St. Rita Catholic School

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¡¡HABLEMOS ESPAÑOL!! (Let's speak Spanish!)

¡Bienvenidos a la clase de español! (Welcome to Spanish class!) 
Hola... I'm Señora Schweitzer and I have the pleasure of teaching 6th - 8th grade Spanish.  I am originally from central Illinois, but have now been living in Dallas for 19 years.  I love all things Spanish... the language, the various cultures, the FOOD. etc.  I especially love any opportunity to travel to any of the 21 Spanish-speaking countries.  Spain is probably the most near and dear to my heart since I did my study abroad experiences there in college (a semester in Seville and a summer in Madrid).  I have additionally made it to 8 other Spanish-speaking countries and have loved them all!   I am married to a wonderful guy (with a German last name, go figure!).  We do not have children of our own, but enjoy traveling the world together.  Aside from traveling and enjoying good food, I also love to run and do yoga.  I have completed 7 marathons to date: Dallas, NYC, Chicago, Philadelphia and Boston (3x). This will be my 16th year here at St. Rita!  I LOVE the SRS community and all of my fellow faculty members.  It's like one big family and I can't imagine teaching anywhere else!!  
For the past 11 years I have been actively seeking out and embracing SLA (second language acquisition) research to understand how the brain truly processes and acquires language. Because of this and the compelling results I've personally experienced, I have been implementing strategies that allow for more authentic acquisition of language (in the "input based" fashion that we learn our first language) versus the traditional grammar/vocab-driven format (which focuses more on rote memorization and forced output).  I want my students to acquire Spanish and build the mental representation in their heads that will allow them speak freely like they do with their first language.  Loads of grammar rules and memorized words do not magically translate into fluency.  Our traditional method of teaching language historically treats language as if it were subject matter, when in reality it's a skill.  Expecting fluency to come forth from heavily focusing on grammar rules and lengthy vocab lists is like telling someone how to form all the notes on an instrument and then actually handing them the instrument expecting them to be able to play it instantly (now that they know the rules!).  Language is a skill that must be acquired over time.  Acquisition requires a LOT of time simply taking it all in like we did in the first few years of our childhood before we started to actually string together real & complex sentences in English.  A name for this approach is TCI (Teaching with Comprehensible Input) or CI (Comprehensible Input-based) and is the result of years of studies rooted in the works of linguistic researchers James J. Asher and Stephen Krashen (among others).  Some of the key techniques that I utilize are TPR and TPRS (collaborative/immersive storytelling) and lots of reading.  This style of teaching aims to mimic a very comprehensible immersion experience. The teacher attempts to limit vocabulary and remains fully comprehensible through (gestures, pictures, word walls, etc.) while telling compelling stories or leading the class through communicative tasks.  In an effort to build greater community and to have more room to move around in my small classroom, I decided a couple years ago remove desks from my room and just use chairs.  We are DESKLESS!  This helps us to foster an environment that is heavily focused on listening, comprehending and ultimately speaking the language with greater ease as we build community together in the classroom.  
Students in all of my classes are asked to select a Spanish name for themselves and that is the name that they will go by for their entire 3 or 4 years with me (so choose wisely!).  Below is a website that I recommend for students to research a list of options for our name selection day. 
Abajo hay un buen sitio web para buscar nombres españoles y lo que significan: 
(Below is a great website for looking up Spanish names and what they mean:)
Word Reference is a great online dictionary with lots of great examples of usage and a message board where you can submit language quandaries to native speakers who will answer back with their help and suggestions. is a great site for getting extra help/tutorials on grammar topics of any level of study... there are also units on vocabulary with fun games to play.  
A great online "Rosetta Stone" like program with good activities and lots of audible conversations. 
A fun website to compliment any language learning with games and vocabulary building.  They have a great app for your smart phone as well!!  =)
Students will have online accounts and be able to access the story videos of their choice along with all of the games and nugget activities that accompany them.  (p.s... I hung out with Señor Wooly this summer at my conferences!!)
Verbix is a great place for help with conjugating verbs... and not just in Spanish!
YOUTUBE VIDEOS by...  Basho & Friends, Señor Wooley, Señor Jordan, Rockalingua, Kidsimmersion
SPANISH SYMBOL CODES - á é í  ó  ú  ñ  ¿  ¡  ü
The attachment to the right has the keyboard codes for creating acute accent marks, tildes, umlauts and upside down question/exclamation marks for typing in Spanish.  Or you can try the following link: