District 18 World Language Update
2014-15 Wrap Up
As a group, we have spent the entire year evaluating and analyzing the Can-Do Statements which delineate what students are able to do at various proficiency levels. (see below link to get a better idea!). Our department goal this year was to identify, define and align each level of language learning regardless of the language. In order to accomplish this, we have focused our analysis on writing proficiency at each level. As we implemented the district's new Teacher Evaluation Program this year, we developed and aligned our Student Learning Objectives (SLO) to focus our year's work around this goal. All year we have been assessing students' writing, grades 5 though 12, through various writing performance tasks. As a department, we have been sharing student work and calibrating our system of assessment.
So as I put this newsletter together and reflect on this years' accomplishments, I realize how proud I am of the work that we have accomplished together and how lucky I am to work with such a professional and outstanding team of teachers. Take a look for yourself!
Elementary Spanish Program
By Michele Tackett
Third grade elementary Spanish students took advantage of the warmer days that have arrived by "hanging their laundry to dry" in the halls of Mile Creek and Lyme Schools! It was a great opportunity to practice clothing vocabulary in a hands-on way, while also learning to say what they were wearing. They also completed little books describing their friends which helped them understand how adjectives can change in Spanish depending upon whether one is talking about a boy or a girl. Mi amigo es cómico vs. mi amiga es cómica. Can you make the connection? Reading and writing helps students to understand the difference between English and Spanish vowel sounds, so that they become better Spanish spellers! Recently, a review of Spanish number words allowed students to not only look more closely at the connection of how words sound and how they are written, but also helped 3rd graders with sequencing and matching, reinforcing number concepts.
With the unending snowfall and unseasonable start to springtime, fourth graders had many opportunities to discuss the various weather conditions in Spanish. Students practiced sequencing the seasons and associating Spanish months with the seasons, as well as writing and categorizing weather expressions into the various seasons. Integrated in this important topic was a more extensive look at clothing vocabulary or "la ropa."
Fifth grade students practiced speaking, writing and presenting about clothing worn. They enthusiastically modeled and spoke about an original outfit they put together for class, or spoke of their school attire or that of a friend. Students practiced extensively the use of adjectives following nouns in Spanish and the grammatical rules that apply. Fifth graders have worked hard in remembering and using questions and answers in the context of conversation, as well as the formality of introducing people. Clearly, this is a group of fifth graders ready for the challenges of middle school! ¡Bravo estudiantes!
Students in grades 3,4 and 5, all discussed the importance of Cinco de Mayo, as a holiday in the USA. In the spirit of tradition, 4th and 5th graders organized their own fiestas with quesadillas, homemade guacamole and Spanish desserts. Muchas gracias to all of the families that made our fiestas a success!
Middle School World Language Program
Grade 6 Spanish
By Rachel Carrion
The sixth graders have taken a giant language leap this year. They started the year with a basic knowledge of the language and are now able to speak and write about many topics with accuracy and detail!!! Whether they continue with Spanish or switch to French next year, the language base that they have acquired this year will support them next year and beyond. Here are some of our great kids. They are literally getting their hands on the language!
LOLMS in Paris!
By Pam Russell
Paris et la Tour Eiffel! Twenty-six of Mrs. Russell’s eighth graders spent 13 days in Paris this spring, completing the second part of our exchange with Collège Jules Romains of Paris. They spent out of school time with their French families, learning about French foods, shopping, family traditions and more. Over Easter weekend several were treated to trips outside of Paris to see chateaux, sea sides and even Napoleon’s island of exile. Others went to Versailles Palace, one even learned to make macaroons at a well-known cooking school. During the school week among our highlights were our visit to Normandy American Cemetery, walking along the river Seine and climbing the Eiffel Tower. Everyone worked at their French accent and expanding their vocabulary. It was an amazing trip for all.
High School World Language Program
By John Wang
Chinese I. As we entered Quarter 4 Chinese I students have seen the fruit of their work. This year they are my target group for showing progress in “I-Can” written performance tasks, which focus on “Me and My Family.” Students are able to see where they started in Quarter 1 to move to where they are now in Quarter 4, from simple sentences to a fully developed paragraph, talking about themselves, their classes, their family, and their houses. Our last unit has been very extensive: Chinese Foods. We have been learning the eight major cuisines of China, the culturally all important concept of “Food is Heaven,” and, adding to their end of the year discussion of “Me” – what foods they like to eat. Many kids went to Chinatown in February this year and experienced a taste of Chinese cuisine – which has helped them to understand the food culture of China.
Chinese II. The Chinese Two class has been working on Traveling and Shopping in Chinese. We learned about the transportation system in China and different ways to get around. We also started learning how shopping is different in China and what types of 'stuff' high school students like to purchase. These lessons will prepare the students in dealing with real situations. For example, traveling in China... something they will hopefully be able to put into practice if they participate in our trip to China during Spring Break of 2016 ... these skills will come in handy.
Chinese III & IV. These two groups are studying how to describe the world, China, and the US on a map. We started in Chinese I with our first lesson on the geography of China; now it’s coming to a full circle as they are to talk about China, in Chinese. As a part of focusing on their presentational skills, many lessons in these two levels are designed to focus on their presenting topics in the Chinese language.
By Lance Piantaggini
This year we’ve focused on the important distinction between translating and reading. While the former is a conscious and slow process, the latter is our goal, and a sign of true fluency. Latin students have been busy increasing their reading fluency through an adaptation of Paul Nation’s Speed Reading program.
Using a timer, students read a short passage, and then take a short comprehension quiz. The goal is to read 300 words per minute, and score 70% accuracy on the questions. Although it may seem counter intuitive, a high comprehension score is not desirable. This means that students are reading so slowly that they understand every detail. Reading slowly in a second language promotes translating word-for-word, which doesn’t lead to fluency. We want to encourage the reading of longer phrases, just like reading English. As predicted, student Progress Graphs are showing excellent gains in reading fluency.
HS French Program
Take a look at what the High School French scholars have been doing. Click on the link below and it will take you there!
By John McGannon
Spanish 2 classes are finishing up the year learning about food and how to form commands. They will create (or find) a recipe they can make (at home or at school) and do a mini-presentation for the class about how to make it. Then they will share their creation & serve the class a little merienda (snack).
By Jeanne Manfredi
As students begin to wrap up the year, I have been reflecting on how well these students have progressed. I am able to best witness this when I examine students' ability to communicate orally in Spanish.
At the beginning of the year, students selected a country which they have followed throughout the year. This last quarter, students have researched their countries finding current and relevant information regarding the work place, immigration/ emigration, and most recently, the environment. With this information, they participate in and independently run a 45-50 minute round-table discussions completely in Spanish on the topic- sharing information, agreeing/ disagreeing with their classmates, asking probing questions, and giving opinions. It is truly amazing to witness how well your students performed- Outstanding!
ECE: Spanish Cultural Topics
We have spent the year understanding through film and research, how civil unrest develops societies and how a country's past impacts the present. Units of study included Spain, Cuba, Chile, Argentina, El Salvador, and Colombia.
Presently, ECE students have been preparing their final mini-documentary and end of year body of research. Topics span the entire Spanish speaking world and topics include human rights issues, indigenous people's struggle for justice, trafficking, musical movements, drug cartels and their impact on society, political corruption, ... just to name a few!
The final documentaries will be posted for viewing during our last week of classes... Check it out in our digital classroom at http://www.edmodo.com
AP Spanish Language & Culture/ ECE Spanish Composition
All but one will be graduating... we wish them all the best and a CONGRATULATIONS for a job very well done...They will be missed!
Come fall, we will be welcoming to our department Mr. James Motes. He comes to us from The Academy at Mount Saint John where he is Dean of Students. Mr. Motes previously taught Latin at Guilford High School for eleven years. He looks forward to furthering his professional development by pursuing the use of Latin as a spoken language.