- Rockwood Valley Middle
Let's Talk Learning: 6-12 World Languages
March 13, 2023
“Let’s Talk Learning” is a new series in which the Rockwood School District focuses on a specific area of our curriculum and gives our community a closer look at its foundations, goals and successes. Let’s Talk Learning is also an opportunity for our community members to share their input on our curriculum through voluntary surveys.
This month, we take a look at 6-12 World Languages:
Rockwood Summit High seniors Rilya Boedges and Gabby Rose flanked a large-scale work of French Romanticism at the Saint Louis Art Museum, describing to fellow students the dense clouds and sunlight creeping through to a verdant valley that the painting depicted.
Close by, classmate Elaine Duan presented to fellow students a more intimate painting of two greyhounds, a work of French Realism that rejected the spectacle of Romanticism.
Both of these conversations were happening in French.
“We’re teaching them about these paintings from our perspective and getting a chance to hear about it from their perspective, too,” Boedges said. “We liked the lighting and the sunrays in our painting. We thought it was really pretty.”
Rockwood Summit teacher Kacey Scholtz’s French 4 and AP French Language and Culture classes took a tandem field trip to the Saint Louis Art Museum to further enforce the themes of the art unit in both classes. The AP students researched and presented paintings to the French 4 students, who also enjoyed guided tours of the museum led by French-speaking docents.
“The best way to learn a language is to be immersed in it, 24/7,” Schlotz said. “Since we can’t do that, as much as we can, we keep it up to date, modern and pertinent to their real life, where they can use language outside of the classroom. That’s when they really remember and build those lifelong learning traits because they see what they can do.”
The Rockwood School District World Languages curriculum is designed to develop students' communicative competence in the classroom and global competence in the community. Teachers develop lessons and assessments that focus on the three modes of communication: interpretive reading and listening; interpersonal speaking and writing; and presentational speaking and writing. Teachers design units around a theme – such as art – and provide a variety of readings, listenings and viewings for students.
Rockwood teachers also provide many opportunities for our students to use their language outside of the classroom and with native speakers, such as field trips to area museums or engaging with native speakers in the classroom or at school events. Some students even get the opportunity to take trips abroad to experience the language and culture firsthand.
At Eureka High, teachers Emily Ewald, Dania Ramirez-Bayron and Julie Weitzel recently led their Spanish 3 students on a field trip to the Kemper Art Museum at Washington University. Their students enjoyed tours led by Spanish-speaking guides as well as self-guided exploration time during which they embarked on a sort of artwork scavenger hunt and picked 10 pieces to describe in Spanish.
Junior Mia Dipner said opportunities outside of the classroom help further her mastery of the subject matter.
“This makes it really fun. It’s more than just learning about grammar and things like that,” Dipner said. “We get to see things for ourselves.”
Rockwood’s World Languages program is proud to participate in the Seal of Biliteracy program through the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE). Since 2017 when the Seal of Biliteracy program started in Missouri, Rockwood has granted more than 500 seals to students.
Boedges, Duan and Rose have been taking French since middle school, and Schlotz conducts their AP class almost entirely in French.
They said expanding their knowledge of a world language has also helped expand their knowledge of the world.
“I’ve told lowerclassmen that they should take a language because it helps you learn a lot about the world,” Rose said. “The world is not just St. Louis.”
We Want to Hear from You!
Do you have thoughts about our Rockwood 6-12 world languages curriculum? Fill out this voluntary survey to let us know what you think and help guide our curriculum review process as we continue to evaluate the ways in which we can help ensure all students realize their potential!
Please note: responses are limited to one survey per device to help maintain data accuracy. If parents would like to take the survey more than one time to share experiences that have been different for each of their children, they may do so on multiple devices.