Lower School

Creative Ways to Learn Vocabulary in Spanish

The second graders have become extremely comfortable with the Spanish words for items of clothing thanks to the use of Total Physical Response (TPR) and interactive games implemented by their Spanish teacher, Stephen Krawec.
TPR is a research-based method for teaching a foreign language that our Spanish Department is using at all levels. In TPR, words and phrases are tied to gestures to help the boys remember new vocabulary. For example, when saying the word “falda” for a skirt, Señor Krawec swishes his arms from his waist outward like the swoop of a skirt every time he says the word. TPR also limits the amount of English used in Spanish class, so students are constantly being exposed to the target language.

Señor Krawec also devised a fun game that began with each boy receiving a card on which an item of clothing was depicted and that they were to keep secret. The boys had to study it and remember the Spanish word for that particular piece of clothing. Señor Krawec then taught the boys how to ask someone what they are wearing -- “¿Qué llevas?”
The boys went around the room asking each other what they were wearing, based on their card, as well as what color it was -- “¿Qué color es?”. Each second grader was tasked with recording who was wearing what, along with its color, on a chart. There was much excitement as their charts began to fill up, demonstrating their grasp of the vocabulary!

Allen-Stevenson’s distinctive “enlightened traditional” approach educates boys to become scholars and gentlemen.