Thirty-three 3rd graders from Freedom Shores’ Dual Language program showcased their academic abilities in a creative way, spending nine weeks working on an integrated curriculum that encompassed social studies, science, reading, writing, and the arts in order to present a live bilingual performance on stage.
Third grade teachers Mariela Lee and Zulay Gomez led the students through the common core standards teaching about different regions, and their characteristics of how plants and animals depend on each other. The focus was also on the impact of human interaction to the environment, along with how to use their research to create poetry with meaning. The project culminated in a “bilingual” live performance of El Yunque, Rain Forest of Puerto Rico, and poetry expression through movement.
The performance showcased their in-depth knowledge of the subjects, guided by CCE Teacher Graciela Binaghi who worked with the students on theater and movement. Joann Preston also a CCE Teacher guided the students in music and dance. “I think one of the ingredients that made this project so successful is the ease of these bilingual students to approach the curriculum. In my opinion being bilingual has incremented their intellectual, creative, and emotional abilities,” said Mrs. Binaghi.
“This is an exemplary model of how the performing arts can be integrated within the academic curriculum. Students were engaged, enthusiastic, energized, and self- confident,” said Olga Vazquez, Manager of In-House Programs at CCE.
Parents, teachers, and community leaders were in agreement when they also expressed their amazement at how well the students carried their knowledge through the performance. School Board Member for District 4, Mrs. Erica Whitfield, was in attendance and was equally impressed with the Dual Language Presentation. The gathering was one of the many activities sponsored by the Center for Creative Education (CCE) in conjunction with Freedom Shores Elementary School’s principal, Patricia Trejo, who has always been committed to providing all bilingual students with authentic opportunities to highlight their success in the acquisition of the Spanish language.
“I believe in the Dual Language Program, their amazing performance indicates the importance of providing all students with different venues to express their academic knowledge,” Mrs. Trejo said, “The Dual Language Presentation was a true performance-assessment in action”.