Throughout October 2021, we celebrated Italian American Heritage Month. A wonderful highlight was an interactive workshop by the award-winning theatrical company Incanto Productions. The multilingual and multicultural presentation is named “The Italian Experience: la Tarantella.” All Italian classes participated.
Students learned the history of the folk dance, the “Tarantella.” Southern Italy serves as the birthplace for this folk dance that originates as far back as the 16th and 17th centuries yet was more prevalent during the Middle Ages/Renaissance. With music written in a lively 6/8 time, this rapid whirling dance is characterized by light, quick steps, and rapid movements.
Several students donned traditional costumes as they danced while others played the tambourine, a key element of the dance.
Mornings and lunch times during the month featured a number of students and faculty performing Italian music for enjoyment by the whole student body. Julia Del Pozzo ‘22 played La Tarantella on the keyboard, Santina Madden ’22 played violin, and Katherine Timmons ‘22 sang O Sole Mio and Lasciatemi Cantare a cappella. In addition, Ms. Alice Smyth sang an Italian aria.
Meanwhile, in the classroom, students of Italian enjoyed using their creativity to write comic strips in Italian using Pixton, a web app that allows students to choose a comic layout, characters, speech bubbles, and props. Using Pixton, students display their vocabulary and grammar comprehension in a fun way that is meaningful to them. Creating a comic strip also helps students think about sequencing, context, and story structure.
The middle school Italian classes had fun on a treasure hunt, "Caccia al Tesoro". They had to answer questions and find objects related to Italian culture.
In fact, Italian culture permeated our daily routines. The morning prayer over the P.A. was proclaimed in Italian on various days and a display of famous Italian sites reminded the student body of Italian culture.