Festive Italian Heritage Celebrations

Festive Italian Heritage Celebrations

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.

Presentation on the history of the folk dance


Several students donned traditional costumes as they danced while others played the tambourine, a key element of the dance.

Dancing and playing tambourine


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.

Del Pozzo and Madden play Italian pieces on keyboard and violin


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.

Creative comic strips in Italian


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.

Seeking cultural objects on an Italian treasure hunt


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.

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Students display the Italian flag at the end of the dance
Italian teachers and principal join La Tarantella
Timmons sings O Sole Mio
Screen announcements of musical performers
Ms. Smyth sings Italian arias
Students use Pixton to create stories
Varied stories in comic strip form