International Day

Students+participating+in+International+Day+at+Merritt+School
Students participating in International Day at Merritt School

Students participating in International Day at Merritt School

Students participating in International Day at Merritt School

Sydni Haggerty

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Every March, Merritt Memorial School hosts its annual International Day, a day when elementary school students get be introduced to new cultures, eat exotic foods, and learn words in new languages. The most recent International Day at Merritt School fell on Tuesday, March 21st and just like always, high schoolers taking language classes were invited to the elementary school to teach lessons on their studied languages as a part of the day’s events.

Students representing the Spanish, Italian, and French departments of the high school were given the task, a few weeks prior to the event, of creating lesson plans, presentations, and activities for their perspective classes. Simulating the experiences that real teachers undergo to prepare for their own lessons everyday, high school students prepared to hold their own classes and inspire young students to learn new languages.

On March 21st, the selected students to represent each language department departed school during lunch with the designated time of arrival set at the beginning of what would have been sixth period. Once there, the students organized into their groups and were told which classrooms they would be teaching to, which ranged from kindergartners to fifth graders. Then groups went to their respective classrooms and taught lessons for full 45 minute periods to rambunctious elementary schoolers all on their own.

Each language lesson varied slightly from the next, but most groups taught a variation or combination of standard greetings and phrases, numbers, the alphabet, and the parts of the body in their studied languages. By the end of all the lessons, every elementary schooler at Merritt Memorial was able to either greet you in Spanish, ask you how your day was in French, or tell you how old they were in Italian. Moreover, every student now knew a little bit more about what language they wanted to take once they got to the middle school, especially thanks to the candy in their pockets, given to them by high schoolers when questions were answered correctly during their lessons.

With the lessons over, the high-schoolers-turned-language-teachers were allowed down to Merritt’s auditorium where they were invited to enjoy the next event of International Day: a buffet from around the world. Parents and chaperones stood around the room representing more than a dozen countries and dishes from their native and traditional cuisines. Both high school students and elementary schoolers were able to eat food from Syria, get a drink from India, watch crepes be made in Russia, and pick up a cookie from Italy. Those who were less adventurous had the option to stop by the United States’ booth and pick up some simple buttered noodles.

After staying a while to eat and chat with the younger students, the high schoolers departed Merritt and arrived back at their own school around the end of eighth period. Overall, the high schoolers’ lessons went exceptionally well, elementary schoolers were able to learn a little bit of a new language, and everyone was able to enjoy and learn about new cultures from around the world. How can you get involved or participate next year? Don’t worry! International Day will be coming to Bryan School shortly and the high school volunteers haven’t been decided yet; just ask your language teacher about participating and maybe you can also teach little kids how to say hello in a different language.

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