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St. Louis Zoo: all about the jungle in Forest Park

April 25, 2017

Our city is known for a number of things such as the Fox Theater, Art hill, the Delmar loop and now our zoo has been nationally recognized as America’s best free attraction. The St. Louis Zoo recently adopted two orphaned grizzly bear cubs. The male cub is Huckleberry and the female is Finley. In honor of the new additions, the Zoo will build bear grotto’s, giving visitors floor to ceiling views of the grizzly bears. Visitors can get face to face with the bears, see their habitats and observe their behaviors.

Many developments have revolved around the St. Louis zoo. Lafayette’s foreign language classes will be taking a trip to the St. Louis zoo on April 28.  Students will be participating in activities designed to create materials like posters and brochures for non-English speakers at the Zoo. Students will also learn to create social media posts in foreign languages. Parents were asked to chaperone this event along with the foreign language instructors.

The idea for the trip came from John Becker, a Spanish teacher from the foreign language department. Many students will be out on the day of the field trip. This field trip will be a small reprieve from AP exam reviews and the stress of upcoming finals.

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While other subjects are preparing for AP exams next week, World Languages are leaving the classroom and heading to the St. Louis Zoo.

All students from American Sign Language (ASL), English as a Second Language (ESOL), German and French can go, as well as students from levels 2-4 of Spanish and levels 2-4 of Latin.

“We want to get out of the classroom into a more natural environment. We want to prove to [the students] that you can have language outside of school, so we can use the language in a place that you’ve never done it before,” Spanish teacher John Becker said. 

However, the field trip is not simply a leisurely outing away from school.

“We’ve got a few different activities ranging from translation activities, where we’ll leave documents behind for non-English speakers to use when they visit the zoo; scavenger hunts where students will use target language clues to find different animals throughout the park. We’ve also got a few social media things that we’d like to do and we’ve got a few conversational things that we’d like to do,” Becker said.

The zoo is an optimal place to practice World Languages because it correlates with the curriculum.

“It is really kind of open and free-formed. There are different aspects of the zoo that we’ve discussed in the different levels,” Becker said. “For example, in level 3 we talk about conservation, we talk about endangered species. The zoo is working to preserve those endangered species and to make sure that future generations have them.”

According to the field trip permission form, lower level World Language students will describe the animals and their habits using vocabulary and grammar.

“In levels 1 and 2 we generally talk about foods, we generally talk about places, directions, left, right, center, and you can use the wide open space of the zoo to do that,” Becker said.

The upper level World Language classes will do more advanced activities.

“Spanish 4 is actually going to be doing a little bit of a different thing. We’re going to be working on our conversational skills, just like we’ve been working with all year. Levels 1 and 2, their conversations are going to be pretty real, pretty tangible, like things that are in front of them. Whereas with Spanish 4, we’re going to try and open up a little bit to the theoretical, get inside the head of an animal and think what the animal feels, what the animal thinks, what the animal perceives and try and look at it from a different perspective,” Becker said.

The field trip is this Friday, April 28.

 

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