Upper School

World Languages

The World Language Department of the Ellis School is committed to following the national standards for world language learning as applied to the teaching of French, Latin, and Spanish. Students learn to communicate by understanding and interpreting written and spoken language and by expressing themselves in a variety of ways. Students further their knowledge of other disciplines and develop insight into the nature of language in general. They demonstrate understanding of the concept of culture through comparisons of the culture studied and their own.

By gaining knowledge and understanding of other cultures, students are able to participate in multilingual communities at home and around the world.

World Languages Curriculum

List of 15 items.

  • Online Course: French I

    Grades 9–11 | Offered through Middlebury College for 2017–2018

    French I will be offered as an online course through Middlebury College, which will be scheduled and finalized once enrollment has been confirmed. In this course, students develop a basic French vocabulary that includes telling time, talking about school and classes, expressing likes and dislikes, greeting others, and knowing the terminology for numbers, clothing, food, and much more. Students study several French speaking locations and better understand the numerous countries of the world where French is spoken.  Students should expect to spend 30-40 minutes per day working on this online course.
  • French II

    Grades 9–11
    This course focuses on more complex grammatical structures and comprehension strategies. Active vocabulary is increased and cultural awareness is heightened. Further development of the four basic language skills is carried out with continued emphasis on listening comprehension and oral communication in a student-centered learning environment using current technology.

    Prerequisite: French I
  • French III

    Grades 10–12

    This course emphasizes oral skills and students’ ability to express themselves in writing. Advanced vocabulary and finer points of grammar are presented in a cultural context. The language is studied in a student-centered learning environment using current technology.

    Prerequisite: French II
  • French IV

    Grades 11–12

    This course is designed to provide students with opportunities to use language in a highly functional way through the use of contextualized activities that are related to real-life situations. Readings are selected to develop cultural insights and provide information on the practical, everyday culture of the French-speaking world. In addition, students are introduced to French literature through the detailed examination of two major modern works.

    Prerequisite: French III
  • AP French Language and Culture

    Grade 12 

    This fifth-year course is a study of modern French culture through the examination of various authors of literature and journalistic prose. Important grammatical structures are reviewed and practiced and students are given a wide variety of opportunities to perfect their listening, speaking, and writing skills through class discussions, presentations, listening activities, and assigned short essays. This course prepares students to take the Advanced Placement exam in French language at the end of the year.

    Prerequisite: French IV
  • Online Course: Latin I

    Grades 9–12 | Offered through One Schoolhouse for 2017–2018

    Latin I is intended for students who have not previously studied Latin. This course develops competencies in reading and interpreting, oral expression and aural comprehension. Students learn the full declension of nouns and adjectives, the conjugations of verbs in various indicative tenses, some uses of the infinitive, as well as demonstratives, pronouns, and numerals. Upon completion of this course, students acquire proper pronunciation, essential grammar, and the vocabulary to be able to understand and read short passages. Students also learn to recognize the legacy of the Roman Civilization and begin to understand the intellectual and cultural heritage. As students collaborate in learning Latin, they learn about Roman family life, the legendary heroes, myths and gods, and Roman perspectives on life.
  • Latin II

    Grades 9–12

    In this course, students continue to acquire vocabulary and study grammatical forms and syntax. Latin readings in prose and poetry taken from a variety of sources are an integral part of the curriculum. Roman history and daily life are studied in more detail. The study of the derivation of English words is an ongoing practice. Aural and oral skills in Latin remain an important part of the curriculum.

    Prerequisite: Latin I
  • Latin III

    Grades 10–12

    In this course, students acquire increasing competence in Latin grammar, vocabulary, and reading. The course includes a thorough grammar review conducted in conjunction with readings selected from notable Roman authors, including Cicero, Caesar, Ovid, and Vergil. The ability to analyze prose and poetry in a context of literary criticism is a major focus.

    Prerequisite: Latin II
  • AP Latin: Vergil’s Aeneid and Caesar’s De Bello Gallico

    Grades 10–12  

    The curriculum of this course, which is determined by the College Board, covers the required readings in Vergil’s Aeneid and Caesar’s De Bello Gallico. The first term will be devoted to Caesar. Students learn about pre-Roman Gaul, (now modern France), and study Caesar’s descriptions of the Celtic peoples living in the area. The second term is allocated to Vergil’s Aeneid. Students learn about the cultural and historical context of this poem, and investigate the characteristics of Latin poetry of the first century BCE. Students complete this course by taking the AP Latin examination which is administered in May.

    Prerequisite: Latin III
  • Spanish I

    Grades 9–10
    This course introduces students to a basic core of vocabulary, grammar, and communication strategies. The four basic language skills––listening, speaking, reading, and writing––are developed with an emphasis on listening comprehension and oral communication. The language is studied within a cultural context in a student-centered learning environment, using current technology.
  • Spanish II

    Grades 9–11
    Spanish II is a continuation of the development of the four basic language skills as well as a deeper understanding of the Hispanic world that speaks it. Students are presented more complex grammatical structures, and active vocabulary is broadened. This course focuses on the development of all four skills with the support of current technology which allows the student to see, hear, and use the language in a context that is current.
    Prerequisite: Spanish I
  • Spanish III

    Grades 10–12

    Spanish III develops an active knowledge of advanced vocabulary and grammatical structures which are interwoven with cultural information from a variety of Hispanic countries. There is a continuing emphasis placed on oral skills as well as students’ ability to express themselves in more extensive writing passages such as emails, journal entries, and other reflections. The language is studied in a student-centered learning environment using current technology.  

    Prerequisite: Spanish II
  • Spanish IV

    Grades 11–12

    This course provides students with opportunities to use the language in a highly functional way in all four skill areas.  A theme-based approach with contemporary readings and topics allow students to develop insights into the Spanish-speaking world while expanding their working vocabulary. Advanced structures are reviewed and used in context in an attempt to build proficiency. This course is a logical step but not limited to students who plan to take the AP Spanish Language.

    Prerequisite: Spanish III
  • AP Spanish Language

    Grade 12 

    This course is a study of modern Hispanic culture through the exploration of the six thematic units put forth by the College Board. Essential questions––and the important vocabulary to discuss them––are explored as students read a variety of essays and articles that explore specifics within these themes. A variety of short stories and films are also presented to students as tools to help them perfect their speaking, listening, and writing skills. This course prepares students for the level of language proficiency required of the AP examination in Spanish language.  

    Prerequisite: Spanish IV
  • Spanish Composition and Conversation

    Grades 11–12

    This course aims to improve students’ skills in all four areas, but specifically in speaking and writing. As a content-based course, readings and discussions are used to reinforce and broaden students’ vocabulary as well as refine their written and spoken skills. Students complete a variety of oral presentations as well as written reflections that are tied to various themes. Cultural and literary readings form the basis for the development of a deeper understanding of Hispanic beliefs, values, and ways of life and provide students with a deeper understanding of a variety of cultural components in the Hispanic world.

    Prerequisite: Spanish III