Drew’s World Language curriculum strives to give students the grounding they need in four basic skill areas—reading, writing, listening and speaking—to communicate in a language other than English. By going outside the textbook and exploring texts such as news articles, historical texts, and travel literature, students are encouraged to make a connection between the language being studied and the world outside the classroom. Classes also study and explore the culture connected with the language, to learn new ways of thinking and concepts of history to make them more aware of the diversity of the world in which they live, and provide them the ability to think outside the context of what they know. Currently Drew offers instruction, honors and AP courses in French, Spanish, and Mandarin, and instruction in American Sign Language (ASL).
In this beginning course, covering two semesters, students will be introduced to the French language through work in each of the four skill areas: reading, writing, speaking and listening. While French is the target language of this course, English will be used as needed to facilitate explanations. The course is centered on the textbook, Discovering French Bleu, but all skills are reinforced by outside material, such as video, cassettes, the internet, educational journals and more. Each chapter focuses on a theme and presents useful and practical vocabulary in real-life contexts. By the end of the year, students will have mastered the basic sentence structure of French, including conjugation of regular and some irregular verbs, adjective/noun agreement, articles, and pronouns; they should be functional in elementary French. In addition to language study, the course puts heavy emphasis on the cultures not only of France, but of the francophone world as well.
This course is an extension of French I, and uses the textbook Discovering French Blanc along with an activity book. Students spend time reviewing and expanding on structures already learned. In continuing work in the four skill areas, many media aside from the text are used (film, internet, publications). More complex verb forms and structures, idiomatic expressions, and verb tenses are introduced. By the end of the year, students will be able to express themselves accurately both orally and in writing. In addition, they will begin reading, and responding on paper, to short passages taken from the literatures of France and francophone countries. Each student is required to conduct research on a francophone topic of their choice. This will ultimately be a part of their portfolio (oral presentation, written report and visual aids). An accelerated version of this course may be offered. Students wishing to take it should enter "French IIA" on their signup sheets.
We aim to conduct this intermediate course all in French. Our textbook is the last in the Discovering French series - DF Rouge. As all language is cumulative, students will continue to revisit - though in greater depth - structures and tenses already learned. In addition, they will cover the remaining tenses and structures that form the base of the French language. Along with work on grammar, this course will place heavier emphasis on complex expression, through reading and writing. Students will write progressively longer compositions, which ask them to bring their analytical and critical skills into play. Oral presentations and a great deal of class time devoted to conversation will also enhance students' spoken expression. Raising confidence is an important goal in this class; work with current events, la francophonie and the local French community will help French come alive for them, and they will be conversant in most situations by the end of the year. An accelerated version of this course may be offered. Students wishing to take it should enter "French IIIA" on their signup sheets.
In this advanced, elective course, students continue to review and perfect grammar skills, but the focus shifts to written and oral expression. Heavy emphasis is placed on reading and critical analysis. Texts, both literary and otherwise, will be studied in greater detail, and student response in the form of essays, debates and oral presentations will be further developed and longer. As in other literature classes, we will follow a several-step writing process, with an outline and several drafts. Seminar-style class discussions will help students hone oral expression as well. Although students in French IV will not take the AP, they will do a great deal of AP-level work, sometimes working with AP students, in order to prepare them to enter AP French or a college-level literature class the following year.
French IV Honors
An accelerated version of French IV.
Advanced Placement French
Often combined with French IV, this can be a separate class for the very advanced student who wishes to prepare for both the Language and the Literature AP Exams. It is an intensive literature class, and texts are chosen on the basis of the reading list for the AP.
Spanish I is an introductory course for learning Spanish grammar and conversation. Students work to master basic writing, reading, oral communication and listening skills. They complete projects, go on field trips, and hear guest speakers to learn about the Spanish-speaking world. The textbook Vistas is used with an online workbook and ancillary materials, such as an interactive CD-rom and a laboratory program, to enhance and assess these skills at home and at school. Students are challenged to learn the structures of Spanish grammar so that they can understand the way syntax and semantics are organized. Tenses include the present, present progressive and preterite tenses. Incoming students may choose to indicate “A” for accelerated if they have previous exposure to Spanish and wish to pursue a more rapid pace.
This is a continuing course for the student who has had a broad introduction to the vocabulary and a basic understanding of the language structure. This course is taught mostly in Spanish, with English being used to explain grammar concepts. The textbook for this course, Vistas, contains a variety of exercises for proficiency in the four skills: speaking, listening, reading and writing. The exercises in the four proficiencies have functional meaning in everyday topics and situations to stimulate the student to participate in Spanish for communication. By the end of this course, students will be able to express themselves accurately both orally and in writing, using verb forms such as Present tense, Present Progressive, Preterite, Imperfect, Conditional, Future, Present Subjunctive, Imperfect Subjunctive and the Past Participle. An accelerated version of this course may be offered. Students wishing to take it should enter "Spanish IIA" on their signup sheets.
Spanish III is an intermediate high school Spanish course centered on reading and listening comprehension, written expression, oral communication, and advanced grammar skills. We get a taste of different genres of literature in the Spanish-speaking world via six themes: folk tales, myths and legends, Spanish short stories, the history and politics of a select country (Cuba, this year), the international press, and South American poets. Students are challenged to maximize their exposure to vocabulary via related compositions and presentations, and all grammar lessons relate to the literature currently at focus. A lot of time is devoted to outside reading, and class time is used for discussions and interpretations of the material. An accelerated version of this course may be offered. Students wishing to take it should enter "Spanish IIIA" on their signup sheets.
Students enrolled in Spanish 4 have completed three years of high school Spanish or its equivalent, or have the approval of the Language Department. The course is taught entirely in Spanish, and students are expected to communicate with each other and with the instructor in Spanish. In addition to being a comprehensive review of Spanish grammar, this course develops and refines speaking, reading and writing skills in the target language through a study of the cultures and peoples whose primary language is Spanish. Texts will include selections of novels, short stories, poetry and culturally-based readings as well as a variety of audio and video clips.
Spanish IV Honors
An accelerated version of Spanish IV.
Advanced Placement Spanish Literature
Designed for the very advanced and motivated student in the fourth or fifth year of Spanish, the course focuses on a close reading of different authors and genres from Hispanic literature. We read twentieth-century prose, poetry and drama in the original Spanish, and students are expected to participate in class discussions and write essays. The authors and texts will be chosen on the basis of the reading list for the AP Examination.
Conversación y composición
The Spanish “Conversación y composición” class is for students who have completed Spanish IV or AP Spanish. In Spanish, class members will learn about current events; Latin American and Spanish culture, literature, art, music and history; the role of the United States in the politics and history of Latin American countries; the role of religion in Spanish-speaking cultures (such as liberation theology); and, other relevant topics.
Students will pursue these areas via readings, conversations, presentations and guest lectures. Their grades will be based on their participation in and direction of tertulias, Spanish conversations, writings (compositions, stories, reflections, poetry), and oral presentations. We will still work on enriching student vocabulary and refining a more sophisticated grammar, but vocabulary and grammar will be tangential and secondary to the heart of the class which is learning about culture and developing communication skills.
Mandarin Level 1
For beginning Mandarin students who have not completed one year of Chinese and/or who may be taking the language for the very first time.
Mandarin Level 2
This is a second year course for students who have completed one year of Chinese, or students who have a reading knowledge of approximately 300 characters. The curriculum consists of task-based, interactive classroom activities with focus on the learner. Students are encouraged to develop their own strategies to determine and to express their ideas in the target language.
Mandarin Level 3
This is the third year course for students who have completed two years of Chinese, or students who have a reading knowledge of approximately 600 characters. The emphasis continues to focus on all four skills: listening, speaking, reading and writing. More authentic materials (written by native Chinese speakers for native Chinese speakers) are incorporated in the lessons. Through exposure to practical readings of texts such as street signs, menus, forms and handwritten notes in both simplified and traditional characters, students gain familiarity with a wide range of Chinese written styles.
Mandarin Level 4
This is a fourth year course for students who have completed three years of Chinese, or students who have a reading knowledge of 900 characters. The curriculum continues to focus on the four skills, listening, speaking, reading and writing. The emphasis is still on what students can do with the language and how they can communicate with Chinese language speakers in various real life situations. The textbook covers the following topics: Renting an Apartment, At the Post Office, Sports, Travel, Hometown, and At the Airport. Students also receive many supplementary materials from the instructor, such as excerpts from short stories and novels, as well as poetry (classical and modern).
American Sign Language
Students will develop the ability to greet and respond to greetings, introduce and respond to introductions, engage in conversations, express likes and dislikes, make requests, obtain information, and provide personal information such as name, school, instructor name and confirmation of information, requesting clarification and inquiry about same with conversational partner. Students will be able to: sign in face-to-face social interactions and develop an understanding of when/how to use video texts and convey messages for notes, lists, etc. When signing and translating, students will be able to use short sentences, expand their vocabulary, and articulate phrases, simple questions, and commands. They will practice how to understand ideas and familiar details presented in clear, uncomplicated signs, as well as understand short texts enhanced by visual clues.
Students will expand their ability to perform all the functions developed in ASL 1. They will also develop the ability to make requests, express their needs, convey important details, describe and compare ideas, use and understand expressions indicating emotion. Students will be able to perform the following functions: signing in face-to-face social interactions; understanding in social interactions and when using video texts; signing/interpreting letters and short guided compositions. Students are expected to demonstrate greater fluency and control of vocabulary, ask questions, convey polite commands, and sign with increasingly sophisticated sentence structure as well as put together strings of sentences. As their skills grow, they will need to demonstrate culturally appropriate behavior, create simple paragraphs when signing, understand important ideas in highly contextualized authentic texts, and show no significant patterns of error in oral and written discourse when performing functions learned in ASL 1.
Students will expand their ability to perform all the functions developed in ASL 1 and 2. They will also develop the ability to make requests, express their needs, convey important details, describe and compare ideas, and use and understand expressions indicating emotion. Students will expand their skill base in the following situations: signing in face-to-face social interactions; understanding in social interactions and when using video texts; signing/interpreting letters and short guided compositions. Students are expected to demonstrate greater fluency and control of vocabulary, ask questions with growing depth, convey different types of commands, and sign with increasingly sophisticated sentence structure while more effectively stringing together sentences. As their skills grow, they will need to demonstrate culturally appropriate behavior, create moderately complex paragraphs when signing, understand important ideas in highly contextualized authentic texts, and show no significant patterns of error in oral and written discourse when performing functions learned in ASL 1 and ASL 2.
Students will expand their ability to perform all the functions developed in ASL 1, 2 – and demonstrate an increasing mastery of the skills articulated in the course description for ASL 3. The goal of ASL 4 is to help students develop a growing maturity in understanding the culture of the deaf community in America while developing a greater sophistication in their signing, interpreting, and comprehension skills. Students will gain increasing skill in becoming self-sufficient learners of ASL so they can continue to strive toward fluency.