News and Events
Fridley High School (FHS) students received a unique opportunity to teach others using their Spanish language skills on February 13, 2019.
Twenty-five of the high school’s International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Programme (DP) Level 5 and 6 Spanish students took part in Spanish Day at the Minnesota Zoo, which featured the students presenting to zoo visitors in the Spanish language.
To prepare for the event, the students formed five presentation teams. Each team researched their assigned topic, which was either an animal or place, then wrote a script and practiced in front of classmates.
The students were not allowed to speak any English during their presentation. As visitors asked questions at the end, students answered only in Spanish.
Emily Latzka, Spanish instructor at the high school, noted the multiple educational opportunities at play for the students.
“Every presentation from Fridley had an element of educating others on the importance of protecting endangered animals and protecting our natural resources,” Latzka said. “The kids were creative and made their presentations interactive. For example, the ring-tailed lemur group even made a game for visitors to play called ‘pin the tail on the lemur.’”
FHS senior Sierra Lewis was one of the presenters at Spanish Day.
“The kids I presented to were from Spanish immersion schools,” Lewis said. “My presentation was on La Selva Tropical, which translates to The Tropical Rainforest. We talked about its importance for our world and how it produces a lot of the water and oxygen we need. We also shared with them that 50 percent of all plants and animals in the world live in the tropical rainforest.”
Latzka spoke of how meaningful events like these are for students learning a second language. “This opportunity allowed for DP Spanish students to put their language speaking research and skills into action outside of the classroom and in the public,” she said.
Lewis agreed that taking part in the event was a significant method of learning. “We did have a script, but it was more like a guide because we added context as we presented. They became Spanish words in our brains as opposed to Spanish words we translated,” Lewis said. “To be in an environment where everyone was speaking Spanish was important.”
The success of the students was highlighted in a message to FHS Principal Patty Hand from Susan Larkin, a volunteer at the Zoo. “Your kids from Fridley couldn’t have been sweeter, nicer or kinder,” she said. “I heard it from other volunteers; they were really impressed. You’re doing it right at Fridley.”
“As teachers, it is wonderful when people outside of Fridley notice our students’ hard work and upstanding citizenship,” Latzka said. “It validates the work that we are doing here at FHS and we are really proud of our Fridley students.”