The World Language classes at Louis M. Klein Middle School have been honing their presentation skills by teaching their classmates about history, fashion, cuisine, dance and architecture – all in their target language and providing an interactive component to engage their classmates.

In the classes, students were asked to research one of two inquiry questions:
1). How do cultures influence other cultures around the world?
2). How have other cultures contributed to the development of French/Spanish/Italian culture as we know it today?

The French students came up with a great variety of answers. Many talked about fashion, cuisine, dance, art, and architecture.

“One focused on Coco Chanel’s development of the “Little Black Dress” and how that not only influenced fashion around the world, but how it also increased women’s prestige and acceptance in the workplace,” said Ariel Mankes, LMK French teacher. “We had a mini fashion show in class to see how prevalent the LBD is.”

Another student showed how Louis Braille’s invention of the Braille alphabet allows blind people around the world the world to read.  The class guessed student’s names using Braille.  All of the LMK classrooms have their room numbers on a plaque outside the door in Braille. A participant was led with her eyes closed to a random room and tried to figure out what room it was.

In the Italian classes, a students presented the impact of Michelangelo and had students lay on their backs to attempt painting the “ceiling” as they sketched on the underside of their tables.  Another student used Google Earth to drop the class into the action on a Formula One Racetrack.  Throughout history, Italy has prided itself on its soccer prowess so another student demonstrated soccer tricks and had the class try passes under the desks.

In Spanish classes, students learned cultural dances and discussed the origins of their favorite foods. Students taught the symbolism of flag colors and reinforced the influence of geography on how culture develops.  They talked about celebrations and traditions that now appear in the US and the many communities of Spanish speakers around the world.

“This is just one example of how LMK’s World Language classes are gearing students toward the methods of learning that are key to the International Baccalaureate Middle Years Program curriculum,” Ms. Mankes said.  “It was a great opportunity for students to find their own connections by pursuing their interests – and they had a lot of fun!”