A Week in Translation with LOTE

  • LOTE: A Week in Translation

    For National Foreign Language or LOTE (Languages Other Than English) Week, Sayville Middle and High School students enjoyed weeklong activities to keep the theme foremost in their focus.

    Daily broadcasts in Spanish and French of school announcements helped students acquire an ear for the languages, while the walls were decorated throughout the building offering visual cues. A stroll down the LOTE hallway was a showcase of student artwork and themes that included Seventh-grade posters illustrating common idioms in English and their closest versions in Spanish and in French.

    Guests were invited to Eighth-grade classes for demonstrations in speaking. LOTE teacher Annamaria Martin noted, “one parent taught a Russian Lesson and Middle School music teacher Dr. Morgo gave a lesson in Italian. Some Eight-graders volunteered to give presentations about countries such as Aruba and the Dominican Republic. Others shared with their classmates the languages their families speak at home, such as Italian, German and Urdu.  Two students recorded their family members speaking with them in the foreign language and played recordings for their classmates.”

    In addition, classes enjoyed the video clips promoting Foreign Language study.  A favorite was the Academy Award winning song “Let it GO” from the movie “Frozen” sung in 25 different languages!

    During a class lesson on Latin American culture prior to LOTE Week, one student commented about an event called El Día del Niño (The Day of the Child) that many countries celebrated to promote literacy: On this day, grandparents and parents take special time to read books to their children. This remark inspired a new activity for LOTE week—reading aloud to the students in three languages, French, Spanish, and English. This year’s book, chosen for the new event, was:  Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst  and illustrated by Ray Cruz. The students were fascinated by the retelling and enjoyed hearing the different pronunciations in each foreign language.

    Rounding out the week was the highly anticipated Fiesta Friday for which students prepared or purchased foods from their own heritages to bring in to class to share with their classmates.

    The High School also participated in LOTE Week with similar activities and fiestas; however one new event coincided with the approach of Mardi Gras and spotlighted a cultural discussion to align the spoken language with family traditions. The students engaged in making Mardi Gras masks to commemorate their lesson just in time to wear on Fat Tuesday.

    Señora Martin expressed particular pleasure with how, every year, LOTE Week instills a “great interest by our students who want to participate in learning other languages, in addition to Spanish and French.  I tell them how, over 20 years ago, our district offered Russian to students, so I encourage all Eighth-grade students to continue their studies of Foreign Languages at the high school and at the college level.”

    For now, student interest at the Middle and High schools remains sparked by LOTE celebrations that shrink the globe and demonstrate the common humanity of all cultures.