Making a Language-World of Difference During Foreign Language Week
Celebrating National Foreign Language Week
The Middle School World Languages Department celebrated National Foreign Language Week with a full agenda. In addition to cultural discussions and wearing the colors of flags from another country, the students were engaged in fun activities that stimulated multicultural awareness.
Middle School French teacher Jennifer Cox and Spanish/French/L.A.C.E.S. teacher Kristin Chirichella enumerated the weeklong activities. Each grade made Mardi Gras masks. The Sixth-grade held a French Dance Party, while the Seventh graders were introduced to Zumba, the Spanish exercise dance craze that borrows dance styles (cumbia, salsa, merengue, mambo, flamenco, chachacha, reggaeton, soca, samba, hip hop music, axé music and tango) and is performed to upbeat music.
The poster contest promoting this year’s theme—Open Your Mind to Language—appealed to artistic students in all grades. The language-related Scavenger Hunt (“Find a teacher/staff member who...”) awakened the students’ adventurous spirits and got them out of the classrooms in search of answers. They had great fun discovering which teacher or faculty member had “studied French, Spanish, Italian or German,” “can say hello or goodbye in another language, “has a friend or family member who uses another language for their job,” or “has been to two or more foreign countries,” which were just a few of sixteen clues.
Mrs. Chirichella engaged her Spanish students in creative play. Using their imaginations to simulate a car ride, the students listened to Spanish Radio and “experienced” sights and sounds of Spanish-speaking countries. Her Seventh graders also enjoyed crafting an Hispanic "blessing"—called Ojo de Dios (God’s Eye)—which is comprised of yarn woven around sticks that is “traditionally made by a family member when a child is born,” explained Mrs. Chirichella. “The colors all have meaning and they are added as the child grows.”
At the Eight grade level, the week included discussions about the benefits of being bilingual and conversations about becoming multilingual by acquiring language proficiency in a greater variety of languages. Spanish classes explored the cultural aspects of bullfighting and the French classes took a virtual filed trip to Paris. The Eighth graders rounded out the week by giving the morning announcements in both French and Spanish.
The weeklong experience made a world of difference in bringing World Language awareness to the Middle School students.