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Hamden Hall Country Day School
Educating students in PreSchool through Grade 12

World Language Week Explores Languages and Cultures

The World Language Department and our Hamden Hall community commenced World Language Week this first full week of March by celebrating and exploring the diversity of languages and cultures through the lens of myths, legends, and other tales.

"Myths and legends go beyond mere storytelling; they are crucial to understanding our world and passing down cultural legacies through generations," said World Language Department Chair Yasmin Haque. "At a time when we face the concerning disappearance of many languages, sharing these tales in their original language can be crucial for their survival." 

Inspired by the stories of Greek mythology, Middle and Upper School students in class with Latin teacher Stephanie Spaulding turned thrifted dolls into their own version of gods, goddesses, heroes, and monsters. Using upcycled clothing, accessories, and other materials, students spent class time choosing a myth-inspired character they wanted to design. Choices included Zeus, the God of the Sky; Achilles, the strongest soldier of the Trojan War; Iris, the goddess of rainbows; Artemis, the goddess of wild animals; Cupid, baby Hercules, Medusa, and even Pandora’s Box. Once the dolls are completed, they will be displayed by means of a miniature museum in Swain Library.

In class with teacher Adriana Alcina-Gomez, students in Spanish 5H researched and engaged in conversations about different myths and legends in Spanish-speaking cultures. The classes have watched a selection of videos and completed listening activities on various famous myths from Spain, Latin America, and pre-Columbian/indigenous cultures such as Chac Mool, La Llorona, Don Juan Tenorio, and Chupacabras. The class ended with a trivia game and watching a Spanish film.

Other language class activities and lessons include students in Italian class with teacher Federica Christopher listening to Italian fairy tales and learning about legends from different parts of Italy. Spanish teacher Julie Sanza Calder will be facilitating an Escape Room style game for her students before enjoying a film. Seventh-grade students in Spanish Class A with teacher Jill McLeavy dove into the myth of the Chupacabra. French classes with teacher Suzanne Hamlin-Smith enjoyed a relaxing block by watching films. 

In addition to classroom activities, the World Language Department will host a special assembly for the Upper School community on Friday to conclude the weeklong programming and activities. The assembly will feature a “guess the language” competition, an Italian gesture song performance featuring Mrs. Christopher’s students, and a video presentation showcasing various Hamden Hall students and faculty members speaking different languages. The video was filmed and produced by members of the Film Club, specifically spearheaded by junior Sanjiv Persaud. 

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