The following is the text from Señora Villarraga’s “welcome back to school” letter : World Language Welcome Letter 2017/18
All Stoddert students prepare for a more connected and interdependent world by receiving 45 minutes of Spanish instruction once a week. DCPS recommends that language study begin and progress through a consistent, continuous and articulated sequence of language instruction. The world language courses at Stoddert aim to foster five core standards:
- Communities: Students will positively contribute to multicultural communities at home and around the world;
- Communication: Students will have the ability in read, write, speak and listen in their target language(s);
- Comparisons: Students will draw comparisons and contrast different perspectives and lifestyles;
- Cultures: Students will gain an appreciation for a variety of cultures;
- Connections: Students will make connections across content areas using World Language skills.
ABOUT THE TEACHER
Ms. Ana Lucia Villarraga hails from Colombia, South America, where her teaching career spanned the middle, high school and university level. She taught at The Colombo Gales, a bilingual School in Bogota and was also a professor at the Catholic University of Bogota, Colombia. Ms. Villarraga’s university studies included a specialization in teaching foreign language and literature at La Universidad Libre de Colombia.
Ms. Villarraga arrived in the United States in 1997. She has been a DCPS teacher for more than 15 years, spending the last two years of her tenure teaching Spanish at Stoddert Elementary.
Ms. Villarraga describes her teaching in the following manner: “I love teaching! I am proud to say that for me, teaching is both a vocation and a calling. I really enjoy my job wherever I go, so I invest a lot of enthusiasm, effort, and energy helping my students learn and achieve to their highest potential. My best qualities as a teacher are my sense of responsibility, creativity, and an unwavering dedication to my students”.
LEARN & PRACTICE AT HOME
Ms. Villarraga states that a parent’s attitude towards language learning is crucial to a child’s success. Learning another language is likely to help your child become a better thinker, and provide him/her with 21st century workplace advantages that are advantageous in today’s globally competitive and demanding world. Here are a few ways to support your child and help him/her practice Spanish at home:
- Make Time: Help your child make time to practice. Learning a language is like learning to play an instrument. It needs some dedication, time, and practice. The practice can be: saying words, phrases, sentences, or paragraphs aloud, reading, drawing pictures and labeling them in Spanish to practice the vocabulary studied at school. Children also benefit from listening to spoken language if possible from music or Latino TV channels, especially on weekends. There are plenty of Spanish language programs for children.
- Support: Encourage your student to have simple conversations with someone who knows the language well, whenever possible.
- Homework: Ask your child to show you his/her homework or practice sheets the teacher assigns for the week and encourage him/her to complete the assignment(s).
- Review: Make sure your child has a folder where he/she can keep all the papers, notes, vocabulary sheets, assignments and guides along with checked and corrected papers from the teacher. These documents can be reviewed, revisited and used by your child as a reference to practice. A language is learned in a spiral fashion, so what is learned today necessarily connects and builds on what is added each day.
- Be The Student: Ask your child to teach you to say something in Spanish or sing part of a song the student has practiced in class, or show you something about Latin American culture.
- Creative Tools: Local bookstores and teachers’ supply stores have helpful language material in their foreign languages section, including games, videos, cards, software, music, books…all in different languages. Having a Spanish-English dictionary at home may help. You can also find local cultural events connected to Spanish and Latin American culture.
The Internet offers a wealth of Spanish language resources where children can listen, speak, play, read and write. The following websites (not prioritized) are good places to begin:
- Colorín Colorado
- Soft Schools
- Descubre ed Espanol
For more information about the world language program, all Stoddert parents and guardians are encouraged to communicate directly with Ms. Villarraga via e-mail.