We had the pleasure of hosting exchange students and teachers from Angers, France the last two weeks in October. Sixteen students came from Collège Mongazon to stay with host families at LaSalle II. Since the French students travel back to France the day before Halloween we decided to throw them an American Halloween-themed going away party. The students dressed up in costumes and celebrated an early Halloween with their American host families. It was such a wonderful experience for the French and American students to learn more about one another’s cultures and we cannot wait to visit their school in April!
First grade students in Spanish room 203 begin the year with La oruga muy hambrienta, also known as The Very Hungry Caterpillar! We read the book and sequence the foods the caterpillar eats according to the days of the week using flip books we create, as well as discuss our own food preferences. We also learn about monarch butterflies and the journey they take each fall from Canada and the United States to their over-wintering sites in sanctuaries in Mexico, which is our country of study for the year. We make paper butterflies and mini messages to send to Mexico with Journey North’s Symbolic Monarch Migration. Then, we add ourselves to the map and wait until the spring, when we will receive butterflies and also map them to find out where they originated.
On Saturday, April 21st, Gabrielle D. and Natalie D., two of our Chinese language students, participated in the 10th Midwest Chinese Speech Contest and won two gold medals for LaSalle II. Congratulations to them!
Over the past nine years 34 LaSalle II students have participated in the Midwest Chinese speech contest. Gabrielle and Natalie are the 25th and 26th gold medalists among those 34 students.
Additionally, on Friday, April 20th, fifty of our Chinese language students voluntarily took a total of 53 tests authorized by the Office of Chinese Language Council International, China. There were 5 different levels of testing performed, from YCT level I covering 150 vocabulary words to HSK level IV covering 1,200 vocabulary words. Our Chinese language students are among the very best in Chicago.
Exchange students from Spain spent two weeks in Chicago in March. They had a great opportunity to learn about different cultures by observing classes at school, during their visits to different places in the city and also with their host families. This has been the fourth year that students come from Madrid and now it is LaSalle II’s turn to visit Spain in April. Thank you to all who make this exchange possible. ¡Buen viaje!
French students recently concluded a unit on Paris by recreating famous monuments with toothpicks and marshmallows. Students presented their completed masterpieces in French to the class by sharing the name, arrondissement, and various activities you can do at each monument! Bravo, les élèves !
Our exchange students from Beijing have had a great time during their visit to Chicago! They have enjoyed visits to the Hancock building, the Art Institute, City Hall, the Chicago History Museum, and the Shedd Aquarium. A huge thank you to Ms. Aquino for all her hard work in organizing this exchange and to our host families for generously opening up their homes. We very much appreciate your support!
Our 8th graders have started a new program called “Language Buddies”, in which they are partnered with the 1st graders during their language class and help with the language learning. All the students have had a ton of fun so far!
On the first day of this new school year, fifty-two LaSalle II Chinese language students were extremely excited as they received the certificates mailed from Beijing China for their YCT and HSK Chinese test results! These results, from tests taken in mid-May, showed that our LaSalle II Chinese language students once again did a magnificent job!
Both YCT and HSK test series are international standardized tests designed, developed and implemented under the Office of Chinese Language Council International for young Chinese learners and for college students and other adults to rate their Chinese language proficiency levels. For each single test of YCT and HSK, the test papers were prepared, printed and mailed from Beijing to test proctors in the countries around the world. These closely monitored standardized tests were then collected and mailed back to Beijing for grading.
From LaSalle II’s founding year of 2008 to the year of 2017, we have seen a complete cycle of students passing from kindergarten through 8th grade. From 5-year olds with no knowledge of Chinese to 13-year olds passing the adult level HSK IV, LaSalle II students have shown remarkable progress in their proficiency of Mandarin. And, by the way, passing HSK level 4 test is commonly a requirement for foreign students wanting to study in Chinese universities.
Students taking these tests, regardless of level, eagerly look forward to being able to demonstrate how well they understand and can use Mandarin. It is not just students passing the HSK level IV test that makes achievement seem so important but rather the steady improvement demonstrated by students passing higher and higher level tests year after year. In the year our students first took YCT tests, our third graders took YCT levels I and II. As students acquired greater proficiency in subsequent years, the highest level tests taken rose to III, then IV, and this past year to HSK level IV test. To see so many students rising to the challenge of making major improvements in their language skills each year is truly gratifying.
Our Chinese student achievements would not have been possible without the generous support of LaSalle II’s PTO and the strong support of LaSalle II’s administrators. On more than one occasion, the PTO and our school administrators have provided without hesitation needed financial help so that YCT/HSK test proctors’ expenses could be covered. Additionally one of our parents for two years in a row, donated test registration fees for students needing financial help. We appreciate the help of everyone involved in making our LaSalle II Chinese Program one of the strongest in Chicago.
This year LaSalle II was selected as part of a pilot program and our 5th and 8th grade students had the opportunity to earn the CPS Seal of Biliteracy. In order to qualify, student had to demonstrate proficiency on the APPL test. This provides a pathway to the State Seal of Biliteracy that students can earn in 12th Grade.
Below is a list of students who earned the designation.
- Chinese: John L. and Kelli V.
- French: Ivo H., Sara L., and Lyric N.
- Spanish: Madelyn L., Grant L., Kylie O., Sabrina O., Dalton P., Daniel A., Melissa S., Sophia S., Erin Wheeler, Gabrielle Wilson, and Robert Zavala
- Spanish: Karla D., Angel A., and Eric S.
Our exchange students from Madrid were here these past 2 weeks and we had a ton of fun! Our guests visited the Chicago History Museum, the Field Museum, Navy Pier, the Shedd Aquarium, and more! The students even got to attend our middle school dance.
A huge thank you to our host families for making this exchange possible and thank you to those who chaperoned. We know it is an exhausting but rewarding experience! Also, special thanks to our parent Captain Clay who arranged a special tour of his firehouse.