The goals of the Spanish program at Friends School are to do the following:

  1. enable students to see the value of speaking a foreign language and provide them the means to do so
  2. develop student achievement in the four skill areas of listening, speaking, reading and writing
  3. increase student knowledge of the culture, countries and communities where Spanish is spoken
  4. create a love and appreciation for the language and the culture


Spanish teacher, Sara Wayne, works with students on a learning activityLinkages

FSMN’s Spanish curriculum embraces the philosophy of progressive education. Using a multi-sensory approach to learning, Spanish is taught to give students the opportunity to learn and communicate in a different language, and to help to develop students' world vision. Students learn to appreciate the diverse perspective of the world vis-a-vis their learning of language, art, music, geography, movement, and current social issues in Spanish class. Student projects in middle school are anchored in cultural units connected to the program that allow opportunities to explore areas of interest to individuals and groups in the classroom setting. Some examples of student-led projects include graffiti street art of Buenos Aires, the protection of the green sea turtle off the coast of Central America, the Darwin project of the Galápagos Islands, the history of the Mexican flag and a study of the ancient Olmec people and their spiritual traditions and art.



Students at FSMN develop their understanding and use of Spanish through multiple learning styles. They learn through music, dance, children’s literature, art, videos, theater, and games. These activities provide them with the means to develop their vocabulary, understanding and pronunciation in the target language.

The Total Physical Response (TPR) approach is a regular component of instruction in Spanish class. Movement games, responding to oral directions with actions, and drawing objects are examples of TPR activities. Students are encouraged to speak as they do the actions.  The instructor regularly employs a multi-sensory approach to enhance each individual's learning.  

The main tools used to teach Spanish in kindergarten through grade four are thematic units supported by videos, music, games, books and projects. The main sources used to teach Spanish for middle school grades are anchored in a text series (currently ¡Avancemos!1a, 1b).

As students enter middle school, the four skills of listening, speaking, reading and writing are developed more equally (contrasting with lower school, in which listening and speaking are emphasized). Paired work is used regularly to increase the number of minutes during class meetings in which the students are speaking in the target language.  The percentage of the target language used in class is maximized as the students get into grades seven and eight.

In class, we celebrate multiple cultural events such as holidays and community events. Some examples include Mexican Independence Day and The Day of the Dead.  Students observe, read about, or experience arts and artifacts of the culture, such as food, dress, toys, houses, songs, artwork, crafts and architecture.  


Scope and Sequence


  • Greetings (hola/adiós/buenos días)—naturally greet and say good-bye to teacher and friends in Spanish
  • Los colores (colors)—practice through manipulatives, art/visual examples, and discussions
  • El cuerpo (the body)—TPS, Simon Says games, songs, and stories
  • Los números y las formas (colors, numbers, and shapes)—practice through manipulatives, art/visual examples, and discussions
  • La familia (the family)—learn vocabulary to describe themselves, immediate family members, and pets
  • Los animales (animals)-- learn names of basic farm and zoo animals, including animal sounds in Spanish

First and Second Grades

  • La familia (the family) and La casa (the house)—expand vocabulary to describe extended family members, include adjectives to describe family (grande, mediana, pequeña), see videos/learn about how people live differently and how climates differ throughout the world
  • Los animales (animals)—learn names of an array of animals including farm, wild, exotic, zoo, pets, and insects, plus names for their habitats, the marine world, et cetera
  • El cuerpo (the body)—further vocabulary related to the human body
  • Expressing basic feelings in Spanish—answer/ask questions to describe feelings and respond appropriately to feelings in pictures/faces
  • Days of the week/birthday/months/seasons—learn the basic elements of the calendar and vocabulary for birthdays, seasons, and basic weather (hace frío, hace calor, et cetera)

Third and Fourth Grades

  • El salón de clase (the classroom)—identify the parts of the classroom and the materials use there
  • La escuela (school)—identify people/teachers in school, the names of classes, the names of main spaces (gym, library, et cetera)
  • Los meses/el calendario/las estaciones (months, calendar, and seasons)—start to read and spell names of months and days of the week, sing song about months
  • La ropa (clothing)—identify basic clothing with colors, and connect clothing items to parts of body using TPR
  • El alfabeto (the alphabet)—sing the alphabet song in Spanish, identify five vowels, match letters with sounds
  • En la ciudad (in the city)—learn names of key destinations in city/community (e.g., biblioteca, estación de policía), match vocabulary words with places (e.g., libro/la biblioteca, la fruta/el mercardo), design a group city project/map, watch videos of Mexico City and contrast them with rural neighborhoods, identify place in Spanish 

Fifth and Sixth Grades

Students are introduced to a Spanish textbook and begin to formally write and read in the language. Some homework is assigned to reinforce what we practice in class. The four skills of listening, speaking, reading, and writing are used, and the instructor and students increase the amount of Spanish used during class meetings. Topics to be studied include the following:

  • expressing likes and dislikes in Spanish ("me gusta")
  • learning basic -AR verbs (infinitives)
  • verb "ser" (to be) with adjectives (describing self and others)
  • adjective and plural agreement
  • definite and indefinite articles (el, la, los, las/un, una, unos, unas)
  • food and family traditions
  • numbers from 0-100
  • the culture, geography, food, music, climate, famous people, and past time activities of Spanish-speaking peoples of particular regions 

Seventh and Eighth Grades

Students actively use Spanish in class as much as possible. They learn to formulate questions in the target language and respond appropriately and naturally with both short responses and complete sentences. The four skills of listening, speaking, reading, and writing, are used equally during class meetings. Paired work is emphasized. Topics to be studied include the following:

  • -AR, -ER and -IR verb conjugations in the present tense
  • describing a house and household objects, chores, and furniture
  • verb "tener" (to have) with various expressions
  • direct object pronouns
  • planning a party, talking about chores and responsibilities
  • giving basic commands in Spanish
  • simple past tense (preterite) formation
  • numbers from 0-1,000,000



By the completion of fourth grade students should be able to use the Spanish language to

  • tell numbers 0-50
  • state their name and ask another person his/her name in Spanish
  • name and identify colors
  • greet another person
  • name the days of the week, the months of the year, the seasons, the weather
  • name and express feelings for example: estoy feliz, cansado(a), enojado(a
  • ask and answer simple questions like, ¿Cómo se dice?, ¿Puedo ir al baño?,
  • speak about family, classroom objects, house, farm animals, zoo animals, community professions, holidays, food, clothes.
  • in English, demonstrate knowledge of some cultural facts about Spanish-speaking countries and communities in the U.S. and around the world 

By the completion of eighth grade students should be able to use the Spanish language to

  • tell numbers 0-1,000,000
  • tell time
  • describe themselves through writing and speaking
  • describe people and objects (adjectives, comparatives, et cetera)
  • write and speak full sentences and questions in present tense
  • in English, demonstrate knowledge about the Spanish-speaking countries and their location on the map
  • conjugate and understand structures of all regular verbs and appropriate endings in present tense
  • use direct objects and pronouns in context
  • give familiar commands
  • read simple/intermediate texts in Spanish
  • have a basic knowledge of past tense formation for -AR, -ER, and -IR verbs
  • begin basic composition skills in the target language (with editing)
  • formulate questions and engage naturally in basic conversation in the target language
  • successfully enter high school Spanish level two or higher