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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.

Accordion

This introductory course in Mandarin Chinese emphasizes the development of oral proficiency.  Students acquire the skills needed to communicate effectively in Mandarin and interact with native speakers appropriately in the target culture.

In this course, students may:

  • Learn the Pinyin Romanized system, and accurate pronunciation is stressed
  • Begin to learn reading, typing, and writing Chinese characters. They also learn about Chinese culture, social customs, history, cooking, and festivals.

Students continue to develop a range of proficiency in a number of topics in Chinese that have to do with daily life. They increase the learning of vocabulary and grammatical structures to strengthen communicative skills, as well as engaging in longer situational conversations.

In this course, students may:

  • Expand their knowledge of Chinese culture and history through watching films, discussion, doing research, and making presentations
  • Continue to develop their reading and writing skills and begin to write longer essays in Chinese characters.

Students move toward more sophisticated linguistic proficiency in this course. There is additional use of authentic materials, resulting in more precise dialogue, reading and writing. Class discussions and presentations focus on expressing opinions, as well as comparing and analyzing cultural differences. More abstract and social phenomena in current Chinese society are introduced and discussed. Students work on producing longer and more cohesive writings.

This is a pre-AP class and will be taught mostly in Chinese. This course presents students with authentic resources on a wide variety of themes as they develop their interpretive and productive language skills, completing modified assessments reflecting their pre-AP status. Students practice the different modes of communication while learning about various aspects of contemporary Chinese society, including geography and population, ethnic and regional diversity, travel and transportation, climate and weather, holidays and food, sports and games, and current affairs. They also explore the realm of Chinese societal relationships, examining how individuals interact with family members, elders, and peers, and integrate this knowledge into their interpersonal communication. The course also introduces students to significant persons, products, and themes in Chinese history.

This course is taught exclusively in Chinese. It 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 at the end of the year. In this course, students practice the different modes of communication while learning about various aspects of contemporary Chinese society, including geography and population, ethnic and regional diversity, travel and transportation, climate and weather, holidays and food, sports and games, and current affairs. They also explore the realm of Chinese societal relationships, examining how individuals interact with family members, elders, and peers, and integrate this knowledge into their interpersonal communication. The course also introduces students to significant persons, products, and themes in Chinese history.

In this course, students build on the foundation of vocabulary, morphology, and grammar that they acquired in Latin 8, in order to develop their ability to read and compose in the language using more complex grammatical constructions. At the same time, students explore history, mythology, and culture of the ancient Roman world, including feasting, education, bathing habits, and entertainment. 

This course completes the intensive grammatical study of Latin 2 Honors, shifting the focus to reading short passages of authentic 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 course prepares students for more in-depth study of Latin literature in Latin IV Honors and beyond.

This is an advanced readings course in which students read more continuous selections from prose authors and poets according to the interests and needs of the class. Students also take on the challenge of mastering and teaching sections of text to their classmates. Recent Latin 4 Honors classes have read sections of Ovid’s mythological stories, Juvenal’s biting satires, and Caesar’s missives from the front.

AP Latin students read selections of Julius Caesar’s “Commentary on the Gallic Wars” and Vergil’s “Aeneid.” Students sight-read Latin prose and poetry while discussing the historical, literary, political, and cultural context of each work, as well as their lasting influence on contemporary and modern culture.

At this beginning level, the course presents and practices vocabulary in meaningful contexts, highlighting communicative goals and real-life tasks. Students practice using the language in a variety of contexts and formats, working on correct pronunciation in beginning dialogues and simple written ideas. This course emphasizes communicative skills to develop oral and listening proficiency, literacy skills, and cultural knowledge.

In this course, students may:

  • Watch Roman-Photo, a video of a group of students living in Aix-en-Provence, and they explore cultural themes that are present in the Francophone world
  • Watch television clips in French that include commercials, short films and advertisements
  • Listen to authentic conversations and narrations to develop their listening skills

This course improves students’ ability to read, write, listen, and speak in French. Students begin the year speaking in simple conversations and writing short descriptions and narratives, gradually building to more complex constructions.

In this course, students may:

  • Learn vocabulary thematically. Topics include travel and hotels, childhood activities, homes and neighborhoods, meals and dining, health and well-being, and city life
  • Study curriculum with a cultural focus is on life in France. Students have access to a multitude of rich and authentic online resources

This course improves students’ ability to read, write, listen, and speak in French. This level covers all grammatical topics of French 2 in greater depth, such as verb tenses, pronoun usage, and commonly used idioms, as well as some more advanced structures and a broader range of vocabulary. The course moves at a faster pace and students are expected to speak and write more extensively and on a wider range of topics in greater depth.

In this course, students may:

  • Learn vocabulary thematically. Topics include homes and chores, food shopping and dining, health and social security, technology, transportation, professions, and city life
  • Study curriculum with a cultural focus is on life in France. Students have access to a multitude of rich and authentic online resources

This course outlines intermediate French language acquisition with directed and communicative practice. Using thematic vocabulary, authentic French documents, short films, and video clips, students build a solid linguistic and cultural foundation that allows them to have meaningful exchanges with others through conversation, writing, listening, and viewing. This course is taught primarily in French.

In this course, students may:

  • Use thematic vocabulary and grammar in real-life dialogues and situations, which helps them to internalize the structures they have learned

This course outlines intermediate French language acquisition with directed and communicative practice. Using thematic vocabulary, authentic French documents, shorts films, and video clips by contemporary Francophone filmmakers, and literary readings by well-known writers, students build a solid linguistic and cultural foundation that allows them to have meaningful exchanges with others through conversation, writing, listening, and viewing.

In this course, students may:

  • Study all the major verb tenses and pronoun usage. Students are expected to write well-developed thematic essays with advanced vocabulary
  • Hold more extensive, detailed conversations and speak about contemporary themes relevant to their lives

In this course, which is conducted entirely in French, students research and discuss current events of the Francophone world, with a primary focus on Quebec, West Africa, North Africa, Central Africa, and the former French Indochina. Grammar and vocabulary are reinforced on an as needed basis.

In this course, students may:

  • Extensively use the Internet and films to explore key themes in greater depth, including immigration, family relations, professional life, and the environment
  • Read two novels linked to the themes and cultures under study
  • Prepare frequent oral presentations and projects

This class, conducted in French, 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

The goal of this course is to refine all of the linguistic skills and to improve student proficiency in the three modes of communication: presentational, interpersonal and interpretive. This course follows a thematic approach by exploring the following topics: families and communities; personal and public identities; global challenges; science and technology; contemporary life; beauty and aesthetics. The course employs multiple authentic resources. Students use French at all times and they reach a competent level of fluency by the end of the year.  

In this course, students may:

  • Develop their interpretive skills by listening to extended narrations and conversations and by reading sophisticated stories, poems, and articles
  • Build their productive language skills with activities such as holding spontaneous conversations and writing source-based essays

This course is designed for students with language-based learning issues. The class is taught using the Orton Gillingham multi-sensory methodology that includes phonetic awareness, vocabulary development, and comprehension strategies. New materials are introduced at a slower pace, the reading load is reduced and the vocabulary demands are fewer. The class includes more cultural orientation to the Hispanic world. 

This course is the sequential class to follow Spanish A. This class continues to employ the Orton Gillingham multi-sensory methodology to address the specific challenges of students with language-based learning issues. Building upon the vocabulary and grammar foundation of Spanish A, by the end of this course students complete a modified Spanish 1 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 pronunciation, grammatical structures, reading, listening, and speaking Spanish with a special emphasis on interests and attitudes of high school students and expressions for daily interaction. Written and oral homework assignments play a major role in developing the students’ communicative skills.

The goal of this course is to continue developing the foundation of the Spanish language and to provide ample opportunities for students to hone their speaking, writing, reading and listening skills. The focus of vocabulary and grammar acquisition and retention is always on communication. In-class group collaboration, written homework assignments, and skits/ conversations, all play a major role in developing the students’ communicative skills.

This course helps students strengthen their language acquisition from Spanish 2. In this course, the pace is more accelerated and students will improve on their productive skills, such as writing and speaking. Throughout the year the course covers grammatical topics in greater depth and a more advanced range of vocabulary. A higher degree of rigor is added to tasks and activities. The goal is to synthesize all thematic topics when practicing interpretive, presentational, and interpersonal communication. Use of the target language is expected at all times in the classroom.

This level is designed for students to begin to solidify their understanding of each basic grammatical concept from Spanish 1 and 2, while introducing more complex grammatical structures like the subjunctive.

In this course, students may:

  • Practice the vocabulary and grammar via audios, short films, cultural articles and essays, and video episodes.
  • Engage in meaningful conversation and writing, dialoguing with peers and instructors in the target language in a communicative manner
  • Write well-developed essays.

This course is for students who are interested in solidifying their languages skills and who encompass strong language abilities. Along with the information in the course description that pertains to Spanish 3, in the Honors level, the pace in this course is more accelerated as well as the workload and the expectations. Taught in the target language, the use of the Spanish language is expected at all times in the classroom. Throughout the year the course covers in depth grammatical topics and an advanced range of vocabulary. The goal is to synthesize all thematic topics when practicing interpretive, presentational, and interpersonal communication.

In this course conducted entirely in the target language, Spanish IV is a conversational and cultural class. Students learn and explore customs and cultures and compare and contrast them to our cultures. To promote creative language use and maximize learning, the class offers extensive vocabulary support along with cultural information relevant to today’s Spanish speaking world. The extensive use of online sources helps students explore key themes in greater depth. Students practice authentic communication and practice interpretive, presentational, and interpersonal communication to discuss the different themes of the year.

Taught entirely in Spanish, this is a survey course designed for advanced language students. The class is a literature survey class that encompasses a wide array of literary genres and types of discourse; short stories, poetry, theatre/cinematography, and novel. Among the types of literary discourses, the collection of works also spans from 16th century to modern literature.

This is a rigorous course taught exclusively in Spanish that requires students to improve their proficiency across the three modes of communication: interpersonal, interpretive, and presentational. The course focuses on the integration of authentic resources including online print, audio, and audiovisual resources, as well as traditional print resources that include literature, essays, and magazine and newspaper articles, and also a combination of visual/print resources such as charts, tables, and graphs, all with the goal of providing a diverse learning experience. Students communicate using rich, advanced vocabulary and linguistic structures as they build proficiency in all modes of communication.

The AP Spanish Literature and Culture course is designed to introduce students to the formal study of a representative body of texts from Peninsular Spanish, Latin American, and U.S. Hispanic literature. The course provides opportunities for students to demonstrate their proficiency in Spanish across the three modes of communication: interpersonal, interpretive and presentational. The overarching aims of the course are to provide students with ongoing and varied opportunities to further develop their proficiencies across the full range of language skills—with special attention to critical reading and analytical writing—and to encourage them to reflect on the many voices and cultures included in a rich and diverse body of literature written in Spanish. The course is taught exclusively in Spanish.