Students Immerse Themselves in World Languages Week

Ranney School students are exposed to three different languages—Spanish, French and Mandarin Chinese—starting in Kindergarten and in January 2014, they got to dive even deeper into the world of languages with cultural presentations, cross-divisional dialogues and food tastings as part of “Discover Languages Week.”
Held in conjunction with the American Council of Teaching Foreign Languages, the week focused on appreciating world cultures and the importance of being bilingual, explained Ranney World Languages Chair Heidi Bonney.
The week started off with a sneak-peak into the world of the Beijing Opera with a performance and workshop given by Broadway and film choreographer Jamie H.J. Guan. On Tuesday, students, faculty and staff wore nametags displaying which languages they speak, thereby prompting communication in a different language in the school’s hallways and meeting rooms. On Wednesday, Lower School students participated in a four-language Vocabulary Scavenger Hunt.
In the classrooms, cross-divisional gatherings brought Upper School language teachers and students together with those in the Lower School. A Chinese teacher spoke to fifth-grade classes about his experience living in China for a year. The students were then encouraged to ask each other questions in their foreign language; those conversations were translated into English by the students. A Spanish Honors class also held mini Q&As with their younger peers to practice dialogue skills.
A Town Hall meeting at the week’s end featured video presentations by Upper School students of French and Spanish. The students had fun showing off their short films, commercials and cooking demonstrations which all featured them speaking and singing in their language of choice.
Throughout the celebration, Forensics Club students produced morning announcements that relayed little-known facts about world languages and cultures. Students also enjoyed world cuisines in the dining halls all week.

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