Home Languages Week at ISU- 2023
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Home Languages Week at ISU- 2023

All of primary enjoyed a week full of rich language activities. Everyone started off watching a beautiful video given by this year’s home language host, Ms. Lourine, who taught us a bit about her culture and language, Swahili. We were reminded about what happened in East Bengal (Bangladesh) between 1947 and 1957 and the importance of continuing to speak our home languages so that they do not become extinct. It was a fun-filled, linguistic week of celebration that opened our minds and made us proud. Here is what every grade level did along with a message from Ms. Noa about how the library celebrated too.

-by the ELA Team and Noa Hilevitz, Librarian

Community helpers in KG

All the KG classes shared how to say “community helper” in their home languages. They dressed up as a community helper and made a video of this for their unit. The students made a home language graph and practiced saying the numbers in their home languages as well.

Bilingual geologists in Grade 1

Grade 1 chose to make a connection between their Home Languages and their Central Idea, ‘Geologists study how the Earth’s landscapes change over time’. They did this through an investigation into key unit vocabulary. Each grade 1 class chose a domain and researched words in their home languages with their parents and caregivers at home. In school, children looked for connections across their languages and then used this multilingual glossary to publish a mini film where they shared their home language words for: landforms, features on maps, and properties of rocks. Investigating terms and concepts through a bilingual lens helps us maintain additive bilingualism and avoid subtractive bilingualism where one language progresses at the detriment of the other.

Bilingual books in Grade 2

Grade 2 chose to integrate their home languages into their unit assessment. They are publishing their nonfiction, invention books on Book Creator. Part of this process includes reading their books aloud on Seesaw. The students will be reading the title and/or the whole book in English and in their home languages. Therefore, the end result will be a bilingual, nonfiction book read aloud for all to enjoy.

Multilingual ‘Book Nook’ in grade 3

The Book Nook next to the grade 3 classes needed some refurbishing. There aren’t many home language books there and they wanted these to be added to the area. Since their current unit is focusing on review writing, they decided to bring in their favourite books, links to read alouds and movies that are in their home languages. They made home language oral review videos of these books/media and will be putting up the QR codes of these reviews in the Book Nook so that they can persuade their friends to enjoy some 5 star literature/media.

Multilingual scientists in grade 4

Grade 4 did a special Home Language Lesson where they had to make use of the scientific method (from their Unit) to investigate why languages die out. The lesson involved them discussing their different languages, investigating how they feel about them, and learning about the various ways a language can become under threat. Students then had to come up with a way to preserve their home language, that they will try over the holidays. At home, they have to translate the scientific method into their home language and present the scientific method on SeeSaw. After the holidays, the students will give feedback on how their plan to preserve or improve their home language went.

Studying language conflicts in grade 5

Grade 5 has been learning about various types of conflict which complimented what they were learning about during Home Languages Week. Their focus was learning about the various types of language deaths, their causes and then challenging themselves by identifying the types of conflict that result in those language deaths. Students then had to film themselves listing the different types of conflict in their mother tongue and in English and upload it to SeeSaw.

In the library

Home language week is always a highlighted event in ISUtrecht library. During this week we have a chance to listen to different stories in multiple languages, stories that come from different cultures and backgrounds. This year, we’ve had read aloud sessions by a diverse group in many different languages. Some of the readings were done by parents who volunteered, secondary students who came to practice their home language reading skills or staff members who read books to us in languages we have not heard in our library before.
Ms. Dudgeon was reading to grade 3 White in her home language Afrikaans, and even though many of our staff members are Afrikaans speakers, we haven’t had Afrikaans books so far! The students enjoyed listening to the story and finding similarities between Dutch and Afrikaans! In grade 3 red we had two Israeli students who read the same story in both Hebrew and English.
Akshara, a DP student who speaks more than 4 languages, chose to read in Spanish, Ms. Good practiced her Japanese reading skills and Mr. Sacha read to grade 3 orange in his home language- Thai. His book of folklore tales brought some curious questions from the students, wishing to understand better the cultural background of his story and making connections with their own.