Spanish program activities

Two activities were developed for the Spanish program. Each activity is divided into a general idea and a concrete example.

These activities were developed by Claudia Rossi Hunt.

Interaction with people

Elderly people and tourists are two ideal groups with whom students can interact.

Most communities organise some types of activities for the elderly, either on a regular basis or in connection with special occasions. The elderly people are usually very happy to converse with younger people and they often only have their community language(s) as a medium of communication.

Example activity 1

Visits to a day care centre for the elderly where students engage in conversations with elderly people of Spanish background were organised in collaboration with CELAS, the Spanish Latin American Welfare Centre.

Points to consider when organising the activity

  • Contact the manager / coordinator of the centre and obtain permission
  • Preferably take smaller groups to such kind of visits for reasons of space and because otherwise two or three students might end up conversing with one person
  • It is recommended that students from the upper year levels (Years 10 and 11) participate in this kind of activity as the students have to be able to converse freely and fluently with the elderly and also be able to understand them well

The activity itself:

Before the visitAt the day care centreAfter the visit
In class prepare some questions to ask the elderly people. Questions could focus on finding out information about their lives and aim at collecting material for a bibliography or they could focus on the elderly people's reasons for migrating and the difficulties encountered in the beginning while settling down. Individual students sit down with one person each and carry out a short interview of about 30 minutes. At the end the conversation often continues on different topics and photos are taken. Students write a short piece about the elderly person with whom they have conversed.

Creation of an electronic newsletter

In this activity, two electronic newsletters were created and put on the web. To achieve this, small teams of students across all year levels took on different tasks, such as designing the newsletter and writing up short articles, editing (Year 11 and 12 students).

Frequency: maybe one each semester

Student teams: Preferably a combination of students with and without a home background in the community language

The articles can be on varying subtopics related to community resources, such as music, singers and clubs, films and videos, festivals, shopping, restaurants and food, and jokes in the community language, but they can also be related to school activities, such as sporting events and concerts. For the lower year levels students can be encouraged to use materials already developed for class assessment tasks, while higher level students and students with a home background in the community language can write new articles.

For the design and set-up of the web page it is possible to involve students who are doing an IT subject and who can use the experience as part of their work experience for the IT subject.

Example activity 2

Lunchtime meetings

Start and develop the newsletter by holding short lunch-time meetings once a fortnight and by getting as many students involved as possible. The LOTE teacher could be responsible for the meetings.

The beginning

At the beginning it is important to find out what students are interested in writing about and encourage less able students to edit already completed work.

Keep going

Once different groups have been allocated different tasks, it is important to keep the lunch-time meetings going so that students can write their articles in an environment where they can seek help and advice from older students, students with a home background in the community language and the teacher.

Design and set up of the web page

The articles are then sent to the person responsible for the design and set up of the web page. If there are no students interested in that task the teacher might have to take it over. Nevertheless, the students should still be involved in choosing the web design (colours, background, format etc.).

The end

At the end, when the newsletter is ready to be uploaded onto the Internet, a little party can be organised during which students can view their finished newsletter.