Delano students learn Spanish via BSM video series

| September 25, 2013 | 0 Comments
Kindergarten teacher Lauren Hallau and her students at St. Peter School in Delano watch a Spanish video produced by students at Benilde-St. Margaret’s School in St. Louis Park.  Dave Hrbacek / The Catholic Spirit

Kindergarten teacher Lauren Hallau and her students at St. Peter School in Delano watch a Spanish video produced by students at Benilde-St. Margaret’s School in St. Louis Park. Dave Hrbacek / The Catholic Spirit

Five kindergartners at St. Peter’s School in Delano gaze intently upward toward their teacher, Lauren Hallau. They are eager to learn Spanish.

But, Hallau won’t be giving today’s lesson. Rather, she will direct their attention to the Smart Board on the north wall of the classroom. With the press of a button on her laptop, Hallau will bring in a video produced from Spanish students at Benilde-St. Margaret’s School in St. Louis Park.

This day’s lesson features the first in what is planned to be a series of videos done by BSM students. They produced it last year under the direction of their teacher, Maggie Masica. She is now on maternity leave, so the program is on hold until she gets back. But, thanks to the work of her students last spring, students in grades K-6 at St. Peter’s are on the road to becoming bilingual.

“I’m excited about the partnership and collaboration with Benilde-St. Margaret’s to bring this into our school,” Hallau said. “If it wasn’t for them, we wouldn’t have a Spanish curriculum school wide.”

Because Hallau minored in Spanish in college and spent some time in Spain after graduating, she is able to offer her students some limited lessons in the language.

But, that’s it. No one else on the faculty can do so, and Principal Shannon Calice said her school can’t afford to hire a Spanish teacher, either full time or part time.

As it is, grades K-6 have just one teacher each, and the fourth- and fifth-graders have to share a teacher.

“The fact that they are doing this for us gives us something we wouldn’t have at all,” said Calice, whose school currently has 67 students, plus 12 more in preschool.

The idea came from a discussion BSM teachers had about how they and their students could reach out and serve their communities. One of the teachers happened to be Alisa May, who lives in Delano and has a fifth-grade son at St. Peter’s. She approached Calice and asked what she thought of the idea. The principal shot back a quick reply.

“Yes, let’s do it,” Calice recalled saying. “If they [BSM students] are willing to do it, that would be great. It gives their kids a wonderful experience to share their knowledge.

“I just love the connection, that Catholic school kids are doing this and sharing their gifts and their knowledge with the younger kids. That’s what means the most to me, that they’ve reached out and helped us, because we are a very small school, so it’s really nice to have a bigger school helping us out.”

So far, the videos have been shown in every classroom, starting last spring. With a growing Latino population, learning Spanish is becoming more important. And, Hallau likes that her students are getting an early start.


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