Modern and Classical Languages

The Department of Modern and Classical Languages offers five years of Spanish, five years of French and four years of Latin. Annually, approximately 75% of Wahconah's 550+ students study one or two languages. The goals of the modern languages include: working toward fluency in speaking, listening, reading, and writing skills needed to cope with the demands of doing well with another form of communication. Classical language (Latin, Greek) students will focus on all of these skills as well, with the exception of speaking.

This department always views its curricula as "works in progress" meaning that what students are learning is under constant scrutiny, review, and when, necessary, revision. The department selects quality texts, and technological supplements to assist teachers in their pedagogy.  The faculty participate in numerous professional organizations, including local, state and national language clubs. They attend conferences and make professional presentations to colleagues at times.

Students of a second or third language at Wahconah are able to participate in language-related field trips, and belong to language-related clubs. In the past they have attended ethnic dance, ethnic theater, and classical language events.

COURSES
French I

Students will develop a general understanding and ability in French, with a study of basic language structures and vocabulary.  Instruction is presented mostly in the target language, with students expected to participate using the target language.  Assessments include daily immersion activities, using current technology.  The teacher will use stories, readers, film, songs and internet-based activities to present the target language.  The culture and history of French-speaking Canada and France is presented on a regular basis in the form of student-driven projects and teacher-led discussions.

French II
Students will develop a further understanding and ability in French, with a continued study of basic language structures and vocabulary.  Instruction is presented in the target language and students are expected to participate using the target language.  Assessments include daily immersion activities, using current technology.  The teacher will use stories, readers, news articles, film, songs and internet-based activities to present the target language.  Cultural awareness of France and its current events will be developed in the form of student-driven projects and teacher-led discussions.   

French III (Honors)
This course will be conducted in French, with an expectation that students will use the target language when communicating with the teacher and other students.  Instruction includes stories, two literary works, news articles, film, songs and internet-based activities to present the target language and its structure.  Grammar and vocabulary lessons will be included, however, much will be presented in the readings.  Culture awareness of France and other Francophone countries will be developed in the form of student-driven projects and teacher-led discussions. 

French IV (Honors)
This course will be conducted in French, with an expectation that students will use the target language for communication.  As an honors course, instruction will include higher level grammar study, vocabulary development, and cultural awareness of the Francophone world.  The teacher will use two literary works, new articles, film, songs and internet-based activities to practice speaking, listening to, reading and writing in the target language.  Student-led project work is an important component of the course.   

French V (Honors)
Classes are conducted exclusively in French.  Students are required to participate regularly in the target language.  The course is divided into thematic units, and students will read articles, listen to news and other audio samples, write essays, and present topics that revolve around thematic units.  Students will read two current novels.  Daily conversation and journals are also used as forms of assessment.  Students will conduct independent research projects on a regular basis and present them to the class in the target language.  French V may meet in conjunction with French IV.  

AP French Language & Culture
This course is designed to prepare students to take the AP French Language and Culture Examination and is designed for advanced students who have a strong understanding of the language. Classes are conducted exclusively in French.  Students are required to participate regularly in the target language.  The course is divided into thematic units, and students will read articles, listen to news and other audio samples, write essays, and present topics that revolve around thematic units.  Daily conversation and journals are also used as forms of assessment.  Students will conduct independent research projects on a regular basis and present them to the class in the target language.  Students will read two current novels.  

Students will be prepared for and required to take the Advanced Placement French Language and Culture Examination with the goal of earning credit for and/or placement beyond a semester of college French. There is a fee to take this exam. 

Latin I

For centuries, Latin has been a language studied by millions of people around the world, and is a virtual looking glass into the lives and times of the ancient Mediterranean, and medieval European world. Its prominence through the Renaissance and now into the 21st century is testimony to its critical role in our understanding of how the Indo-European family of languages has evolved, and Latin itself has served as the primary influence behind the so-called Romance Languages including French, Italian, Portuguese, Romanian and Spanish. Its impact on our own English language has been enormous in the areas of vocabulary (more than half of English words come directly from Latin) and the structure of English, as well. During this first year class students will be introduced to hundreds of useful Latin vocabulary words and scores of useful Latin phrases (carpe diem, habeas corpus, etc.) They will also acquire an understanding of how to “put together” Latin sentences and eventually Latin short stories. In addition, students will come to know some of the truly exciting legends of the ancient and medieval world (Midas, Medusa, Medea, the Muses, etc.) that have clearly shaped modern story-telling. Some history will pepper the course, and students will also have the opportunity to dabble in some ancient Greek for enrichment and fun. There is something for everyone in Latin I.

Latin II
This second year classical Latin course will build upon what students have learned in Latin I. In addition to a healthy review of basic information, students will increase their levels of proficiency in the language by mastering some of the more advanced, but very practical aspects of Latin. This will include an emphasis on oral reading competency, and the ability to read Latin stories both for practice and at sight. There will be a continued emphasis on the wonderful myths and legends of ancient and Medieval Latin as well as classical Greek. Some of the stories will highlight heroes, gods and monsters, and will never be discussed without the all-important connection to the world in which students are living today. Students will ideally benefit from this second year course as they prepare for the testing that accompanies Massachusetts state law, especially since Latin can contribute significantly to one’s knowledge of words and of good writing practices. History will continue to be a focus, especially the military exploits of men like Julius Caesar and Marcus Aurelius that provide us with a glimpse into the sad truth about man’s relentless inhumanity to man. Students in Latin II will now be ready for the rewards their efforts at Latin will provide them: some of the world’s most important and influential documents they will read and discuss for the next two years.

Latin III (Honors)
Students in the third year of classical Latin will continue to fine tune their skills in all areas of the Latin language. They will increase their cache of the hundreds of words in English derived from Latin, and be able to negotiate some of the more complex facets of the structure of Latin. The syllabus for this course will be flexible, and will include readings from such authors as Ovid, the great Roman story-teller, Catullus who wrote poems with which every 21st century teenager can identify, and Cicero whose passion for Latin and love for his cherished Republic is truly the “stuff of history.” At this level, students will have the opportunity to expand their knowledge of the Greco-Roman world by ideally connecting what they are learning in this course to much of the information they are learning in other Wahconah courses, as well as the critical thinking they are doing when researching Roman (or Greek) mythology, religion, art, architecture, law, political life, military history, the role of women, and even the Roman view of environmental issues. Latin III Year Honors, then, is intended to inspire Latin students to think critically about what they are studying both inside and outside the box!

Latin IV (Honors)
The fourth year classical Latin course will continue to provide students with an honors opportunity. The students in this course will, in a natural progression, continue to augment what they know about every oral and written aspect of the Latin language with a constant emphasis on making connections across the Wahconah curriculum. This course will enable them to make useful adaptations of what they are learning as they prepare to leave a high school setting for higher and lifelong learning. As in the third year course, the syllabus will be flexible to meet student needs and interests. Course readings, then, will be taken from both prose and poetry and may involve the letters of Pliny (the only eye witness account we have of the destruction of Pompeii), more works of Cicero (the Essay on Friendship poses questions relevant to everyone’s daily life), and the stunning work of the ancient atomist-philosopher Lucretius whose work asks some of the most essential questions possible about human existence and even about life beyond planet earth. The crowning experience for Latin students everywhere takes place in this course when students will have the opportunity to read portions of Vergil’s AENEID. This remarkable work has stood the test of time for 20 centuries, has had a profound impact on the literature and art of the Western World for just that long, and poses for students in this course a challenge to decide for themselves what makes great nations great, and what makes them rise, and so predictably as history shows us, eventually fall. It reminds students that men like Franklin D. Roosevelt, Winston Churchill and Nelson Mandela beg the question every generation asks itself: who are our heroes, and why? There is no literary masterpiece that provides a richer diet for its readers than this extraordinary epic poem. For students in Classical Latin Fourth Year, their efforts will surely pay myriad dividends as they prepare to take what they have learned in Wahconah’s Latin program into life’s next adventure.

Spanish I
Students will develop a general understanding and ability in Spanish, with a study of basic language structures and vocabulary.  Instruction is presented mostly in the target language, with students expected to participate using the target language.  Assessments include daily immersion activities, using current technology.  The teacher will use stories, readers, film, songs and internet-based activities to present the target language.  The culture of Spain and ancient Spanish peoples is presented on a regular basis in the form of student-driven projects and teacher-led discussions.

Spanish II
Students will develop a further understanding and ability in Spanish with a continued study of basic language structures and vocabulary.  Instruction is presented in the target language and students are expected to participate using the target language.  Assessments include daily immersion activities using current technology.  The teacher will use stories, readers, news articles, film, songs, and Internet-based activities to present the target language.  Culture is presented on a regular basis in the form of student-driven projects and teacher-led discussions.  

Spanish III (Honors)
This course builds on the basic grammar and vocabulary topics covered in the previous two years of language study. Students will have opportunities to review previous grammar topics while deepening their understanding of them through the study of literature. The main focus is the USE of the language. Students will converse with each other and their instructor in Spanish daily to increase comfort in communication. This course centers around two novels specifically levelled to Spanish III students: Vida y Muerte en la Mara Salvatrucha and Hasta la Sepultura. In order to reinforce the knowledge and use of a body of language, the vocabulary is re-introduced from unit to unit, and becomes an integral part of the course. The course is conducted primarily in Spanish. 

Spanish IV (Honors)
This course is intended for students who wish to expand their proficiency in the use of the Spanish language. The focus of the course is the use of Spanish to explore peninsular literature and cultural topics (Spain) through literature, film, music, projects and class discussion. Students will be expected to make every effort to communicate in Spanish, both to ask questions, and to contribute to class discussion. Three adapted primary works may be read at this level: Don Juan Tenorio; Don Quijote; EI Carnaval.  Students may also choose to read La Guerra Sucia instead of one of the adapted books. In addition, Abriendo Paso, Gramática is used as a general source of review and refinement of grammar principles and details. 

Spanish V (Honors)
Classes are conducted exclusively in Spanish.  Students are required to participate regularly in the target language.  The course is divided into thematic units and students will read articles, listen to news and other audio samples, write essays, and present topics that revolve around thematic units. Students will also read and discuss short stories from various Spanish-speaking countries, as well as at least one major literary work or play in the target language.  Daily conversation and journals are also used as forms of assessment. Students will conduct independent research projects on a regular basis and present them to the class in the target language.  

AP Spanish Language & Culture
This course is designed to prepare students to take the AP Spanish Language and Culture Examination and is designed for advanced students who have a strong understanding of the language.  Classes are conducted exclusively in Spanish.  Students are required to participate regularly in the target language.  The course is divided into thematic units and students will read articles, listen to news and other audio samples, write essays, and present topics that revolve around thematic units. Students will also read and discuss short stories from various Spanish-speaking countries, as well as at least one major literary work or play in the target language.  Daily conversation and journals are also used as forms of assessment. Students will conduct independent research projects on a regular basis and present them to the class in the target language.

Students will be prepared for and required to take the Advanced Placement Spanish Language and Culture Examination with the goal of earning credit for and/or placement beyond a semester of college Spanish. There is a fee to take this exam. 

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