The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, March 14, 2003


Music and culture included in Carlisle Middle School French and Spanish

The Carlisle School Foreign Language Team presented an overview of the program for sixth, seventh and eighth graders at the Carlisle School Committee meeting on March 4.

French teacher Nicole Baker enthusiastically described the French language program, which begins with three classes a week in sixth grade and grows to four a week in seventh and eighth grade. Emphasis is on studying French-speaking countries: first France, then other French-speaking countries of Europe, finishing with Quebec, African countries and Haiti. Spanish teacher Andrea Steffek explained the connection the classes make to modern culture and immigration. "We discuss Texan music, sweet fifteen in Mexican culture, immigration, and do hands-on work." Both teachers use multi-media approaches to learning the language, and work as a team with the Concord-Carlisle high school language teachers. "The work you do is appreciated," committee member Michael Fitzgerald said, noting the high school is extremely pleased with the students that come from the language program in Carlisle. Baker said the International Cafe will be held during International Week, and will involve all the cultures of Carlisle, not just French and Spanish.

"In a perfect world with no limitations on budget, where would you introduce language?" asked Fitzgerald. "Kindergarten," Baker answered without hesitation. "Our plan was to pass it down [to the lower grades]," said superintendent Davida Fox-Melanson. "We had fifth-grade language classes, but we lost them. Right now I'd like to reclaim fifth grade. We have a fine program because we have a fine faculty."

2003 The Carlisle Mosquito