Middle School World Languages Program
The language program in the Middle School is designed to introduce students to the study of world languages. Students explore different cultures and build the language acquisition skills which will help them advance to higher levels of learning in the Upper School. All Middle School students are required to take a second language. In sixth grade, students will enroll in Exploring World Languages. In seventh grade, students will have the opportunity to choose from Spanish 1A or Mandarin 1A. In eighth grade, students may choose from Spanish, French, Latin, Mandarin Chinese, or American Sign Language. International students might use their ESL class to fulfill this requirement. Language courses taken in the 6th – 8th grades may not be applied to the Upper School World Language graduation requirement. Non-ESL students will need three consecutive years of World Language in the 9th – 12th grade to fulfill the Upper School graduation requirements. Students who take foreign language study in the middle school can advance further in their studies in the target language and possibly reach the AP level in their 11th or 12th grade year.
Course descriptions for Spanish, French, Latin, Mandarin Chinese, and American Sign Language can be found in the Upper School section of the course catalog under World Languages.
Exploring World Languages-6th Grade
This is a class to promote a positive attitude towards learning a World Language and develop a base on which to build the four language skills: listening, speaking, reading and writing. Students are exposed to a different language each term.
Mandarin Chinese 1A
Middle School Mandarin will introduce students to Mandarin Chinese, the official language of both the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and the Republic of China (ROC or Taiwan). Students will begin learning the four basic skills of listening, speaking, reading and writing. In addition, they will develop an understanding of Chinese culture through a variety of activities such as skits, songs, and art (e.g., calligraphy). They will learn to use basic vocabulary and grammatical structures in everyday situations and to create and respond to simple statements and questions. Finally, students will be able to identify and write a number of characters associated with the following contexts: introductions, numbers, times and dates, and family members.
In this course, students will be introduced to basic building blocks such as names, numbers, colors, days of the week, months, school sports, body parts, etc. This class will promote a positive attitude toward learning the Spanish language and the basics of the language through interactive learning techniques using technology. Students will develop a base on which to build introductory language skills in the area of listening/comprehension, speaking, reading, and writing. Authentic materials are used to supplement the learning process while making Spanish fun.
Spanish IB will provide students with the opportunity to attain a measurable degree of communicative competency and proficiency in each of the four language skills: speaking, listening, reading, and writing. Students will practice basic grammar, pronunciation, vocabulary, and idiomatic structures. This course is for 8th grade students who have had one year of Spanish during the 7th grade. With successful completion of this course, students will be ready for Spanish II.
UPPER SCHOOL WORLD LANGUAGEs PROGRAM
Shattuck-St. Mary’s modern and classical world language curriculum stresses the development of the four basic skills of listening, reading, writing, and speaking. Authentic materials are implemented to facilitate and engage students in an interactive exploration of a variety of social, cultural, and traditional customs of the representative language they are studying—especially in languages such as Spanish, French, and Mandarin Chinese. Courses in American Sign Language (ASL) teach grammatical competence and communicative skills for interpreting a variety of topics, along with an awareness and sensitivity to the socio-cultural patterns and use of ASL. Our courses in Latin engage students in developing their command and appreciation of Latin as a language, and as a vehicle of history, art, etc., as well as gaining insights and understanding of the English language through the study of Latin vocabulary and sentence structure.
The Department’s goal is to enable students to communicate in the target language, and throughout their language production, employ linguistically accurate language skills. Therefore, students should expect all courses to be conducted in the target language. Our language requirement stipulates that each student must complete a minimum of three consecutive years in the same language in grades 9 – 12, though we encourage students to continue in their course of study through their senior year.
AMERICAN SIGN LANGUAGE (ASL)
This course is designed for students who have little or no previous knowledge of sign language. It features an introduction to the basics of ASL (American Sign Language). Conversational lessons introduce vocabulary and key grammar structures in the context of situational dialogues. Skill lessons focus on introducing numbers, fingerspelling, spatial elements and other supporting skills. Cultural lessons focus on behaviors that enable students to act in linguistically and socially acceptable ways. Information about Deaf culture and Deaf history will be introduced.
ASL II features an intermediate level of American Sign Language that gives students the opportunity to develop conversational competency and continued development of receptive and expressive skills. In addition, videos and Deaf community events will be combined to form interesting receptive and expressive skills. Students will expand their knowledge of the Deaf Culture.
This course is a continuation of ASL II. It is designed to develop further communication competencies in ASL above the intermediate level. Students will continue with ASL sentence types, time, numbers, finger spelling, classifiers, spatial referencing and develop storytelling and narrative skills. and temporal and distributional aspects. Students will also continue to expand their knowledge about Deaf Culture and history.
Students learn first year vocabulary and the basic grammatical structures of French in this introductory course. Class emphasis is on the development of all four communication skills: reading, writing, listening, and speaking. Textual reading serves to reinforce vocabulary and grammar, and introduces students to the cultures of French-speaking people.
After a review of the material in French I, students advance to more complicated grammatical structures and vocabulary. Communication proficiency is the primary objective as student expertise is developed in all skill areas, especially in reading and writing. Short stories and cultural articles broaden the students’ awareness of those peoples whose native language is French.
This course is designed to review and refine further the knowledge of French grammar for the student with a strong background in the language–at least two years of a comprehensive high school course. This course also explores in greater depth the beginning literature: fiction and nonfiction, short novels, plays, essays, short stories, and articles. Emphasis is on development of oral and written communication with classes conducted mostly in French.
The final component of the standard college preparatory high school French series, the course is conducted entirely in French and geared toward the student with reasonable fluency in the spoken language as well as a solid background in grammar. The syllabus encompasses considerable grammar review, refinement, and drill, as well as reading a variety of texts (plays, poetry, short stories, news/magazine articles, films, and music) to serve as the basis for writing, oral expression, critical analysis, and interpretation.
Advanced French Language & Conversation through Film, Literature and Linguistics
Advanced French Language will give students the opportunity to further develop conversational competence and rely on more developed listening, speaking, writing and analytical skills. Conversations will be founded and based on a variety of topics involved with French Language and cultural studies including film, linguistics, history, and literature. Students will be introduced to and learn to examine all forms of language: written formal language, spoken slang/vernacular language, and dialectical differences between French variations through various forms of media. Written projects will focus on narration, the persuasive essay, and the formal review. Additionally, topics that reflect real-world issues and language usage will be incorporated in this class as conversational starting points.
Prerequisite: French IV or French AP, and Department Chair approval.
The course is designed to prepare motivated students for the Advanced Placement Language Exam through in-depth and supplemental coursework and more advanced language utility required for successful completion of the AP French Language examination. The course is conducted almost entirely in French and geared toward the student with relative fluency in the spoken language as well as a solid background in grammar and writing. The syllabus encompasses considerable grammar review, refinement, and drill, as well as reading a variety of advanced texts (novels, plays, poetry, short stories, news/magazine articles, films, and music) to serve as the basis for writing, oral expression, critical analysis, and interpretation. In addition to grammatical review, extra emphasis is placed on expanding writing skills (phrasal turns, essay style and organization, etc.), vocabulary, and spoken language skills.
This course is an introduction to the Latin language and its cultural setting through beginning study of basic vocabulary, grammatical forms, syntactic structures, and pronunciation. Students are introduced to a wide variety of Roman literary genres, as well as Roman history, culture and mythology. Emphasis is placed on Latin’s close relationship with the English language — positively benefiting the student’s understanding of the English language.
This course is a continuation of the concepts and grammar learned in Latin I, with the addition of new grammatical constructions. In addition to a study of language, Latin II delves into a discussion of late Roman history. Students will examine texts of the Post-Classical world, and learn the culture and history of Europe as the Roman Empire gradually fell. As in Latin I, students enjoy a continued study of Classical mythology.
In this course, students will make the transition from formal grammar exercises to the reading of “real” unaltered Latin literature. Latin III will introduce students to methods of reading and study in an ancient language, as well as maintain a constant study of grammar and vocabulary. This course will explore selections from Rome’s most notable authors — Caesar, Catullus, Horace, and Cicero.
This course continues to build the student’s understanding of the Latin language and Roman culture through detailed study into one particular Latin author. Latin readings are accompanied by supplementary English translations of contemporary authors, scholarly articles, and discussion of historical context. Students maintain a strong study of grammar and vocabulary through in-class translations and grammar work.
Mandarin I is a beginning Chinese language course intended for students with no prior knowledge of any Chinese dialect or written Chinese. Mandarin is based on the Beijing dialect and is the national standard language of the People’s Republic of China and the Republic of China (Taiwan). The emphasis in this class is on vocabulary building and sentence patterns. Throughout the year, students will expand their ability to carry out simple conversations in Chinese on a range of topics. Reading and writing (using both traditional and simplified characters) will be developed in conjunction with speaking and listening skills. Students will be expected to speak, read, and write all new words that appear in vocabulary lists in the main textbook unless otherwise noted by the instructor.
Mandarin II is a Chinese language course intended for students who have completed Mandarin I or the equivalent. The emphasis in the second year continues to be on vocabulary building and learning sentence patterns. By the end of the course students will be able to place a simple restaurant order, tell time, talk about daily activities, discuss appointments and holidays, describe clothing and homes, make and respond to suggestions, and ask for and give opinions. Students will also be able to read and write 400 or more simplified and traditional characters and their corresponding pinyin Romanization.
Mandarin III is a Chinese language course intended for students who have completed Mandarin I and II or the equivalent. Though we will continue to discuss material in Chinese and practice speaking, the emphasis in the third year will be on reading and writing. By the end of the course students will have had practice writing paragraphs, speeches, and email. They will be able to discuss school related topics (e.g., studying and visiting the library), to talk about living abroad in Taiwan or China (e.g., how to rent a house, send letters, and set up a bank account), and to ask directions. Students will also continue to learn both simplified and traditional characters.
Mandarin IV is taught based on the students’ language skills acquired in Mandarin III. Students continue to develop language skills in listening, speaking, reading, and writing comprehension and use of basic structures through speaking, and writing. The vocabulary for reading and writing will increase to approximately 1,000 characters.
This introductory course provides students with a foundation in the grammatical structures in Spanish. Class emphasis is on communication skills through speaking, listening, writing, and reading exercises. The course stresses practical vocabulary development and use. The readings used build on the structural foundations to provide continual review and practice as well as an introduction to the societies and cultures of Spanish-speaking peoples.
This second-year course provides adequate review before moving to more advanced grammatical structures. Continued vocabulary development, basic readings, short stories, and oral presentations further develop the students’ ability in the language. The process is sequential in all areas, and skills are practiced to provide for maximum growth and awareness both linguistically and culturally.
Spanish III is designed to develop and strengthen the student’s ability to communicate in the Spanish language. An oral approach is used in the classroom and the student is expected to use the target language as much as possible. The units in the textbook are based on culture and practical vocabulary used in everyday situations. The units also contain appropriate grammatical structures and exercises. Supplementary readings and activities (art, music, skits, projects) are also used to increase cultural awareness and to provide the student with opportunities to develop reading, writing, speaking, and listening skills in Spanish.
This course has an emphasis on conversation and focuses on an in-depth fine-tuning of the four skills of listening comprehension, speaking, reading, and writing which are needed to communicate proficiently in Spanish. A variety of methods and strategies will be used to practice the four skills including technology, projects, games, etc., and students will be introduced to some major literary works. Students will also expand their knowledge of history, art, politics, and social structure of Spanish speaking countries as well as the culture and customs of the Hispanic people.
Advanced Conversational Spanish
Advanced Conversational Spanish will give students the opportunity to develop conversational competence and rely on more developed listening and speaking skills. Topics of conversations that reflect real-world issues will be incorporated in this class. Students will review the grammar and syntax of the language and other fun activities with music, games, technology, poetry, art, etc. will be part of the course. In addition, videos and news articles will combine to form interesting integrated reading, writing, and speaking skills. Students will expand their knowledge of the Hispanic culture as well as the customs and traditions of the Hispanic people.
Prerequisite: Spanish IV
The AP Spanish Language Course is intended for students who wish to develop proficiency, and integrate their already acquired language skills using authentic materials and sources. The class is conducted almost entirely in the target language. It is assumed that the students have already acquired the grammar and syntax of the language as well as strong skills in speaking, reading, writing, and understanding Spanish. This course will help prepare students to demonstrate their level of Spanish proficiency across three communicative modes: Interpersonal (interactive communication), Interpretive (receptive communication), and Presentational (productive communication). Fun activities with music, games, poetry, art, etc., and cultural activities will be incorporated in the course. Students take the AP Spanish Exam in May.
Prerequisite: Spanish IV and Department Chair approval.