Foreign Language

Chair: Elana Birman
ebriman@flatbush.org

Department Goals

The Foreign Language Department prides itself in being a state-of-the-art endeavor which combines the expertise of native teachers in the target language with multimedia educational tools such as modern textbooks, CDs, interactive programs and language labs. Our goals are to provide a fluent use of the language as well as to immerse our students in the cultural experience. Part of our curriculum is also to provide our students with what it’s like to be Jewish in the native culture. Due to the caliber of our language instruction, our students are eligible to participate in the National Spanish Examination offered by the American Association of Teachers of Spanish and Portuguese (AATSP) which results in high-ranking Gold, Silver and Bronze medal winners every year.

Our mode of teaching relays three levels which are tiered as following:

1.      Speaking component on a one-on-one basis with the teacher
2.      Auditory Comprehension and Composition
3.      Uniform Reading Comprehension and Vocabulary & Grammar fill-ins.

Freshman Curriculum

Level 1 Spanish

By the end of the academic year, students will be able to converse in Spanish on topics such as food, clothing, sports, school, family, dates and events and other activities. Grammatically, students will be proficient in Present, Simple and Progressive tenses as well as Preterit as a Past tense.

Throughout the year, students are required to prepare mini projects on various vocabulary groups as they are studied. At the end of the year, students must present a student group project centered on a specific theme that is chosen every year which incorporates different vocabulary groups that are chosen by each student group. We also use smart board interactive video to learn help actualize train stations in different locations.

Elective:
Electives for Freshman with any heritage language can further their language in that language by independent study. 
Ie, French, Russian, Arabic, Portuguese, Dutch.

Sophomore Curriculum

Level 2 Spanish.

The first semester incorporates an extensive review of Level 1 and an introduction of the Imperfect Past tense as well as new vocabulary groups. Students are required to keep a journal to help hone their writing skills and they present Parashat Ha’Shavuah in Spanish on a weekly basis. In the second semester, students are introduced to the Future and Conditional tenses, as well as all the Perfect tenses. The Imperative mood is also covered.

Students are also required to present mini projects throughout the year and at the end of the year must present two student-group projects: a written project on a Spanish speaking country which must include a Jewish component and an oral project based on a vocabulary group which may be presented live or by video recorded media.

Junior Curriculum

Students are provided the choice of continuing to Level 3 Spanish where they take the New York State Regents Examination. Alternately, students may choose from Introductory Levels of French, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese, Arabic or Yiddish.

 Level 3 Spanish

Reviews all tenses in all three moods: Indicative, Imperative and Subjunctive, as well as introduces literary components. All groups of vocabulary are reviewed and are applied in various contexts. Special projects are assigned throughout the year and a writing project is required at the end of the year on a specific topic.

Senior Curriculum

Students are provided the choice of continuing to Advanced Placement Spanish where they may take the AP Examination in May which provides college credits.  Alternately, students who took an introductory level of a language in their Junior year may continue to Level 2 or may take an introductory level of French, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese Arabic or Yiddish in their Senior year.

The AP Level Spanish curriculum at the Yeshivah of Flatbush was approved by the College Board Audit Committee and meets their rigorous requirements. This curriculum perfects all four skills of language learning: listening, reading, writing and speaking.

Extra-Curricular Language Activities
Spanish Literature Elective Course, Arabic Elective Course and Theater Performances

Upcoming Trip to Argentina & Spain:  The purpose of this trip is for students is to have full immersion in language and explore the culture. We have also combined it with a particularly unique Jewish experience by combining our students with the students from  The School of Talipot in Buenos Aires. There, they deliver Divrai Torahs in English as our students recite them in Spanish. This year, Spain will be in conjunction with Sephardic heritage class.

Foreign Language after High School

When our students graduate from our school, not only will our students have been given the ability to understand and master another language, but they will be able to connect with other cultures and values, the very root of tolerance. By exposing language to our students, we are providing our students with an edge to get better jobs and to have outstanding positions in the community and the world wherever it is that they choose to go