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Hello! Bonjour! Hola! Czesc! Ciao! and welcome to the world of Culture & Language at SMCA. This year we will explore some of the cultures and traditions lived around the world, as well as our shared Catholic culture. During the first half of the year we will specifically study the language, culture, and geography of francophone (French speaking) countries. Later we will learn more about the language, culture, and geography of Spanish speaking places. By the end of the year, your student will be able to explain: 

  • What is culture? 
  • Who am I? & Where do I come from?
  • What languages do I (and my family / ancestors) speak?
  • What are my (family’s) traditions?
  • Who is (are) my patron saint(s)? Find your patron saint here.
  • What does a day-in-the-life look like in different parts of the world? Read or listen to This is How we Do It, by Matt Lamothe

Your student will also be able (in French & Spanish) to:

  • greet someone and ask how they are doing
    1. How does Belle say hello in Beauty & the Beast? Find out here or here.
    2. Sing our French greetings song.
  • say your nationality (nationalities) and where you live
  • count from 0-100
  • express the time, day, and date
  • describe the weather and seasons
  • identify colors
  • describe my family and friends
  • order something to eat and drink
  • explain what I like or dislike doing in my spare time

Here are some cultural activities that you can do as a family:

  • Learn any language with the free app Duolingo!

Joyeux Noel!

  • Watch the magical story of The Nutcracker 
  • See how to make a traditional French Christmas cake, a bûche de Noel, in French or English!
  • Here the most popular French Christmas song

St. Nicholas Day

  • Learn the origins of Santa Claus here

Día de los Muertos:

  • Watch Coco!
  • Make colorful papel picado with tutorial 1 or 2



A little about me: My name is Janene White-Plaza and I have worked in Catholic schools in Washington D.C. and NY since 1999, as both a teacher and an administrator. I studied French at NYU and have a certificate in School Building Leadership from Fordham University. I attended public schools from kindergarten through college, but am passionate about Catholic education, especially building a community based on values, faith, and intellect. I live in Middle Village with my husband, son, and daughter and am a parishioner of Resurrection-Ascension Church.

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