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Spiral Previously Learned Material Into Each Lesson

In second language learning it is evident how important repetition is. We have written a lot in this blog about the value of repetition in our preschool and elementary Spanish curriculum. One of the best practices for the Sonrisas Spanish Curriculum is to spiral previously learned material into each lesson through songs, games, lesson activities, and stories. Directions for the Circle Time segment on the Lesson Procedure page for every lesson say, “Warm up with songs, chants, and poems.” and “Review with games and activities from previous lessons.” What this means is that during Circle Time you will always start by redoing the songs, games, and activities that you did in previous lessons. These are best done at the beginning of Circle Time as students are familiar with the content which makes it a good warm up practice. Then, when students are warmed up, you can move on to new content—new songs and the Lesson Activity.

Spiraling previously learned material into your lesson each class gives students the opportunity to really go deep with foundational language. They develop the ability to understand, ask, and answer a variety of questions. Many of the activities in Circle Time engage students in the interpersonal and interpretive modes of communication. When students repeat these activities class after class, they become proficient in the vocabulary and phrases that are repeated each day which allows them to not only use them in the predictable contexts of the activity, but then also apply them to unfamiliar contexts. Sentence structures and inherent grammatical concepts are also easily transferred to other contexts when students become solid in them through daily repetition. It really can’t be stressed enough how important the repetition is in order to gain solid foundational benefits for students. When we talk about repetition in this context, we are not talking about doing a song or activity two or three times. We are talking about repeating it for weeks and months of classes. In our own classes, there are some songs and activities that we do in every class for the entire school year.

Practically, for your lessons, spiraling of previously learned material means that the Circle Time segment grows in length as you move through the lessons. This gives you flexibility in implementation moving forward. The growing amount of material means you can spend more time with your students engaging in meaningful interpersonal communication during Circle Time. You may even consider doing Circle Time for an entire class session from time to time. There will obviously come a time for most activities when you have repeated them enough that it is time to move on and stop doing them. You can always revisit these activities at any time throughout the year. This allows you to regulate the length of Circle Time based on your scheduling needs.

Spiraling previously learned material into each lesson is a powerful strategy to give your students consistent practice and proficiency in a variety of language structures. When you integrate this best practice into your lessons you’ll be amazed at the growth you see in your students over the course of a school year. It is definitely worth it.

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