2011 Hall of Fame Nominee

Amy Velasquez

Evanston Middle School
Evanston, WY
2011 Finalist from PNCFL


“In my classroom I use many different teaching methods to engage all of my learners. I am aware that all students learn differently so I try to incorporate as many different methods as I can in one 40-minute lesson. For example, students use TPR to review the Quinceañera vocabulary. They love to be able to move around while learning the words instead of just sitting in their seats. I also bring in a little competition as the kids are “challenging” each other by using their vocabulary words. They really seem to enjoy the competition and it encourages them to study and participate in class. The communicative activity allows for students to use the vocabulary to find information. This helps them understand that by using the target language they can get their needs met, meet new people and be able to communicate for themselves without the need of a translator while traveling around the world. The Quinceañera Project Challenge allows the kids to focus on a cultural aspect of the target language while working together to create a real-world presentation that will actually be used. They take great pride in putting together the best project and in the process they learn about all of the cultural aspects of the Mexican tradition of the Quinceañera. They use skills that will be essentials in the 21st century including research skills, global and cultural awareness skills, problem solving skills, computer skills, communication skills, presentation skills and teamwork.

All of the projects I have my students do encourage them to continue in their study of Spanish as I try to peak their interest in the culture and how it is so closely tied to the language they are learning. Once students are able to make that connection, they become very self-motivated in their learning because they see that by learning the language so many doors of opportunity are opened. They are more valuable in the job market, they can travel throughout the world, they see the value of knowing about other cultures and they are a vital part of our quickly changing 21st century. In the words of Frank Smith, “One language sets you in a corridor for life. Two languages open every door along the way.” Knowing more than one language is like opening new doors to the world and I hope to help my students see that tremendous benefit.”