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Newstead Wood School

Newstead Wood School

Year 9 Spanish

Year 9 Spanish - guidance for parents

What will students be studying in Spanish?

Building on the foundations laid in Y8, students will broaden their vocabulary and learn a wider range of structures, so that they can build extended sentences, refer to past events and future plans and ask and answer questions. Specific topics covered include describing oneself and others, a past holiday, talking about activities we do, food and shopping and attitudes to fashion and clothing. Lessons use a mix of listening, speaking, reading and writing and the continued focus on oral as well as written communication, aims to equip students to really be able to use the language now and in the future. We will be also learning about cultural aspects such as carnival in Spanish-speaking countries, Spanish music and cooking.

Expectations of Students in Spanish

There are 2 one hour lessons and one homework per week, which may be a reading comprehension, written or grammar exercise, translation, preparation for an oral or learning vocabulary or grammar. It is important to see learning homework as just as important as written ones; only regular practice will work! Students should not worry unduly about making mistakes, especially in oral work as that is an important step in the learning process. Students’ written work is marked using the MFL department’s marking codes which identify the type of error rather than simply writing in the correction so that students learn to redraft their own work. They will usually be given the opportunity to do this and to ask any questions in lessons. 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 including translation 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 9 end of year exam will include all topics and grammar covered and test all skills.

What will the current performance grade be based on and what do the levels mean?

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.

Please note that, although this is only the second year of learning Spanish, by the end of the year your daughter will be fully equipped to proceed to GCSE should she wish.

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 9?

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.

Whom 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 eballaster@newsteadwood.bromley.sch.uk.