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"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

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Modern Languages

Academics, Technology

The Modern Language Department seeks to promote not only proficiency in a foreign language, but also a true appreciation of another culture. The Department believes in developing the four major skills necessary for communication in a language: speaking, listening, writing and reading. Each level is a progression aimed at building upon the skills which were taught in the previous year. The Department believes that the study of people and culture is critical to the study of a foreign language; therefore, an effort will be made to integrate appropriate material at each level in the program. Through the teaching of specific language skills, literature, and culture, as well as work in the Digital Learning Center, the Department aims to promote an eagerness for foreign language study and an ability to understand cross-cultural perspectives while using the target language at all levels.

French A | Full Year
Full Credit

Beginning their course of study in French, students are introduced to the essential skills of communication and are encouraged to communicate in French at every level: listening, speaking, reading, and writing. They further develop this proficiency through the study of different French-speaking countries with films, readings, games, music, oral presentations and online resources. French A combined with French B prepares students for entry into French II.Beginning their course of study in French, students are introduced to the essential skills of communication and are encouraged to communicate in French at every level: listening, speaking, reading, and writing. They further develop this proficiency through the study of different French-speaking countries with films, readings, games, music, oral presentations and work in the Digital Learning Center. French A combined with French B prepares students for entry into French II.
 

French B | Full Year
Full Credit
Prerequisites: French A

In French B, students continue to develop their foundation French grammar and vocabulary in the context of French-speaking cultures. Students improve speaking, listening, reading and writing skills.
Successful completion of this class prepares students for French II.

 

Spanish A | Full Year
Full Credit
Open to: VI

Spanish A serves as an introduction to the fundamental skills of speaking, listening, reading and writing. Emphasis is placed on establishing oral proficiency, which is developed through class discussion, skits, presentations and projects. This course also employs games, videos, songs, short readings and online activities to further improve language skills. In addition to foundational grammar and thematic vocabulary units, students explore cultural elements of various Spanish-speaking countries. This year of Spanish combined with Spanish B is the equivalent of Spanish I.

 

Spanish B | Full Year
Full Credit
Open to: V,VI
Prerequisites: French A

This course is a continuation of Spanish A and completes Level I of the language. Students who complete Spanish A and B will be prepared to enter Spanish II, or possibly Spanish II Honors, as recommended by the teachers. During the course, students continue their acquisition of basic vocabulary and grammatical structures while developing their speaking, reading, listening, and writing skills in cultural contexts. The greatest emphasis is put on developing each student's confidence and oral proficiency skills. This year of Spanish combined with Spanish A is the equivalent of Spanish I.

 

Spanish I | Full Year
Full Credit
Open to: V with permission of the Department

This course is an intensive, accelerated approach to learning the fundamental skills and structures in Spanish. Students will be urged to develop their vocabulary and language skills through communication in Spanish. Students will develop the listening, reading, writing, and speaking skills that will be necessary for continued study in the language. Students will also study various cultural aspects of Spanish-speaking countries through selected readings, videos,oral presentations, and work in the Digital Learning Center. We will use the program Vistas, a video-driven curriculum in which proficiency is emphasized.
 

Japanese I | Full Year
Full Credit

Japanese I introduces the most fundamental grammatical constructions and basic vocabulary of the Japanese language. During the first year, emphasis is placed on the development of speaking and listening skills, while students learn to read and write the two sets of Japanese syllabaries, hiragana and katakana. Students will also be introduced to various aspects of contemporary Japan through projects, field trips, exchanges with Japanese visitors, cultural videos, and a variety of hands-on activities. The use of the Internet, Japanese word-processing activities, cultural CD-ROMs, and other computer-based technologies in the Computer Lab will complement the more traditional language.

Japanese II | Full Year
Full Credit
Prerequisites: Japanese I

Japanese II builds upon the basic foundation of grammatical concepts and vocabulary introduced in Japanese I. Students will continue their progress in developing proficiency in speaking and listening, while developing greater ease in reading and writing in kana. They will also acquire an active knowledge of approximately 60 essential kanji (Chinese characters). Continued exposure to cultural materials and videos, field trips, exchanges with Japanese visitors, projects, and computer-based activities in the Computer Lab will complement the day-to-day language study.

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The Middle School Curriculum