The mission of the World Languages Department is to educate students to become proficient in communication and informed global citizens by promoting linguistic competence and providing critical insights into world cultures.
Students use previously learned material in new contexts while taking a more independent role in their learning. As students enter the Middle School, they use language they will continue to encounter so as to provide a smooth transition into future levels with a common language base. Topics include basic sentence writing about self and others, common conversational questions, menu comparisons, and home. Culture is embedded throughout the curriculum as students explore topics related to Mexico and Central America.
Students begin their formal academic study of the language by completing one half of the Spanish I curriculum based on the Así Se Dice program. Topics include introductions, daily schedules, initiating and continuing conversations, foods and beverages, describing location, and shopping along with rote topics such as calendar, numbers 0-100, colors, and the alphabet.
As culture is embedded into the units of study, students experience the language and culture in the local community. They are challenged to apply their language skills in real-life situations and form deeper understandings through critical thinking. Given that class is almost exclusively directed in Spanish, students develop strategies to be able to communicate in the language the majority of the time. This creates a foundation of oral skills as students progress in the Middle School program, furthering their understanding of specific structure of the Spanish language.
All students in PK-Grade 6 grade take Spanish. Students begin to communicate using simple responses and learn to identify key vocabulary in listening and reading. By the end of 6th Grade, students engage in short conversations, read short books, and write short paragraphs. Culture is embedded throughout the curriculum through virtual experiences and engaging with organizations in our local Hispanic community.
Spanish 1 is an introduction to the Spanish language and culture for students in 7th Grade. Students gain foundational language skills as they begin to develop proficiency in the four skill areas of reading, writing, listening, and speaking. Vocabulary and culture are introduced through thematic units, which include greetings, school, family, food, and shopping. Learning experiences include reading and hearing stories using vocabulary from thematic units, performing skits or presentations, and writing in various modes through the application of skills and content practiced in class.
Spanish 1 is an introduction to the Spanish language and culture for students in 8th Grade. Students gain foundational language skills as they begin to develop proficiency in the four skill areas of reading, writing, listening, and speaking. Vocabulary and culture are introduced through thematic units, which include greetings, school, family, food, and shopping. Learning experiences include reading and hearing stories using vocabulary from thematic units, performing skits or presentations, and writing in various modes through the application of skills and content practiced in class.
Students in Spanish 2A continue developing their Spanish language proficiency while also furthering their understanding of Spanish culture. Students apply vocabulary and grammar in the modes of reading, writing, speaking, and listening through themes of daily life, sports, and health. By the end of Spanish 2A, students will be able to maintain conversation about themselves and their life, ask and answer a variety of questions, comprehend simple, sentence-length speech, and understand short, non-complex text that conveys information to which the reader brings personal interest or knowledge.
Spanish 2B further develops proficiency in listening, speaking, reading, and writing within an interactive context, focusing on communication in everyday situations. Situations are set through the following themes: celebrations, cooking, environment, restaurant, travel, and technology. Students are able to express themselves in the present, past, future, and conditional as well as give commands. Spanish 2B also increases students’ knowledge and appreciation of diverse cultures in Spanish-speaking countries. Videos, music, and readings help to reinforce concepts and skills.
Constellation Learning: This course is an introduction to the basics of American Sign Language (ASL) and its place in Deaf Culture for Middle School students. It provides students with essential groundwork in the basics of ASL grammar, a core of key vocabulary, and confidence and facility in ASL communication in preparation for success in the standard Upper School ASL sequence. Middle School students who complete Introduction to American Sign Language may advance to American Sign Language 1.
Constellation Learning: This is the introductory course in an Upper School American Sign Language (ASL) sequence. In this course, students will advance in their study of ASL and Deaf Culture. Students develop both expressive and receptive signing skills, consolidate fingerspelling and numbers, and continue with a basic vocabulary. Students also will be introduced to ASL grammar, discovering that it is a fully independent linguistic system distinct from American English. Finally, students will master the basic conversational and cultural behaviors necessary to hold a beginning-level conversation in ASL.
Constellation Learning: This course is an introduction to the Mandarin language and Chinese culture for Middle School students. Students focus on the basics of the Mandarin language as well as gaining an understanding of Chinese culture. By the end of the year, students will be prepared to excel in the standard Upper School Mandarin sequence. Middle School students who complete Introduction to Mandarin may advance to Mandarin 1.
Constellation Learning: This is the introductory course in an Upper School Mandarin sequence. Students will consolidate and expand their basic communication skills, grammar, and understanding of Chinese culture. Classwork involves communicative activities, dialogues, music, and paired and group practice. By the end of this course, students will be able to conduct short conversations with another speaker on a general topic.