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Newstead Wood School

Newstead Wood School

Year 8 Spanish

Year 8 2nd Language – Spanish  – guidance for parents

What will students be studying in Spanish this year?

We will start at the very beginning with introductions and family but will be covering a range of other topics, such as school life, places in town, daily routine, weather and future plans and some common daily expressions. From the beginning we teach the grammatical structures of the language and the relationship between sounds and spelling, which is very regular in Spanish. This enables students to become real Spanish speakers as it gives them the tools to manipulate the language for themselves. Lessons use a mix of listening, speaking, reading and writing. Video clips, songs, games and computer based activities help to bring the language to life and impart an understanding of Spanish culture.

Expectations of Students in Spanish

The Year 8 Spanish course is two hours a week with one homework per week.  Homework may be grammar or vocabulary learning, a writing, translation or comprehension exercise or research. It is important that students see grammar or vocabulary learning as real homework. Students’ written work is marked using the MFL department’s marking codes. The codes identify the type of error rather than simply writing in the correction so that students learn how to redraft their own work. They will usually be given the opportunity to do this and to ask any questions in lesson time. It is expected that students will bring a small Spanish dictionary to lessons.

What are the major assessments this year ?

There will be formal end of unit assessments as outlined in the assessment summary. These will take place roughly at the end of the first Autumn half term, the end of the Autumn term and at the February half term and will address different skills as well as grammar. Each teacher will set ongoing grammar or vocabulary tests and will regularly assess and give feedback on written work. The Year 8 end of year exam will include all topics and grammar covered and test all four skills.

What will the current performance grade be based on?

Students have been issued with descriptions of what they are expected to achieve by the end of the year, based on the revised Programme of Study issued in 2014. They are invited to self- assess their progress towards these targets once a term and discuss this with teachers, who also look at unit test marks, homework and performance in class when deciding the termly assessment, using the school’s new EP,1,2 or 3 grading system. The end of year exam will play an important part in the final grade, but the teacher will look at the year's work as a whole when deciding.

What should my daughter do if she feels she is struggling in the subject?

The first step is for your daughter to ask for advice from her Spanish teacher so that they can identify the problem and how to address it. There are many resources available to support students’ learning and guidance on some useful websites is given on the KS3 Moodle page for KS3 Spanish.

How can I support my daughter in Year 8?

The best way to support your daughter is by taking an interest in her language learning. It is not necessary for you to know any Spanish yourself, although obviously it's great if you do. Otherwise asking her to explain what she has been doing in class, testing her on the vocabulary she has learnt, and looking through her book with her will help her consolidate her learning. Do encourage and praise her for her efforts. Please support your daughter’s efforts to use her own language in her written and oral work rather than relying on google translate. Electronic translation tools give strange translations and lead to errors which use of a good dictionary (on-line or paper) can avoid. 

What kind of independent work should my daughter be completing?

It is good practice to spend a few minutes looking through the lesson notes as soon as possible after the class, and then again a few days later, rather than forgetting all about it till the next lesson! This is particularly true when it comes to learning new vocabulary and grammar. It does not need to take a long time but will help to keep the language fresh in the mind. As mentioned above, students are given a list of appropriate websites for Spanish, including some for fun as well as specific aspects of learning.

Who can I contact for further advice and information ?

Please feel free to contact your daughter’s teacher in the first instance but Mrs Ballaster as head of Spanish for KS3 and 4 is also available on