Morristown-Beard Upper School Curriculum

Course Search 2019-2020

DepartmentGradeCourse TypeElective
Keywords

 

 

Upper School World Language Curriculum

Language Study at MBS
The Language Department offers beginner to advanced classes in French, Latin and Spanish as well as an Advanced Studies Italian course. Freshmen coming from the MBS middle school are placed through a combination of testing and teacher recommendation. New MBS students take a placement test and typically enroll in Introductory, Novice, Foundational or Building Language (see below). The graduation requirement is three consecutive years of the same language (French, Latin or Spanish) in the Upper School. For more detailed information about the Upper School language requirement, click here.

World Language Mastery Curriculum
The World Language department is in the process of phasing in a mastery curriculum that is designed to allow students to move forward through language at a pace that provides them opportunities for success. This curriculum reflects the most current research in the field of language instruction and is informed by benchmarks and best practices defined by the American Council for the Teaching of Foreign Languages.The courses are defined by performance objectives rather than time spent learning the language. These performance objectives provide information for students about what they must consistently demonstrate to reach a particular level, putting them in control of their own progress. Teachers will expose students to language in a manner that allows them to meet benchmarks for the level above their current level. Thus students can move through the sequence at a pace that fits their language development, advancing past levels if they demonstrate competence in the relevant benchmarks. The sequence is illustrated below. Students demonstrate extraordinary achievement by advancing to Experienced and Advanced courses.



The MBS Upper School Program


French and Spanish

The ultimate goal of second language study is the ability to communicate effectively in a variety of situations. This requires that students develop oral, aural, written, grammatical, lexical and cultural forms of linguistic competency. We endeavor to develop all forms of competency through use of a variety of approaches, with special emphasis on appropriate use of the target language in various contexts. As students reach upper level courses, increased emphasis is placed on higher order thinking carried out in the language being studied. A variety of assessment practices (oral, aural, written, project-based, formative and summative) measures student progress across the range of required abilities. While mastery of vocabulary and basic structural elements of language is required, the MBS language program strives to maintain a vibrant and stimulating atmosphere of learning in which student engagement and active participation in class activities are strongly promoted.

Latin
In addition to the ability to comprehend ancient Latin texts, the study of Latin develops a host of skills that are applicable in all disciplines. It trains the mind to observe text carefully and analytically and to reach appropriate conclusions based on both detail and context. It promotes analytical and synthetic thinking, intellectual and linguistic rigor, and effective, clear communication. It also contributes to gaining self-knowledge through learning about the origins of Western Civilization. Beginning with the study of the elementary components of Latin, students progressively acquire more complex decoding abilities which lead to the development of reading proficiency. Latin students will also delve into various aspects of Roman literature and history, culture and mythology, thereby observing connections that demonstrate the continued relevance of the classical legacy to contemporary civilization.


Advanced Studies: Italian Language and Culture
This advanced course is for students who have fulfilled the language requirement and wish to continue their study with a new language. Students successfully completing this course should be able to place into intermediate Italian in their first year of college. Complete course description below.


Travel and Immersion Programs
In coordination with the Global Studies Program, the World Language department participates in the School's global outreach efforts by organizing trips to Francophone and Hispanophone regions of the world as well as to those countries important to the study of the classical world and its languages. Recent trips include Montreal, Rome, Costa Rica, Cuba and Panama. Financial aid is available for eligible participants. In addition, the department offers a French exchange with a partner school in Nantes, France.


Overview of Course Offerings

Introductory - Building French, French 3-5, AP (Honors designation possible at levels 3 and above)

Introductory - Building Spanish, Spanish 3-4, AP (Honors designation possible at level 3 and above)

Introductory - Advanced Latin (Honors determined by the Earned Honors process at level 4; see note on Honors designations below)

Note on Honors Designations

For French and Spanish courses, the honors distinction exists for levels 3 and 4, with students placed into either honors or regular sections based on teacher recommendations. We expect that honors students will be organized and self-motivated, will consistently produce high quality work and will embrace independent thinking and investigation. Entrance into an honors section is year-by-year. Recommendations are not based solely upon a student's grade; teachers also give careful consideration to a student's commitment to the subject matter, maturity and natural ability before making a determination. All students are encouraged to achieve at their highest possible level and a student in a regular section of a course may actively pursue an honors recommendation for the following year. Such students should make this known to their teachers early on and be proactive about the teacher's performance requirements.


Introductory, Novice, Foundational and Building Language

Language instruction begins with the development of strong basic communication skills in many routine topics such as greetings, introductions, personal and family identity, basic needs and wants, likes and dislikes, introduction to food, time and weather, school life and leisure activities. Students continue to practice the four basic language skills (listening, speaking, reading and writing) as they strive towards competency in the above areas. Culture is integrated into the classroom through use of authentic materials (audio, audio-visual, textual, internet and print-based). While initially the focus of instruction is not on grammar or vocabulary, a high level of mastery requires that vocabulary be acquired and that students be knowledgeable about the basic structural features of language (e.g. tense, conjugation, gender, agreement). By the end of this sequence of courses, students will have actively learned a variety of communication functions (such as narration, description, comparing and contrasting), will have practiced various modes of communication in both written and oral form (interpersonal, interpretive, presentational) and will have read short fiction and verse.

Introductory

Introductory language is characterized by a limited number of common memorized words and phrases.

  • Students speak and write simple words to provide basic information.
  • When listening or reading, students understand familiar words or words similar to English.

Introductory French

Prerequisites: None

Open to students in the following grades: 9, 10, 11, 12

Full Year Course

Introductory Latin

Prerequisites: None

Open to students in the following grades: 9, 10, 11, 12

Full Year Course

Introductory Spanish

Prerequisites: None

Open to students in the following grades: 9, 10, 11, 12

Full Year Course

Novice

Novice language is characterized by a limited number of common words and phrases.

  • Students speak and write using simple words, phrases, and occasional sentences that provide basic information.
  • When listening or reading, students understand simple phrases and questions if spoken slowly or repeated.

Novice French

Prerequisites: Competency in Introductory French performance benchmarks

Open to students in the following grades: 9, 10, 11, 12

Full Year Course

Novice Latin

Instructor: Department staff

Prerequisites: Competency in Introductory Latin performance benchmarks

Open to students in the following grades: 9, 10, 11, 12

Full Year Course

Novice Spanish

Prerequisites: Competency in Introductory Spanish performance benchmarks

Open to students in the following grades: 9, 10, 11, 12

Full Year Course

Foundational

Foundational language is characterized by a number of common words and phrases.

  • Students speak and write using phrases and short, simple sentences that provide basic information using original constructions.
  • When listening or reading, students understand simple phrases and questions with familiar vocabulary as well as the main idea of a conversation or simple text.

Foundational French

Prerequisites: Competency in Novice French performance benchmarks

Open to students in the following grades: 9, 10, 11, 12

Full Year Course

Foundational Latin

Prerequisites: Competency in Novice Latin performance benchmarks

Open to students in the following grades: 9, 10, 11, 12

Full Year Course

Foundational Spanish

Prerequisites: Competency in Novice Spanish performance benchmarks

Open to students in the following grades: 9, 10, 11, 12

Full Year Course

Building

Building language is characterized by a variety of words or phrases on familiar tasks and topics with some elaboration.

  • Students speak and write using consecutive simple sentences that express thoughts, and they combine words and phrases to create and extend original sentences.
  • When listening or reading, students understand the main idea and some details on familiar topics.

Building French

Prerequisites: Competency in Foundational French performance benchmarks

Open to students in the following grades: 9, 10, 11, 12

Full Year Course

Building Spanish

Prerequisites: Competency in Foundational Spanish performance benchmarks

Open to students in the following grades: 9, 10, 11, 12

Full Year Course

Building Latin

Prerequisites: Competency in Foundational Latin performance benchmarks

Open to students in the following grades: 9, 10, 11, 12

Full Year Course

French 3-5; Spanish 3-4

In these courses, conducted primarily in the target language, students will continue to practice communication abilities in many every-day contexts, but with emphasis on developing vocabulary, structures and usage that reflect more sophisticated thinking abilities within the target language (evaluation, analysis, synthesis, creative writing). Growth is promoted through in-depth projects and tasks, and greater contact with authentic materials. Courses progressively emphasize working in the language as much as on the language; as such, student participation in the target language is required. As in the lower levels, all fundamental language skills are encouraged (listening, reading, speaking, writing), but with increased expectations for sustained discourse in the target language and creative use of previously practiced skills. A high degree of proficiency in previously studied material is implicit in upper-level classes.

French 3

Prerequisites: Teacher Recommendation

Open to students in the following grades: 9, 10, 11, 12

Full Year Course

French 4

Prerequisites: Teacher Recommendation

Open to students in the following grades: 9, 10, 11, 12

Full Year Course

French 5

Instructor: Department Staff

Prerequisites: Teacher recommendation

Open to students in the following grades: 9, 10, 11, 12

Full Year Course

Spanish 3

Prerequisites: Teacher Recommendation

Open to students in the following grades: 9, 10, 11, 12

Full Year Course

Spanish 4

Prerequisites: Teacher Recommendation

Open to students in the following grades: 9, 10, 11, 12

Full Year Course

Upper Level Elective Courses in Spanish and French

Spanish Through Music and Film

Prerequisites: Completion of the language requirement and permission of instructor,

Open to students in the following grades: 11, 12

Full Year Course

Students will further their linguistic skills and cultural knowledge through a year-long examination of Spanish-language film and Latino music. The film component will include works from Latin America, Cuba and Spain. Latino music will be sampled from its origins in Mexico, Cuba and Puerto Rico as well as from contemporary sources in the United States. The course will provide an authentic engagement with Spanish language, culture and history.

French Cinema (H)

Prerequisites: Level 3H and permission of instructor

Open to students in the following grades: 10, 11, 12

Full Year Course

This honors-level course provides an introduction to the artistic style and the historical, political, social and cultural content of French-language films from the earliest days of cinema to the present. Screenings will include selected films from the following periods in the development of French Cinema: early period, the Occupation and postwar era, the New Wave, the 1970s-80s and the contemporary period. Films will be studied for their aesthetic, socio-political and cultural import. In this course, which will be conducted entirely in French, students will be guided through a variety of communicative activities which will expose them to a rich input of spoken French and lead them from structured practice to free expression.

Honors Sections

French 3H

Prerequisites: Teacher Recommendation

Open to students in the following grades: 9, 10, 11, 12

Full Year Course

French 4H

Prerequisites: Teacher Recommendation

Open to students in the following grades: 9, 10, 11, 12

Full Year Course

Spanish 3H

Prerequisites: Teacher Recommendation

Open to students in the following grades: 9, 10, 11, 12

Full Year Course

Spanish 4H

Prerequisites: Teacher Recommendation

Open to students in the following grades: 9, 10, 11, 12

Full Year Course

Latin -- Intermediate and Experienced

Intermediate Latin

Prerequisites: Permission of instructor

Open to students in the following grades: 9, 10, 11, 12

Full Year Course

Intermediate Latin continues the development of reading and comprehension skills. Reading Latin is the primary means of input for more complex syntactical forms such as subordination, participles, and the subjunctive mood, but students also enhance their comprehension through speaking, writing, and listening exercises. Continued study of morphology and its application through complement the practice of close reading. Students also begin to make forays into literature, art, poetic meter, figures of speech, and comparative analysis.

Experienced Latin

Prerequisites: Permission of instructor

Open to students in the following grades: 9, 10, 11, 12

Full Year Course

In this course students read original works of Latin literature with emphasis on comprehension and interpretation beyond the superficial level of grammatical understanding. Vocabulary and grammar development as well as refinement in grammatical analysis continue, as does the investigation of Roman culture and history through the readings.

Advanced Language Courses -- AP and Advanced Studies

Both the AP French and AP Spanish language and culture classes have been revised to reflect recent changes in the College Board curriculum. The primary focus in both classes is thematic and "modal," this latter referring the communicational exigencies tested by the exams themselves. The six "modes" of communication are written and spoken interpersonal, written and spoken interpretive, written and spoken presentational. The French and Spanish AP exams require that students be exposed to a broad spectrum of themes. Treatment of these themes will privilege the various modes of communication while also developing the student's ability to read critically, analyze, compare and contrast, evaluate, express opinions, critique and support. The majority of coursework is carried out using authentic materials which promote a very high degree of both linguistic and cultural competence. Students in AP courses are required to take the AP exam in order to receive AP credit for the class.

AP French Language

Prerequisites: Teacher Recommendation

Open to students in the following grades: 9, 10, 11, 12

Full Year Course

AP Spanish Language

Prerequisites: Teacher Recommendation

Open to students in the following grades: 9, 10, 11, 12

Full Year Course

Advanced Studies: Italian Language and Culture

Instructor: Ms. Jen Laviola

Enrollment limited to: 10

Prerequisites: Level 3H in any foreign language and permission of instructor

Open to students in the following grades: 11, 12

Full Year Course

This Advanced Studies (AS) course in Italian Language and Culture is a full year course in which students learn the Italian language in an immersion environment, exploring numerous facets of Italian culture including art history, music, cinema, cuisine, geography, and popular culture. Emphasis is placed on the development of speaking, listening, reading, and writing skills, all of which are presented in a framework that underscores cultural competency. Students examine and experience authentic cultural products and practices first hand in a dynamic and highly communicative setting. Successful completion of this course will prepare students for entry into an intermediate level college Italian course. Students willing to undertake additional test prep work will be able to take the AP Italian test if they wish to do so.

Advanced Studies: Roman Literature of the Golden Age

Instructor: Dr. Amanda Gregory

Enrollment limited to: 10

Prerequisites: Experienced Latin and permissions of instructor

Open to students in the following grades: 11, 12

Full Year Course

The Classical period of Roman literature, known as the "Golden Age," had a defining influence on later texts, establishing lasting models of aesthetics, philosophy, and politics that continue to shape modern culture. This Advanced Studies course will focus on three significant authors from this period: Vergil, Ovid, and Livy. Students will improve their ability to read Latin with comprehension of syntax and vocabulary and will develop their analytical abilities through discussion, literary analysis, and the study of Latin metrics. Students will also increase their knowledge of the culture and history of Augustan Rome. The reading selections will emphasize the diversity of responses among the authors to the structural changes Rome was experiencing at the time, the roles of class and gender, and the relationship between art and society.