SiDES (Spanish in Davidson Elementary School), formerly know as FLES (Foreign Language in the Elementary School), is a volunteer partnership between Davidson College and Davidson Elementary School that began in the Fall of 2012, building on a forty-year relationship between the two institutions. It works to address the lack of foreign language education in public elementary schools in Mecklenburg County. Davidson College students volunteer their time once a week to teach Spanish to the 1st – 5th grade students at the local elementary school. The volunteers have diverse backgrounds and experiences with Spanish. Some are Hispanic Studies or Latin American Studies majors, others have spent a semester or two abroad, some are Bonner Scholars fulfilling their community service, and still others are students in Child Development. Professor Kietrys designed the curriculum and website and directs the program. The volunteers work with students in Kietrys’s SPA 311: Teaching Spanish in the Elementary School. All participants work in grade-level teams to design their own lesson plans following a common structure that includes a warm-up, review, presentation of new material, and a closing activity. The elementary school teachers and students are thoroughly enjoying the experience!
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