World Languages

Students in French class visit Quebec

Students in French class visit Quebec

Meridian puts a strong focus on learning Spanish, and this common foundation in the language permeates the life of the school. High school students may also elect to study French and, when there is sufficient demand, Latin. Language classes explore the literature, history, culture, art, film, geography, and politics of the countries where Spanish and French are spoken. Aligning with the American Council for Teaching of a Foreign Language (ACTFL) standards, teachers utilize a variety of projects such as skits, videos, creative writing, student-made board games, and analytical essays to immerse students in the language. Supported by these projects, students learn to think in the target language.

Meridian’s emphasis on community is supported in our Spanish classes as students volunteer with local organizations. One such collaboration involves monthly visits with seniors citizens for which the students sing songs, organize games, and more all in Spanish. Students also work with young learners at a nearby elementary school by exposing them to basic vocabulary and phrases in Spanish. Every other year, all of our sophomores and juniors work with their teachers to plan a trip to a Spanish-speaking destination. Past destinations include Costa Rica, Panama, and Ecuador. On these immersion trips, students have stayed with families, explored urban and natural landscapes, and worked with local community initiatives, such as coffee cooperatives and non-profits that protect rainforests. This year students will travel to Spain where they will attend a cooking workshop and visit a local school. Every other year, our French students travel to Quebec City where they visit museums, sample French cuisine, and bond over smelly cheese. All students in the relevant classes have the opportunity to participate in these culminating expeditions -- Meridian provides financial support for students whose families do not have the resources.

 

Middle School Spanish

+ Novice

At Meridian Academy, our students begin their language-learning journey in an immersive classroom that focuses on reading, writing, speaking, and listening. Through a dynamic project-based system, students will approach each thematic vocabulary and grammar unit in a collaborative, creative, hands-on manner. In this year, students will learn basic greetings and elements of the language, how to describe their school day, and begin to learn to express themselves. In one project, students will act in a series of skits where they apply the vocabulary learned to different situations. In another project, students will research famous americans of Hispanic Heritage in various fields to learn about Latin American culture. Students will be assessed throughout the year based on their performance in class and project work, as well as periodic evaluations set forth by ACTFL (the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages). According to these standards, students who complete this level are expected to have a working knowledge of basic words and phrases, both oral and written. At this level, students primarily use the Plazas textbook.

+ Novice High

In this continuation of introductory Spanish, students will be expected to build upon the foundations from the previous year. The focus of this course is pulling the skills learned in Spanish Novice out of the classroom and into the home, their personal interactions and the community they live in. In one project, students are asked to create posters or brochures to advertise events such as concerts, sports venues, festivals, etc. In another project, students translate the instructions to theme appropriate board games and then use Spanish to play the games. Students will be assessed throughout the year based on their performance in class and project work, as well as periodic evaluations set forth by ACTFL (the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages). According to these standards, students at this level are expected to be able to communicate and interact with the target language on a basic level, using simple sentences both in oral and written expression. By the end of the year, students are expected to have a solid working knowledge of the building blocks of Spanish upon which they’ll expand in following years. At this level, students primarily use the Plazas textbook.

+ Intermediate

Students will enter the intermediate level with a strong foundation of Spanish language skills. In this course, students will expand their knowledge to relate to a broader spectrum of topics, such as food, clothes, shopping, parties, holidays, vacations, and travel. In one project, students are asked to come up with a concept for a store, and then advertise for it using different forms of media. In another project, students will plan their dream vacation. Students will be assessed throughout the year based on their performance in class and project work, as well as periodic evaluations set forth by ACTFL (the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages). According to these standards, students at this level are expected to be more comfortable using simple sentences in a variety of familiar contexts. Students at this level will continue to use the Plazas textbook, as well as supplemental materials, such as the odes of Pablo Neruda.

+ Heritage Speakers

This class is designed for middle school students whose native language is Spanish, or for those who already have an advanced understanding of the language. Students will continue to develop their language skills through the study of history, culture, and literature of Hispanic countries. In particular, students will acquire and perfect the skills of reading and writing in Spanish. Students will gain experience reading authentic texts from books, newspapers, and the Internet. Additionally, students will have the opportunity to write for different purposes and audiences. Students will be assessed throughout the year based on their performance in class and project work, as well as periodic evaluations set forth by ACTFL (the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages).

High School Spanish

+ Novice

This class is intended for students joining Meridian for high school who have not previously studied Spanish. They will begin their language-learning journey in an immersive classroom that focuses on reading, writing, speaking, and listening. Through a dynamic project-based system, students will approach each thematic vocabulary and grammar unit in a collaborative, creative, hands-on manner. In this year, students learn basic elements of Spanish, such as greetings, discussing family life and life at school, and beginning to express feelings and opinions. In the past, students have made short videos about family traditions and celebrations. For another project, students researched the work of the World Health Organization in Latin American countries. Students are assessed throughout the year based on their performance in class and project work, as well as periodic evaluations set forth by ACTFL (the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages). According to these standards, students at this level are expected to be able to communicate and interact with the target language on a basic level, using simple sentences both in oral and written expression. At this level, students primarily use the Plazas textbook.

+ Intermediate I

Students will enter the intermediate level with a strong foundation of Spanish language skills. In this course, students will expand their knowledge to relate to a broader spectrum of topics, such as health, units of measurement, and food. In the past, students have created menus, organized and prepared a simple traditional Spanish meal. In another project, students became stylists and put on a fashion show. Students will be assessed throughout the year based on their performance in class and project work, as well as periodic evaluations set forth by ACTFL (the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages). According to these standards, students at this level are expected to be more comfortable using simple sentences in a variety of familiar contexts. Students at this level will continue to use the Plazas textbook, as well as read short stories and poems by Latin American writers such as Pablo Neruda’s poems about everyday clothing items.

+ Intermediate II

By Intermediate 2, students have a broad working knowledge of grammar and vocabulary that permits them to express more advanced thoughts, opinions, and ideas. In this course, students will deepen their understanding and ability to make original, complex statements through interpretive, interpersonal, and presentational communication. Topics of study include travel, personal relationships, immigration, celebrations, and professions. In one project, students are asked to plan a vacation to a Spanish-speaking country. In another project, students will hold a mock interview. Students will be assessed throughout the year based on their performance in class and project work, as well as periodic evaluations set forth by ACTFL (the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages). According to these standards, students at this level are expected to communicate more in-depth thoughts and opinions in a variety of time frames. Students at this level will continue to use the Plazas textbook, as well as a short novel and other supplementary reading materials.

+ Advanced 1

This level of Spanish marks the beginning of higher-level forays into cinema and literature, as well as more advanced grammar and style. Students will be expected to communicate their perspectives on cultural and political aspects of society utilizing the breadth of the language skills they’ve been acquiring up to this point to express a profound level of thought. Topics of study include: environment and climate change; theatre, art, and entertainment; and politics. In the past, students have interpreted and performed a Spanish play for a younger audience. Students have also worked on translations of Pablo Neruda’s odes. Students will be assessed throughout the year based on their performance in class and project work, as well as periodic evaluations set forth by ACTFL (the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages). According to these standards, students at this level are expected to sustain a complex conversation with greater comfort than in the past, as well as interpret and respond to a variety of forms of art and literature. Students at this level will continue to use the Plazas textbook, as well as study Magical Realism through the short stories of such authors as Julio Cortázar and Gabriel García Márquez.

+ Advanced 2

Students at this level are expected to communicate about a variety of topics including current events, environmental issues, and matters of public and community interest. Students are able to narrate and describe in the past, present, and future. Topics of study include: history and politics of Spain and Latin America, notable works of literature and films in Spanish, and issues around the environment and world health. In one project, students will analyze and contrast movies in a critical movie review. In another project, students will record conversations about cultural topics related to class content. Students will be assessed throughout the year based on their performance in class and project work, as well as periodic evaluations set forth by ACTFL (the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages). Students at this level will review grammar and vocabulary from the Plazas textbook, as well as study a number of authentic sources including newspaper articles, music, film, and literature from authors like Lorca, Alvarez, and Allende.

French

+ French A

This first-year introductory French course is intended for Meridian students who are studying French for the first time. It is an elective course to be taken in addition to Spanish, or after having completed Spanish requirements. Students will begin their language-learning journey in an immersive classroom that focuses on reading, writing, speaking, and listening. Through a dynamic project-based system, students will approach each thematic vocabulary and grammar unit in a collaborative, creative, hands-on manner. In this year, students will learn basic elements of French, such as greetings, numbers, and expressing basic opinions; they will also learn how to discuss their pastimes, and lives at home and in school. In one project, students will watch Jean Cocteau’s Beauty and the Beast and use the characters’ costumes to build clothing vocabulary. In another project, students will share traditional meals and recipes specific to their families’ own cultures. Students will be assessed throughout the year based on their performance in class and project work, as well as periodic evaluations set forth by ACTFL (the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages). According to these standards, students at this level are expected to be able to communicate and interact with the target language on a basic level, using simple sentences both in oral and written expression. At this level, students primarily use the Bien dit! textbook, Level 1.

+ French B

Students will enter the intermediate level with a strong foundation of French language skills. In this course, students will expand their knowledge to relate to a broader spectrum of topics, such as clothing, sports, household chores, urban transportation and travel, and ways to talk about our neighborhood. In one project, students will study the lyrics to various French (and québecoise) songs and make music videos. In another project, students will watch the film Amélie, and choose from a variety of nostalgia-centered projects, including the creation (and elaborate description) of their own childhood memory boxes. In this year, students go on a three-day trip to Quebec City to enrich their French education experience. They will each be expected to take ownership over a specific destination or aspect of the trip, prepare a written guide to the site in advance, and give a brief “tour” of the site once in Canada. Students will be assessed throughout the year based on their performance in class and project work, as well as periodic evaluations set forth by ACTFL (the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages). According to these standards, students at this level are expected to be more comfortable using simple sentences in a variety of familiar contexts. Students at this level will continue to use the Bien dit! Level 1 textbook.

+ French C

By French 3, students have a broad working knowledge of grammar and vocabulary that permits them to express more advanced thoughts, opinions, and ideas. In this course, students will deepen their understanding and ability to make original, complex statements through interpretive, interpersonal, and presentational communication. Topics of study include holidays, cooking and French cuisine, computers and technology, daily routines, and advanced complaining. In one project, students learn about the French concept of ennui and work together to create a short film in the film noir style. In another project, students will prepare traditional French pastries and create satirical cooking show videos to accompany the desserts. They will also watch Ma Vie en Rose, a movie about a young boy struggling with his gender identity, and write journals and response essays regarding the film. Students will be assessed throughout the year based on their performance in class and project work, as well as periodic evaluations set forth by ACTFL (the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages). According to these standards, students at this level are expected to communicate more in-depth thoughts and opinions in a variety of time frames.Students at this level will begin to use the Bien dit! Level 2 textbook, as well as various other French texts, such as the Babar series.

+ French D

French 4 marks the beginning of higher-level forays into cinema and literature, as well as more advanced grammar and style. Students will be expected to communicate their perspectives on cultural and political aspects of society utilizing the breadth of the language skills they’ve been acquiring up to this point to express a profound level of thought. Topics of study include: Discussing childhood memories through Proust; farms and the countryside; camping and the great outdoors; anatomy and health; entertainment; and travel. While studying the French salons of the 17th century, students will read the letters of writers such as Mme de Sevigné, and then create their own period-appropriate character and write letters on her behalf. In another project, students will film a “survival guide” in the woods of Franklin Park. In this year, students will go to Quebec City for the second time, and are expected to help facilitate the trip, as well as prepare French 2 students for their voyage. Students will be assessed throughout the year based on their performance in class and project work, as well as periodic evaluations set forth by ACTFL (the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages). According to these standards, students at this level are expected to sustain a complex conversation with greater comfort than in the past, as well as interpret and respond to a variety of forms of art and literature. Students at this level will continue to use the Bien Dit! Level 2 textbook, as well as study a variety of texts, such as salon-era letters, Le Petit Nicolas, Le Petit Prince, and selected works of Colette.