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A Dual Language Mystery for Glen Arden
A Dual Language Mystery for Glen Arden
Posted on 10/31/2019
Hundreds of miles couldn't stop these Spanish immersion students from solving an online mystery.By: Benjamin Rickert, BCS Communications

A Glen Arden student collects a clue by recording part of a live video conversation.The game was afoot as Glen Arden Elementary students had a mystery to solve in Ms. Erika Gutiérrez’s dual language classroom Friday. With assistance from Digital Learning Facilitator Kendra Jarvis, students put on their detective hats and played a geography guessing game with another bilingual classroom in a far-off, secret location using a live video stream!

The challenge for students was to determine the location of the classroom they saw on screen while translating and asking questions answerable with a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no.’ As they discussed, laughed, and puzzled their way to the conclusion, the Glen Arden second-graders spoke entirely in Spanish! Conversely, the mystery classroom students spoke only in English, since Spanish was their first language. The game gave students on both sides of the conversation the opportunity to practice their second language, make new friends, and think about geography in a new way.

“Are you located in the Northern Hemisphere?” asked one Glen Arden student (in Spanish) into a web-cam.

Digital Learning Facilitator Kendra Jarvis assist a student with his investigation.“Yes!” came the reply from a smiling young girl, whose image was projected onto the classroom smart board.

The Glen Arden students cheered at their early success in gaining helpful information. Students from each class took turns speaking, while strategizing with classmates and consulting maps between questions.

“I want the students to be able to travel to places that they’ve never been before and develop empathy for kids that are different than them,” said Jarvis, who used Twitter to locate and recruit the other classroom’s teacher. “This will allow them to do so.”

As one of six Digital Learning Facilitators in Buncombe County Schools, Jarvis teams up with Roberson district teachers like Ms. Gutiérrez to help integrate technology into their lessons. The underlying goal is to support and enhance curriculum. In this case, that meant adding a digital learning dimension to Glen Arden’s existing focus on global education.

Ms. Erika Gutiérrez leads her class in the iconic "dab" dance move.One particularly humorous moment occurred as the mystery classroom was attempting to zero in on the location of Gutiérrez's students. It was already established that the state touched the Appalachian mountain range, so the Glen Arden students gave a helpful hint by striking the "dab" dance move position. (Professional football fans far and wide are familiar with this signature move performed by players of the Carolina Panthers team based in Charlotte.) The maneuver inspired plenty of laughs and it wasn't long before North Carolina was correctly guessed.

In the end, Gutiérrez’s students identified the mystery school as Scott School Elementary in a suburb of Chicago called Melrose Park. Their new friends were in a third grade bilingual classroom led by Ms. Jocelin Aldinger. Moving forward, the two classrooms will converse through a video sharing app called Flipgrid, with which they’ll record and send messages in their second language.

“This way, we will continue to learn more about one another and also practice our language skills,” Jarvis said.

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As of the 2018-19 school year, all six BCS districts have at least one elementary school with a Dual Language Spanish Immersion program. Participating students become bilingual and bi-literate. They have greater cultural fluency, are more prepared for a global society, and in many cases, perform better academically.

    Buncombe County Schools is in the process of reviewing its website to ensure compliance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Buncombe County Schools does not discriminate on the basis of sex in its education programs or activities and is required by Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972 and federal regulations to not discriminate in such a manner. This requirement extends to admission and employment. Inquiries about the application of Title IX and its implementing federal regulations may be referred to the Title IX Coordinator and/or the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights in the Office for Civil Rights at the U.S. Department of Education. The Title IX Coordinator's contact information is: Shanon Martin, shanon.martin@bcsemail.org, 828-255-5918, 175 Bingham Road, Asheville, NC 28806.

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