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Latino Fair at Webb School

Webb School of Knoxville’s Lower School Commons was transformed Monday, Oct. 29, into a celebration of Hispanic cultures as Webb’s fifth-grade students hosted their annual Latino Fair.

Student displays representing more than 20 Hispanic countries were on hand so parent and student visitors could learn about, for example, ecotourism in Costa Rica, why soccer is Peru’s national sport or the primary export of Chile. They also could sample a bowl of Ajiaco from Colombia, fried plantains from Republica Dominica or a delicious Semita de Pina from El Salvador.

According to Webb Lower School Spanish teacher, Alicia Merrifield, the Latino Fair is designed to help students gain knowledge and an understanding of the rich culture and everyday life of Hispanic countries, and their contributions to the world. Working in partners, students were asked to research a Spanish-speaking country, create a display, and present their findings, in Spanish, to their peers and parents.

Merrifield said, “The exercise is designed to go along with the goals of the Standards of Learning Spanish in the 21st century, which are Communic-ation – communicate in Span-ish; Cultures – gain knowledge and understanding of the cultures of the world; Connections – connect with other disciplines and acquire information; Comparisons – develop insight into the nature of language and culture; and Communities – participate in communities at home and around the world.”

Merrifield added that as a Spanish teacher, it is her job to educate her students on the history and traditions of the Latino culture. While Americans have embraced Latin food, music and artists, Merrifield said there is so much more to a culture, including its history, traditions and daily life.

“All these aspects of the culture are woven into the language,” she said. “The study of a second language should go beyond the learning of new vocabulary words. It should offer students an opportunity to view the world in different ways, which will also provide them with insights into their own language and culture.”


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