Courses in French, Latin, Chinese (Mandarin), and Spanish are offered at the Middle School level. As part of a curriculum based on the ancient world, all sixth grade students take Latin. Seventh graders may choose to continue their study of Latin or begin the study of French, Spanish, or Chinese.
Required for all sixth grade students, this course is a thorough study of basic Latin grammar, vocabulary, and various topics in ancient Roman culture. For grammatical and syntactical work, students use Learn to Read Latin. In addition to linguistics, much of this course focuses on the culture of the ancient Roman Empire, covering topics such as Pompeii, ancient religion, gladiators, and Roman foods. This course also helps students develop and hone their study skills, as well as make cross-curricular connections with other sixth grade courses.
Latin, Chinese, French, or Spanish
In seventh grade students may choose to continue their study of Latin or begin another language (French, Spanish, or Chinese). The language choice made in seventh grade is a two-year commitment.
In Latin 7 and 8 students continue to develop and strengthen their translation skills and to expand their knowledge and understanding of the cultural diversity found throughout the history of ancient Rome. Students use the text Learn to Read Latin. Supplementary materials and primary texts in Latin are introduced as appropriate. Students completing Latin 8 may move into Latin III when they enter ninth grade.
In Chinese 7 and 8 students are introduced to basic grammatical structures, vocabulary, pronunciation of words and tones, and various characters. Students learn simplified Chinese (Mandarin) characters, but are also introduced to some traditional characters as a means of becoming familiar with the roots of the written system and the rich, elegant history of the language. Cultural elements are integrated into the curriculum to supplement the language work with historical and modern context. Students completing Chinese 8 may move into Level II when they enter ninth grade in the Upper School.
In French and Spanish 7 and 8 students begin a two-year course of study that develops competence in the four linguistic areas: speaking, listening, reading, and writing. Through the medium of language, students explore the cultural richness of French- and Spanish-speaking regions of the world. Grammar and vocabulary are developed through role-play, skits, and written short-answer and narrative assignments. Each class uses a basal grammatical text with various supplementary selections of short narrative and journalistic style readings. While the target language is used to conduct most classes, new grammatical concepts are taught in English. Students completing French 8 or Spanish 8 may move into Level II of theirrespective language when they enter ninth grade in the Upper School.