When learning a new language new words must be repeated many times before they are moved in to long term memory. In elementary Spanish, we focus on the most frequently used words in the language (the top 100, make up around 60% of all spoken language), and the most frequently used grammar phrases in both past and present tense. This is great as the students are exposed to a lot of important input that will unlock a large chunk of the language for them. However, our brains also get bored with repetitive tasks, so we need to keep things fresh in order to keep our brains focused. One major component of the elementary classroom is to use these words and phrases in stories. While the stories may repeat a lot of the same vocabulary, the students get to "choose" the story. Giving them creative control, and making the stories about them keeps students very interested. Learning language through a story does even more then that, student brains mimic what is going on in the story, and actually tie the information to new places in the brain. This increases retention, interest, and makes it a lot more fun. The article below is a great explanation on exactly what is happening in the brain as students process stories. ¡Disfruta! Enjoy!
I am in my 11th year teaching in Saline. I've taught: 3rd grade, 5th grade, Spanish/French/German Intro, Quest, Middle School Spanish, and Elementary Spanish.