Hola! Nǐ hǎo! This year, 5th grade students don’t just learn French and English, but are introduced to two additional languages: Spanish and Mandarin Chinese. For one hour a week, students are exposed one of these two languages for the first half of the year, and to the other language for the second half.
This initiative was developed over the course of last year, with the intent of helping students decide which third language to study when they enter 6th grade. At Ecole Bilingue Middle School, students can indeed elect to learn Spanish or Mandarin Chinese for their 6th, 7th and 8th grade years.
The two language classes are meant to gently introduce students to the language and elements of culture from either China or Spanish-speaking countries. Students expand their listening, speaking, reading and writing skills, with the goal of helping them form phrases and create simple sentences.
In Spanish, teacher Irena Ademaj uses language-learning website Duolingo, and online games Rockalingua to make learning fun and interactive.
In Mandarin Chinese, teacher Ender Choo focuses on acquiring basic language skills, including learning Pinyin (Chinese pronunciation system), proper Chinese character strokes, and components. In addition, students get to learn new words by participating in games and singing nursery rhymes.