Fourth-graders from all six LMSD elementary schools recently made the trip to Lower Merion High School to participate in the inaugural World Language Festival, which served as an exciting opportunity for students to enjoy an engaging introduction to French, Spanish and Latin before deciding which language they would like to study in fifth grade.
With the opening of Black Rock Middle School and the grade realignments put in place for the 2022-23 school year, the District’s Curriculum Committee saw an opportunity to reimagine the World Language program, allowing for an exploratory year in fourth grade to provide students with better insight when deciding which language to pursue. The World Language Festival was developed to support this goal.
More than 150 world language students from Harriton and Lower Merion high schools volunteered as guides, instructors and ambassadors to their respective languages throughout the program. Students and teachers collaborated across schools to design the event and activities.
“We are especially grateful to these student leaders from Harriton and Lower Merion for their dedication and hard work,” said World Language Department Chair Shannon Davis. “The student volunteers exemplify the spirit of service and academic passion of our District students.”
One of the many interesting aspects of the program was that fourth-grade students were grouped according to which middle school they will be attending next year – a novel opportunity to meet some of their future fifth-grade classmates – as they rotated through exciting language-specific activities led by their high school counterparts. For example, students from Gladwyne and Penn Wynne - the two catchments which feed into Black Rock Middle School - spent the morning building relationships as they explored the different languages together.
After rotating through their introductory French, Spanish and Latin activities, the elementary students made their way to the auditorium for a Question & Answer session led by nine middle school students, who shared their experiences and expertise. The fourth-graders asked about some of the panelists’ favorite language class activities, the reasons they chose their respective languages and for advice when it came to making their own decisions about which language to study.
Overall, the festival was a resounding success and was a great opportunity to have LMSD’s Class of 2031 (WV/BC/BR 2027) together for a morning of World Language fun and build excitement for greater language adventures next year!
PHOTO CREDIT: Anna O'Hora, Chris Bitterman, Dylan Silberman & Sarah Joyce