Celebrating 20 years of FLES

Celebrating 20 years of FLES


FLES stands for Foreign Language in the
Elementary School. In this district for the last
19 years, I’ve been a FLES teacher. We teach Spanish to grades 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. In third grade, we give them a flex Mandarin Chinese experience, and in fourth grade we give them a flex Italian experience, and in 5th grade French. Today, being a global learner is
extremely important so it helps children see there’s more than just math and
science, language can take you places as well. The goal was to introduce young students languages. I just get to learn new languages, spanish, chinese. I was really excited about that! We’re learning Chinese. Chinese is super cool. They have “su” at the end and in English we don’t have that Students have a wonderful sense of languages when they start very young and they also have a respect for people who speak other
languages. Regardless of what language the children choose at a later stage in life they have a base of a second language and research has shown
that learning a second language improves academically for all students. We sing, we dance, we talk, we play games, it’s just it’s really an amazing program. We’re practicing French. Everybody gets to appreciate one
another. It’s not just about talking to someone, it’s really understanding the
different cultures. When they continue their journey in language and when they
travel to these countries, they are able to look back and say, wow I started
learning this in first grade. So many children, they don’t have that
opportunity. Students right now are learning Italian in 4th grade. We’re doing a little exploratory, so they can choose what languages they
eventually want to take in the middle school. We’re trying to figure out
what these words mean. We’re learning Italian conversations. It’s really fun. At the beginning of the year we
asked why is language important and they come up with a whole bunch of
information as to why. Whether it’s to travel to another country, whether it’s to get into a college to have conversations with friends. My dad’s
Italian and then I can learn to speak his language. They do seem interested in
it at a younger age. At this age the kids are sponges, so to be able to give them all I can give them and make them not fear learning a language, to me is a gift
that I give my students every day. Because our students are exposed to
language at the elementary level what we see up at the high school are students
that are very comfortable with the target language. It’s second nature to
them at this point language learning they’re not afraid of the risk, willing
to go outside of their comfort zone in order to make connections. It’s good to be bilingual because you can travel and do whatever you want specially in the
workforce. For the third year now, we’ve offered the New York State Seal of Biliteracy that provides students with a literal seal that goes on their diploma
that recognizes their language ability that they are now biliterate. This is
something that we’re trying to push as a global initiative here at our
school, so it’s not just a high school initiative, it’s truly a K-12 initiative. 21st century learning is about creating global citizens and learning about the
culture of other countries. And learning the language of people around the world, helps our students to be global citizens.

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