Memorable Moments from Peru

On behalf of the students who participated, I would again like to take the opportunity to thank the school community for its support as we embarked on our first LaSalle II trip abroad this year.

As you may know, seven of our seventh- and eighth-grade girls made the journey to Peru over spring break with Ms. Aquino, Ms. Hernandez (a parent and CPS teacher) and myself. We assisted in the building of two greenhouses and completed homestays in the rural community of Patacancha, visited Inca ruins in Ollantaytambo, Cusco and Machu Picchu and toured Lima.

Following are a few favorite memories from our students. We will also have a presentation and photo exhibit during World Language Fest on Saturday 5/10.

Ms. Bucciarelli

Peru Trip - Fountain

Memorable Moments from our Peru Trip

In alphabetical order by last name, 7th grade first, 8th grade second

Alexis M (7th grade)

My favorite memory in Peru was when we were at Machu Picchu. The structures were huge with the enormous stones that fit perfectly. There were big lush mountains filled with terraces dug into the mountains and rooms made of stone with trapezoid spaces for windows so the room would be more stable in case of an earthquake. There were huge stone houses with thatched roofs and a garden filled with many different types of plants. There were lots of temples, including the Temple of the Sun and the Temple of the Rainbow.

Our guide, Marco, taught us that Machu Picchu’s real name is Llaqtapata and that its foundations were built by the Pre-Inca people called the Antis. We learned that there were two types of classes: the high class people were called the Incas and the lower classes were called the runas. We learned about the chakana, the Inca cross, and the three guidelines of the Inca: 1. don’t be lazy; 2. don’t steal; and 3. don’t lie. We also learned that there was a river surrounding Machu Picchu called Willkamayu. One of the coolest things I learned was that Machu Picchu was built from the bottom up. I loved going to Machu Picchu and wish I could go back one day.

Peru Trip - Hiking

Peru Trip - Ollantaytambo

Isabel R (7th grade)

My most memorable moment was when we went to Sacsayhuamán. I liked this place because we got to see alpacas and llamas. I really thought that they were cute. This place had many ancient things that meant a lot to the Inca.

Peru Trip - Flowers

Blair R (7th grade)

The most exciting part of the trip was when we went to Machu Picchu. It was really fun because Ms. Aquino, Ms. B and I got to do yoga on the ledge. I liked the view at Machu Picchu — it was very pretty. Another memorable moment was when Persephone tried to buy a baby llama at Sacsayhuamán. Those were the coolest parts of our trip.

Peru - Trip Patacancha

Briyana M (8th grade)

The most memorable part of the trip was when we went to Patacancha. While we there, we had the privilege to stay with families. My family was small but the experience was breathtaking. I learned a lot of things and especially was more grateful for my life back at home. I could never forget about the cultural principles that I’ve learned. The people living in Patacancha are extremely generous and do not seem greedy despite the fact of not having water, electricity and other things that we would go crazy for if we didn’t have it. It’s amazing that we only stayed there for only 3 days and I’ve learned so much. I don’t think I could walk a day in their footsteps if I actually lived there. Visiting the schools there has taught me so much as well .The kids are just like us! They are really no different except they probably have way more responsibilities than us. While we sit on our phones, these kids get more involved and are hard-working. Being there has taught me to be more responsible, helpful, social and grateful. How can I forget all this? I can’t. I am glad that I was able to get the chance to not treat this trip as a vacation but more as an advantage to become ONE with other people from other countries. Learning how to weave was also a great experience. The girl who was teaching me was my age and she was capable of doing all of those exquisite designs that I could barely do! This was my most memorable part of the trip to Peru.

Peru Trip - Host Mom

Brianna M (8th grade)

My most memorable moment on the trip was living in the village of Patacancha for three days. I think I’ll remember this the most because it was so different. I realized most people in America are spoon-fed everything. The reason I say this is because the people in the village have to build greenhouses with resources that are outside of their house to make it work because buying other resources is very expensive. They also barely have cars. Not just that, but walking into the kitchen, you don’t see refrigerators or anything of that sort. Hearing this you’d think they’d walk around sad, right? But almost every person you saw was smiling and happy.

Peru Trip - Greenhouse

Peru Trip - Volleyball

Peru Trip - Weaving

Yazmin N (8th grade)

My most memorable part of the trip was Machu Picchu. I loved Machu Picchu because it’s a place you would think you would never be able to go to. It’s so unique and it is a wonderful place to visit. Machu Picchu is a place full of so much history that you aren’t able to learn without being there. Being able to be there and learn part of its history was such a wonderful time.

Peru Trip - MP

Persephone R (8th grade)

My favorite part of the trip was our homestay in Patacancha. I liked my roommates and homestay family. Our homestay dad was so nice and cared so much about us. Our brother and sister were adorable! It was an amazing, once-in-a-lifetime chance.

Peru Trip - Plaza de Armas

Peru Trip - Lunch


World Language Fest, 5/10

Current and new LaSalle II families are invited to join this fun, free event celebrating our first ever World Language Fest!  Experience dance, music, art and food representing countries where our school’s four languages – Arabic, Chinese, French and Spanish – are spoken.


[heading_3 type=”simple”]SATURDAY, MAY 10, 2014 – 1:00-4:00 P.M.[/heading_3]

  • Visit World Language Classrooms
  • Chat with World Language Teachers
  • Learn about Summer Language Camps
  • Sample food from our languages’ cultures
  • Take a break at Arts & Crafts tables


[heading_3 type=”simple”]LASALLE II MAIN BUILDING & GYM[/heading_3]

1:15 – Lebanese Depka Dance – Mr. Fawzy’s 4th & 5th gr. Arabic class
1:45 – Peru School Trip highlights – slide show
2:15 – Arabic Music – Percussion Group – Mr. Fawzy’s 7th gr. Arabic class
2:30 – Chinese Oratory Contest – Ms. Wang’s 4th & 8th gr. students
2:45 – Professional Latin Street Dancers – Performance & lessons for the crowd

Chinese Dragon

Sponsored by the LaSalle II PTO



Summer Language Camps

Our PTO/LSC Language Committee put together the following list of world language summer camps in and around Chicago. Please use the links included to check for the most current info from each vendor. Feel free to send any updates to this list or information about other camps to [email protected] Thanks!

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World Language Curriculum Maps

We have just published the curriculum maps for each of LaSalle II’s world languages. These show the objectives, key vocabulary, and assignments per grade. A curriculum map is a document explaining what we plan to teach. Please keep in mind that the process of curriculum mapping is a work in progress. We will revisit, review and revise the maps based on the needs of our students. We hope that you will use these maps as an informative tool of your child’s language learning experience at LaSalle II. If you have any questions about the content, please contact your child’s teacher.

You can find these docs here:

[button link=”” linking=”new-window” size=”medium” type=”simple” title=”World Language Curriculum Maps”]World Language Curriculum Maps[/button]

Student Trip to Peru

Recently I got a chance to ask Ms B a few questions about the student trip to Peru that she is organizing for our LaSalle II Spanish Language students. Following are a few highlights.

Why is travel to another country important to learning a language?

Ms Bucciarelli, LaSalle II Spanish Language Teacher

Traveling to another country isn’t important to learning a language — it is why we learn other languages!

Yes, learning a second or more languages is amazing for brain development, and yes it can be an interesting academic exercise for a certain type of person such as myself. But language learning is more than grammar, syntax and semantics. It is history, it is culture, it is people.

Travel affords us the opportunity to interact in the language with native speakers in real-time, in real life. It is through this negotiation of meaning — on a linguistic and on a cultural level — that we truly learn what is means to speak another language, what is means to be of another culture. This understanding has profound implications for the development of ourselves as global citizens and, perhaps more importantly, for a deep understanding of humanity. I will now step down from my philosophical soapbox!

On the lighter side, traveling is just fun and being able to travel as a capstone experience of language learning is a great opportunity for our students.

students traveling to peru

How many kids have gone and how many do you expect on the next trip?

This year, seven students will be traveling with us — three seventh-graders and four eighth-graders. I expect the numbers to increase in the future as students and families understand the eligibility requirements and we continue to build relationships with non-profit organizations, language centers and/or schools in other countries.



Where do the groups go on the trips, and how do you pick the locations?

The trip to Peru this year grew out of the Fund for Teachers fellowship I received in 2011. The fellowship, which I completed with another teacher, was to research textiles as a social and economic tool within several Peruvian communities. During that trip, I stayed in Patacancha, a rural weaving village, with Awamaki, the non-profit that is organizing our student trip this year.

This year, we will be staying in Patacancha for three days to assist in the building of a greenhouse. In Cusco, we will stay at the Hostal Mágico, the hostel of a friend of mine whom I met on the fellowship trip. He is the creator of an after-school program, Aldea Yanapay, and cultural center for students and their families. All proceeds from the hostel benefit their programs.

Since the fellowship trip, I have returned to Peru three times and think it is a great choice for a student trip at this age — the history and culture are accessible and interesting, the people are welcoming and the scenery makes it feel like an adventure!


What are some of your favorite parts of the trip?

I truly believe that students will enjoy and be enriched by all aspects of the trip! I know my students are particularly excited to take a weaving lesson in Patacancha, to walk through a traditional market in Cusco and of course, to visit Machu Picchu! I am most excited to see them interact with people in the various communities we will visit and be able to have the opportunity to teach them in the places we have discussed in class.


How much does it cost to go on one of the trips, and how are you raising money this year?

The trip this year is approximately $2,800 per student. We have done many fundraisers in an attempt to be able to make the most of our time there, such as being able to opt to do additional activities and tours. This year, we have held several restaurant nights at Peruvian restaurants throughout Chicago. We also did the Equal Exchange and Global Goods catalog fundraisers and we continue to sell bracelets from Peru for $5 each. This year, we also received a generous donation from the PTO.

How much should parents of lower grade kids be saving per year?

Parents should realistically plan for a trip abroad to cost $3,000 — $4,000, depending on the country visited, the length of the stay, the type of accommodations secured and the type of trip — whether it is a school exchange, service trip with a non-profit, or a tour.

While this may seem like a high cost, famalies should keep in mind that we typically have smaller groups of students than a high school, for example, that might be able to secure a less expensive trip through a language institute for 30 students. Because of this, things like activity or transportation costs are spread among fewer students than with larger groups. As well, flight costs to most countries continue to remain high.

How much to save per year is very much a personal decision, so I would say that it is most important to have the figure above in mind by the time your child reaches seventh grade. Whether they travel in seventh or eighth grade will depend on which languages are planning to travel in that year.


Painting with Master Kuai

The Confucius Institute in Chicago and the Chicago Chinese Cultural Institute partnered to bring Master Kuai, a renowned ink painter in China, to twenty schools in Chicago. It was honor to host him here at LaSalle II.

Master Kuai Painting

He held two workshops with our fourth through seventh graders studying Chinese and with one of Ms. Tingley’s art classes. During the first, he showed the group how to paint a horse. The second group learned how to paint fish. He demonstrated the proper way to hold the brush while painting and how to use the water to create the illusion of texture and dimension. Both groups enjoyed the experience, and discovered that this type of ink painting uses a different technique.

Practicing Master Kuai's Technique

Student Artist with Master Kuai

Master Kuai also discussed how the artist must take into consideration where the title of the painting will be as well as the artist’s signature. Each signature consists of two red stamps – one representing his family name and the other for his first name. To balance the stamps with his name, he includes two more red stamps with the title. One red stamp indicates the season of the painting and the other shows that the painting is complete. The final stamp ensures the painting must be balanced, as a symbol of the balance, or the yin and yang, we must have in our lives.

Master Kuai Painting Fish

Horse Painted by Master Kuai

Master Kuai graciously presented two of his paintings to Ms. Wang. They will soon be on display at LaSalle II.

Master Kuai with Ms Wang