Friday, February 17, 2017

Language Teachers Present at NECTFL Conference

Ottoson French teacher, Anne Zachary, and World Language Director, Catherine Ritz, presented at the Northeast Conference on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (NECTFL) in New York city last week, managing to travel despite the pair of snow storms! NECTFL is a regional language teacher conference including states from Maine to Maryland.

Anne presented a session entitled, "Make an Impression: Enhancing Cultural and Linguistic Proficiency With Art," and Catherine presented a session entitled, "Assessing Performance: Moving From Chapter Tests to Authentic Assessments."

A snowy train ride to NYC!

A snowy train ride to NYC!

Attendees at Catherine's session

A slide from Catherine's session

Friday, February 3, 2017

Students Study Linguistics through a "MOOC"

AHS students are able to study Linguistics this year thanks to a Massive Open Online Course, otherwise known as a MOOC. A group of 17 students are currently enrolled in the course, which lasts seven weeks and awards AP level course credit. The course is offered through

The course -- entitled Miracles of Human Language: An Introduction to Linguistics -- offers an introduction to the field of linguistics, exploring topics such as human language versus animal communication, phonology and phonetics, morphology and syntax, pragmatics and semantics, and language in the brain and society. Ms. Ritz, a foreign language teacher and the World Language Director, is serving as the faculty advisor to students taking the course.

Spanish Exchange announced!

The World Language Department will be sponsoring its first Spanish exchange trip to Barcelona and Madrid during April vacation 2018. There will be an informational meeting immediately after school on Friday in Ms. Bassett’s room (508). All interested students should attend in order to pick up applications and to find out more about the program.


Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Congratulations to our newest Seal of Biliteracy awardees!

Arlington High School is proud to announce our newest awardees of the Seal of Biliteracy, which recognizes students who have studied and attained proficiency in English and one other language by high school graduation. Students must take a rigorous language exam for commonly taught languages (such as French, Latin, Spanish, or German) or submit a portfolio demonstrating their language ability for those languages for which an exam is not available. We are excited to have three new languages represented this year: Japanese, Western Armenian, and Polish.

Congratulations to the following students:

Platinum Seal of Biliteracy (Advanced Proficiency)
George Barker (Latin)
Sonia Czarnecka (Polish)
Miu Kikuchi (Japanese)
Alina Kouzouian (Western Armenian)
Anna Iskendarian (German)
Julianna McCabe (Latin)
Chloe Morgenstern (French)

Gold Seal of Biliteracy (Intermediate High Proficiency)
Maria Fernandez (Spanish)
Alexandra Tse (Latin)

Silver Seal of Biliteracy (Intermediate Mid Proficiency)
Isabel Aluia (Spanish)
Nathaniel Heitmann-Bastoni (German)
Marina Wagner (Spanish)

All students will be recognized at a Language Awards night this spring, where they will receive a certificate and a pin to be worn at graduation.

Herzliche Glückwünsche!
Macte hac gloria!

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

WL Teachers Attend National ACTFL Convention in Boston

Teachers in the World Language Department in Arlington attended a national convention held by the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) last week and over the weekend, where they learned new strategies and shared their knowledge through session and workshop presentations. The ACTFL Convention was held in Boston this year, so all teachers were able to attend, many for the first time. ACTFL attracts over 8,000 world language teachers from around the world to its convention each year.

We are proud to share that the following teachers were featured as presenters at this important professional development event:

Here are some other highlights of our time at ACTFL: 
  • AHS Mandarin Teacher Konwen Yuen attended a session called "Advanced Level Proficiency Gains: Classroom Practices that Work," which examined classroom instructional practices that facilitated proficiency gains to bring participants to high level proficiency. 
  • OMS Latin Teacher Abbi Holt attended a session called "Party Like It’s MMXVI: The Fun and the Fruit of 21st-Century Latin Teaching," which she said was by one of the best Latin presenters she saw. His spoken Latin was excellent and he did a great job explaining the active spoken techniques he uses.
  • A number of teachers were able to attend a workshop or a session by Greg Duncan, who came to do an in-service training for Arlington teachers last year. They appreciated being able to follow up with him now that they've had a year of implementing some of his strategies.
  • AHS French Teacher Véronique Lahey ran into a former student of hers and AHS graduate, Danny Chin. Danny is now teaching French in Malden.
  • WL Director Catherine Ritz -- who is currently serving as the President of the Massachusetts Foreign Language Association (MaFLA) -- was nominated to move into the role of MaFLA Programming Coordinator beginning in January, 2017. In this volunteer role, Catherine will coordinate all the professional development events that MaFLA runs annually.
OMS Latin Teacher Abbi Holt teaching other teachers gladiator wars during her session.
AHS French Teacher Véronique Lahey (right) with her former student, Danny Chin, who is now a French teacher himself
AHS Spanish Teacher Maria Arévalo (left) and OMS Mandarin Teacher Na Lu-Hogan (right) with our favorite presenter and world language guru, Greg Duncan
OMS Spanish Teacher Meagan Hyman (left), AHS Spanish Teacher Christina Toro (center), and WL Director Catherine Ritz (right) check out the ACTFL Exhibit Hall
Standing room only at WL Director Catherine Ritz's session on Assessment
OMS French Teacher Anne Zachary presenting on using Art in the classroom
AHS Spanish Teachers Emmy Osterling (left) and Katia Marticorena (center) and WL Director Catherine Ritz
OMS French Teachers Anne Zachary and Paula Nicholas (left) with AHS Spanish Teacher Maria Arévalo (center right) and WL Director Catherine Ritz

The Officers of the Massachusetts Foreign Language Association (MaFLA) (left to right), Jorge Allen of Andover Public Schools, Kathy Turner of Sharon High School, Catherine Ritz, WL Director at Arlington Public Schools, and Tim Eagan of Wellesely Public Schools
AHS Spanish Teachers Emmy Osterling (left) and Katia Marticorena (right) attend a workshop along with MaFLA Events Coordinator Joyce Beckwith

MaFLA President Elect Tim Eagan of Wellesley Public School and MaFLA President Catherine Ritz attend the ACTFL Awards Ceremony
MaFLA 1st Vice President Kathy Turner (left) of Sharon High School and MaFLA President and WL Director in Arlington Catherine Ritz (right) meet with ACTFL's Executive Director Marty Abbott (center) at the ACTFL 50th Anniversary Dinner
ACTFL's opening session

ACTFL's opening session

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

AHS Student Compete in Yale Certamen

This past Saturday, seven students (6 sophomores & 1 junior), traveled to Yale University to compete in the NJCL certamen competition. Kira played as an advanced team of one, while the sophomores played on two intermediate teams. Teams from all over the country came to compete and one of our intermediate teams placed 5th, just a few spots out of semifinals!

Pictured left to right: A.J., Sam, Isaiah, Maggie, Alexandra, Brett & Kira.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

WL Team Presents at the Mass Computer Using Educators Conference

A team of World Language teachers -- WL Director Catherine Ritz, AHS Spanish teacher Christina Toro, OMS Mandarin teacher Na Lu-Hogan, and former OMS Spanish teacher Alexa Finck -- presented a session on making digital global connections at a technology conference yesterday. The Massachusetts Computer Using Educators (C.U.E.) annual conference brings in educators from across disciplines looking for ways to better incorporate technology into their teaching. The WL team's session, "Go Global: Making Digital Connections," focused on ways that we have used technology resources such as Skype, WeChat, and WhatsApp to help our students connect with native speakers from places like El Salvador, Colombia, and China.