20 Jan Virginia Beach Schools Celebrate World Languages
Virginia Beach Public School’s discovery language committee has worked together annually to provide resources and support to help the district celebrate and educate the community on the benefits of foreign language. In recent years they have created a resource handbook for promotions during Discover Languages month and National Foreign Language week. This year they decided to tie their endeavors to the spirit of the winter Olympics. They held a medals race with weekly updates to show how the different schools had been participating — awarding gold, silver and bronze to the top three schools. Here is a summary of their activities. World language teachers at Plaza held a number of events promoting and celebrating the learning of languages with both its local and global community. For example, Madame Spence’s 8th Grade French 3 students have pen pals at the Cité Scholaire Hélène Boucher in Thionville, in the north east of France. They have exchanged introductory letters, and a Christmas letter explaining US holiday customs. They are at present preparing questions to send electronically to research French teenage customs: homework, make up, chores etc. so comparisons can be made in the real world. Their Spanish counterparts celebrated “‘San Valentín en español” and brought it from the classroom into the community. All students researched online how San Valentin is celebrated in Spanish-speaking countries and created a San Valentín card with a love poem to give to someone special on February 14th. ¡Qué idea tan amable, Señora Restrepo! Plaza completed Discover Languages month with an international dinner night. All students and families were invited to participate in an evening of food, song and art, celebrating the diversity of cultures and languages from around the world. The art classes produced a display of art themes from differing people groups. The world language classes prepared songs and skits. Over 500 people came and brought foods from all over the world, creating a truly international buffet to enjoy. Great Neck Middle To celebrate and promote the talent and heritage of the indigenous people of Central America, students in Exploratory Spanish were introduced to traditional Guatemalan weaving. The class worked on a project where they used cereal boxes and yarn to create looms that were used to weave colorful bookmarks and bracelets. First Colonial High School Señora Marcarian’s Spanish 3 students held a Hispanic festival and displayed their projects. Ocean Lakes High School Ocean Lakes’ teachers and students were very busy during Discover Languages Month. Shirley Hall reported that, “from the Web quests on February 7th till March 7th our high school celebrated the languages we teach in a bigger way than before!” The school was transformed by door decorations representing the countries in the Olympics, bulletin boards promoting Discover Languages, in honor of Founder’s Week, and hall decorations showcasing languages, culture and history in general. A guest speaker came in on the 19th and did a Sushi demonstration, and on the 20th Señor Jaworski and the Spanish Club taught classmates how to dance tango and bachata. Cultural day on the 24th had students watching a video on Bunraku–Japanese Puppet Theater. The participants also read about and created their own Japanese puppet. They went global by accessing websites to read stories from different countries and completing activities related to their cultures. On the 25th, 25 students participated in game day, where they played various games from Japan, France, Russia, German, and Tanzania. On the 26th, students were invited to stay after school to learn about Basic ASL. Students learned the alphabet, numbers, and played several rounds of “ASL Telephone”. On the 27, guest speaker Mizuki Hamada with her protégé, Mary Metzger, presented the Koto to the students and played 3 songs. Ocean Lakes attendees enjoyed the presentation very much. OLHS launched an international film festival and activities with La Misma Luna in Spanish. ( On March 6, guest speaker Geri Axley (accompanied by 2 Russian students) taught Russian and discussed travel in Russia, sharing her experiences and what it takes to travel to Russia. That same day, the annual World Language Honor Society Inductions were held. Over 100 students were inducted in the Schola with following reception. On March 7, a legionnaire and an auxiliary soldier from Roman Legio IX (Ron Phelps and Richard Landis) arrived at the school, in full military costume. Students enjoyed learning about the weapons (shields, swords, spears, etc.) and what it took to be a Roman soldier, discussing equipment and battle tactics. A few tried on some armor (the lorica segmentata) and found the weight of it daunting. Tallwood High School Tallwood promoted several less-commonly taught languages during a series of cafés, such as the Chinese Café that featured a Kung Fu demonstration and a social studies lesson that integrated Chinese language and calligraphy. They also created festive door designs, such as the one shown on the right. Salem Middle Salem celebrated World Languages in December to get the attention of the students just before registration. This year the theme was, “Don’t be left in the cold, warm up to a World Language”. They created a banner and posters depicting a camp fire with the names of the different languages written around it. Each morning they had a trivia question given on the announcements which involved facts about the country or language. The winners were given a coupon to a restaurant. During the same week, they also decorated a display case with items representing each of the languages taught at Salem Middle. During lunch on Wednesday of World Language Week they showed a power point in the cafeteria. The Power Point had interesting facts about the languages and the countries where the languages are spoken, plus music representing each language. Signs made by students were hung in the hallways which represented vocabulary in each of the languages taught at Salem Middle. Independence Middle Independence Middle celebrated Cultural Night on February 24. Almost 200 parents and students from the community came to the event. The night was celebrated with live entertainment from around the world. We enjoyed international food, games, dancing and music. We created poster boards from countries around the world with information such as cultural events, places and foods. The Irish dancers showcase dances from Ireland. The step team performed, the chorus and band played music, and we danced to the tune of a Zumba instructor.