"Some of the most important work done by Middle School faculty is to use the curriculum as a means to teach the skills necessary for life-long academic success."

– John Gifford, Assistant Head of School & Head of Middle School

Classical Languages

Latin is required of all Class VI students in the Middle School. The English Via Latin course stresses study skills and thinking skills that neatly complement all the other courses students are taking. Techniques in acquiring vocabulary, taking class notes and active reading are emphasized. Class VI students entering with a background in Latin may accelerate into Class V Latin or Latin I at the discretion of the department. English Via Latin and Class V Latin comprise the equivalent of Latin I and enable rising ninth-grade students to move easily into Latin II. The Department offers a full set of courses in the Upper School including advanced classes.

English Via Latin | Full Year
Full Credit
Required For: Class VI

English Via Latin, or “EVL,” is a unique interdisciplinary course with the careful examination of words and language at its core. Combining these two disciplines encourages analysis of individual words and lines as well as longer texts. Students view literature through a lens generally reserved for translation of a different language: word placement and meaning inform literal and figurative interpretations. We read with a close eye for the many levels of meaning we might encounter while furthering our understanding of grammar and vocabulary in both languages.

Latin is the cornerstone of Romance languages, providing us with thousands of words and offering us a unique structure to understand how words fit together and how syntax is constructed. Students will experience the basics of the language, beginning a journey that could ultimately allow them to read masterpieces of Roman literature by the time they finish the program at Nobles.

The literature we study reflects the universal truths humans have been reaching for and deciphering since - and before - stories were written down. Why do we tell stories, and how do we tell them? In this course, we will read, discuss, and write about works - both classic and contemporary - that explore timeless themes such as the loss of innocence and the coming of age; relationships and their dynamics; and what it means to be an empathic individual living in and leading a community. Works include The Iliad, Philoctetes, The Book Thief, To Kill a Mockingbird, Bamboo People, Much Ado About Nothing, and poetry.

Students will become more powerful and confident as thinkers, readers, writers, and speakers. Because skill development is essential for middle school students, EVL will practice the following skills: outlining and note-taking, preparing for tests, reading actively, understanding and utilizing grammatical constructions, assimilating vocabulary, writing in various genres, comprehending and dissecting literature and language, researching information, engaging with technology, creating art, and reciting prose and poetry. 

Class V Latin | Full Year
Full Credit
Open to: V and VI (with the permission of the department)
Prerequisites: English Via Latin or its equivalent

Progressing through the Ecce Romani I textbook, students advance their study of Latin grammar and vocabulary from English Via Latin. While reading Latin sentences and more extended stories, students gain proficiency both as translators and as analytical readers; they also gain an appreciation for and a better understanding of the legacy of the Romans. In addition, students study the history and culture of Rome as covered in the Ecce Romani passages.  Students also explore art and material evidence from the Classical World. Throughout the year teachers emphasize the following skills: organization, note-taking, test preparation, understanding and use of English and Latin grammar, vocabulary assimilation, research skills, use of technology, analysis of ancient art, and even some modern Latin. 


Latin I
Open to: I, II, III, IV, V

Students learn all the fundamentals of Latin grammar and acquire a basic Latin vocabulary as they move briskly through the Book I of the Ecce Romani textbook series. Although the amount of material covered in the class requires a brisk pace, time is set aside for several projects researching the culture, religion, and everyday life of the Romans. Latin I provides a solid foundation for further Latin study.

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The Middle School Curriculum