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Hoover High School (LA) Italian students present their online work

WeLoveItalian is glad to introduce you “Herbert Hoover” High School Italian students in Glendale, California.

Let’s start from the presentation  given by their well appreciated teacher, Mr. Domenico Ponziano. 

Luigi Abadia, Ivan Chartkoff, Ramses Marquez, Michael Poravas and Massimo Reyna are students enrolled at Herbert Hoover High School in Glendale, California.  It should be noted, however, that they are unique students, as they are the first group to start the Italian FLAG program within the Glendale Unified School District.  They began studying Italian in kindergarten 11 years ago.  This year was a memorable one as they all underwent the AP Italian test, concluding their path in Italian studies. 

Since the beginning of the school year, I had planned on assigning my students a special end of year school project.  As the school year went on, I decided exactly what it should be: I wanted to have them create a school newspaper that discussed the news and ongoing events at Hoover High, all written in Italian.  However, COVID-19 struck, and we all ended up at home, teaching and learning remotely.  The idea of having a physical newspaper became practically impossible.  At that point, a new idea came to mind – why not transform the newspaper into a website that could highlight Italy, its culture, and all of the aspects that have made the country famous throughout the world.  This project was perfect, as it could be accomplished remotely using the correct platform, which in our case was GoogleSites.  In addition, all of the topics that the students were required to develop were themes that had been widely discussed during the two years of our time together.  I proposed the idea to my students.  They immediately latched on to the concept with great enthusiasm.  I then decided to bring one of my younger students, Matteo Wolfson, into the project, who is a 9th grader and also attends Hoover High School.  During remote learning, I noted that he was particularly engaged and could do this project for his final as well. Prior to the school’s closing, Matteo had completed projects that demonstrated his natural talent for esthetic and design, and he seemed to be the perfect complement to the group and the project that was coming together.

The first step was to create a list of possible topics to write about.  With around 20 ideas for topics in mind, I asked each student which one they might be interested in covering.  I believe that by allowing them to choose their own topic, they would take a special interest and therefore perform better. As a group, we then created an outline for the website using another resource that I had become familiar with during remote teaching called Padlet. During this stage, we underwent deep discussions on the general layout of the website. Once completed, we then moved towards the details of the graphic/esthetic, discussing colors, font, and other details so we could have the most uniform look to our group project.  At that point, I gave them free reign over the specific content of their topic, giving them only minimal input and a deadline of when it all had to be turned in.  I was pleasantly surprised by their first drafts, and by the direction that each student had decided to take.  We continued the discussion over the following 3-4 weeks, where the website evolved with my suggestions, comments and corrections to their developing pages. 

I was extremely satisfied with their final presentation and of the hard work that they put into each topic.  Every single one of them was able to showcase their language skills while bringing out their own personalities and passion in his chosen topic. 

Ivan did an outstanding job designing the home page, which set the tone for the rest of the website. In addition, he was also responsible for the fashion page of the website. Here he wrote about fashion in connection to its economic importance to the country.  Massimo was able to perfectly highlight the relationship between the geographical variety of the country and the positive result it has on tourism.  Luigi immediately had a clear idea – he selected four cities known for their art, and wrote about the iconic monuments found in each one.  Matteo concisely wrote about the Italian Renaissance and three of its most important artists.  Michael wanted to delve into the Italian automobile industry, writing anecdotes about various legendary Italian cars.  Finally, Ramses completed the website with his page discussing wine and food in Italian culture.  I was pleased that he presented a “Food for Soul” section, which is restaurant entrepreneur and celebrity chef Massimo Bottura’s side project that addresses food waste and homelessness. 

My hope and intent with this website was to leave something for my Italian students to remember after all of their years of study.  This website is definitely something they can be proud of, as it demonstrates not only their high level of achievement and command of the Italian language, but it is also clearly an expression of their love for Italy and the Italian language program.

The Fab Six

And now, let’s have a quick look at their website! 

Do you want to know more?

Here is the link to their website: L’Italia, un paese ricco di cultura

While this is the link to Hoover High School.