The Italian program at St Martin's is well and truly alive and thriving. The Italian program is being offered to Preps students right through to the Year 6 students.
Each year during Term One, the Dominic Centre is transformed into a colourful, vibrant festive piazza where the St Martin's community celebrate the highly anticipated Carnevale Day (The beginning of Lent). The morning begins with an informative Carnevale presentation by our Year 6 students, where the community can learn about the origins of Carnevale. Then each class from Prep to Year 6 parades their amazing masks. It is always fantastic to see the whole school community embracing an aspect of the Italian culture; smiling, dancing, prancing and singing, which is what Carnevale is all about!
Throughout the year the St Martin's students are invited to participate in a variety of external competitions which are organised by the Italian Language Centre. The first competition is for the art loving students. The Calligram competition is challenging activity that required students to draw pictures using only words. Students are judged on spelling, form, language variation and general artistic talent. Later in the year students from Years 2 to 6 are invited to participate in the annual Language Speaking Competition, where students are required to learn by memory an action poem. There are over 15 other schools represented at the competition in the South Brisbane region.
The Early Years program commences with an overall taste of Italia and all things Italian, including Italy's location, food, alphabet, greetings, conversational language, famous monuments and of course the preparation of Carnevale festivities. Throughout the term students learn basic phrases such as greetings, basic conversations on how to order their favourite gelato and their favourite gelato flavours. A visit from the local gelato van is a highlight for all the students!
The Middle Years program is also a very exciting one. Students in Year 3 learn about Italian school life and school objects. This unit resulting in an online real-life bookstore shopping experience where students use Euro currency to shop for items. Year 4 students are involved in creating digital Keynote audio and visual diaries that they eventually share with their younger buddies. They love this experience as they are creating a language book for a real-life audience.
The Upper Years program is where the real-life learning experiences of language learning come to life. The students in Year 5 participate in the annual St Martin's fashion parade after learning the language functions of clothing items and descriptions. The cohort is asked to do a clothing drive collection and the clothing is then used to create a fashion parade. The clothing items are then donated to charity groups such as St Vincent De Paul. Students explore the Catholic value of charity and demonstrate this by donating the items to the less fortunate. During Term 3 the Year 5 students are given then opportunity to bring in their pets to school. Unfortunately, not all students will have pets, therefore these students are invited to bring in photos, drawings and stuffed toys representing their favourite pet. Each year I look forward to meeting our St. Martin's community dogs, cats, guinea pigs, fish and in the past even a hen joined us!
The Year 6 program has a focus on the wider community and the world around us. Each year, Signora Enza connects with a local or interstate school to form a PenPal project. At the beginning of the year students create their own school tours and share these with their PenPal classes. Then, in Term 2 the students write a PenPal letter to their individual PenPals, which describe themselves, their families, likes and dislikes and other interesting information. The students then have one more chance at the end of the year to reply with another letter. Content Language Integrated Learning is a way of teaching that requires the teacher to use only the second language with a focus on another subject. HaSS and Italian are taught collectively to the students in Term 3. Students investigate Australian migration in the HaSS unit and connect their findings in the Italian classroom. The students then learn content such as countries, continents, food names and food descriptions. The students have been asked to select two foods from two different countries to create and cook a 'Food Fusion' that will be presented at the 'Year 6 International Food Expo.' Students will present the food using the digital CANVA or KEYNOTE applications and present these using only the Italian language.
The St Martin's community is blessed to have such a diverse community of families from countries around the world and I believe it's extremely important to celebrate this as it gives students a sense of pride and identity. A presto….