Little Language Academy
Big Language Opportunities at the
Little Language Academy
To learn about language and cultures, thirty-eight Sayville elementary students enrolled in the Little Language Academy, a one-year new afterschool program.
Each Tuesday in March, the Sayville High School Senior Lounge was transformed into a cultural-exchange convention center where third grade students, culled from all three elementary schools, were welcomed by Sayville LOTE High School teachers and LOTE High School student volunteers.
On the first day of this simulated world-travel experience, the participants were given “suitcases” and “passports” to decorate and use throughout the four-week program. Each week, whether the language was Spanish, French, Italian, or Russian, the LLA students engaged in activities that included:
- Dialogues: Learning Hello, Good-bye, What is your name? and How are you? in any language is important, but the students were also given LOTE-equivalent names for an exotic flair.
- Lessons: Audiovisual stimulation is a great learning aid, especially if it is filtered through fun activities. In four languages the students were entertained by
- (Spanish) a song for body parts and a relay-race to place a “Band-Aid” on the particular body part named;
- (French) a song “Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes” and a game “Am Stram Gram” or Eeeney, Meeney, Miney, Moe;
- (Italian) videos of colors and numbers and a relay-race to pop balloons filled with numbers;
- (Russian) animal video for numbers and a relay race of numbers.
- Cultural Projects:
- (Spanish) La Tomatina is a tomato-throwing festival in Spain. Rather than make a mess, the students colored pictures of tomatoes as a suitcase decoration;
- (French) Once students saw a video about the iconic Eiffel Tower, they were given a chance to construct their own with a cut-out project that included fun with markers and glitter;
- (Italian) Along with identifying Pizza ingredients to make simulated pizzas, students listened to the Dean Martin song That’s Amore with the famous lyrics: “When the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie, that’s amore…”
- (Russian) Learning about the Matryoshki Dolls (nesting dolls) included a narrated story and coloring pages.
- Snack and stickers for “passports” were enjoyed.
- Song: “Hello to all the children of the world.” At the culmination of the program, the students performed the song they had prepared for the parents along with the slide show that depicted their previous weeks’ activities.
The Little Language Academy afterschool program was funded by The Friends of Sayville Education Foundation*, spearheaded by LOTE Department Chairperson Lisa Gray, and enlisted the services of Sayville LOTE High School teachers who purchased supplies and organized the fun-filled activities. Not only did the LLA achieve its goal to awaken interests in languages other than English, but the world travelers also had great fun doing it. Feedback from the students and their parents included such comments as, “My son enjoyed this event so very much. Thanks so much for inspiring him!” (Birgit Daniels); “Lily loved it. Thank you so much!” (Heather Corcoran).
*Many of the parents who signed up their children for the LLA were happy to contribute the suggested $25 donation to the Friends of Sayville Education Foundation which offset the cost of snacks and materials and helps to fund other educational events.