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International Teaching

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This summer, my wife and I, along with Leif, our 1-year-old baby boy, will be spending 40 days in Valencia, Spain. I’ve been given the opportunity to complete an international teaching practicum at an English language school located in the heart of this beautiful Mediterranean beach town.

We are so looking forward to our time together there, especially with our boy! In our free time, we will be exploring the old medieval parts of town and sampling the tapas and paellas the city is famous for. Of course, we will seek out the beach as often as possible and spend time swimming in the warm sea and relaxing in the sun.

My wife and I have held Spain as very special to both of us for many years. It’s where we fell in love and where we later honeymooned. It’s where I became fluent in Spanish and where I watched God grow a deep love for the Spaniards within me. We can’t wait to bring our boy into all of this with us.

A summer in Spain!

A summer in Spain!

This time in Spain with be a blessing for my family at home, but I’ve begun to pay attention to the many ways that it will also be a blessing for my Westside family. Among such, I anticipate that my students in the fall will benefit from my reinvigorated passion for Spanish-speaking peoples – a passion which will color our class time together and which may even be passed on to them. In addition, my own language skills will be sharpened and my fluency deepened, enhancing the collection of talents and abilities among the staff at Westside and so also enhancing our prestige as a school.

I look forward to sharing the stories and pictures from our European adventure with my classes in the fall. I’m sure there will also be others with travel stories to share. In sharing, I know that God will work on our hearts to grow them in our capacity for love toward people of other lands and languages – towards peoples that he loves as much as he does the folks in our own communities here at home.

Welcome Jason Normansen

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Jason Normansen

Jason Normansen

Mr. Normansen will be teaching French (1 & 2) and Spanish (1 & 2).

My name is Jason Normansen, and I’m from Eugene, OR but have lived in Portland for the last 7 years. I am married to my wonderful wife, Kristin, and we love being the parents of a new baby boy named Leif, who was born in June.

For hobbies, I enjoy reading, cooking, and playing guitar and piano. I also really enjoy languages, and can often be overheard asking someone how to say something in their native langue. As a family, we also like going to the river and the beach as often as we can. One of my favorite Bible verses is 1 Peter 4:8: “And above all things have fervent love for one another, for love will cover a multitude of sins.”

Spanish 1

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In Ms. Tosti’s Spanish 1 class, learning vocabulary terms (up, above, under, next to, behind, etc.) turned into a fun kinesthetic class activity. When reviewing vocabulary on a Monday morning, movement is a must!








To support…



On top of…

Spanish: Guess Who?

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Spanish 1 students are currently studying vocabulary for body parts and colors and are playing Guess Who? to practice their speaking, listening, sentence structure.

Guess who…


has brown hair,



…blue eyes, and a green hat!


Westside Hosts Organic World Language Training

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Westside’s World Languages department hosted a 2-day Organic World Language (OWL) training.  Teachers from Oregon, Washington, Idaho, and Texas gathered to learn and collaborate on creating an engaging and student-centered classroom that focuses on proficiency.  Major topics included creating proficiency-based assessments, pushing students to their next proficiency level, and using authentic resources to build literacy.  It’s been an informative and fun time for all.

Organic World Language (OWL) training



Kinesthetic teacher training!

Spanish: Flash Mob

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The Spanish 3 classes spearheaded a flashmob at lunch today – a Wii U video to a song in Spanish – ‘Limbo.’  They were joined by Spanish 2 and 4 students, who also love doing this exercise video.  Spanish dance videos are great for learning vocabulary and incorporating movement into the school day.


A lunchtime flash mob!


Breakin’ it down.


YouTube workout, Spanish style.



WCHS Happenings: Spanish

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Spanish 1 classes are presently learning about life in Spanish-speaking countries. In particular, foods, holidays and the general culture. In the past month two guest speakers have visited to talk about living in Spanish-speaking countries and their traditional foods.  The class is also working on conjugating new verbs, with didactic games often getting students up and out of their seat during class.

Below a few captured shots of ball pass hot seat as students test prep.


Once caught, on the spot


Pass prep


A full follow through


The casual ‘wrist flip’


Quiz ball approcaching its final destination