December 2004 Newsletter

French Students learn about the French diet and how to celebrate different occasions

Mme Sylvestre's French 2 students completed in November, a unit on the French meal. They worked on a 3 stage performance assessment where they needed to develop a menu, create an invitation and bring in a part of an authentic French meal. Invitations were displayed on the bulletin board outside of Mme Sylvestre's classroom and the meal took place on November 4th . Students learned that there are a variety of occasions that the French have in which they celebrate in the form of a dinner. They also learned that the French eat differently than the American people.

Germany Exchange Program

Frau Fromhein held an initial planning meeting for our German exchange program. The turnout was incredible. If you are interested in experiencing Germany this summer, see her soon as space is filling up fast. Frau Fromheim started our exchange program, German-American Partnership Program (GAPP), in 1992 with great success. Though the program has been idle since 9/11, she and her students are off to Germany again this year. Ledyard's program is the only one in the state of Connecituct and we hold special status nationwide as our partner school is in former East Germany! Germany is a majoy player in the political and business world today, and is a leader in the strengthening European Union. We are blessed to have this opportunity for Ledyard youth to both learn from and teach Germans. The understandings and connections our students will make will last a lifetime. Priceless!

French 3 Students Create Fashion Magazine Advertisements

French 3 students while working on a chapter dealing with fashion, paying and responding to compliments and identifying people and things came up with their own fashion magazine advertisement.

Spanish Students View Latino Art

In November Spanish II students had the unique opportunity to view a special collection of art at Mystic Arts Center. The exibit was called Latin Views 2004 and was put together by the Latin Network for the Visual Arts (LNVA) in conjuction with the Griffis Art Center and Mystic Arts Center. LNVA is the largest Latin art group in southeastern Connecituct and it happends to be based right here in Ledyard. LNVA is dedicated to developing a public awares of Latin art and to offering educational and community programs that expand its impact. LNVA was generous enough to offer this opportunity to LHS students at no cost and we are very thankful. The exhibit featured seventeen artists from nine Latin American countires. A guided tour by one of the artists himself helped make the occation more meaningful and connected. Students described their favorite piece to the group in Spanish and wrote about it in their journals. The trip will be followed up with both in-class interpretation of art (in Spanish of course) and a visti to the most famous Latin American art museum, El Museo del Barrio in Spanish Harlem. Many students are may be doing in Spanish what they have yet to do in English. We are all amazed and proud.

Ledyard Students Meet Author

Renée Roth-Hano, author of the book, Touch Wood, came to Ledyard High School, Tuesday, November 16. Arranged through the Resource Center for the Teaching of French at Yale University, Ledyard French teacher, Renée M. Sylvestre made a request for Mrs. Roth-Hano to speak to Ledyard High School Students. As this was a wonderful interdisciplinary occasion, not only French students but German students, Modern Europe students and AP US History students were given the opportunity to hear Mrs. Roth-Hano speak. The book, Touch Wood is the author's personal experience of her life in France occupied by the Nazis during a 5 year period, 1940-1944. Mrs. Roth-Hano spoke of her feelings as a young, nine-year old Jewish girl as her family was forced to flee a luxury apartment in Alsace and move to a cramped bare-bones apartment in Paris. She spoke of the rise of anti-Semitism, along with the hardships that Jews especially, had to endure during this time-period. Her mother frequently used the French expression <> which means touch wood and is similar to the American expression "Knock on Wood". How interesting that the literal meaning of the French expression refers to touching the wood of the cross on which Jesus died. It seems odd that a Jewish woman would use this expression frequently. It just goes to show how expressions infiltrate our cultures. After a presentation of approximately 1 hour, Mrs. Roth-Hano entertained questions from the audience to allow even further understanding of that very difficult period of time. Joining Mrs. Roth-Hano was Mireille Déchelette, director of the Resource Center at Yale.

El Dia de los Muertos

On November 1st Spanish students experienced the Day of the Dead as celebrated in Mexico. This is a happy occasion to remember the unique things that lost loved ones shared with others while alive. Food and other offerings are left for the dead in hopes that their souls will return for a night to enjoy. Students paid homage to the likes of Babe Ruth, Dr. Seuss, Tom and Jerry, etc. Each was left flowers, food, candy, and pan de muerto (a special sweet bread) to cheer their souls. Babe Ruth even found a baseball and bat waiting for him, while Dr. Seuss found plenty of books to read. Tom encountered a handy mousetrap and Jerry the joys of catnip. Students enjoyed food and song as they celebrated the good things that the dead have left us. The students had a great experience researching and producing a reenactment of authentic event. Again, their creativity, resourcefulness and desire to use their Spanish made this a most memorable event. And a big thank you to the parents who helped, especially with getting the bread to rise!

Free Trip to Germany

Frau Fromheim has organized a contest offered by the Goethe-Institut of New York and one of our students may win a free opportunity to participate in a Youth Course in Germany in the summer of 2005. Participants will watch a short video and take a quiz. This year's video, "German High - We Know What Malina Did Last Summer," opens a window into the life of a German high school, its students and their everyday activities, seen through the eyes of a North American high school student.

Ballet Folklórico

On November 5th our Spanish students watched a presentaion of Ballet Folklórico performed by The National Theater of the Perfroming Arts. This group travels all over the country exposing students to traditional Mexican dance and song. All of the musicians and dancers were from Mexico. The interdiciplinary nature of the event allowed drama students to have on-the-job training working for a professional company. Almost all (230) of our Spanish students were the beneficearies of the drama teams hard work. It can be difficult at times to bring authentic culture into a classroom. This event provided a unique opportunity to bring Mexico to our students and they loved it. Many of the students even danced on stage and learned moves. Ask your child if she or he can do the Mexican hat dance or cheer on dancers with an authentic "yippie."