Icelandic to Spanish: Celebrating languages at Sydenham High



This year’s European Day of Languages was just the beginning of a week of celebrations of the huge diversity of languages spoken by Sydenham High students.

Icelandic was the focus for Junior School’s celebrations. Matilda in Year 6 helped everyone to learn some basic phrases and numbers, and introduced the school to Iceland’s biggest ‘celebrity’, Moonmin Papa. In Bilingual Club girls took part in a project in parallel with schools across Europe to make a poster celebrating tolerance and peace in all countries, while Year 3 enjoyed being taught some simple Spanish animal vocabulary through a memory game delivery by A-level linguists who ignited their curiosity and learning. The pupils all seemed to enjoy the experience of being able to speak few words in a new language. Thank you to Charlie, Rosie, Catherine, Tilly and Kayowa for being such talented teachers of Spanish for the day!

At Senior School a week of activity started with a language assembly. A level and GCSE students were also invited to a screening of the Spanish movie “Living is Easy with Eyes Closed or Vivir es más fácil con los ojos cerrados” as part of the12th London Spanish Film Festival. This was the fourth year organising this film session, which is a great opportunity for students to better understand the values and recent history of Spanish society. In the case of the Year 13 students, the film was an interesting starting point for a deeper discussion about the values and morality during the last days of dictatorship.

Everyone could take part in the SYDWORDS competition. Throughout the week, students had to look for different foreign words from shops, in restaurants and on signs around their neighbourhood and take an artistic picture of each one. Entries were posted to the MFL teachers. Competition was strong but there was a clear winner – Ellen (8M) for her atmospheric photo of “Cafe Rouge” at night.

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