Middle School World Language

The Philosophy

The purpose of the World Language Department is to guide students as they develop the skills necessary to communicate and to interact effectively and empathetically in an increasingly interconnected world. The study of language develops the student’s ability to compare and connect his or her own way of life to the global community. We encourage our language students to use their linguistic skills and cultural knowledge beyond the classroom. The World Language Department believes that the study of other languages and cultures is a vital part of a student’s secondary-school education. Guided by the philosophy and guidelines for language learning in the 21st Century of the American Council of Teachers of Foreign Language [ACTFL], we focus on student engagement and construction of understanding through critical-thinking, creative collaboration, and communication in the target language.

Classical World: Latin and Classical Studies – Grade 7

In this trimester course students engage with Roman mythology, history, culture and traditions. Students explore all facets of ancient Roman society, from gladiators to gods; battles to baths; dinner parties to dialogue; politics to pestilence; chariot racing to couture, and beyond. All the while, students draw parallels between modern society and the distant past. Students also gain experience with spoken and written Latin, acquiring a robust vocabulary to engage in conversation and describe their surroundings.

Spanish Language and Cultural Studies – Grade 7

This trimester course, we will introduce students to the remarkable diversity of Spanish-speaking cultures around the world. Students will begin to build a linguistic foundation in the target language while also exploring Spanish and Latin American cultures in English. Through the 7-12 program, we provide students with the foundation to feel confident in their ability to speak and understand Spanish, and to pursue becoming bilingual. In this course, we will explore media such as short stories, film, music, and websites. Speaking is highlighted within such formats as pair dialogues, group conversations, skits, and student videos.

Latin I – Grade 8

This yearlong course introduces students to the world of the ancient Romans and their language. The course covers the fundamentals of the Latin language by studying its grammar, morphology, and pronunciation with the goal of translating appropriately leveled Latin readings. In their translations and supplementary readings, students study aspects of Roman daily life with a focus on the town of Pompeii and its well-preserved ruins. Class activities include practice through Latin readings, reading and pronouncing Latin words, and occasionally Latin composition. Ongoing discussions and creative projects, such as the “Escape from Pompeii” project, engage students with various aspects of Roman daily life. As English and other western languages are in large part derived from Latin, students will use their study of Latin to learn how modern languages function.

Spanish I – Grade 8

Learning Spanish not only benefits the brain of the student, it can broaden the worldview of the learners. In this yearlong course, students gain basic vocabulary and grammar scaffolded in six thematic units and varied interactive activities to be able to read, write, listen, and speak in the target language. Through adapted cultural readings, short videos, music, and audios, students discover traditions, customs and history of some of the Hispanic cultures and communities in the U.S. and abroad. Students compose oral presentations, simulate numerous interpersonal situations, and solve many interpretive challenges. Activities include students creating videos in Spanish to introduce themselves and their classes and writing original comic strips using the verb estar.