The World Language (WL) Department continues to implement many Keys to Literacy (KTL) strategies throughout the spring semester. Continuous collaboration within the WL Department highlights the success that many of us have been experiencing with various KTL templates and resources that support our learners’ organization, reading and writing skills in the language classroom. Most notably, this past month Mrs. DiCroce and Mrs. Dacey introduced present tense stem-changing verbs to their Spanish I students. Stem-changing verbs can be a tedious concept for language learners to master, therefore it was important that their students were able to 1) understand the reason why certain verbs change their stem when conjugated in the present tense and 2) comprehend which verbs change from e → ie, o → ue, and u → ue. For that reason, Mrs. DiCroce and Mrs. Dacey decided to explore the use of top-down webs to organize the material studied for students to visually categorize the newly introduced verb conjugations. The example here presents an overview of the concept studied along with examples of verbs that fall under each category. Students designed their own top-down web, which included examples of verbs presented in class placed under the appropriate conjugation heading in their top-down web.
Not only is the categorizing of new grammar concepts a crucial component in beginner Spanish classes, Spanish IV students have also explored the use of top-down webs when studying the subjunctive mood in Spanish. After Profesora De Sousa and Mrs. DiCroce presented the subjunctive mood along with the mnemonic device WEIRDO to better categorize verbs and phrases of volition, their students categorized the concepts into a top-down web (an example is shown below).