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Upper School World Languages

Beyond writing, reading, speaking, and listening skills, our students develop the skills to understand and appreciate different cultures so that they can truly become global citizens.

Honing Your Skills

We believe that when students can speak another language and understand and appreciate other cultural viewpoints, they become more committed and compassionate citizens of the world. At Seven Hills, we offer four languages in grades seven through 12: Chinese, French, Latin, and Spanish. Our emphasis is fostering real-world communicative skills, gaining a deep understanding of linguistics, and developing inquisitive scholars of culture, history, and literature. We also host and take exchange and cultural immersion trips to China, France, Italy, Greece, and Spain.


This introductory course provides students the foundation of the Chinese language. Students will study the basic Chinese phonetic system, characters, holidays, and daily conversations. They immerse themselves in Chinese culture through various activities, such as singing Chinese pop songs, creating character arts, performing skits, and making food.

In this class, students are encouraged to use the language both in school and beyond the classroom. Students explore Chinese traditions and social trends by watching Chinese documentaries, posting threads on Chinese social media.

Students in this course learn to understand authentic Chinese materials while learning to use the language in simple real-life situations. They continue to develop their language skills by watching video clips, reading news articles, ordering food at a Chinese restaurant, and giving weather forecasts, all in conjunction with a deeper dive into China’s culture.

This course prepares students to become fluent in the language. Students develop an understanding of China’s social issues; watching video clips, news posts, and reality shows; writing Chinese comic stories; and conducting meaningful discussions with classmates about Chinese culture.

This course, taught exclusively in Chinese, is part of a combined level Chinese language course—Chinese IV H/AP Chinese Language and Culture. AP Chinese and Chinese IV H students form one class, with AP Chinese intended as year two of the two-year sequence. This course presents students with authentic resources on a wide variety of themes as they develop their interpretive and productive language skills to reach a competent level of fluency and readiness to take the AP Chinese exam. 

In this course, students may:

  • Practice the different modes of communication while learning about various aspects of Chinese society
  • Explore the realm of Chinese societal relationships and integrate this knowledge into their interpersonal communication
  • Be introduced to significant persons, products, and themes in Chinese history

This course builds on the foundation of vocabulary, morphology, and grammar that students acquired in Latin 8, in order to develop their ability to read and compose in the language. Students begin learning participles and the subjunctive mood and the nuances these grammatical constructions bring to the language. At the same time, students explore the history, mythology, and culture of the ancient Roman world, including feasting, education, bathing habits, and gladiators.

This course completes the intensive grammatical study of Latin II Honors, shifting the focus to reading short passages of unadapted prose and poetry and surveying Roman authors. Students develop strategies for approaching any Latin text and practice their composition skills in creative projects that model ancient and medieval uses of the language.

This is an advanced reading course in which students read more continuous selections from prose authors and poets, according to the interest and needs of the class. Students also take on the challenge of mastering and teaching sections of texts to their classmates.

This class studies selections from Julius Caesar’s Commentary on the Gallic Wars and Vergil’s Aeneid.

In this course, students may:

  • Receive extensive practice in sight-reading Latin prose and poetry
  • Write essays to illuminate how and why these works were composed as they were
  • Study the Greek and Roman influences on the authors of the time period, as well as the historical, literary, political, and cultural contexts behind each work

Students in this course establish a solid foundation by covering a variety of themes, grammatical structures, and cultural topics. They learn the present- and past-tense forms of the three major verb groups, as well as common irregular verbs and idiomatic expressions.

In this course, students may:

  • Study real-world texts and audiovisual materials
  • Understand and communicate information about their daily lives, home, school, and friends in French

Here students improve their ability to read, write, listen, and speak in French. They also build on the vocabulary of French I by exploring common themes such as daily life and school, getting around town, museums and art, and holidays and vacations. This level reintroduces and reinforces grammatical topics such as verb tenses, pronoun usage, and common idioms, coaching students to write with increasing levels of sophistication.

In this course, students may:

  • Speak in simple conversations and write short descriptions, gradually building to more complex conversations that cover a variety of different experiences
  • Study France and its provinces, Paris, Quebec, West Africa, and North Africa

Here students improve their ability to read, write, listen, and speak in French, reinforcing the vocabulary and grammar of earlier levels. This level covers all the grammatical topics from French II in greater depth, such as verb tenses, pronoun usage, and common idioms, as well as some more advanced structures and a broader range of vocabulary.

In this course, students may:

  • Speak and write extensively and on a wider range of topics in greater depth
  • Speak and write with increasing levels of sophistication, elaboration, creativity, and spontaneity
  • Read about different parts of the French-Speaking world including France and its provinces, Switzerland, Belgium, North Africa, and West and Central Africa

French III brings into focus many of the skills students have been building in previous years and encourages the use of these skills in lively and communicative contexts.

In this course, students may:

  • Expand their repertoire of vocabulary and grammar
  • Practice their linguistic skills in a variety of situations that reflect real-world experiences
  • Have meaningful exchanges both with each other and with teachers through conversation, writing, listening, and viewing

This level of French III shifts the focus from building a useful grammatical and lexical base to negotiating increasingly sophisticated real-life situations.

In this course, students may:

  • Stretch themselves to communicate in meaningful exchanges with others through conversation, writing, listening, and viewing
  • Strengthen their linguistic and cultural foundations

Students focus on using French-language resources to explore the French-speaking world in greater depth through historical, political, social, and cultural lenses, concentrating on Québec, West Africa, North Africa, Central Africa, and the former French Indochina.

In this course, students may:

  • Make extensive use of the internet and films to explore themes like immigration, school life, family relations, professional life, the environment, and colonization
  • Prepare frequent oral presentations and projects
  • Read two French novels

This class presents a wide variety of literary selections, ranging from the 16th to the 20th century, and engages students as they discuss, analyze, and interpret the works.

In this course, students may:

  • Participate in lively discussions about the different oeuvres
  • Write analytical papers, using the explication de texte method of literary analysis
  • Prepare oral presentations on various works, including essays, poetry, maxims, letters, and short stories by such authors as Villon, du Bellay, Rousseau, Voltaire, Montaigne, Diderot, Hugo, Rimbaud, Verlaine, Maupassant, Zola, Sartre, and Camus

This class gives students the opportunity to work with authentic resources as they develop their interpretive and productive language skills to reach a competent level of fluency.

In this course, students may:

  • Listen to extended narrations and conversations
  • Read sophisticated articles, stories, and poems
  • Hold spontaneous conversations and write source-based essays
  • Work under increasingly rigorous time constraints

This course is designed specifically for students with difficulties learning a new language. Using a multi-sensory methodology, students are introduced gradually to the basics of the Spanish vocabulary and grammar.

In this course, students may:

  • Study topics such as family, friends, common activities, and school
  • Work with the language at a slower pace, with a focus on developing basic communicative proficiency
  • Receive instruction about how language is structured and how best to learn it

This course is the sequential class to  follow Spanish A. Here, students focus on the fundamentals of the language and strengthen their understanding of vocabulary and simple grammar by practicing reading, listening, writing, and speaking, and building upon the foundation created in Spanish A. Repetition, audio and visual aids, and group work help students achieve communicative proficiency at this level. By the end of this course, students complete a modified Spanish I curriculum. 

This course is the final course in the Spanish A-B-C sequence. Building upon the learning strategies and skills developed in the first two courses, students in Spanish C complete a modified Spanish 2 curriculum with a focus on topical themes such as cities in the Spanish-speaking world, health and well-being, technology, and the environment.

In this course, students may:

  • Explore the cultural differences these topics reveal
  • Build their linguistic skills in listening, reading, speaking, and writing

This level provides an introduction to the fundamentals of Spanish culture, pronunciation, grammatical structures, and reading, listening to, and speaking Spanish. While they work to establish a solid foundation in the language, students encounter the present and past tense forms of the three major verb groups as well as the most common irregulars.

In this course, students may:

  • Learn to use common phrases and idiomatic expressions
  • Gain exposure to cultural topics relating to Hispanic countries around the world through real-world texts and audio-visual materials
  • Understand and communicate about their daily lives, home, school, and friends

Students in this course continue to develop the linguistic skills initiated in previous Spanish courses by establishing a stronger foundation in the four linguistic modes of reading, writing, listening, and speaking. They study more advanced grammar and lexical sequences while also regularly exploring the culture of the Spanish-speaking world, all helping to build a stronger communicative proficiency.

This level introduces students to new grammatical constructions and more advanced vocabulary and verb tenses.

In this course, students may:

  • Write longer compositions about personal experiences and interests
  • Engage in longer conversations in Spanish
  • Read short selections about the Hispanic culture

Students in Spanish III review foundational grammatical concepts and lexical themes with more detail and nuance. This course provides special attention to the development of spontaneous speaking abilities and more sophisticated, creative writing skills.

In this course, students may:

  • Practice reading and listening skills with authentic digital sources as well as textbook-based materials
  • Explore the culture of the Spanish-speaking world through online research
  • Produce multimedia presentations

This level is designed for students who demonstrate strong language abilities and want to speak and write Spanish with a higher level of control, elaboration, and sophistication. This class is conducted entirely in Spanish as students begin working on specific skills in preparation for the AP Spanish Language and Culture Course.

This is a cultural course that focuses on improving oral, written, and auditory skills. Taught in Spanish, students focus on a variety of cultures making up the Spanish-speaking world.

In this course, students may:

  • Explore customs and cultures of Spain and Latin America, comparing and contrasting them to American culture
  • Learn extensive vocabulary relevant to today’s Spanish-speaking world

This course focuses on the study of Spanish literature such as prose, poetry, and cinematography.

In this course, students may:

  • Students read short stories by authors from the Latin American “boom” genres Magical Realism and Fantasy,
  • Study themes and forms of Peninsular and Latin American Poetry
  • Explore cinematography, discovering how social, cultural, and historical views influence Spanish, Latin American, and Hispanic American films

Taught exclusively in Spanish, this course pushes students to use rich, advanced vocabulary and linguistic structures as they build proficiency in all modes of communication.

In this course, students may:

  • Study authentic resources, including online, print, audio, and audiovisual materials
  • Explore traditional resources such as literature, essays, magazines, and newspaper articles, as well as charts, tables, and graphs

Here students are introduced to the formal study of a representative body of texts from Peninsular Spanish, Latin American, and U.S. Hispanic literature.

In this course, students may:

  • Demonstrate their proficiency in Spanish across interpersonal, interpretive, and presentational communications
  • Develop their proficiencies across the full range of language skills, with close attention to critical reading and analytical writing
  • Reflect on the many voices and cultures included in the rich and diverse body of literature written in Spanish