Languages

Middle School language courses offer a broad introduction to language learning and culture. The courses develop the students’ speaking, listening, reading, and writing skills, introduce basic grammar concepts, and begin to lay the foundation toward proficiency in the target language. As preparation for communication in real-life situations is stressed, teachers design tasks and activities to give students opportunities to use the language in a variety of meaningful ways. The courses promote cultural understanding and discovery and enrich the students’ understanding of English and its associated cultures, as well as of other native languages and societies. The program also includes activities related to the process of studying a second language. A system of formative assessment guides students in meeting learning and performance goals.

Middle School students typically complete a three-part series (Levels A, B, and C) in grades 6-8.* The pace of the Middle School sequence allows for greater exploration of topics and cultural themes, as well as development of general study skills and good practices for language learning. Upon completion of the Level C course in Middle School, students will be placed into an Upper School course appropriate for their level of preparation.

*Students entering with an advanced background in a particular language may seek placement beyond the beginning level.

Language Ignition

All sixth grade students begin their language study with an immersive experience during the first intensive term, whether they are placed in level A or beyond, or enrolled in Learning Pathways. Language Ignition introduces students to language fundamentals and culture of Mandarin Chinese, French, or Spanish. Students select the language to study during course requests the prior spring and do not take a language class during the first semester of sixth grade.

¡Aventuras en Español!

This course focuses on creative and immersive experiences both in our vibrant city of Seattle and also throughout Washington State. Field trips may include a Spanish-language radio station, sports stadiums, non-profit organizations, art centers and more. Students may attend the Latin American Film Festival, explore storytelling at Casa Latina, visit Spanish immersion schools, and learn about traditional Latin American music and dances. Students see how Spanish is used and experienced in the world outside the classroom.

Exploring the Beauty of Chinese Language, Culture and Customs

This three-week course focuses on the learning of Chinese language and cultural customs. During the duration of our course, students visit local Chinese shops, supermarket and restaurants to learn how to cook and make well-known Chinese cuisines, as well as regional history and customs. In addition, students visit the Wing-Luke museum, Chong-Wa Benevolent Association and the Chinese garden to learn how to do Chinese calligraphy, Chinese painting, Chinese chess, Ma-Jiang lion dance and martial arts. Moreover, students take an introductory class to learn about the origin of Chinese characters, pinyin pronunciation, and simple sentences and phrases to give a brief introduction about themselves.

Le Petit Atelier Français

Le Petit Atelier Français offers students a cultural immersive experience to develop communication skills in the target language. During the class, students speak French while learning about French and Francophone culture and participating in the French and Francophone cultural offerings in Seattle area. In addition to building vocabulary and practicing foundational grammar skills, students:

  • Write their own book and practice traditional Francophone storytelling;
  • Write calligraphed letters to students in Francophone countries;
  • Study French and Francophone artwork at the Seattle Art Museum;
  • See a French film at the Seattle International Film Festival;
  • Bake and visit Le Panier
  • Learn and perform an African dance modeled after the UNICEF Kids United song in French
  • Visit the French-American School of Puget Sound and do some activities with the younger students
  • Organize a capstone exhibit and performance.

This “atelier” intensive is technology-free, focusing on oral communication, cultures, connections, comparisons, and community.

At the end of the course, students organize a Gallerie to present their work to their families. Parents and guardians are invited to see their students perform saynètes (skits), sing, and tell stories and view student work, including arts and crafts and cultural projects. Of course, students also cook French and Francophone food for the event!


Full Year Courses

Chinese A, B, C

Students learn the basics of Chinese language, in both its spoken and written (traditional and simplified) forms. The program aims to foster a love of Chinese language and culture within a proficiency-based curriculum and to build cultural competency. Students are guided in acquiring language-learning strategies. Activities include songs, games, skits, cooking, field trips, and interacting with native speakers. Calligraphy is incorporated in the curriculum. Technology and the Internet are used as tools. Formative and summative assessment techniques are employed to measure student learning as set out in the National Standard for Foreign Language Learning.

French A, B, C

Students learn basic conversational skills, fundamental grammar, and vocabulary and undertake level-appropriate reading and writing activities. In addition to general study skills, students practice memorization techniques, recognition of cognates, and pattern identification. Supplemental materials introduce students to how the language varies in different parts of the world, as well as among native speakers in the United States. Students learn songs and poems, write and perform short skits, play games, cook traditional dishes, complete a variety of cultural and linguistic projects, and celebrate holidays and customs of the Francophone world.

Spanish A, B, C

The Middle School Spanish curriculum is designed for students to explore the language in a three year sequence, which provides a foundational knowledge that is comparable to two full years of Upper School study. Students learn basic to intermediate conversational skills, fundamental grammar, and vocabulary and undertake level-appropriate reading and writing activities, while making natural comparisons to their own language and culture. In addition to general study skills, students practice memorization techniques, recognition of cognates, and pattern identification. Supplemental materials introduce students to how the language varies in different parts of the world, as well as among native speakers in the United States. Students learn songs and poems, write and perform short skits, play games, cook traditional dishes, complete a variety of cultural and linguistic projects, and celebrate holidays and customs of the Hispanic world.