Ellis brings Spanish to sixth graders

Published 6:46 am Wednesday, October 28, 2009

“Hola,” Hiedy Morey says to her sixth-grade students as they enter the classroom.

“Buenas tardes,” she says.

“Hola Senora Morey,” they reply.

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Morey teaches sixth and eighth grade Spanish at Ellis Middle School.

This is the first year the school has offered sixth grade Spanish, and next year they will offer it to the seventh grade.

The eighth graders also take one quarter of the language.

“It’s called Exploratory Spanish for the eighth graders, and it is kind of an introduction to prepare them for high school,” Morey said.

The sixth grade class is not new to Spanish. They have studied it in elementary school in the district’s Foreign Language in the Elementary Schools program.

When this class moved to the middle school in September, the program grew with them.

Spanish is a required class, and Morey said the majority of students are very interested in it.

In high school, students can choose to study Spanish or French, she said.

Estephani Morales was sitting in the front row Monday.

She said Spanish is her second favorite class. Physical Education gets first rank.

“It is fun to learn about different things in Spanish, and watch movies in Spanish,” the 11-year-old said.

Paul Mason, 12, said he likes the movies too.

“And, I am learning a lot of Spanish. It’s fun,” he said.

Last year the school also offered a Spanish Culture Club. This year, it will shift to a World Culture Club, directed by Morey and Raquel Kahle, an Ellis success coach. The club has not begun meeting yet.

In the classroom, students learn about culture too.

Posters that read “Mexico,” “Espana,” “Peru,” “Venezuela,” and “Costa Rica,” line the room’s walls, hinting at the vast expanse of the language.

Another one says, “Comida Regional,” and has photos of different meals from various spanish-speaking countries.

“Culture is rolled in with the language lessons,” Morey said.

The eighth graders study the famous Spanish novel Don Quixote, and learn about the historical culture of Spain, she said.

Back in the sixth grade, Sean Baker, 11, said one of his favorite things is learning about the different cultures.

“Plus, it is cool to have a second language,” he said.

Tim Farrell, 11, said “I like to learn about other countries.”

“Someday, I would like to learn German too,” he added.

Brandi Meyers, 11, said Spanish can be hard, but it is worth the effort.

“I get to learn a new language, and that’s nice.”

Jamie Bakke, 11, said that she hopes someday she can travel to a Spanish-speaking country.

“It’s also fun to speak Spanish with people here. I really want to take it in high school,” she said.

All of the kids seem to like practicing their language skills.

“Hasta luego!” “Adios!” They say, with friendly waves, to send off classroom visitors.