This year, the Cranston Public Schools began a series of pathways programs designed to give students middle school level an opportunity for career and subject exploration in a wide variety of areas, including forensics, law, game-making, creative writing, art, music, physical activities and foreign languages.
At Park View Middle School, the participants in the Students Teaching Students world languages pathways program took their knowledge on the road, visiting the students at Waterman Elementary School to show them what they know.
For many of the Park View students, the trip to Waterman was a visit to their own elementary school, and several were sporting their class T-shirts from their final days at the school. For others, it was a chance to connect with youngsters who would someday be students at Park View. For all, it was a chance to foster a love of foreign languages in Cranston’s younger students.
The middle school students were split into small groups, each group assigned to a classroom of Waterman students. Once in the classrooms, the Park View students ran the activities they had prepared, which included songs and games focusing on either Italian or Spanish. The students were responsible for all aspects of the lessons, including the lesson plans.
“I gave the groups some suggestions for things they could do, but they all came up with their own ideas,” Park View teacher Brooke Jackson said.
The middle school groups rotated elementary students through their stations, teaching basic foreign language lessons in topics such as the months of the year, days of the week, counting, weather and seasons. They utilized puppet shows, dancing and games like bingo in their lessons.
At one station, the first-grade students were learning the days of the week and months of the year through a calendar game. It not only incorporated a foreign language but also utilized mathematics skills.
Throughout the two-hour trip, also discussed what middle school is like and common interests such as Harry Potter or dance lessons.
At the conclusion of the event, the middle school students left a copy of their language learning activities with the students they visited, allowing them to continue to practice what they’d learned going forward.