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A Community of Language Learners

By Mr. Charlie Sellers, Modern Languages Faculty

A Community of Language Learners

¡Manos con manos, dedos con dedos, puños, palmas, pulgares, dedos índices, dedos meñiques… descanso!”  I orchestrate these commands while the class stands in a circle giving each other high fives and joining fingers, fists, palms, thumbs, index fingers, then they wait for the next direction.  “Espaldas con espaldas.”  Everyone goes back to back. “¡Cinco, cinco, diez, diez, codos, codos, pies, pies!”  The students face their conversation partners, and again give high fives, tens, and knock elbow, elbow, foot, foot.  They wait for the prompt to respond to an attention-grabbing hook about a brief, animated short film about Día de los muertos.  On my cue in groups of two, the students start listing elements that we have studied from Día de los muertos that they saw in the video, which is a novice skill (ACTFL).  “¡Díez al revés!”  The kids give backwards high fives to their classmates who are standing behind them in the circle, turn to face each other, and, again, responding to another prompt, and they start narrating using the past tenses to recount what happened in the video, addressing Intermediate-High Level discourse (ACTFL).

Class Goals: “I want you … to form a community, to take risks without fear, to have fun, and to always speak Spanish.
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More Important Than My Fear

By Payton Nugent, VI Form

More Important Than My Fear

Do you really think anyone cares?

During my announcement to the school, I hear this lone internal voice.

What you’re trying to do is stupid and doesn’t matter.

I have tried to shake this voice from my head, but it keeps coming back. During every announcement I make for the Gender Sexuality Alliance, that voice represents every student who is rolling his or her eyes. That voice represents every student who thinks issues of gender identity and sexuality are nonexistent because “there are no gay people at St. Mark’s.” For some, I will never be able to change their minds. Whenever I make these announcements, I wonder why I run for head of the GSA if this voice is always pestering me. (more…)

Festina Lente: Reflections on Teaching and Gardening

By Heather Harwood, Classics Faculty

Festina Lente: Reflections on Teaching and Gardening

This past spring and summer, I was once again actively involved in the St. Mark’s Community Garden Project. With the help of five students last spring and with the committed labor of several St. Mark’s faculty during the summer, the garden continued to expand and flourish into its fourth season. It provided all of us who participated with an abundance of delicious and nutritious food and was a quiet, reflective refuge where I could escape any given sunny morning to harvest my thoughts about the past school year and think about the upcoming one. (more…)