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Profile: Barbara Norman

Barbara Norman came to us last year in the middle of the school year. She has a BA in Linguistics from the University of Hawaii and Masters in Education from Fox University in Oregon. She taught high school Spanish for four years while in Oregon and also created middle school Spanish programs here in California. She has also worked as an ESL teacher in multiple schools.

She has experience in supporting adults with both acquisition of Spanish and teaching English as a second language. This year she spent part of the summer researching a new curriculum that would best work for our students. Below is a brief summary outlining the start of the year.

Ms. Norman writes:

Spanish 1 & 2 are using the same e-Text at this time. For most students in Spanish 1, the content is all new. The publisher is presenting materials of interest to youth, beginning with social situations, and interacting with others. Our primary focus will be on speaking the language and understanding others. Spanish 2 students are reviewing rather quickly from the beginning of the text to assure the foundation is established before moving into new, higher-level language situations.

Twice a week, Spanish 1 is the first class of the day, so I am approaching this class a bit like a homeroom experience. Since it is the first meeting of the day, it gives the students a chance to check in with each other and catch up while providing me the opportunity to get to know students a little better.

In both classes, homework is a mixture of e-Text activities, IXL practice, and completely original assignments that express their talents. Some students are still a bit shy to practice speaking in Spanish in each class, but they are warming up. They will become more comfortable as we move along.

I chose the publisher SAVVAS (formerly Pearson) because their curriculum is youth-oriented and relates to what teenagers are interested in and would likely talk about with their peers. The images are current representations of international settings, and there is some strong cultural material that is fascinating (the Mayan calendar, for example). The text has its own assessment program that relates directly to the course content, with preparation activities that help inform the assessments.

I am thoroughly enjoying the spirit of the classes and the student’s enthusiasm. We’ll enjoy art and music and foods along the way, and I hope the students will share this experience with their family!