Salsa, Thayer Street and ancient art: language immersion day for eighth grade

Eighth grade Latin, Spanish and French classes devoted a day-long field trip to immersion in the culture they study — tricky in the case of Ancient Rome, but not impossible!

Latin Immersion Day: Lucy A. and Peter Z. ’18

What do the Jefferson Memorial, Temple Emanu-El, Brown University, Hope High School, and houses all over the East Side of Providence have in common? For Language Immersion Day on May 23, 8th Grade Latin students explored Providence looking for evidence of Roman and Greek influence in our public community. What they found was simply astounding. Using what they had learned in a brief art history lesson before setting off, students were able to identify hundreds of modern examples of Roman architecture. From arches and columns to domes, urns, and oculi, nearly every house on the East Side contains some form of Greek or Roman architecture.

8gr Latin pic

The Romans invented the modern arch design that can be seen on many houses around the East Side. Many modern architects choose to highlight the keystone of an arch by making it more emphasized. Students enjoyed identifying the different variations of columns, doric, ionic, and corinthian, that lined the front doorsteps of houses. The Temple Emanu-El has structure of columns similar to the Greek Parthenon and a domed top like the Roman Pantheon and the Jefferson Memorial. Hope High School was the most obvious example of these architectural influences, containing arched windows, giant columns, a domed cupola, friezes, and pediments. When they were told that candy would be given to the winner, two teams of 8th graders thought of out-of-the-box connections, such as concrete and sidewalks, in order to find more examples than the other team.

After grabbing a slice of pizza at Antonio’s on Thayer Street, the 8th graders headed off for a quick tour at Brown University, taking pictures in front of a replica statue of Marcus Aurelius and a replica of an ancient column. Just down the hill, students visited the Ancient Greek and Roman art galleries at the RISD museum.

8 gr Latin pic 2

At the museum, the students were asked to select one piece in the Ancient Greek and Roman exhibit to sketch and take notes on. Highlights of the gallery included a sarcophagus depicting events from the Trojan War, multiple amphorae, Greek urns, jewelry, statues, and fountain heads. On a later date, the students will research their piece of artwork, understand how it relates to the lives of the Romans or Greeks, and connect it to how we understand both Greek and Roman architecture.

After their time in the museum was finished, it was time for the 8th graders to head back to the Moses Brown Campus. But with half an hour to spare, the students persuaded their teacher, Lisa Ardente, to take them for Ice Cream at Ben and Jerry’s on Thayer Street. What a perfect modern ending to a day spent exploring ancient minds and ideas.

Spanish Immersion Day: Sophie A. ’18

Every year, the eighth graders go on an “immersion day” to immerse themselves in the language they chose to study and on Friday, all of us taking Spanish had a really fun time “immersing” ourselves in the Spanish-speaking culture. From taking Salsa classes by a professional Salsa teacher to meeting Senator Pichardo at the state house, we had a really packed, somewhat busy, yet enjoyable time. Or at least, I did.

Immersion day began with breakfast brought in by our Spanish teacher, Emilia. We talked with each other for a little bit and since the French students had been watching High School Musical dubbed in French, we borrowed the DVD and switched the language to español. (I doubt that any of us could understand most of what Troy and Gabriella were saying, they were talking so fast!) When it was time for our dance lessons, we stopped the move (thank goodness) and went down to Alumni Hall, where two dance instructors were waiting to teach us.

spanish4Salsa, which originates from New York, but is danced in Cuba and Puerto Rico, was not what I thought it was going to be at all. I had predicted the dance lessons to be boring and I admit, humiliating, but it turned out to be the highlight of our day, in my opinion. Dancing is something that is out of a lot of people’s comfort zones and it was pretty cool to use something like that as a way to immerse in the Latin-American culture. The instructors taught us the basic step all together but when they asked us to choose a partner of the opposite gender, of course, it became sort of awkward and Emilia took the liberty to shout, “It’s not as if you’re going to date this person for the rest of your life!” The partnering was the more challenging part of the dancing, since turns, spins, and other moves were added. We also had to rotate partners every now and then. But even so, I thought it was getting even more fun, despite the fact that some people were better at being dance partners than others *wink. And I might only be speaking for myself when I say this, but afterwards, I thought it was a really great idea to add dancing to the list of Friday’s activities. It was just fun to get out there and dance. There’s something about dance that brings so much joy and exhilaration that I don’t think a lot of people knew about prior to the Salsa lesson. And by taking a Salsa lesson, we were not only exposed to being taught in Spanish, but experienced a completely different part of Latin-American culture.

Afterwards, we got on a bus and went to a Colombian restaurant called, La Casona in Central Falls, where we were introduced to different Columbian dishes. That included la churrasco, which was basically a steak with rice and lettuce, camarones al tequila, which was shrimp with tequila sauce, and normal chicken fingers for those who were less willing to try anything new. (Emilia promised extra points on the final exam to those who tried a new food, and deducted points to those who ate chicken fingers). We also tried Colombian orange soda. Lunch was a pretty difficult ordeal, though. We had to order what we wanted en español. ¡Qué dificil! Just kidding. Although, it did take me a couple minutes just to work out what I was going to say to the waitress. It took some people a few tries too.

spanish3Then, we went to the bakery, where I tried this mango juice from Colombia. We all boarded the bus to go to the state house. Some people had bought Colombian desserts and were eating them on the bus. When we got there, we killed time by learning about the architecture of the state house with Tony, one of our chaperones, and exploring the outside. We then went inside and explored too before heading into an office, where we met Senator Pichardo.

spanish1Mr. Pichardo led us from the office into the state senate room, where we sat at the places of different state senators. He talked a little bit about himself; how he was born in the Dominican and joined his mother in the US after being in a separate country from her for nine years; how he had worked at Rhode Island hospital and joined the air force before his job in the senate; how he was the first Latino and Dominican American to be elected to the senate. He also talked to us about the importance of being bilingual, especially in the US, where many languages aside from English, particularly Spanish, are widely spoken. Then it was time for questions, which had to be said in Spanish – another opportunity to immerse in the Spanish language. Meeting Senator Pichardo taught me a lot about what it was like to be an American originally from a different country. I was really interested in what he said about his early life living in the US, having moved at nine years old to be with his mother. It was really different from Salsa dancing, but still, very interesting. Although, I think I personally enjoyed the dancing a little more.

spanish2That was our Immersion Day. I thought it was a success and couldn’t thank our amazing teacher, Tony, parent chaperone, Mrs. Lesica, and most of all, incredible Spanish teacher, Emilia, enough for helping to make Immersion Day so much fun this year. It definitely was a day worth being there for.

French Immersion Day by Paloma D. ’18

We started our day with going to the French American School after we met up in our classroom. My group started in history and no one would talk. I represented the whole group, talking to the teacher and answering his questions. After the bell rang we went out in the hallway and the teacher called us back in and told us to stay or look around other classes. We went to another class, which was Spanish, and ended up doing a skit in Spanish. After Spanish we were all standing in the recess area. One of the students asked us to play cards and so I sat down with them. Soon everybody was playing a big card game.

After this we went straight to the Museum of Work and Culture in Woonsocket. We learned about the factories and the mill girls. We also learned about how life was at that time. Around the end of our visit, Sr. Sow asked me to read a letter from someone who was moving to where the mills were. After the museum, we went to a Fish and Chips place called “Ye Old Fish & Chips”. Sr. Sow ordered a combo and “le combo” stayed alive because he was not able to finish it. After lunch we went to Thayer Street. At Froyo, again Sr. Sow had a combo Froyo and” le combo” beat him again. After this we went back to Moses Brown and that was the end of our French Immersion Day .





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