. This project has very clear and detailed guidelines and incorporates different groups of vocabulary chosen by each group. The presentation is a combination of a poster and SmartBoard technology.
Electives: Any freshman who is a heritage speaker in another language such as French, Russian, Portuguese, Arabic or Dutch may be eligible to additionally take an independent course in the respective language.

Sophomore Curriculum

Level 2 Spanish
The first semester of this second year of language instruction incorporates an extensive review of Level 1 Vocabulary and Grammar. The imperfect Tense is introduced (another Past tense) as well as new vocabulary groups.
Students are required to do journal writing related to the topics learned in order to hone their writing skills. Every week a different student prepares a Dvar Torah in Spanish which is presented on the SmartBoard.
In the second semester, students learn the Future and Conditional Tenses and perfect tenses. The Imperative Mood is introduced as well.
Mini projects are prepared throughout the year in different modalities. At the end of the year two group projects are assigned: a cultural research project on a Spanish speaking country which includes a Jewish element; and an oral project based on a vocabulary topic chosen by the group and presented either live or through video recorded media.
Students taking additional independent heritage language modules may continue to the next level.

***Additionally, American Sign Language is offered as an independent course as well.

Junior Curriculum

Students are provided with the choice of taking Spanish 3 as an elective. It is a PreAP course aligned with the six curricular themes of the new Spanish Language and Culture exam. Level 3 Spanish instruction includes review of all tenses in all three modes: Indicative, Imperative and Subjunctive. Literary and cultural components as well as mini projects on cultural comparison. All groups of vocabulary are reviewed and expanded in order to provide richness of expression. A cultural group project as well as an impromptu speaking project are assigned at the end of the year and are considered as a pre final.

Senior Curriculum

Students are provided with the choice to continue to Advance Placement Spanish. Students hone all their skills and perfect fluency and fluidity in the target language. At the end of this course, they will be ready and capable to take the AP examination in May, which provides college credit or placement.
The AP level in Spanish Language and Culture curriculum at the Yeshivah of Flatbush was approved by the College Board Audit Committee and meets their rigorous requirements.

Extra-Curricular Language Activities

These activities include theater performances, cultural trips, participation in the National Spanish Exam and the very exciting school wide Spanish Heritage Day celebrated in October. This event is coordinated with typical food specialties of the different Spanish countries as well as fun activities for all grades. Students in the upper classes are commissioners who help and contribute to the proven success of this special day.
Languages other than Spanish in the Foreign Language Department include French, Italian, Russian, Arabic, Latin and American Sign Language. These classes are taken independently in the frame of the Tse U’Lmad program.

Foreign Language after High School

Our graduates are prepared to understand and communicate in Spanish as well as other languages. This communication enables connections with other cultures and values which constitute the very root of tolerance. Our graduates have been accepted to bilingual master programs as well as great jobs and outstanding positions in the community and the world at large.

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