Foreign Language Courses

Chinese 1

Chinese 1 is an introduction to the study of Mandarin Chinese and Chinese culture. Students get acquainted with the sound of the language, the radical and the etymology of the characters. Students perform the basic communicative functions of the language such as greeting, counting numbers, introducing themselves, describing families, identifying countries/nationalities, discussing various careers/jobs, and comparing modes of transportation. Students become familiar with some elements of Chinese culture including family structure, society and some major festivals. Students develop the four skills of listening, speaking, reading, and writing within a given context. This foundation course is taught using Simplified characters. A general introduction to cultural practices such as food, games, songs and festival traditions, is included throughout the course.

Chinese 2

Students continue to strengthen their foundation, and to develop competencies in speaking, listening, reading and writing. They participate in simple conversational situations such as describing and communicating their preference in colors and clothing; comparing seasons and weather; and discussing hobbies and school subjects and routines. Students learn to complement their language skills with basic conjunctives and measure words in writing stories and speaking. AP Chinese language and culture exam format will also be introduced in the spring semester. Students develop a better understanding of the culture, its products (eg. literature, foods, games), perspectives (eg. attitudes, values), and practices (patterns of social interaction, festival traditions) throughout the course.

Chinese 3

Students continue to strengthen their competencies and deepen their knowledge in both the language and the culture. They learn to include more advanced conjunctives and basic subjunctives in their language production. They participate in group discussions such as expressing opinions on food consumption, nutritional values and overall health, shopping strategies; and discussing living environments and neighborhoods. Students are exposed to a rich collection of Chinese proverbs, idioms and quotes. Students continue to develop in-depth understanding of the culture, its products, perspectives, and practices throughout the course. The class will be conducted increasingly in Chinese, and the students will produce more unrehearsed stories and short essays in class.

Chinese 4

Students continue to expand vocabulary to include social phenomena and to reflect cultural perspectives. They learn to increase their competency in using more advanced conjunctives, advanced subjunctives, proverbs and idioms in their language production. They are able to handle successfully a variety of communicative tasks such as stating personal preferences and discussing physical and social needs, food, shopping, travel and lodging. They react and respond to direct questions or requests for information in a culturally appropriate manner. They begin to make connections between the learned Chinese culture and the potential impact it has on global issues today, and to express their opinions in the target language. Students read more formal and informal authentic writings, such as recipes, brochures, essays, journals. Successful completion of this course will prepare the student for advanced study in the next level, AP Chinese Language and Culture or Advanced Topics in Chinese Culture.

AP Chinese Language and Cultures

AP Chinese is a full-year course that covers the equivalent of the fourth semester of a college Chinese course. It is designed to provide students with varied opportunities to further develop their proficiency across the three communicative modes: interpersonal, interpretive, and presentational. It also addresses the five goal areas of communication, culture, connections, comparisons, and communities as outlined in the National Standards for Foreign Language Education. To prepare students for taking the test in May, the course will align its exercises with the test in format and content, and will also train students in test taking skills. It aims at fostering students’ critical thinking and a comprehensive understanding in Chinese language and culture. Intensive reading and writing as well as integrated listening and speaking skills are expected. By the end of this course, students will be provided with maximum exposure to authentic culture and language. Students will be able to apply their growing linguistic and cultural knowledge to communicative tasks in real-life contexts. (Offered in alternate years. Not offered in 17-18 but will be offered in 18-19.)

Advanced Topics in Chinese Culture

This is a full-year course that covers all areas of communication in Chinese in an intensive and extensive study of advanced linguistic elements and topics, including culture, social and global issues, and will demand increased oral, aural and written proficiency. Topics discussed in class include but are not limited to contemporary arts, poetry and theatre, current affairs, business and global relation, social issues such as environmental problems and population policy in China. 21st century technology is implemented by students to achieve higher order thinking skills, to communicate and collaborate with potential peers outside of the classroom, and to create transmedia presentations. By the end of this course, students will be provided with maximum exposure to authentic culture and language. Students will be able to apply their growing linguistic and cultural knowledge to communicative tasks in real-life contexts.

French 1

Students will attain a beginning level of proficiency necessary for carrying out basic communicative functions of the language in everyday life, primarily through speaking but also by writing and reading short dialogues, paragraphs and simple culturally authentic reading selections. The vocabulary and grammar are taught with communicative functions in mind. Listening comprehension and speaking skills are developed through emphasis on use of the language in class. Students also become acquainted with cultural aspects of French-speaking countries around the world. 

French 2

Students further develop proficiency in the four basic skills (listening, speaking, reading and writing) and increase their knowledge and appreciation of the diverse Francophone cultures. Students are exposed to a broader variety of reading material. Each semester, every student researches and presents orally a French cultural topic. The recycling of vocabulary themes and grammar concepts, periodic short compositions on guided topics, and regular tests and quizzes all contribute to the student’s retention of the material and his/her growth toward more fluent usage of the language.

French 3

French 3 provides the foundation for more advanced courses. Students continue to develop their listening, speaking, writing, and reading skills. With guided practice in the interpretive, presentational, and interpersonal modes, paired with a base of more advanced grammar and richer vocabulary, students work toward more proficiency and more independent learning of French. We read a variety of authentic texts and articles in French. Speaking and listening are strengthened through pair and group work. In addition, students work to perfect their pronunciation.

French 4

French 4 is a course designed to empower students with confidence in speaking and writing about contemporary themes related to the francophone world. Students practice written and oral expression in a variety of authentic contexts, putting into practice the material learned over the past three years. Although the course is discussion based and conversational in focus, grammar has its important place in the curriculum and is taught largely within the context of the varied cultural material. Students in French 4 also view and study several short award-winning French language documentaries, providing them an authentic outlet for their developing language expression. Toward the end of the year, students also explore samples of French literature, from the fables of La Fontaine to the inspiring travels of Le Petit Prince. French is the language of instruction in this course, and all students are expected to communicate in French. 

AP French Language and Culture

This course prepares students for the AP French Language and Culture exam. The curriculum is structured around six broad themes (determined by the College Board) — Global Challenges, Science and Technology, Contemporary Life, Personal and Public Identities, Families and Communities, and Beauty and Aesthetics — that promote an integration of language and culture. Students complete oral, listening, reading and written assignments within the framework of these themes. The main areas of focus is contemporary francophone issues and literature. The course is taught entirely in French. 

French and Francophone Literature

During the first half of the year, this course will use the literature of authors like Victor Hugo, Emile Zola and Guy de Maupassant, as well as the artwork of the great realists and impressionists to investigate the Parisian society’s obsession with urban transformation, social status and wealth. How did this obsession interplay with the dynamics of work, family, social status, and government? Students in this course must have a high level of proficiency in reading and listening comprehension in French. Assessments include journal entries, papers, oral presentations, and projects.

During the second semester, our attention turns to a survey of Francophone writers from the 20th and 21st century. Possible authors include Pineau from Guadeloupe, Zobel from Martinique, Nothombe from Belgium, Ben Jelloun from Morocco, and Sijie from China. Assessments will continue to include journal entries, papers, oral presentations, and projects.

Latin 1

An introduction to basic vocabulary, grammar, and translation skills. Attention is given to Roman culture and mythology and to Latin word roots in English.

Latin 2

The course continues the student's introduction to Latin grammar. We review the material covered in Latin 1, then work on infinitives, participles, and the subjunctive. By the end of Latin 2, students have covered all the elements of Latin grammar and the important rules of syntax and are able to begin reading real Latin. Throughout the second semester, we read excerpts from such Roman writers as Martial, Catullus and Pliny. 

Latin 3

Students expand their vocabulary and grammar skills by translating Latin texts. They also study the history of ancient Rome from its founding to the early Empire, with a focus on the late Republic. Selections include readings in unadapted Latin from such authors as Cicero, Ovid, Pliny and Eutropius. In the fourth quarter of the course they learn how to read Latin poetry. 

AP Latin: Vergil’s Aeneid and Caesar’s Gallic War

Students read parts of Vergil’s Aeneid in order to study epic style, with emphasis on poetic forms and careful analysis of the story, structure and syntax. Discussions center on the literary and thematic aspects of the Aeneid. Reading passages from Caesar’s Gallic War, students consider Latin prose stylistics as well as the history and politics that prompted Caesar to write this important work. This course prepares students for the AP Latin Exam. Offered in 2017-2018 and in alternate years. 

Advanced Latin Literature

This course allows students who already know how to read Latin to explore what delineates the characteristics of Latin literature, as they spend the year reading passages from four of Rome’s greatest writers in three different genres: Livy (history), Plautus (comedy), and Catullus and Horace (lyric poetry). Students analyze themes, characters, images, and important aspects of grammar and meter. 

Spanish 1

This course provides students with the tools necessary to communicate immediately in Spanish. Through varied communicative classroom activities and regular at-home review, students will learn the basic elements of grammar and vocabulary. Students develop the four language skills simultaneously, developing their communicative skills in oral presentations, dialogues, readings and informal conversations. The course helps students build a comfort level for basic conversation in common, real-life contexts and encourages them to express their own ideas. Spanish 1 also introduces the student to the geography and culture of the Spanish- speaking world. 

Spanish 2

Students review grammar and vocabulary from Spanish 1. Then they continue their study of essential grammatical structures and tenses such as the preterite and the imperfect. Vocabulary expansion is an important component of this level. Development of the four language skills (listening, speaking, reading and writing) is continued with an even greater emphasis on speaking Spanish in the classroom. Students will have frequent opportunities to speak in pairs, small groups, improvised and prepared dialogues, and brief presentations to the class. They will also be encouraged to seek opportunities to practice Spanish outside of class settings. The study of Spanish-speaking cultures will continue through readings, discussions, projects, music, and videos. 

Spanish 3

Spanish 3 aims to continue towards a higher level of proficiency, building upon the skills taught in Spanish 1 and 2. The course is centered around oral communication inspired by current events and cultural topics. Spanish 3 gives students an increased vocabulary and grammar base with which to interpret the world around them and to better express themselves in the target language. The class is conducted in Spanish and assessments emphasize presentational and interpersonal speaking as well as interpretative activities.


Spanish 4

In this high intermediate level course students will also review grammar of Spanish 1, 2, and 3, with a special stress on practicing advanced structures. At the same time, students will practice writing in long and short formats. There will be an emphasis on new general vocabulary, and they will speak on a variety of topics stressing circumlocution. The students will also read short stories on a variety of topics and watch several films from different Spanish-speaking countries. The class will be held completely in Spanish. 

Advanced Spanish

Advanced Spanish is a year-long, elective course designed for students who want to continue to practice and improve their Spanish after Spanish 4 but do not want or are not ready to take an Advanced Placement course. In this course, students focus on conversation, reading, writing, and presentation skills, as well as vocabulary expansion and intercultural understanding. In combination with classroom study of Latino history, arts, culture, and immigration, students attend cultural events throughout the Triangle. All presentation of material and conversation is in Spanish. Because the course is designed to vary year to year, a student can take it both junior and senior years. 

AP Spanish Language

This course is intended for Juniors and Seniors who have demonstrated excellence in Spanish and who wish to take the AP Language exam. Towards this goal, the basis of the course is an intensive grammar review, frequent readings of many types, continuous vocabulary acquisition, and auditory and oral practice. During the second semester, students will continue to refine their skills while increasingly focusing on the specific types of exercises that will be tested on the AP exam

AP Spanish Literature

This course focuses on the required reading list for the AP Spanish Literature Exam, which includes Hispanic authors ranging from the 15th century to the present. In addition, students will learn literary terminology (such as figures of speech) and literary movements. They will practice the art of literary analysis and of writing elegant formal essays to express their ideas. Only students with good Spanish skills and a sincere interest in literature should consider this course

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An independent, coeducational day school, pre-kindergarten through grade 12.
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