laMaestraLoca

St. Martin's Episcopal School

 

Language Acquisition through
​CI and OWL Methodologies
 

When I grew up I was in a grammar school, which in Britain was advanced comparable to the modern secondary school. I was in the low end of learning abilities when I was placed in that school so I really struggled through from the age of 11-17. Invariably I sat at the back of the class not feeling like I could ask questions, in so much that I was actually embarrassed to, and I was embarrassed to make mistakes or be teased by classmates. In addition, we were mandated to learn Welsh. It was compulsory. Whenever I’ve been forced to do something, I rebelled. In contrast, this learning experience has been very positive for a number of reasons. First off, you feel almost part of a team. You are not judged, so many different learning forms are in front of you. You have visual, you have kinesthetic, you have auditory, you are learning so many different ways and it really caters to so many different people. I also believe that I am at the stage in my life that I don’t really care what people think about me, so I have no problem taking more risks. I think you learn quicker with Annabelle’s teaching style because it is entertaining and it is fun. It is fun to learn, from start to finish of class and everyone is engaged. The child that normally would sit at the back of the classroom, has no choice and no option but to be involved, and actually wants nothing but just that. You can’t escape it, you are all participating you are all doing, you are all moving. You can’t not be involved. It is exciting to learn again at my age and more importantly have confidence in public to ask questions in Spanish and speak with people, where I wouldn’t have dreamed of it 6 months ago. I feel like within a year I could putz around any Spanish speaking country and be a successful communicator. (Adult student, 2016)

Ms. Allen’s method of teaching is not just painless it is diametrically opposite to every other teaching style I have ever been exposed to. It is FUN. It is engaging. It is stimulating. It is encouraging. It is inspiring. I started out going because I felt I HAD to. I needed to. Now I WANT to go. I crave the class time. I miss it when a class is postponed or I can’t attend. I am absorbing without even being aware of it. This is a method for the future. We are fortunate enough to have it now. Everyone is equal, comfortable and no one is judging. There are no mistakes which is completely freeing. One can open one’s mouth fearlessly. After a handful of classes (20?) I actively seek opportunities to use my Spanish. I think in a year I could circumlocute my way through any Spanish speaking country! (Adult Student, 2016)

My son is a great kid who enjoys school, but also suffers from Attention Deficit Disorder which makes it difficult for him to engage and excel in schoolwork that is not challenging or of interest to him. Going into this past year, he had never taken a foreign language class and was dreading Spanish to the point that he asked my wife and me to get him out of it. Recognizing how important it is to develop mastery of foreign languages, we insisted he take the class; something that turned out to be the best decision we've made in his young academic career. Ms. Allen's unique and energetic approach to teaching turned XXX from a student who asked to get out of Spanish into a student who excelled in class, has learned the language and calls Spanish his favorite subject. -Parent, Denver, Colorado (2014)

I understand how challenging and exhausting teaching can be, regardless of students' ages or levels of engagement. Sadly, classrooms worldwide are often staffed with teachers who are mediocre at what they do, and who lake the drive and passion necessary to become extraordinary. Ms. Allen is different; her passion, skills, and innovation as a teacher translate directly to student achievement. - Parent, Denver, Colorado (2014)

Hi Annabelle - I just wanted to send you a note of thanks and encouragement.  Both of our kids (Pre-K and 1 st ) are in your class and are always talking about how much fun they have! They both come home counting in Spanish and talking about the other new words they have learned. I've noticed that XXX is actually practicing his Spanish more this year than he did last and I believe you have something to with his interest. 
Thanks so much for sending out the newsletter too! (Parent, 2015)

Hi Annabelle!
Thanks for everything that you are doing! My boys are very much enjoying Spanish this year. In the past my oldest has complained about how boring it was and how it was his least favorite class. This year not only have they said that they like Spanish class but I have found them experimenting with using the language at home! We play UNO all the time and last week while playing they started calling out the card colors in Spanish instead of English! They have been finding reasons to count things in Spanish and trying to remember the Spanish words for things. It is great to see them so excited about it! Thanks for doing such a great job! (Parent of K, and 1 st
grade students, 2015)

Thank you, Annabelle!  My son XXX loves your class! He thinks you’re cooler than sliced bread ;-) (3 rd grade parent, 2015) 

So, since you are not doing the day of the dead project with the k classes. I decided to do it at home with trey. Not sure if this is what you had planned, but we had a nice time. We also found a present left by XXX. We unwrapped it and really had a special day. Thank you for enlightening us! It will now be a tradition in our home. (Kindergarten parent, 2015)

Well, whatever you're doing keep it up because XXX loves your class! From her feedback at home I get the impression that you must be a very enthusiastic and passionate teacher. Thank you for making learning fun for her! (Parent, 2015)

I cannot express enough how much my kids enjoy you and your class. its the first time I hear them saying Spanish words around the house and looking up Spanish videos. You are truly making an impact. I hope you feel at home at STM. We certainly cannot loose you :) (4 th Grade Parent, 2016)

Love your newsletter and energy. Your way of educating brings something super special to our kids! Gracias!!! (4 th grade parent, 2016)


​Thank you, Annabelle!  The children are so fortunate to have such an engaging, fun Spanish teacher!!!!!!!  (2 nd grade Parent, 2016)


Maestra Allen – I so love reading the newsletter.  Your approach to learning language is remarkable and I’m sure is inspiring the children to want to learn the language – or any language.  What a beautiful experience you must have enjoyed with the Day of the Dead celebration.  We often don’t think that children remember family members they’ve lost, but they feel it very deeply.  Look forward to talking with you next week.  (4 th grade parent, 2015)

Ms. Allen, My son XXX is in 4th Grade at Saint Martin’s and I wanted to take a minute and tell you how much I appreciate the monthly newsletter you send out for the lower School Spanish program. It is refreshing to know what is going on in his Spanish Class and I appreciate they time and effort you put into the newsletter and the class. XXX shared his excitement of your celebration (and teaching) about the “Day of the Dead”. He was teaching us facts for days before and after the celebration. Peace (4 th grade parent, 2015)

As always, thank you for the wonderful newsletter.  Your enthusiasm is infectious.  No wonder the children are learning so much!  (4 th grade parent, 2016)

I really enjoy your newsletter! My girls love having you as their teacher. Thank you! (3 rd grade parent, 2016)

My daughter looks forward to Spanish class everyday, in no small part because she adores her teacher. Ms. Allen is a wonderful, engaging teacher and her enthusiasm and energy is contagious. My daughter has picked up Spanish quickly and painlessly this year. I have to also
mention that my husband is enjoying (and learning lots!) in her adult Spanish classes. We are so lucky to have Ms. Allen at St. Martin's! (5 th grade parent, 2016)

Sweetest, most caring teacher! The kids love her and they are actually singing and speakingSpanish! St Martins and all the kids are lucky to have her. (5 th grade parent, 2015)

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