I n Potomac’s world language programs, students take a communicative, integrated, skills-based approach that is firmly rooted in developing their interest in, and appreciation for, diverse cultural perspectives. Through carefully designed immersion, students develop their speaking, listening, reading and writing skills while acquiring the cultural background and knowledge necessary to communicate meaningfully in real-world settings in their target language.
As students progress through our programs, they engage in a wide variety of creative and collaborative experiences that promote their continued linguistic mastery and build their confidence. Students expand their knowledge of, and respect for, other cultures and peoples while improving their critical thinking skills through analysis of literature, key historical periods and figures, important works of art and modern media. Students strive toward mastery of the target language in supportive environments that allow them to take the linguistic risks necessary for language acquisition and successful cross- cultural communication.
In order to fulfill the departmental requirements for graduation, a Potomac student must successfully complete three Upper School courses in the same language—Chinese, French, Latin or Spanish. The completion of a level-four course is strongly recommended. Course offerings may vary from year to year and are contingent upon adequate enrollment.
SYA: School Year Abroad
In the fall of 2017, The Potomac School became a member of the School Year Abroad program. We encourage our students to participate in SYA programs in Spain, France, Italy or China. The immersive programs offer language mastery, deepen cultural awareness and global understanding.
Chinese 1 is a class for students who are beginning Chinese language studies. Using the Better Chinese multimedia textbook, workbook, video, and audio materials, students commence learning tones, pronunciation, and basic grammatical structures in authentic language settings that introduce different aspects of social life in China. As the course progresses, the emphasis shifts to building the four targeted language skills of reading, listening, speaking, and writing. Through the various textbook materials, students focus on building vocabulary, mastering grammar patterns, and learning the idioms of spoken Chinese. Students also learn about Chinese culture and history, as much in Chinese as possible. Through selected authentic videos, films, news clips, and online texts, students enhance their ability to understand and communicate in different situations and contexts. In addition to reading and writing assignments, students are assessed on oral presentations in the form of short skits and monologues to develop speaking skills.
Chinese 2 is offered to students who have completed the equivalent of Chinese 1, and to students who have progressed through the Intermediate School's Chinese program. Chinese 2 students will transition to the Integrated Chinese series with a more integrated approach to the four language competencies––reading, listening, speaking, and writing. In Integrated Chinese Volume 1, students will acquire the vocabulary and grammatical structures to engage in conversations about basic everyday life: family, hobbies, friends, entertainment, shopping, school life, studying Chinese, and transportation. Class time will be dedicated to building and practicing the vocabulary and sentence patterns used to communicate verbally about the topics in each lesson. A cohesive set of online textbook videos and interactive exercises allow students to continue to practice the four language skills individually. Through selected authentic videos, films, news clips, and online texts, students will continue to learn about Chinese culture, history, and current events, as much in Chinese as possible. In addition to reading and writing assignments, students will be assessed on presentational communication through assignments that develop independent speaking including diary writing and performing short in-class skits, and monologues.
Chinese 3 is offered to students who have completed the equivalent of Chinese 2, and to students who are assessed to be at this level. Chinese 3 students will continue in the Integrated Chinese series with an integrated approach to the four language competencies––reading, listening, speaking, and writing. In Integrated Chinese Volume 2 students will acquire the vocabulary and grammatical structures to engage in conversations about a broader range of everyday topics, such as: weather, dining, asking directions, birthdays, illness, sports, and travel. Class time will be 31 dedicated to building and practicing the vocabulary and sentence patterns used to communicate verbally about the topics in each lesson. A cohesive set of online textbook videos and interactive exercises allow students to continue to practice the four language skills individually. Through selected authentic videos, films, news clips, and online texts, students will continue to learn about Chinese culture, history, and current events, as much in Chinese as possible. In addition to reading and writing assignments, students will be assessed on presentational communication through assignments that develop independent speaking including diary writing and performing short in-class skits, and monologues.
Chinese 4 is offered to students who have completed the equivalent of Chinese 3 or to students who are assessed at this level. The course continues with the Integrated Chinese series, finishing the last four units of Level 2 Part 1, and then starting with Level 2 Part 2, and emphasizing the four targeted language competencies of reading, listening, speaking, and writing. The textbooks include videos and online resources for speaking, reading, and writing and features texts on different aspects of social life in China. Students will continue to learn about Chinese culture and history as much in Chinese as possible. Through a variety of resources, students will focus on vocabulary building and in-depth development of grammatical structures and idioms. Through selected authentic videos, films, news clips, and online texts, students will be able to understand and communicate in different situations and contexts. In addition to reading and writing assignments, students will be assessed on presentational communication through assignments that develop independent speaking including writing and performing short in-class skits, and monologues.
Advanced Chinese Studies is for students who have completed the equivalent of four years of high school Chinese language studies. In this course, students combine different activities to develop their strengths in written and spoken Chinese, culminating for many students in the AP exam (this is not an official AP Chinese course, but students who feel ready are encouraged to take that test after completing this course). Continuing where Chinese 4 left off, with Chapter 14 in the higher level Integrated Chinese text (Level 2 Part 2), students read the text for content and prepare oral presentations on related topics that they research on their own. Topics include cultural traditions, social and environmental issues, healthy lifestyles, career plans, Chinese geography, and Chinese history. Through selected authentic videos, films and news articles, students will be able to have in-depth conversations about these topics. Assignments in the course include research papers, debates, and in-class skits.
- French 1
- French 2
- Honors French 2
- French 3
- Honors French 3
- French 4
- Honors French 4
- French 5
- Honors French 5
- Advanced Placement French Language and Culture
- Advanced Francophone Literature
- French cuisine and gastronomy: l’art de vivre (semester elective, juniors and seniors)
This course welcomes students with no previous experience in French, as well as those with some experience but limited communicative practice. Listening to spoken and recorded passages and dialogues, watching short videos and reading short authentic texts, students begin to develop interpretive skills, such as awareness of context and how to select the most meaningful information out of a communicative stream. Students begin to develop their interpersonal proficiency by conversing with others on a variety of topics using everyday vocabulary and 32 idiomatic phrasing in even the most simple sentences. Topics include those that are generally familiar to students (sharing information about themselves and their families and where they are from, talking about routines and activities during school and vacations, describing places and people). Students learn to express themselves through participating in skits and dialogues; oral and written presentations allow students to build their communicative skills and confidence. Essential grammatical structures and vocabulary are reinforced through the writing of short paragraphs. Songs, art, and short stories complement a core curriculum. Assessments include listening, oral, and written tests, sight reading tests, short compositions, prepared skits, and improvised dialogues.
Students at this level are already able to understand, present, and exchange information about familiar topics in French using phrases and complete sentences. In this course, students simultaneously broaden their listening and speaking proficiency and develop their composition and reading competency. The acquisition of new material occurs within the context of a simulated immersion experience in class each day. Students are expected to speak French at all times, and they develop the tools they need to function comfortably. Students write about learned topics, using connected sentences to present information. They are also provided numerous opportunities to narrate situations and events both in the present and past tenses. Students learn how to incorporate direct and indirect object pronouns, irregular and reflexive verbs, and expressions of time into their speaking and writing. Role-playing allows students to practice culturally accurate social interactions, as well as the asking and answering of questions in creative and fun contexts. The course also covers key cultural topics, such as family relations, education, sports and hobbies, weather, summer travel, and careers in French and French-speaking cultural contexts. Besides oral, listening, and written tests for each chapter or unit, performance is assessed formally through frequent writing assignments and prepared skits, and informally through a variety of improvised oral and listening activities.
This accelerated course promotes development and refinement of all skill areas (listening, speaking, reading, writing and cultural competency). Conducted almost exclusively in French, the course is organized by cultural themes (introductions and greetings, family relations, the French school system, sports and hobbies, weather, summer vacation activities, and careers). Within these, skills are honed using authentic cultural and current events materials. Students develop a strong working control of basic verb tenses (irregular and reflexive present tense conjugations as well as past tenses in narration); and the mastery of pronouns (direct, indirect, basic relative and interrogative). Idiomatic vocabulary acquisition is a primary goal. Students apply new vocabulary and structures in a variety of communicative tasks. They undertake a close reading of L'oeil du loup by Daniel Pennac to develop their sight reading and interpretive skills. This text also serves as a jumping-off point for reflection, discussion, and creative work. In addition, instructors draw on current events materials. Assessments include listening, oral, and written tests, sight reading tests, short compositions, as well as prepared or improvised dialogues.
French 3 prepares students to use the language effectively in a wide variety of real-life situations, both written and spoken. The continued integrated development of skills in extended speaking, listening, reading, and writing is accompanied by a systematic review of grammar and vocabulary within the context of simulated immersion. Students develop cultural competency 33 through the exploration of topics such as culinary and dining customs, modes of transportation, art and architecture and related historical background. Role-playing (both rehearsed and impromptu) requires students to actively process newly acquired vocabulary and grammar concepts. Short literary and film selections, podcasts and video materials assure that students increase their reading and listening comprehension skills and familiarize themselves with francophone cultures. Besides frequent short oral, listening, and written tests, performance is assessed through written work, prepared skits / presentations, and a variety of improvised oral activities.
This accelerated course promotes development and refinement of all skill areas (listening, speaking, reading, writing and cultural competency). Conducted exclusively in French, the course is organized by cultural themes. Within these, skills are developed with the use of authentic cultural materials.The grammatical focus is the development of a strong working control of the verbal system (review of indicative tenses, and the addition of the conditional and subjunctive moods) and of pronouns (all relative and demonstrative pronouns, as well as a review of object pronouns). Vocabulary acquisition is an equally important primary goal. Students undertake a close reading of Le Petit Prince in addition to a variety of shorter fiction and journalistic texts representative of the francophone world to grow their personal their sight reading skills. Readings serve as a jumping-off point for reflection, discussion, and creative work because communicative competence remains a primary focus. The course also draws on current event materials (written and spoken) to increase the students’ proficiency in listening comprehension and their familiarity with the larger francophone community. Assessments include listening, oral, and written tests, sight reading tests, short compositions, prepared skits, improvised dialogues, and two-minute presentations based on synthesis of audio/written source material.
In this interactive setting, students develop the skills needed for maximum fluency in spoken and written French. This course uses cinema to introduce students to art and current events, family and personal drama, and history. Students use technical and critical vocabulary to share their reaction through discussion and oral presentations as well as creative and analytical written work. Short readings from French and francophone literature provide venues for students to further explore themes and events related to the core film curriculum. A review of grammar concepts is integrated throughout the year to increase the accuracy and clarity of the students’ written and oral expression. Recent movies have included Au revoir les enfants, Jean de Florette, Le fabuleux destin d’Amélie Poulain, L’esquive, and Cyrano de Bergerac. Student performance is assessed through in-class participation, written work, presentations and skits, as well as through quizzes and tests.
The honors-level fourth year course serves to develop students’ linguistic skills through rich cultural content. Taught in conjunction with Honors French 5, the units of study are sequenced for a 2-year cycle. This year of the cycle is organized around values in Francophone cultures. In one unit, students explore the notion of cultural heritage and the tensions between conservation of the past and modern life. In another, they study issues of human rights and social justice in Francophone cultures. A third unit explores humanitarian service work in both institutional and individual contexts, and a fourth centers on controversies fed by social media and media literacy. All cultural units incorporate audio passages, historical documents, and current events from the 34 internet. Throughout, students refine their skills through a variety of collaborative and individual projects. Grammar is reviewed as prompted by student questions or needs. Student progress is monitored through daily personal feedback. Bi-monthly, students take longer skills tests where they perform a variety of tasks, including reading and listening comprehension passages; preparing a 3-minute oral presentation in response to a short paragraph prompt; participating in a 10-minute oral interview; responding in real time to a professional email; and writing a 200-word persuasive essay.
Students closely study five films during the year. Each film provides an opportunity for students to acquire vocabulary, and to discuss and write about French life, language and culture within particular historical contexts. Written texts (excerpts from novels, interviews with directors, historical documents) deepen students' cultural understanding, and allow them to develop interpretive reading skills. Students are asked to make connections between the ideas discussed in films and texts via in-class discussion, skits and presentations. Grammar concepts are integrated throughout the year to give students the tools to express themselves with greater clarity when writing and speaking. Through class activities, students also learn the basic tools of literary and film analysis. Recent films have included Ridicule, Inch’Allah Dimanche, Le Dîner des cons, Ressources humaines and Molière. Student performance is assessed through in-class participation, written work, presentations and skits, as well as through quizzes and tests.
The honors-level fifth year course serves to develop students’ interpretive, presentational and interpersonal skills through the prism of Francophone cultural content. Honors French 5 is taught in conjunction with Honors French 4; units of study are sequenced for a 2-year cycle. Students in this year of the cycle look at the history and modern issues in Québec and the post-colonial Francophone cultures Martinique, the Maghreb, and Sénégal, as well as minority cultures in France. Themes such as colonialism, independence, diversity, immigration, and women's issues are explored using a film from each culture as a starting point. Reading material complements the core "griot" function of each film: excerpts from the novel might be studied; excerpts from French history textbooks, current events (radio, video and print), poetry, and music all deepen students' understanding of each culture. Through discussion, written analysis and reading, students develop their linguistic base. Literary texts include shorter fiction by authors Miano, Camus, Ben Jelloun, Djebar, Chamoiseau, and Hémon. Film texts include Les indigènes, La grande séduction, La Rue cases-nègres, and Bienvenue chez les Chi’tis. Grammatical concepts are reviewed according to student need. Assessments consist of vocabulary quizzes, written essays, oral cultural comparisons, occasional grammar quizzes.
This college-level course promotes the development of more nuanced cultural awareness and enables students to make informed comparisons between cultures and use French with accuracy and fluency in real-life contexts. It is organized around six cultural themes: families in different societies; the influence of language and culture on identity; influences of beauty and art; how science and technology affect our lives; factors that impact the quality of life; environmental, political, and social challenges. Within each of these themes, students work with a variety of authentic materials (literary texts, podcasts, songs, journalistic articles, videos, etc.) from different francophone communities. Vocabulary acquisition is a primary objective. Students in this course have already demonstrated a strong command of French grammar, so the only grammar that is 35 explicitly taught is in the form of mini-lessons tailored to issues that arise in students' written and oral production. Assessments generally take the form of tasks: timed email responses; persuasive essays that demonstrate synthesis of audio and written source material; simulated "real time" interpersonal conversations; auditory comprehension tasks; oral cultural comparisons. Grading rubrics provided by the AP College Board serve as models for evaluation. Students who elect to do so may sit the AP exam in May.
This college-level course is designed to develop students' critical reading skills so that they can read literature with confidence and imagination, as well as to refine their written and oral expression. Conducted exclusively in French, this seminar explores texts and occasional film versions of literary works from the traditional canon as well as work by contemporary Francophone authors. Attention is paid to the distinctions that exist between these works by looking at their respective historical and social roots. Emphasis is also placed on developing the tools of literary analysis.The core reading list consists of three French masterpieces. Recent selections have included Pierre et Jean by Maupassant, Candide by Voltaire, and L’école des femmes by Molière. Each year, this core is supplemented by works of the instructor's choosing, among them: Ourika, Monsieur Ibrahim et les fleurs du Coran, Juste la fin du monde, and La Belle et la bête (Condé). Skill development is assessed through regular sight reading tests and by oral and written interpretation of texts. Additionally, opportunities for students to dramatize scenes, write creatively, and improvise dialogues between characters are assessments that retain the playful use of language that characterizes our philosophy.
In 2010, UNESCO classified “the gastronomic meal of the French” as part of the intangible heritage of humanity (patrimoine mondial). Our study of food, its production, preparation, and consumption rituals will provide an intimate understanding of French identity. Through short literary and nonfiction readings, students will explore culinary customs and the importance of food in French culture, comparing these to their American experiences. Culinary vocabulary acquisition is a specific benefit of the course, but students will also sharpen their communicative skills daily through a range of oral and written activities, reviewing grammatical structures as needed. This course includes some practice in food preparation and service. Class activities feature alternating weekly tasting sessions and cooking workshops, and students will share three meals together over the course of the semester, learning both table manners and l’art de la conversation. There will be two field trips, one to a market/vendor and the other to a restaurant. Finally, students will try simple, culturally important recipes at home.
This course is for juniors and seniors concurrently enrolled in a year-long French language or literature course. As we will be trying a series of foods during the semester, students need to inform us in advance of any allergies.
- Latin 1
- Latin 2
- Honors Latin 2
- Latin 3
- Honors Latin 3
- Honors Latin 4
- Latin 5
- Advanced Placement Latin: Vergil and Caesar
- Honors Classics: Introduction to Homeric Greek
Latin 1 is a course designed to equip students to develop reading Latin prose. With the use of stories, grammar explanations, and cultural readings, the students gain exposure to the Latin language and lifestyle of ancient Rome. Through a series of short narratives, dialogues, and readings, students listen, read, write and translate Latin. This course stresses analytical thinking, grammar, and vocabulary helping students to develop basic language acquisition skills. The students learn to recognize Latin roots in English words, develop word-attack skills, and learn Latin grammar as a basis for studying English grammar. Grammatical concepts covered include elements of a sentence; declensions in the first through fifth; conjugating verbs in all active tenses; uses of the ablative; and a range of prepositions and subordinate clauses. This course also provides a solid foundation from which learners can progress to further English or foreign language studies. The texts used include Ecce Romani I published by Pearson Hall and The New College Latin to English Dictionary published by Bantam.
This course continues the approach implemented in the 7th and 8th grade Latin programs or Latin 1 in the ninth grade. Latin 2 begins the year with a thorough review before proceeding onto the second book in the Ecce Romani series. Learning how to identify subjunctive verbs marks the grammatical culmination for Latin 2. In addition to enriching understandings of English grammar and vocabulary, the ongoing examination of Latin as an inflected language better equips students to identify systems present in any academic discipline. Cultural topics raised in the translations will prompt class discussions on issues such as slavery, social-economic status, and some governmental institutions. Self-designed projects enable students to enhance their cultural understanding and to pursue their own interests.
Honors Latin 2 is a continuation of Potomac's 7th and 8th grade Latin curriculum. After a brief review of the fundamentals, the class advances through Book II of the Ecce Romani series, in which students review the vocabulary and grammar learned in Book I of Ecce Romani, and learn the forms of the passive voice, relative pronouns, demonstrative adjectives and pronouns, the comparative degrees of adjectives and adverbs, Latin's use of infinitives and participles, and the forms and uses of the subjunctive. Fundamental to the course is the study of Latin's grammar of clauses, and students learn to identify and translate several of these basic clauses, and to identify and translate the implicit clauses formed through Latin's rich use of participles and infinitives. The readings of each chapter provide opportunities for discussing aspects of Roman history and culture. The course also features increased exposure to reading sight-unseen passages of Latin. There are nightly assignments and regular assessments of student progress. Upon completion of the course, students should be ready to begin reading original and unedited works of classical Roman authors. Texts include Ecce Romani, Vol. II, and AMSCO Workbook in Latin: First Year.
After a detailed review of Latin noun, adjective, and verb forms and a thorough review of noun syntax, students progressively learn the remaining features of Latin grammar-- including the forms and uses of participles, the ablative absolute construction, infinitives and their use in 37 indirect statement, the forms and use of the subjunctive in dependent clauses, gerunds and gerundives, and conditional statements. Ecce Romani, Vol II, and Amsco Latin Workbook initially provide the exercises and materials for study and practice. In addition, students use graduated Latin readers (e.g., Ritchie's Fabulae Faciles or Fabulae Ab Urbe Condita) to help them consolidate the new forms and grammar and achieve greater facility in reading and translating Latin. There are nightly assignments and regular assessments of student progress. Upon completion of the course, students should be ready to begin reading original and unedited works of classical Roman authors. Texts include Ecce Romani II, AMSCO Latin Workbook: Second Year, Fabulae Ab Urbe Condita, Ritchie's Fabulae Faciles, and Freddus Elephantus et Horatius, Porcus Saltans Cincinnatis (Freddy the Elephant and Horace, the Dancing Pig of Cincinnati).
Honors Latin 3 begins the year by already translating authentic Latin. The theme for the course centers on friendship. Students first consider friendship as a personal and social construct through both the Roman lens and their own lenses. In the first semester, students translate Eutropius’s histories of the first and second triumvirate. Supplemental readings in English and class discussions provide a greater consideration of friendship and its impact on these political unions. To ground and support these considerations, selections from Cicero’s De Amicitia introduce students to a philosophical analysis of friendship during the second semester. A selection of letters between Cicero and his friends Atticus, Caesar, and Pompey provide a wider theoretical and pragmatic scope bolstered by secondary readings from Plato’s Lysis. Students will share their insights during class discussions and in analytical essays. In a final unit, students will translate selections from Catullus and explore the literary tradition of the Neoteric Poets.
The primary focus of Honors Latin 4 is to increase each student's translation rate. Cicero’s De Officiis serves as a transition text as the students are already familiar with Cicero’s style and diction. After 100 lines of selected text concerning statesmanship, duty and service, students then translate The Millionaire's Dinner Party. This is an adapted text of Petronious's Satyricon which is the oldest known novel. Since much of the vocabulary reappears from the first two Ecce Romani books, students are naturally prepared to translate longer passages of this text in less time. Also, the text's clever sporting of genres, character perceptions, and themes of art, sophistication, wealth, and societal class enhance their analytical and debate skills acquired in Latin 3/3a. Contrasting morals between the De Officiis, Machiavelli’s The Prince, and The Satyricon will provide additional topics for discussion and consideration. Lastly, for literary enthusiasts, the connections between The Satyricon and F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby will provide pleasing insights and gratifying appreciations of a lasting Latin literature influence.
In Latin 5, students consider genre, gender, and rhetoric by translating Cicero’s Pro Caelio and three of his letters to friends and family. These texts concern a woman named Clodia who is believed to be the “Lesbia” of Catullus’s poetry. Students will use these letters and the oration as primary source documents to examine closely the decade of 63BC to 53BC in depth. This pivotal decade, starting with the Catilinarian conspiracy and spanning to the collapse of the first triumvirate, offers much to consider about personal politics, corruption, and a patriarchal/patron system. The conclusion of the year reflects on literary and historical continuum, the vitality of ideas, and the students’ participation in both as torch bearers.
AP Latin is designed to give advanced students a rigorous Latin course which will help them develop proficiency in understanding, translating, and analyzing Latin literature, and prepare them to take the Advanced Placement Examination in Latin. To this end, the course closely follows the syllabus set by the College Board. Students read selections from Vergil's Aeneid and from Caesar's Commentaries on the Gallic War. They study the historical and political contexts of The Commentaries, the concise style Caesar employs to present his accounts of events in Gaul, and the Roman values implicit in these accounts. The course also introduces students to the analysis of Vergil's poetics and meter, and, more importantly, draws them into reflection and discussion of the themes of love, death, war, fate, and man's relationship to the gods. The AP Latin syllabus requires accelerated work, and an essential goal of this work is to increase the students' accuracy and fluency of translation. Upon completion of this course work, students are prepared to take the Advanced Placement Placement Examination in Latin in May. Texts include Caesar: Selections from his Commentarii de Bello Gallico, Mueller, Hans-Friedrich; A Notebook for Caesar's de Bello Gallico, Distinti, S.D.; Vergil's Aeneid: Selected Readings from Bks. 1, 2 ,4, and 6, Boyd, B.W.; and A Notebook for Vergil's Aeneid, Distinti, S.D.
This course presents the essential forms, grammar, and vocabulary needed to begin reading Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey in the original. Students will spend the first semester studying the forms of Greek’s three noun declensions and the most common conjugated verb forms found in Homer, and will practice these forms nightly by translating simplified passages from Homer. In the second semester, they will begin translating unedited selections from either Book I of The Iliad or Book IX of The Odyssey, with the goal of reading half of one of these books by year's end. In addition to the continuing attention given to grammar and vocabulary, students will discuss the similarities and differences of style they find between Homer and Vergil's poetry, and learn how to scan and recite Homeric hexameters. Upon completion of the course, students should be equipped to continue reading Homer on their own.
Prerequisite: AP Latin.
- Spanish 1
- Spanish 2
- Honors Spanish 2
- Spanish 3
- Honors Spanish 3
- Spanish 4
- Honors Spanish 4
- Honors Spanish 5
- Advanced Placement Spanish Language and Culture
- Advanced Placement Spanish Literature
- Contemporary Issues of the Hispanic World (semester)
- Art of the Hispanic World (semester)
Spanish 1 will provide the student with a general introduction to the Spanish language through the use of the Descubre 1 program: sound system, pronunciation, functional vocabulary related to everyday life, communicative functions, and basic grammatical structures. Repetition and comprehensible input are key components of the learning. The focus is on all four skills of listening, speaking, reading and writing. Culture is an integral part of the course and is integrated throughout each lesson. By the completion of Spanish 1, students will have the basic proficiency to carry on a daily conversation using the present and simple past tenses, and will have an improved cultural understanding of Spain and Latin America. This course is taught, as much as possible, in Spanish.
Spanish 2 focuses on the continued study of the principles of the Spanish language in an energetic and communicative classroom setting. With the use of the Descubre program and a variety of other authentic materials, students continue to develop basic proficiency in the four modalities of 39 language learning: listening, speaking, reading, and writing. The acquisition of new vocabulary and of more advanced grammar structures, such as the forms and uses of the preterite and imperfect tenses, are major areas of focus. While developing their interpretive, interpersonal, and presentational skills in a wide range of situational contexts, students gain a greater understanding and appreciation of other Spanish-speaking people and cultures. At the conclusion of this course, students will be able to function more comfortably and confidently in the target language.
This accelerated course promotes and refines the language proficiency acquired in the study of Spanish 1. Conducted almost exclusively in Spanish, the course is organized by cultural themes and by Spanish speaking communities (Argentina, Costa Rica, and Colombia). Within these, and with a variety of authentic resources, students further develop their reading, writing, listening, and speaking skills. The study of history, literature, film, and web-based documents offer additional opportunities to advance their fluency and cultural competence. After a thorough review of the present tense, students spend considerable time exploring, mastering, and manipulating two past tenses (imperfect and preterite). They conclude the year in the future, at which point they are exposed to the study of the subjunctive mood. The mastery of a variety of grammar structures and vocabulary themes is a major goal of the course, as it allows students to comprehend and to communicate more spontaneously and accurately in a wide range of situational contexts. Assessments include auditory, written, and oral quizzes and tests, sight readings, short compositions, and prepared and improvised dialogues. By the end of the academic year, students have established excellent study habits and communicative language skills and are prepared for the next level of the Spanish curriculum.
This course focuses on the continued study of the principles of the Spanish language and further study of Hispanic history and culture. Emphasis will be placed on vocabulary building and on in-depth development of grammatical structures and idioms learned in year 2; new structures and vocabulary will be emphasized. The subjunctive and indicative tenses will be fully reviewed and applied. Authentic texts will include various resources including: videos, audio clips, periodicals, magazines and excerpts of literature. Students will also be exposed to works from Spanish and Latin American artists to expand their visual understanding of the Spanish-speaking world. Students will be assessed on the principal skills of reading, writing, speaking, and listening in the target language. The goal is to further develop intermediate-level skills to function in a Spanish-speaking environment with a greater understanding of the cultures of the Spanish-speaking world.
This accelerated course promotes and refines the language proficiency acquired in the study of Spanish 1 and 2. Conducted exclusively in Spanish, the course is organized by cultural themes and Spanish speaking communities (Puerto Rico, Cuba, Mexico). Within these, and with a variety of authentic resources, students immerse themselves and further develop their reading, writing, speaking, and listening skills. The study of literature, film, art, history, and current events offer additional opportunities to improve communicative ability, critical thinking skills, and cultural competence. After an extensive review of the verb tenses previously mastered, students learn and communicate with more advanced tenses in the indicative and subjunctive moods. The acquisition of advanced grammar structures and vocabulary themes is another primary goal, as 40 these tools accelerate students’ ability to communicate more creatively, accurately, and spontaneously in a wide range of situational contexts. Assessments include auditory and written quizzes, unit tests, short compositions, prepared and improvised dialogues, and oral presentations.
The linguistic objective of the Spanish 4 course is to obtain a broad improvement in every student’s ability to speak in Spanish, to understand spoken Spanish on various topics, and to read and write short texts. The conceptual objective of this course is to expand students’ understanding of the social and cultural features of the Spanish-speaking world, as a backdrop to some of the contemporary issues. Key to the attainment of these objectives will be the frequent oral presentations on topics relevant to a Latin American country of the student’s choice. A portion of the course will be devoted to a functional review of Spanish grammar, with particular attention to the communicative importance of the distinctions between alternatives. As well, there will be a systematic expansion of vocabulary and structures, with the goal of developing greater naturalness of speech. We will use literary texts, essays and commercial films to examine some of the topics, and students will write short, reflective essays.
The central goals of this advanced course are to further develop written and oral expression in Spanish and to evolve a deeper understanding around common cultural issues, mores, and beliefs as they manifest in Spain and Latin America. Through the study of a variety of literary selections, students will work to strengthen their reading comprehension and written expression. Grammar topics will include a review and an extension of key concepts from previous courses as well as the introduction of several advanced structures. Another fundamental objective of this course is to significantly expand the students’ Spanish vocabulary in order to effect both a more nuanced range of expression as well as a more natural facility with the spoken and written language.
Designed for students who want to improve their communicative abilities in Spanish, this course also provides exposure to the other language skills (reading and listening comprehension, writing, vocabulary acquisition, socio-cultural competence) which are integral to developing speaking fluency. Grammar points will be reviewed based on the readings and themes. Film is one medium that will provide listening practice and cultural perspectives with each film providing an opportunity for students to acquire vocabulary and to discuss and write about pan-Hispanic life, language and culture within particular historical contexts. Through class discussions, debates, and written presentations, students will be asked to make connections between the ideas in the films. Student performance will be assessed through in-class participation, written work and presentations, as well as through quizzes and tests.
The AP Spanish Language and Culture course emphasizes communication by applying interpersonal, interpretive, and presentational skills in real-life situations. This includes vocabulary usage, language control, communication strategies, and cultural awareness. The course is organized around six cultural themes: global challenges; science and technology; contemporary life; personal and public identities; families and communities; beauty and aesthetics. Within each of these themes, students work with a variety of authentic materials (literary texts, podcasts, songs, journalistic articles, etc.) from different Spanish-speaking 41 communities. Spanish is used exclusively in the classroom. Students work to develop their proficiency within the three modes of communication. Students in this course have already demonstrated a strong command of Spanish grammar structures, so there are only short grammar lessons tailored to issues that arise in students’ written and oral production. Vocabulary acquisition is a primary objective and students continuously work to incorporate the new words and phrases as they produce more elaborate written and oral texts. Assessments include: reading and auditory comprehension tasks; timed email responses; persuasive essays that demonstrate synthesis of audio and written source material; interpersonal conversations; and cultural comparisons. Grading rubrics provided by the AP college board serve as models for evaluation. All students are required to take the AP exam in May.
Advanced Placement Spanish Literature is a college-level course with a reading list that encompasses the main movements of the literature written in Spanish from the 13th century to date. The course develops the advanced Spanish students’ language skills in listening, speaking, reading and writing, particularly related to literary topics. Students will develop their knowledge of the fundamental texts on the reading list selected by the College Board. Students will also significantly develop their analytical writing skills and deepen their knowledge of literary devices in Spanish. They will also expand their familiarization with Spanish metrics and analysis of poetry. Students will demonstrate their mastery of these topics and these writing skills in regularly scheduled unit tests.
Politics, identity, and history are brought together in this dynamic class. Through the analysis and review of current events and literary texts, this course will highlight contemporary issues pertaining to Latin America as well as Latinos in the United States. Topics covered will include voting rights, poverty and inequality, elections, and political expression. This course offers students opportunities to further develop their communication skills with an emphasis on their written and oral proficiency. It will include a review of more advanced grammar structures in order to achieve greater accuracy, as well as the systematic building of vocabulary and idiomatic expressions. This course will also compare contrasting uses of the media to identify and interpret underlying cultural messages.
Hispanic history, influence, and culture come alive through paintings from both the Latin American and Spanish art scene. The importance of Latin American art and architecture, whose roots began in indigenous cultures before European colonization, will be studied. Students will explore movements and important Spanish and Latin American painters such as Botero, Kahlo, Rivera, Lam, Berni, Le Pac, El Greco, Velázquez, Goya, Picasso, and Dalí. Included will be Spain’s artistic legacy which spans 700 years of Islamic rule, a heritage still present even today. This course offers inquiry into the following question: What distinguishes Latin American and Spanish Art and how have Latin American and Spanish artists given us a lens into history? The analysis of various different art forms will serve as a platform for guided exploration of various cultural and sociopolitical topics. Students will develop their written and spoken expression at an advanced level and will focus on more complex grammatical and vocabulary structures.