Thursday, December 17, 2015

Mandarin Field Trip to Chinatown

Mandarin students in Ms. Yuen's classes went to Chinatown in Boston last week to sample authentic Chinese cuisine, visit the BubbleTea house, and shop in local grocery stores.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Spanish Club Sells "Pulseras" to Support Student Scholarships

AHS Spanish Club, led by teacher Christina Toro, sold pulseras today to raise funds for the Arlington-Teosinte Sister City Project which provides scholarships for students in El Salvador to continue their education. Pulseras are hand-made bracelets by local artisans in El Salvador. The Spanish Club hopes to raise a few hundred dollars to support this cause.

Ms. Toro (center) with Spanish Club student leaders Erin Ay (left) and Bella Pajevic (right)

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Ottoson WL Teachers Visit Elementary Schools

World Language Director, Catherine Ritz, Ottoson Latin Teacher, Abbi Holt, and Ottoson Mandarin Teacher, Na Lu-Hogan visited all seven elementary schools this week to introduce 5th grade students to the language program and do mini-lessons in Latin and Mandarin.

Students were surprised how quickly they learned to count in Mandarin from 1-5, as Ms. Lu led them through an easy game. She awarded panda stickers to students who could count on their own. Using a traditional "binding spell," Ms. Holt taught students how to cast a spell in Latin to someone who stole something. Students all learned the magic word to put the spell in motion: Bazagra!

All students were sent home with a letter regarding selecting their language for the year. Students are able to choose from one of the four language offerings at the Ottoson: French, Latin, Mandarin, or Spanish.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

"Ma France" Visits AHS for National French Week

Local Arlington store, Ma France, visited AHS during National French Week (November 4-10) to judge a French pastry contest in Véronique Lahey's French 4 class. Students each found an authentic French pastry recipe, and brought in their creations for all to taste and share. Students made mousse au chocolat, des macarons, une tarte aux pommes, and other delicacies. The two owners of Ma France, Cécile and François Attard, judged the food and awarded a free crêpe at their store to the winners.

Mandarin Students Visit Dumpling House

Ottoson Mandarin teacher, Na Lu-Hogan, recently took her class went to the Dumpling House in Arlington Heights. Students ordered, discussed taste, and joked around in Mandarin. The food was delicious, and everyone had fun. During lunch, a Mandarin teacher from Lexington who happened to be eating in the restaurant heard the group speaking Mandarin, and came over to their table to compliment their language skills. She even said that they spoke better than most of her students! It was definitely a booster for the students' confidence in speaking Mandarin.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Messages of Love for Paris

Students is Maria Arevalo's Spanish 4 class expressed their love for Paris and wishes for world peace through touching and beautiful posters that now decorate the world language hallway. The messages are in Spanish, but the sentiment is universal. Thank you to these students for such lovely wishes!

Monday, November 16, 2015

"Perfil en Facebook" - Integrating Technology & Language in Spanish Class

Students in Maria Arévalo's Spanish 1 class used their language and technology skills to create authentic Facebook profiles in GoogleDrive. Ms. Arévalo developed the project as a summative assessment focusing on students' ability to provide basic information about themselves, talk about likes and dislikes, and ask basic questions.

According to Ms. Arévalo, the project followed these steps:
  1. Students worked on the computer lab with a Facebook Profile on model profile that I had created in Spanish. They had to answer the questions on a comprehension guide while reading the profile.
  2. After that, students had to pick a famous person and, using information from the model template, they had to create the Facebook profile of that person. Students were encouraged to choose a Spanish speaker.
  3. After students submitted their profiles, I had students look at each other's work in the Language Lab. Students had a table with information about different characters, and had to navigate through the profiles of their classmates looking for the name of the character who responded to that information. For example: Es de Colombia, pero vive en Barcelona ¿Quién es?
Here are some sample Facebook profiles these beginning language students created:

Friday, November 6, 2015

Arlington World Language Teachers Present and Learn at MaFLA Fall Conference

Many Arlington Public School World Language Teachers both presented at and attended the annual Massachusetts Foreign Language Association (MaFLA) Fall Conference last week, sharing their knowledge with other teachers state-wide as well as attending workshops and sessions to grow and develop as educators.

Here are a few highlights of the conference:
For the past few years, the World Language department has been well-represented at this conference, with a strong turnout of presenters, attendees, and award-winners. Additionally, World Language Director Catherine Ritz is currently serving as the President of MaFLA. 

Congratulations to all who attended and presented! 

Anne Zachary presenting her session
Na Lu-Hogan leading her workshop

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Arlington Model WL Assessments Presented at DESE Fall Convening

Five years ago, a process to develop common assessments in the World Language department was begun, with a decision to focus one of theses assessments on the important skill of Interpersonal Speaking. Last week, World Language Director Catherine Ritz was invited to present this assessment at the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) Fall Convening as a model assessment for other districts. As part of a small group led by Craig Waterman of DESE, Catherine shared the model assessment, discussed the process Arlington went through to develop it, and explained the process for scoring the assessment using a department rubric.

This assessment is now posted on the Massachusetts Foreign Language Association (MaFLA) website as a model "District Determined Measure" (DDM, or common assessment), and will be posted as well on the DESE website.

Teacher Professional Day Digs in to Authentic Assessment

On the November 2nd Teacher Professional Day this week, World Language teachers attended a full-day training led by international expert and author Bonnie Adair-Hauck. Bonnie is the author of "Implementing Integrated Performance Assessment," and the training focused on developing these types of assessments, which are commonly referred to as IPAs.

An important focus of IPAs is first selecting an "authentic document," which is defined in world language as something created by a native speaker for a native speaker, as opposed to materials developed for language learners. A series of assessments are then designed to fit the theme of the unit to best use the authentic document. These connected assessments focus on the so-called "three modes of communication": 1) Interpretive - reading and listening to authentic material and interpreting its meaning, 2) Interpersonal - engaging in a spontaneous two-way dialogue or written communication about what has been read or listened to, and finally, 3) Presentational - preparing a spoken or written presentation, essay, article, etc. These three modes are joined through the IPA with a connective theme, and focus on a real-world task in which students need to draw on their language skills.

This training was part of a long-term vision to shift curriculum to focus on developing student proficiency in the language through authentic, real-world language use.

Bonnie Adair-Hauck leading a discussion.

AHS Spanish Teachers collaborated on developing an IPA for their classes.

French Students Present at Project-Based Learning Conference

Students in Véronique Lahey's AP French class accompanied her last week to present at the 6th annual Project-Based Learning Conference at Regis College. Ms. Lahey had been invited to present her award-winning Café Parisien project which students participate in while they are enrolled in French 4. Students Alice Tracey, Sam O'Keefe, Kiran Gite, and Vignesh Chockalingam shared their experiences participating in this project, in which they had to work in collaborative teams to develop a business proposal launching a restaurant in Paris.

Congratulations to these students and to Ms. Lahey!

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Travel to Québec, January 2016

We are pleased to announce that our semi-annual student trip to Québec will be run again this year! The travel dates are January 29 - February 1, 2016. This trip is open to all AHS students currently enrolled in French.

Some trip highlights include:
We will once again be traveling with a local company, Voyages Immersion Tours
To see the complete itinerary and pricing, please CLICK HERE.

Please come to an informational meeting on Monday, October 5 at 2:45 in the language lab at AHS.


Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Teachers Travel to Cuba

Ottoson French/Spanish teacher, Anne Zachary, and AHS Spanish teacher, Emmy Osterling, travelled to Cuba this summer as part of a Teachers as Scholars program. They were the first group to be allowed have their photos taken in front of the newly re-opened U.S. Embassy. The trip proved to be an incredible experience, and one that they are looking forward to sharing with their students this year!

Monday, June 22, 2015

Café Parisien Winners!

French students in Véronique Lahey's French 4 class competed in the popular Café Parisien project, presenting their proposals to a jury of judges. A year-long project, students must prepare a business proposal for a new café or restaurant in Paris (of course, this must be entirely in French!). Details are crucial, and students must include financial models, a restaurant layout, a marketing plan, a menu, and sample food for the judges to taste during their presentation.

The quality of the presentations this year was outstanding, with one judge commenting: "Every year, I am impressed by the creativity of the students. It is truly amazing to see how much they are involved in the Café Parisien project; their interest, enthusiasm and participation with the goal to deliver the very best. This is such a great way to engage students in an interesting and inspiring experience or eventually a career start :-)"

Félicitations to this year's winners!

1. First Place with (for the first time) 100 of the points: AUBERGINE
Kiran Gite, Louisa Kuper, Susannah Benn, Anne Higgins

2. Second place with 97%: ZÉRO 
Vignesh Chockalingam, Andrew Peterson, Mila Stanojevic

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

National World Language Honor Society Inducts New Members

Students were inducted into the National World Language Honor Society of Arlington High School Sunday night, which includes:
The mission of this society is to reward and recognize high achievement in language studies, promote high standards of scholarship in language studies, support and encourage language studies, stimulate interest in and enthusiasm for language studies, and promote and perpetuate international friendships and cultural understanding.

Congratulations to the following students:





José's Food Truck Brings Mexican Food to Spanish Class

To bring to life a unit on food for her Spanish 2 class, Spanish teacher Emmy Osterling organized a visit from José's Mexican Food Truck (the owner of which happened to be the father of one of her students). The truck came to the school last week with a special menu for students, along with two servers who only spoke Spanish! Students had to order their food in Spanish, then enjoyed an authentic lunch on the lawn. ¡Delicioso!

MaFLA Awards for Outstanding Students

Congratulations to five seniors who have been awarded the Massachusetts Foreign Language Association Board of Directors Award for Excellence, which recognizes one student per language who has demonstrated excellence in the most advanced course of each language taught in a school. Students must have also distinguished themselves for leadership in foreign language activity.

Congratulations to:

William Doyle (Advanced Placement Latin)
Christina Kennedy (Advanced Placement Spanish & Spanish 5 Honors - Spanish Cinema)
Kayla Bertucci (Italian 2 Honors)
Mitchell Kwok (Mandarin 4 Honors)
Julia Blass (Advanced Placement French)

From left: Latin teacher Ed Foley, Latin student William Doyle; Spanish teacher Meagan Bassett, Spanish student Christina Kennedy, Spanish teacher Christina Toro; French teacher Véronique Lahey, French student Julia Blass; Mandarin student Mitchelle Kwok; Italian student Kayla Bertucci, Italian teacher Tony Di Sanzo

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

AEF Continuing Scholar Award for Travel to Costa Rica

AHS Spanish teacher, Katia Haberman, was awarded $1,250 to support her travel to Costa Rica this summer as part of a trip for teachers through Costa Rican Resource Educational Tours. Ms. Haberman plans to collect information about Costa Rica and the small village of Sitio de Mata, where she will be staying, to support students in developing richer cultural understanding. We look forward to learning more about Ms. Haberman's visit next year. ¡Buen viaje!

Monday, May 18, 2015

AEF Continuing Scholar Award for Travel to Cuba

Ottoson Spanish teacher, Tara Kfoury, was recently awarded the Arlington Education Foundation's Continuing Scholar Award in the amount of $2,500 for her plans to travel to Cuba this summer.

Here is an excerpt from her grant application. We wish her ¡un buen viaje!

"This December, I have become aware of an amazing opportunity to learn firsthand from within the country's borders about Cuba. As described within my proposal, I will have the ability to speak with Cuban educators, politicians, historians, and everyday Cuban citizens alongside educators throughout the United States.  I will develop a photo journal, written memoir, and create portfolio of important documents that will enhance my teaching of this illusive and isolated neighbor to the south.  I will provide my colleagues at APS with an opportunity to view and discuss all that I will have learned from this experience both during department, faculty, and professional development meetings during the 2015 school year.  I will prepare to present a demonstration to the AEF board and its members alongside School Committee if desired.  

This opportunity could not have come at a more momentous time in US-Cuban History, as our current presidential staff and the Castro regime work to form a renewed alliance after more than 50 years. As a life-long learner, Spanish speaker and teacher, I am beyond excited with such developments.  The opportunity to study in Cuba would fulfill a dream I have had since learning its history in the 5th grade of my education."

Latin Students Compete at MassJCL State Convention

A group of Latin students attended the Massachusetts Junior Classical State Convention last weekend, where they participated in a number of competitions including chariot races, a toga parade, gladiator games, and artistic expressions.

Two students reported back on the event:

"State Convention was very fun! The two and a half days we spent there were filled with many activities, all related to Latin language, culture, literature, or mythology. Friday night there were academic tests, which were challenging, but very rewarding in the end. We did best in Certamen, a challenging contest with three teams racing to answer Latin related questions. We, as a team, got second place in the intermediate division of the Open Certamen. State Convention is also great if you've got an artistic side. Along with a talent show, art and literature can be submitted before Convention. As the smallest school there, we had to work hard to make ourselves known. But once we started mingling with the MassJCL's government, our 'small school' became a big hit. All in all, States inspired us to reform our own club's government and make a larger place for us in the state level organization as a whole."
​- ​Kira Solovay & Samantha Stephens

Séjour en France!

A group of French students travelled to France over April vacation as part of the long-running France Exchange, in partnership with the Lycée Saint Paul Bourdon Blanc in Orléans. To view the itinerary, please CLICK HERE. Students attended school with their host siblings, and visited a number of sites in the Loire Valley and Paris, among them: the Château Royal de Blois, La Maison de la Magie Robert-Houdin, le Château de Chambord,  the cities Orléans and Chartres, la Tour Eiffel, le Louvre, Sacré Coeur, and more. Teachers Véronique Lahey and Meagan Bassett led the trip. Formidable!