Bilingual LEAP project Puerto Rico’s Rainforest

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Thirty-three 3rd graders from Freedom Shores Elementary School’s Dual Language program showcased their academic abilities in a creative way recently. They spent nine weeks working with the Center for Creative Education on an integrated curriculum that encompassed social studies, science, reading, writing, and the arts. They capped it off with a live bilingual performance on stage.

Third grade teachers Mariela Lee and Zulay Gomez led the students through the common core standards teaching about different regions, and their characteristics of how plants and animals depend on each other. The focus was also on the impact of human interaction to the environment, along with how to use their research to create poetry with meaning. The project culminated in a “bilingual” live performance of El Yunque, Rain Forest of Puerto Rico, and poetry expression through movement.

The performance showcased their in-depth knowledge of the subjects, guided by CCE Teacher Graciela Binaghi who worked with the students on theater and movement. Joann Preston also a CCE Teacher guided the students in music and dance. “I think one of the ingredients that made this project so successful is the ease of these bilingual students to approach the curriculum. In my opinion being bilingual has incremented their intellectual, creative, and emotional abilities,” said Mrs. Binaghi.

“This is an exemplary model of how the performing arts can be integrated within the academic curriculum. Students were engaged, enthusiastic, energized, and self- confident,” said Olga Vazquez, Manager of In-House Programs at CCE.