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Es tiempo para ir a la escuela

Bishop-Grimes writers entertain at Seymour School in two languages:

Twelve Bishop-Grimes sophomore Spanish students visited the Seymour Dual Learning Academy on Friday, Feb. 29 to share a collection of bilingual children's books the students had written and illustrated as a class project.

The field trip provided the high schoolers with an opportunity to practice their Spanish, while the Seymour kindergarten and first-grade classes enjoyed original tales and illustrations in both Spanish and English.

Sharon Bearer, the Bishop-Grimes Spanish teacher, said this is the fifth year students from her class have visited the Seymour school, where every subject is taught in both Spanish and English. In the past, students have performed plays and managed arts and crafts projects, but the Seymour students seem to enjoy the books the more, Bearer said.

Students in Bearer's Spanish III class paired up to write and illustrate a bilingual children's book, with the story printed in Spanish and English. The best six books were chosen to read to the Seymour classes. Bearer said many of the students donate their books to the Seymour library after reading them aloud to the classes.

Most Seymour students learn English as a second language, said Seymour principal Marie Lostombo. She encouraged the Bishop-Grimes students to feel comfortable speaking Spanish to the children, and reassured them that no one would laugh at them.

Still, several students were nervous to read their Spanish stories to native speakers.

"It's kind of weird having a first grader know more than you do," Katherine Wilcox said.

Elizabeth Reck said she chose to take Spanish over other languages offered because she thought it would be the most useful, and that a knowledge of Spanish would appeal to potential employers.

Reck remembered an instance in which she helped her mother communicate with clients who spoke only Spanish, her first experience putting her Spanish to work in the "real world."

"So many things in school are geared towards state exams," Bearer said.

She believes it is important for students to have the opportunity to use their Spanish outside of the classroom.

"We come down here and see people using it -- it's a real good thing for us," she said.

Photo by Ellen Leahy:

Making new friends: Kyle Huff and Adriana Sereno after reading their book, "Un Amigo Nuevo Para Buddy."

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