The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, December 1, 2006


During Spanish teacher Andrea Seddon's presentation to the School Committee, she received musical support from committee members Wendell Sykes (left) and Mike Fitzgerald on the maracas. (Photo by Cynthia Sorn)

World Language for all grades is off and running

For the first time the Carlisle Public School is offering foreign language instruction in all grades. Thanks to a $43,000 grant from the Carlisle Education Foundation (CEF), Spanish is being offered once a week in grades K — 4 (30 minutes for grades K — 1 and 45 minutes for grades 2 — 4). At the end of fourth grade students are offered their choice of Spanish, French, or Chinese, which they will study during the next four years. Students must remain with their language choice through eighth grade. Fifth and sixth graders have World Language three times a week while seventh and eighth graders have classes four times.

World Language and IEPs

Principal Patrice Hurley noted at the November 15 Carlisle School Committee meeting that the World Language Task Force is reviewing the middle school schedule with a goal to allow students who have an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) an opportunity to take a foreign language. Currently the middle school language time slot is used for direct instruction for most students on IEPs.

Teaching creatively

The five members of the World Language team described their programs to the Carlisle School Committee on November 15. They began by pointing out how crowded their classroom situation is — all teachers are sharing one classroom. They travel to classrooms to teach, using a rolling cart to carry their supplies. Part-time Spanish teachers Andrea Seddon and Jennifer Stacey and full-time Spanish teacher Andrea Steffek mix fun with learning in the lower grades through studies of Spanish culture, games, videos, songs, and instruments, and in the upper grades by activities such as a fashion show in the seventh-grade class. Spanish is by far the most popular language, followed by French and Chinese. Seddon demonstrated the "Hola" song for the CSC, who were encouraged to sing along while shaking maracas and manipulating hand puppets. Getting the hang of the piece, committee member Michael Fitzgerald commented, "If you need help [in class] with this 'Hola' song I'm there with you."

French-speaking countries

French teacher Nicole Baker brought many of her classroom props to share with the committee members. She said she includes practical foreign language skills such as ordering from a menu or reading a map in French. She includes different cultural forms of French (incuding Canadian and Belgian) and uses many "real world" experiences to enhance the students' learning.

Show respect for teachers

Chinese teacher Chiao Bin Huang described her methods to increase cultural understanding. For instance, she has taught her students the traditional Chinese method of showing respect for teachers. Students in her class stand and bow when any teacher arrives and leaves. Extra credit is given to students who greet other teachers by bowing and speaking in Chinese. Additionally they carry small cards to present to participating Chinese grocery stores or restaurants. If they converse in Chinese they receive a stamp.

2006 The Carlisle Mosquito