Academics

World Languages

Graduation requirement: two consecutive years in the same language. Three or four recommended.

The ability to communicate in more than one language is an essential life skill. Drew’s World Languages department creates authentic language opportunities to send you into the world as a culturally competent global citizen. At Drew, you can study American Sign Language, French, Mandarin, and Spanish.

World Languages Curriculum

List of 23 items.

  • ASL 1

    In ASL 1, you learn the basics of American Sign Language. You start by learning to sign each letter of the alphabet which allows you to finger spell words. At the same time you build your vocabulary by learning signs for a variety of words and expressions, such as those related to family, work, and leisure activities. At this beginning stage, you also learn handshapes, classifiers, as well as non-manual markers. By the end of the year, students will know how to introduce themselves, greet others, express their likes and dislikes, ask questions, and engage in basic conversations. Activities include watching signing videos, reading texts which are enhanced by visual clues, face-to-face interactions, and translating between ASL and English.

    For their final project students,will create a children’s book and will have an opportunity to combine much of the language they have learned during year one. English is only used to clarify as most of class time will be spent communicating using American Sign Language.
  • ASL 2

    In ASL 2, you will expand on your signing skills learned in ASL 1 and begin to add detail and nuance to your expressions when communicating needs, conveying detailed information, or comparing and contrasting ideas. This higher level of precision is particularly important when using and understanding signs that express emotions. New vocabulary includes holidays, travel, events and activities. You will learn about linguistic register and will practice shifting from a formal to a more informal tone, as well as using contextually appropriate signs. You will also begin to use increasingly sophisticated sentence structures by using coordinating conjunctions. At this level, project work involves songs which offer a valuable opportunity to hone fluency skills and express emotions. This course is conducted in ASL and no spoken language is expected by this level.
  • ASL 3

    In ASL 3, you will continue to expand on your knowledge gained from ASL 1 and 2. You will be expected to demonstrate greater fluency, accuracy and control of vocabulary, with an emphasis on connecting ideas and creating short compositions that are presented to the class. You will spend more time interacting as a group, as opposed to the partner work which is primarily used in ASL 1 and 2. Deaf culture is explored in depth, as you develop a fuller understanding of the relationship between culture and language. For example, you will explore the daily life and experiences of Deaf people at work and at play.

    Culturally appropriate expression is practiced throughout the year. You will complete two major projects in addition to several smaller ones. You will work in groups to create a filmed weather broadcast in the fall and a segment from a cooking show in the spring. At this level, you will also develop basic interpreter skills in order to be able to interpret during assemblies and other school events the following year. This course is conducted entirely in ASL.
  • ASL 4

    In ASL 4, you will continue to expand on your knowledge gained from ASL 1, 2, and 3, developing your receptive and expressive skills at the advanced level. In tandem with using advanced signs, you will continue to deepen your knowledge of Deaf culture. This includes the exploration of other sign-based languages, for example International Sign, as well as life stories of famous Deaf people from around the world.

    Emphasis is placed on practicing the language in a wide variety of contexts and engaging in authentic conversations inside and outside of the classroom environment during field trips. You will also have the opportunity to practice ASL interpretation using scenes from a wide range of films, allowing for a thorough review of commonly-used language. At this level, you will take turns interpreting for your teacher at school-wide events, providing invaluable real life interpretation practice.This is an advanced level class during which ASL will be used exclusively.
  • French 1

    During this introductory course, you will develop the ability to recognize and use basic vocabulary to communicate and express your ideas in French. You will work toward mastering the present tense and using it in relation to a variety of themes, e.g. family, school life and personal preferences. You will have the opportunity to research various cultural aspects of daily life in many of the 40+ francophone countries and will carry out an in-depth study of the French-speaking country of their choice.

    French is introduced to the classroom on day one and by the end of the year, instruction is approximately 50% in French. The Promenades text book provides structure for the course, though a variety of authentic, supplemental materials will be used as well. Lastly, a significant portion of this class will focus on language-learning strategies i.e., learning how to learn a language.
  • French 2

    As a student in French 2, you will continue to develop four skills -- listening, speaking, reading, and writing -- using a communicative method which emphasizes the ability to use French for authentic purposes. You will work toward mastering the primary past tenses and future tense in this lower intermediate class. A deeper understanding of the French-speaking world is promoted through the use of culturally rich, authentic materials and comparisons with their own lives and experiences.

    For example, you will cook and compare foodways and cultural traditions in France and the United States. You will use a number of resources, including the Promenades on-line textbook, Antoine de Saint Exupéry's novel, ‘The Little Prince,’ authentic sources from the Internet, and supplementary materials created by the teacher. As your final project, you will use the online platform BookCreator to write your own chapter of The Little Prince, drawing inspiration from material in the novel. The class is taught in both French and English.
  • French 3

    This upper-intermediate course provides an in-depth review of grammar and vocabulary previously studied and introduces advanced language forms such as the past perfect tense and conditional mood. The theme of storytelling is embedded throughout this course during which you will read and discuss a variety of literary texts, as well as write your own stories in a variety of formats (comic books, picture books, blogs, video confessionals).

    In addition, speaking skills are developed through a series of storytelling activities and oral presentations. A textbook, T’es branché, is used for some grammar practice and additional activities. However, the majority of resources used are authentic materials. French is the primary language of instruction and English is used only for clarification purposes.
  • French 4

    French history, starting from the French Revolution, provides the framework for this advanced course which provides extensive opportunities for practice and consolidation of previously learned content and skills. Activities are designed to reinforce the four language skills needed to demonstrate proficiency in a language. Literature, as well as various selections of articles, films and other authentic materials are used as a tool to enrich vocabulary, deepen comprehension and develop both written and oral expression.

    On a regular basis, you will investigate, share and reflect upon current events in the French-speaking world and participate in roundtable discussions on a wide variety of topics. Language register is also explored and you will learn French slang, while contrasting it with its more formal counterparts. This comparison culminates in a video project during which you will create and film two versions of the same scene, one in formal French and the other using a highly colloquial version of the language. This course is taught exclusively in French and students are expected to only speak French in the classroom.
  • AP French

    The AP French Language and Culture course is structured around the six College Board suggested themes: Global Challenges, Science and Technology, Contemporary Life, Personal and Public Identities, Families and Communities, and Beauty and Aesthetics. We use authentic materials (podcasts, newspaper articles, television programs, films and other materials from various francophone speaking countries to explore these themes and better understand how they impact life in French-speaking countries, as well as the student’s home country.

    It is expected that students entering this class will already have developed a strong grammatical base in French and should be able to express themselves orally and in writing with a fair amount of accuracy and fluency. Some grammatical and lexical topics will be addressed in this course, focusing on the difference between formal and informal registers and written academic language versus spoken colloquial language. You will prepare for the AP Exam in part by completing tasks mirroring those seen on the actual AP Exam under the same time constraints of the official exam.

    Prerequisites: Department approval is required for honors/AP level courses. Approval is based on teacher recommendation, previous academic performance in language courses, and an additional placement test.
  • Advanced French

    The Advanced French class is designed for those students who have successfully completed the AP French Language course and would like to continue their study of French. Course materials include literature, film, newspaper articles, podcasts and other authentic source materials in the target language. You will be expected to work independently on a variety of papers, projects and presentations. You will also act as mentors to the current AP students and enrich AP classroom discussions through formal presentations and student-led activities. This is an excellent leadership opportunity for motivated students who wish to deepen their understanding of global challenges, particularly as they pertain to the French-speaking world.

    Prerequisites: AP French and Department approval required.
  • Mandarin 1

    This is a first-year course for beginning Mandarin students who have not completed one year of formal instruction or who are taking the language for the very first time. In this course, you will work to build a solid foundation from which to continue your Mandarin language learning. The focus of this class is on fundamental elements such as tones, syllable pronunciation, character writing, and basic grammatical structures. This course utilizes a textbook and various authentic materials to cover topics like greetings, family, dates and time, etc. These materials, combined with an interactive classroom atmosphere, will help you build confidence and skill communicating in Mandarin Chinese. Cultural topics covered in this course include (among others) the importance of names in Chinese culture, family structure and Chinese New Year, all of which are explored through dedicated projects.
  • Mandarin 2

    This is a second-year course for students who have completed one year of Mandarin, or students who demonstrate mastery of the vocabulary, grammar, and foundational elements covered in Mandarin 1. This course aims to strengthen the four skills of reading, writing, listening, and speaking. Making use of both a textbook and various authentic, supplementary materials (videos, advertisements, Mandarin-language websites, local signage, etc.), this course focuses on interacting with others in Mandarin through topics such as hobbies, visiting friends, etc. Class sessions are interactive and incorporate a variety of classroom routines designed to provide you many opportunities to build confidence speaking in Mandarin. Cultural topics covered in this course focus on (but are not limited to) the importance of modesty in Chinese culture as well as etiquette to observe when visiting people’s homes, both of which are explored through a student-produced video project. Additionally, you will examine a cultural topic of choice through your annual Chinese New Year Project.
  • Mandarin 3

    This is a third-year course for students who have completed two years of Mandarin, or students who demonstrate knowledge of and ability to use the vocabulary and structures covered during Mandarin 1 and Mandarin 2. During this course, there is continued focus on four skills - reading, writing, listening, and speaking - with an added focus on learning how to type characters and presentational speaking skills. Use of the course textbook and authentic sources will allow you to explore topics such as making appointments, learning Chinese, and school life. Cultural topics covered in this course include (among others) a continued look at modesty as well as the concept of losing/saving face, and teacher/student dynamics. Through the annual Chinese New Year project, you will explore a new cultural topic of your choice in preparation for our school-wide event.
  • Mandarin 4

    This is a fourth-year course for students who have completed three years of Mandarin, or students who demonstrate both knowledge of and an ability to use vocabulary and structures covered in the first three levels. This course is designed to further strengthen the four skills of reading, writing, listening, and speaking. This course uses a combination of textbook and authentic sources to explore what life in a Chinese-speaking country might be like through topics such as transportation and shopping in the target culture. Through project work, you will practice bargaining in a simulated market, explore and build awareness around your identity as a speaker of Mandarin, and research a more nuanced cultural topic during Chinese New Year.
  • Mandarin 5

    This is a fifth-year course for students who have completed four years of Mandarin, or students who demonstrate both knowledge of and an ability to use vocabulary and structures covered in the program´s previous four levels. This course is designed to further strengthen the four skills of reading, writing, listening. Mandarin 5 uses a combination of textbook and authentic sources to grow your understanding of Chinese language and culture and prepare you for life abroad, through topics such as talking about the weather, dining out, visiting a doctor, dating, traveling, etc.. Students in this course will attend class with their peers in Mandarin 4 and project work, including the Chinese New Year project which will be a collaboration between the two groups.
  • Spanish 1

    Spanish 1 marks the beginning of an exciting journey towards learning a new language and participating in a new culture. This course is designed for students new to Spanish but will also serve students with previous experience in Spanish who may need to strengthen their fundamentals. From the first day of class, you will be speaking en español, giving mini-presentations, learning how to greet people and introduce yourself and your friends. Additionally, this level will give you the fundamental tools to master the present tense and other building blocks of the Spanish language. You will work on a variety of projects to get familiar with Spanish vocabulary and grammar including creating visual presentations of the Spanish vocabulary terms and taking turns acting as the teacher to articulate your understanding of how the Spanish language works.

    You will also begin to discover the fascinating link between language and culture, especially through music, movies, historical events, food and more. Lastly, a significant portion of this class will focus on language-learning strategies i.e, learning how to learn a language. This course is taught in both Spanish and English.
  • Spanish 2

    Students in Spanish 2 continue to develop the four skills -- listening, speaking, reading, and writing -- with a focus on both conversational and academic language. Understanding of the Spanish-speaking world is promoted through the use of culturally rich authentic materials. Through mini-projects, you will acquire a diverse vocabulary encompassing culinary traditions, festivities, shopping, and daily routine. Additionally, this course advances your grammar through a variety of mini-compositions. You will use a number of resources, including the Panorama on-line textbook, sources from the Internet, and supplementary materials written by the teachers.

    This is a project-based course that incorporates many real-world elements and allows ample opportunity to create independent work for presentations (a regional cooking project and presentation, for example). For your final project, you will use the online platform, BookCreator, to write a myth-audiobook incorporating much of the grammar and vocabulary that you will have learned over the course of the year. The course is taught in both Spanish and English.
  • Spanish 3

    Spanish 3 is an intermediate Spanish course that is an extension of the skills covered in Spanish 1 and 2. Designed to build each student's foundation in Spanish through the incorporation of new vocabulary and grammar, this course also aims to deepen your cultural and historical knowledge about the Spanish-speaking world. The four skills of reading, writing, listening, and speaking are developed in this course, with a special emphasis on fluency-building activities. Through projects, you will be asked to demonstrate your understanding of new knowledge (the subjunctive mood, for example) by teaching it to your classmates. The examination of specific issues and events relevant to the Spanish-speaking world will not only provide a foundation in the history and culture of Latin America and Spain, but will also serve as a framework for the practice and integration of this level’s grammatical concepts and vocabulary. You will use many resources, including an online textbook, authentic sources from the Internet, and materials written by the teacher. The course is conducted predominantly in Spanish.
  • Spanish 3 Honors

    Spanish 3 Honors is designed for students who are looking to take on the challenge of an Honors level language course with greater rigor in terms of the pace of the class and expectations for student accuracy and workload.

    This course develops fluency in all skills (listening, reading, writing, speaking) through more oral presentations, higher-level readings and more advanced writing than the regular section. The class is taught in Spanish and you will be expected to make every effort to interact exclusively in Spanish in the classroom. In terms of grammar, the focus will shift towards the imperative and subjunctive moods, as well as the perfect tenses. The scope of Spanish and Latin-American culture is broadened through short stories, films, myths, songs, and excerpts from local and international media sources. As a final project, you will create a website with written pieces and videos to showcase everything you have learned during the year.

    Prerequisites: Department approval is required for honors/AP level courses. Approval is based on teacher recommendation, previous academic performance in language courses, and an additional placement test.
  • Spanish 4

    This course provides a comprehensive review of Spanish grammar and seeks to develop and enhance language skills that are vital for active communication in real-life situations. By developing both cooperative learning and individual skills, you will use real-life, task-based activities to practice the four skills in the target language with authentic Spanish-language materials. The class includes readings and discussions on cultures and peoples whose primary language is Spanish, emphasizing similarities and points of contrast with the culture of the United States. The course is taught entirely in Spanish, and you are expected to communicate with your classmates and with the instructor in Spanish.

    This course makes ample use of technology as a mode of exploring the Spanish-speaking world. As a final project, you will create a website with a report about a Spanish-speaking country of your choice. The site will include a variety of videos analyzing the relationship of your chosen country with the United States at a historical, political, military, economic, social, and cultural level.
  • Spanish 4 Honors

    This is an advanced course designed for students who have demonstrated an ability to synthesize and use a wide variety of language in both written and oral formats. This Honors section differs from regular in that it has higher expectations in terms of students' language accuracy and focuses more on exploring literature in Spanish. Each unit consists of lexical development, grammar refinement and a 20th century short story in Spanish by a variety of Spanish-speaking authors. Students keep journals and write essays to practice different language registers at the written level. They lead and participate in informal conversations as well as doing formal oral presentations to the class. They also watch webnovelas and participate in cultural excursions in San Francisco.

    Additionally, students immerse themselves in project-based learning that requires them to engage with the Spanish-speaking world through newspapers and web-based publications. One example of a group project is the creation of a website for a Spanish-language newspaper, including written, audio, and video articles. Another example is a critical investigation of a real-world problem affecting a Spanish-speaking community. You will examine the problem in detail and come up with creative solutions to present to the class. The course is taught exclusively in Spanish and you are expected to communicate with classmates and their instructor in Spanish.

    Prerequisites: Department approval is required for honors/AP level courses. Approval is based on teacher recommendation, previous academic performance in language courses, and an additional placement test.
  • AP Spanish

    The AP Spanish Language and Culture course description published by the College Board determines the content of this course: “The AP Spanish Language and Culture course emphasizes communication (understanding and being understood by others) by applying interpersonal, interpretive, and presentational skills in real-life situations.

    This includes vocabulary usage, language control, communication strategies, and cultural awareness. The AP Spanish Language and Culture course strives not to overemphasize grammatical accuracy at the expense of communication. To best facilitate the study of language and culture, the course is taught exclusively in Spanish. The AP Spanish Language and Culture course will engage you in an exploration of culture in both contemporary and historical contexts. The course develops your awareness and appreciation of cultural products (e.g., tools, books, music, laws, conventions, institutions); practices (patterns of social interactions within a culture); and perspectives (values, attitudes, and assumptions).”

    Prerequisites: Department approval is required for honors/AP level courses. Approval is based on teacher recommendation, previous academic performance in language courses, and an additional placement test.
  • Advanced Spanish

    The Advanced Spanish class is designed for those students who have already completed the AP Spanish Language and Culture course and wish to continue to deepen their cultural and linguistic understanding of the Spanish-speaking world. Through study of a series of short and feature-length films, short stories, poems, plays and novels as well as online publications, songs and podcasts, you will be exposed to a wide variety of rich, authentic cultural material from throughout the Spanish-speaking world while at the same time enhancing your reading, listening, and analytical skills.

    You will also continue to develop both formal and informal written and spoken registers of Spanish through activities designed specifically to work towards mastery in each of these areas. In addition, you will strengthen your research skills via independent and collaborative projects. You must be able to work independently for extended periods of time as this class will take place at the same time as AP Spanish. Course objectives include further stimulating your interest in Spanish and its many representative cultures while preparing you for college-level study in Spanish.

    Prerequisites: AP Spanish and Department approval required.

List of 7 members.

  • Photo of Morgan Benz

    Ms. Morgan Benz 

    World Languages Department Chair
    415.430.3747
  • Photo of Natalia Felvinczi

    Natalia Felvinczi 

    World Languages, Science Faculty
    415.430.3769
  • Photo of Caitlin Jackson

    Caitlin Jackson 

    World Languages Faculty
    415.409.3741
  • Photo of Maria Lopez-Larios

    Maria Lopez-Larios 

    World Languages Faculty
    415.430.3746
  • Photo of Amanda Papanikolas

    Amanda Papanikolas 

    World Languages Faculty
    415.430.3742
  • Photo of Karen Sarrafzadeh

    Karen Sarrafzadeh 

    World Languages Faculty
  • Photo of Selene Zander

    Dr. Selene Zander 

    World Languages Faculty
    1-415-430-3723

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