Life

Halcyon House News

The weekly church services were provided by minister Karen Bates, representing the Washington Mennonite Church. The sermon was titled “His Eye is on the Sparrow.” Scripture from Matthew 10: 29-31. Mary Lou Farmer served as pianist, and Roger Farmer, song leader.

Halcyon House resident, Clyde Pearce, hosts a Spanish Wayfarers Association every Friday morning at 10 a.m. in the Marshall Game Room at Halcyon House. Recently, the class members have been covering a section on identifying parts of the body using Power Point, YouTube, exercises in class and a flannel story board where they learned the names of various parts of the body. They have just begun a section emphasizing conversations in Spanish, with handouts and label exercises to reinforce their learning. Prior to that, the group completed a section on numbers, counting and measurements in Spanish. The current effort will be focusing on actual conversations so that their vocabulary not only continues to grow, but the Spanish Wayfarers are able to put it to practical use. For this phase the group is divided into smaller groups of two to four people at a table using as much Spanish as they are able, mixing with English when the Spanish word is not yet known. Those gaps filled in with English will be points to be discovered so that in the future the conversation will become exclusively in Spanish. Although some refer to the group as a “Spanish class” it is really a gathering of people learning to speak Spanish. It differs from a formal “class” because the group did not begin learning the alphabet, grammar, conjugations, gender and irregular verbs as a standard Spanish class would typically do. All of that is important, of course. But the Spanish Wayfarers learn it as they need it, bit-by-bit approaching the language as they did our original language (English is this case) by listening and mimicking what they hear. This is just as in the first five years of life when they learned quite a bit of communications in our original language without any formal instruction. The group has no examinations and the pace is whatever works for the individual. A gathering may be missed and the group continues, just as a child might miss a segment of conversation while learning their original language. Eventually it all comes around again. The class members learn as their time and abilities allow them too.

The group has doubled in size since it began, and half of the group members are from outside Halcyon. Some have been using their (limited) skills outside and found it works for them. Native speakers are encouraging in those situations and offer suggestions to improve linguistic skills. The group would like very much to include native speakers who could provide much assistance in practicing hearing and speaking the language. Since listening is so essential to get it right, participants are encouraged to watch Spanish language television to hear it spoken by native speakers. It doesn’t matter if they are unable to translate most of it at this phase. Just hearing the pronunciation and identifying what words or phrases they already know is a big help. Likewise, the class members practice reading using the local Spanish language newspapers available in several local grocery stores. The Spanish Wayfarers Association is free and open to the public. For more information, please contact Halcyon House at 319-653-8453.

Happy Birthday wishes go out this week to Melva Mineart-Triplett, Bonnie Buck, and Marylin Weatherman.