Pivot and then pivot again has been the mantra this past school year. It was no different for the CT COLT Rhyme Celebration. Connecticut elementary students went virtual and submitted rhymes and poems in their world language of study. They were not able to go on stage and show off their language skills in front of their families as is the tradition at the annual Rhyme Celebration. Yet, they did what had not been done before not entirely knowing how the “Virtual Rhyme Celebration 2021” video was going to turn out in the end. The video ended up better than expected. We found a nugget or two that we will keep for next year’s back to in person Rhyme Celebration. Above all else the kids were able to rhyme on!
Our committee headed by Judith Ojeda (CT COLT Student Event Coordinator) and Kristen Tagg (Rhyme Celebration Chair), along with Marisa Lewis (Rhyme Celebration Host) and Christi Moraga (Rhyme Celebration founder) brainstormed ideas, many a video conference call. Ultimately our goal was for our early world language learners in Connecticut to continue to highlight and celebrate their amazing learning. Every year k-6 students from elementary world language programs throughout Connecticut perform at the Rhyme Celebration and take great pride in going on stage and showing off their world language learning usually through songs. Even if singing was restricted due to pandemic safety protocols our students were going to find a way to participate and make the video recording. This year the students were very enthusiastic about preparing a rhyme, poem or chant for the Rhyme Celebration video. Students working in their groups including remote learners had the opportunity to take part in the video. The students’ beautiful work came together in the form of poems and rhymes in Hindi, Spanish, and Rusian. They spoke of friendship and respect for one another which was very fitting as the 2021 Rhyme Celebration was titled “Global Friendship.”
New this year were the testimonials that many of the students gave of why it is important to learn a world language. They shared about what they appreciate about learning a new language. The video clips of first graders sharing were as powerful as the fifth graders articulating the value of learning a world language. Inherently, the Rhyme Celebration is an amazing way to advocate for early language learning and the student testimonials add another dimension to the advocacy quality of the event. We welcome the lessons learned from this past year and we continue to applaud our student’s work. We celebrate on!