Discovering the World Through Language Week

by the World Language Department

World Language classes at Harbor Day School are always busy with activities, but especially this past week for our Discovering the World Through Language Week (DWTL). During DWTL week upper school students learn how language and cultural competence can close the distance between different world communities by revealing the commonalities that tie us all together. For this project week, 6th and 7th students explored various topics through the lens of their target language and created visuals to communicate what they learned. (See below for project descriptions and visuals.)

As a culmination of their years of study, 8th grade students worked industriously to finish a challenging capstone project that they have been working on in their language class since the beginning of March! In years past, students explored these projects in a physical gallery set up in the Moiso Families Activities Center. This year 8th students are sharing their projects with their peers and other students through our Bitmoji Project Gallery. Upper School students of all levels and languages used this platform to explore 3 different student projects, one from each language.


For DWTL week, Wang Lǎoshī guided her 6th grade students thorough analysis of an aspect of Chinese culture: festivals! Each student explores the origins of the festivals’ history, legends behind the festival, the food, and the traditional way of celebrating each Chinese festival as well as how it is celebrated today in modern China. Students explore the Moon Festival, the Lantern Festival, the Dragon Boat Festival, or the Chinese New Year, etc. Then they create stunning visuals to share their knowledge with others. 

In 7th grade students research famous Chinese landmarks, including the Great Wall of China, Jiuzhai Valley National Park, the Forbidden City, etc. Students use an interdisciplinary approach to learn about the geography and history of each culturally significant landmark. Then they use their knowledge of Chinese characters to analyze translations of their researched descriptions. Finally, they create posters to share their projects.


In 6th grade Senora Buth’s students learned about Spanish nursery rhymes. Each student received one or two different nursery rhymes, which they translated and created visuals to capture their essence and display their work. Students also learned about the authors of the nursery rhymes and composed short biographies about the author of their poems.

Senora Cambra’s 6th grade students discovered how Spanish-speaking authors, composers, and artists greatly contributed to the world’s literature, music, and art. Each student researched and wrote a paragraph about their famous writer, composer, or artist. Then students added their paragraphs to a class bulletin board to share what they learned.

Magistra Paff’s 6th grade students learned about Roman mythology by researching a god, goddess, or hero in Latin via Vicipaedia, the Latin version of Wikipedia. By picking out phrases they could translate, they learned about such things as their mythological character’s area of influence, attributes, and their parentage. Students then created a poster for their chosen mythological character using these phrases. 

For DWTL week, 7th grade Latin students first started out by learning about an ancient Roman plague, the Antonine plague, which occurred during the reign of Marcus Aurelius, via a video that Magister Feland’s students at Sage Hill School created. From this video, students learned that the Romans used similar methods as we have this year to stop the spread of the Antonine plague: social distancing, canceling public events, and even using their togas as masks! Then students used Vicipaedia or Ephemeris, a Latin news website, to research topics concerning modern and ancient Pandemics, Epidemics, Doctors, and Medicine. Students then created their own bilingual poster about their topic.

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Harbor Day School is a co-educational private independent K-8 school established in 1952.