|Wellwood students with third grade French teacher Jennie Cox|
Patrons walking into the Barnes & Noble book and music store in Owings Mills might have wondered if they had perhaps wandered into a store someplace else in the world. On the evening of November 1, the store was filled with more than 150 Wellwood International School students, teachers, and parents, all there to celebrate the beginning of National French Week, November 2-8.
Wellwood International features the only elementary world languages program in Baltimore County. While some students participate in a kindergarten through fifth grade partial immersion magnet program (in which they spend part of the day learning various subjects in French), all students in the school receive French instruction three days per week.
At the kickoff event, throughout the store, students read books in French or were read to by parents and teachers. In addition, students designed and created their own French books. The event was organized by parent Jessica Paffenbarger and French immersion teacher Jennie Cox.
Other activities held throughout the week included playing Omnikin ball (a French game) in physical education classes and the announcement of winners in a national essay contest. Students in grades 3-5 participated in the National French Week essay contest sponsored by the American Association of Teachers of French. Winning second place nationally was French immersion fifth-grader Jessica P., whose teacher is Lorien Nemec. Winning third place nationally was third-grade student Eric H., whose teacher is Renée Brochu. In addition, the Maryland chapter of the American Association of Teachers of French recognized Wellwood’s participation in National French Week with a $50 award.
Wellwood students are now gearing up for the Grand Concours (or National French Contest) to be held in early spring. Last year, more than 100,000 students in grades 1-12 from all 50 states and abroad competed for prizes and recognition. Eleven Wellwood students ranked in the top ten nationally.
Story by Danea A. Farley, Specialist,
Office of World Languages, and Diana L.
Spencer, Communications Officer. Photos
by Danea A. Farley