Descriptions of assignments and projects created by the language faculty and students of The Elisabeth Morrow School, presented at the NJECC Conference on March 12, 2013 in Montclair State University.

Las Meninas
Sra. Bonasorte created this VT assignment for her sixth grade class. Using Spanish painter Diego Velázquez's famous painting (1599-1660) as a backdrop, students engage in an authentic language and cultural scenario. The unit studied was the family vocabulary, which included the verb "ser" and many high frequency adjectives. The students were asked to describe the royal family depicted on the painting. They describe the personal characteristics of the main character - the princess - and answer basic questions about the painting and its author. Students were given a worksheet with the assignment objectives and expectations. They researched the answers and later recorded their voicethreads individually to be shared with the class.

La maison
Mme Platter created this assignment for her sixth grade class. After learning the vocabulary related to the house, students were given this voicethread to showcase their ability to speak extemporaneously about a house. The teacher asked students to describe a typical French house. She asked specific questions such as: How many rooms are there in the house? How many bedrooms? Does it have a garden or a garage? Along with this oral project, students also designed their ideal house, labeling all the rooms in French. This was a great review for their Chapter test on La Maison!

El restaurante
This is a vocabulary assignment from Sra. Arroyave’s Beginning Spanish class. The two students in this VT visited a virtual restaurant. Using the vocabulary they had learned from this unit, they created and recorded a basic conversation, which they also illustrated with text and pictures.

This is Magistra Fabra’s assignment for her 8th grade Latin class. The students were asked to depict a Latin passage with translated English prose and storyboards to demonstrate their understanding of the story “pompa”. The story depicts a traditional Roman procession in honor of the goddess Isis, capturing the culture and daily life events of Roman family living. In addition to vocabulary, the story highlights various grammatical concepts, such as the vocative case, the imperative mood and demonstrative adjectives. The assignment also encompassed an analysis facet. Students were asked to formulate ten comprehension questions with answers to close their presentations. The students practiced pronunciation reading in Latin and had fun acting out their own Latin passage while enriching their knowledge of vocabulary, grammar and Roman culture.

Roberto Clemente
Presented by Sra. Bonasorte’s 7th grade students, this is an enrichment activity which targets conversational practice from a cultural perspective. Students were asked to answer questions recorded by Sra. Bonasorte for the VT slideshow. The types of questions ranged in complexity, from literal to abstract reasoning. Baseball enthusiasts had fun researching and learning facts about the famous sports figure Roberto Clemente.

Every Cloud has a Silver Lining
Refrains and idioms come to life in this VT project that incorporates three languages: French, English and Spanish. This was a collaboration of two 8th grade language students from Mme Digi and Sra. Bonasorte’s classes. Previously, we had discussed the important role that idioms play in language development. Students reviewed a list of proverbs and idioms and they selected one for their voicethread project. We asked them to analyze the proverb (literally and idiomatically), illustrate it and connect it to a real life situation. This was a great example of creativity and collaboration in two language classes; a fun learning experience that they all enjoyed!

Dalí vs. Picasso
This is an example of a student-created project. Developed by two 8th grade students from Sra. Bonasorte’s class, this impressively creative project depicts a face-off between two great Spanish artists: Salvador Dalí and Pablo Picasso. The students conceptualized the theme, created the script and illustrated their VT slideshow with famous art works from each artist.

Los churros
This was a group project from Sra. Bonasorte’s 8th grade class. The students chose a typical dish from Spain - los churros, which is a popular snack enjoyed by children and adults alike in many Spanish-speaking countries. The students researched facts on the origin of this dish, and even included the recipe for this delicious snack. They illustrated their project and also provided a step-by-step of the cooking process. The next thing on their minds was when to plan their next “churros” party.