School Dispatches: April 12, 2017

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Lafayette Elementary School

Lafayette’s Pass The Poetry, Please event took place last Wednesday evening, and with it came many families to hear eight fifth-grade students from each of the five classes share one of their poems before a crowd in the Lafayette auditorium.

Even a professional poet, Mary Rand Hess, attended to share some of her poetry and speak to the audience about her career. Having her there seemed to help Lafayette’s young poets have someone to look up to.

The fifth-graders have been learning about poetry for the past weeks, so this opportunity really helped them become more comfortable with reading their poems in public. While the students performed their poems, Joel Holmes and Zayani Sims, two wonderful jazz musicians, played improv music on the side of the stage to set the mood and feeling of each poem. Some of the poems were also accompanied by tableaux in which other students helped illustrate some poems by freezing into “living pictures.”

As the night came to an end and the final poems were read, there were refreshments for all.

— Molly Reeder, fifth-grader

National Presbyterian School

On April 4, the National Presbyterian School’s fifth grade took a field trip to Unique Residential Care Center, a community center for senior citizens in downtown Washington. We went there because we are creating a final mural from our experience with the elderly people later in the spring to broaden our interactions from different generations.

When we got to the community center we had a classmate partner and the staff of Unique Residential sorted us into tables. I was at a table with my partner Maddie, a fifth-grader in my class, and at our table we met a cheerful elderly man named Arnold. We asked him some questions about D.C., and he answered them for us. Then the students painted with senior citizens. It was a wonderful experience with the seniors, and I was sad to leave, but glad to have met them.

— Walker Cave, fifth-grader

Our Lady of Victory School

Recently another teacher at Our Lady of Victory has won the Golden Apple Award: our very own Señora Nahas!
The Golden Apple is an award given by the Archdiocese of Washington, recognizing teachers for their outstanding work in education. Over the past four years, our school has had four teachers win this award: Mrs. Sague, Ms. Meyer, Mrs. Hochhausler and now Mrs. Nahas.

Señora Nahas shows her prowess in teaching through many methods that allow students to not only remember the material but also to apply it when speaking. This is very important in foreign languages because it allows you to hold conversations more easily.

One of the most fun ways in which she does this is through skits we perform in Spanish. Though they may feel silly at times, they help us to better understand the language because you hear it being used in context.

She also integrates faith into the lessons by teaching us various prayers and religious stories in Spanish. One of the most important ways she teaches is by including lessons about culture and diversity; she teaches about Spanish-speaking cultures. This helps us better immerse ourselves in the language by knowing how it and the various cultures that speak it are entwined.

Señora Nahas has enthusiastic passion for helping her students comprehend the Spanish language and culture. It’s hard to imagine our day without her.

— Rafael N., eighth-grader

Washington International School

Recently, the eighth-graders at Washington International School went on an exchange trip. The students who study French went to Paris, while those of us in the Spanish program traveled to Madrid. Each student was paired with an eighth-grade “correspondent” from the local partner school. In the fall, these correspondents came to Washington to stay in our homes. This time, we stayed in their homes.

I saw many differences between American culture and Spanish culture but two really stuck out. First, our correspondents’ school was very different from ours. It was huge, strict and old-fashioned.

For example, in the cafeteria, the lunch is served on big metal trays. One of my friends went to clear his plate and had not eaten all his food. He was sent back and told to finish it. When we visited classes, the classrooms were very dark and the teacher just talked at the kids. Few of the students participated or paid much attention.

Second, while Madrid is a modern city, many of the places we visited were extremely old. For example, the synagogue Santa María la Blanca in Toledo was built in 1180. Also, the Segovia Aqueduct was built in the 1st century. It’s amazing to see things that are hundreds of years, or even thousands of years, older than the United States.

Living in Madrid for 10 days was a cool way to practice our second language, spend time with my classmates and experience a different culture.

— Saul Pink, eighth-grader