Course Descriptions

Graduation requirement: Two years (20 units)

Three years recommended for college admission.

The department offers Spanish and French. Student placement in the sequence of courses is based upon testing results and prior grades.

Colleges and universities have varying international languages requirements for entrance, but nearly all require at least two years of the same language and many institutions require three or four years.  Colleges and universities also have exit requirements in international languages that may be met by study in high school.  Students should consult with the college counselor and individual institutions regarding entrance and exit requirements in international languages.

Native speakers of Spanish and French are strongly encouraged to take the language placement test.

Native speakers of Spanish are encouraged to choose one of the following options:

a. Study of Spanish for Native Speakers (then Spanish 7-8 and AP Spanish provided that the student meets the prerequisites).

b. Study of French as a third language (in their freshman year, or after taking their last year of Spanish language).

Native speakers of French should carefully plan a course of study for their four years at Saint Mary’s. The department encourages the following options:

a. Study of a third language (Spanish).
b. Completion of French program. Language placement test should be taken to determine appropriate level.

French Courses

FRENCH 1-2 (P)

The study of French begins with the introduction of communicative functions required to meet basic needs.  The student learns skills such as ordering food, meeting people and getting information about them, providing basic personal information, and giving and receiving directions and information.  Students learn to relate activities in the present, passé composé, and near future.  Cultural, nonverbal aspects of communication are approached as well.  Because communication is the goal of the foreign language class, classroom interaction is expected to take place in French. Classroom activities are generally oral and may consist of individual responses or group work, including skits and role-playing.  Grammar is presented not for its own sake, but as a means of transmitting a spoken or written message as accurately as possible.  Receptive skills of reading and listening are developed as well; audio materials, which stress listening comprehension and oral response, are used in the classroom. Videos are used for cultural enrichment.

FRENCH 3-4 (P)

Guideline: Grade of C- or higher in level 1-2 class or grade of 70% or better on a second year placement test.

During the second year of foreign language study, students continue to develop foreign language skills in the areas of listening, speaking, reading, and writing. Communicative functions are expanded to include renting and paying for a hotel room, reading and understanding classified ads, talking about one’s health and fitness, and narrating about the past.  Accuracy of communication becomes more important as students learn to use past tenses, object pronouns, and reflexive verbs.  As in the first year, students will be expected to participate in oral activities in the classroom individually and in groups.  Classroom interaction is expected to take place in French.

FRENCH 5-6 (P)

Guideline:  Grade of B- in French 3-4, 80% or better on a third year placement test.

This course continues to develop the communicative skills begun in the first two years of study, especially functional language as might be needed by the serious traveler or student living in France or a French-speaking country.  Grammar includes study of the subjunctive mood, relative pronouns and further study of object pronouns.  Greater emphasis is placed on reading and writing skills this year. Reading becomes more complex and varied; students read at least one supplemental text as well as materials provided by the teacher.  Study of cultural and historical aspects of the French-speaking world continues. French is the working language of this class, which requires a solid foundation in the grammar and vocabulary learned in the first two years.

FRENCH 7-8 (P)

Guideline:  Grade of B- or higher in French 5-6.

The fourth-year course of study continues the advanced study of grammar and syntax.  However, more emphasis is placed on readings and discussion of the readings, and essay writing takes place on a regular basis.  Included in the reading materials are at least one novel or play from the Advanced Placement reading list as well as supplementary material provided by the teacher.  Students may be required to study independently. French is the working language in this course. Little to no English is permitted in the classroom. Preparation for the Advanced Placement Examination in French Language may be available for qualified students.

FRENCH 9-10 (P)

Guideline: Grade of B- or higher in French 7-8.

Students will continue to develop listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills with the goals of refining language proficiency and preparing those who so desire to take the French Language Advanced Placement examination.  The class, in which little to no English is permitted in the classroom, emphasizes communicative proficiency in reading, writing, listening and speaking.  Reading materials include poetry, fiction, theater and nonfiction.   Enrollment does not require the student to take the AP exam.

AP FRENCH Language (H) (P)

Guideline:  Grade of A- or higher in French 5-6 or French 7-8. Concurrent enrollment in French Seminar required.

Students enrolled in AP French will participate in their regular upper division French class and also be required to attend supplemental sessions during z-blocks. During the course of their class and the supplemental sessions, students will refine their reading, writing, speaking and listening skills in order to prepare to take the Advanced Placement examination in French Language. Materials will include college level texts and primary reading sources as well as supplementary video and audio materials. A thorough review of grammar is conducted and weekly expository and creative writing assignments are given. Students can expect significant class work and homework. The course is taught in French. Students are required to take the French Language AP exam. See “AP and Honors Courses” (p. 11and 12) for more information.  Students in AP French must also register for the French Seminar (3100), which meets weekly. Summer work is required.

Spanish Courses

SPANISH FOR NATIVE SPEAKERS (P)

This course will be recorded as Spanish 3-4 on transcripts. Guideline: Grade 9  ONLY.  Placement test. Teacher recommendation.

Students who qualify to take this class are already able to understand authentic oral and written texts and speak Spanish clearly. These students, however, are in need of a stronger grammatical basis to be able to express ideas in speaking and writing using complete sentences and paragraphs. A placement test will be given to see if candidates meet the minimum competences required for this course.

This course includes a thorough review of the grammar rules, the spelling, and the use of accents in Spanish.  Students will read and write extensively, give oral presentations, and participate in debates, all while learning about the fundamental grammatical structures of Spanish and the many ways this language can be used in both formal and informal settings. Students learn about the culture of the over 20 Spanish-speaking countries in the world through the literature they read and grammar they encounter.

Students will examine not only linguistic but socio-cultural issues, developing a great appreciation of their Hispanic Heritage. The class will be taught exclusively in Spanish.

SPANISH 1-2 (P)

The study of a foreign language begins with the introduction of communicative functions required to meet basic needs.  The student learns skills such as ordering food, meeting and getting information about people, providing basic personal information, and giving and receiving directions and information. Students learn to relate activities in the present, preterit, and near future.  Cultural, nonverbal aspects of communication are approached as well.  Because communication is the goal of the foreign language class, classroom interaction is expected to take place in Spanish. Classroom activities are frequently oral and may consist of individual response or group work, including skits and role-playing.  Grammar is presented not for its own sake, but as a means of transmitting a spoken or written message as accurately as possible.  Receptive skills of reading and listening are developed as well; tapes which stress listening comprehension are used in the classroom.

SPANISH 3-4 (P)

Guideline:  Grade of C- or higher in Spanish 1-2 or grade of 70% or better on a second year placement test (summer school may be required).

During the second year of Spanish, students continue to develop vocabulary and grammar of increasing complexity.  Students learn to communicate using the past tenses, object pronouns and reflexive verbs.  Equal emphasis is placed on speaking, listening, reading, and writing. As in the first year, classroom interaction is expected in Spanish; students will participate in oral activities in the classroom, individually and in groups.  These activities may include dialogue role-playing, creative skit writing, oral presentations and the writing of original work.  Throughout the course, students explore the cultures of the Spanish-speaking countries.

SPANISH 5-6 (P)

Guideline:   Grade of C or higher in Spanish 3-4 or grade of 80% or higher on a third-year placement test.

The third year course reviews and completes the introduction of all the major grammar points of the Spanish language.  Spanish is the working language in this course, which requires a solid foundation in the grammar and vocabulary learned in the first two years.  The course develops and refines the students’ proficiency in the four language skills (speaking, listening, reading and writing) by discussing and writing about current events, everyday situations, films and short literary pieces.  Continued exposure to cultural aspects of the Spanish-speaking world is emphasized.

SPANISH 5-6 Honors (h) (P)

Guideline: Grade of B+ or higher in Spanish 3-4 or grade of 80% or higher on a third-year placement test.

This advanced third year course completes the introduction of all the major grammar points of the Spanish language.  Spanish is the working language in this course, which requires a solid foundation in the grammar and vocabulary learned in the first two years. Students will be required to think critically and analytically in the context of the language and culture they will be studying.  Students will refine their proficiency in the four language skills (speaking, listening, reading and writing) by discussing and writing about cultural and current events, everyday situations, films and readings.  Emphasis will be placed on vocabulary, syntax and correct grammar in writing as well as speaking. Students engage in creative projects as well as read and analyze selections from literature in Spanish.

SPANISH 7-8 (P)

Guideline:  Grade of A- in Spanish 5-6 or B- Spanish 5-6 Honors and instructor approval.

The fourth year Spanish course continues the advanced study of grammar as needed for reading and communicative proficiency.  The focus of the course will be the reading and analysis of literature by well-known  authors from  various Spanish-speaking  countries.  Literary and  cultural issues related to the readings will be explored through class and group discussions, debates, short oral reports and feature-length films in Spanish. Spanish is the working language of this class.

SPANISH 9-10 (P)

Guideline:  Grade of A in Spanish 5-6 or B- Spanish 5-6 Honors and instructor approval.

The Spanish 9-10 course continues the advanced study of grammar as needed for reading and communicative proficiency.  The focus of the course will be the reading and analysis of literature by well-known authors from various Spanish-speaking countries.  Literary and cultural issues related to the readings will be explored through class and group discussions, debates, short oral reports and feature-length films in Spanish. Spanish is the working language of this class.

AP SPANISH LANGUAGE (H) (P)

Guideline:  Grade of A or higher in Spanish 5-6 Honors or an A- in Spanish 7-8; and an A or better on the AP entrance examination and instructor approval.

Using materials from college-level texts and primary sources, students in this course refine their listing, reading, writing, and speaking skills so that they are prepared to take the AP Spanish Language exam.  A thorough review of grammar is conducted, and numerous expository writing assignments are given.  Video and audio materials provide authentic sources for listening practice. Students read articles, as well as stories and poems, usually drawn from AP course recommendations.  Students taking AP Spanish must be prepared to complete significant class work and homework.  The course is taught in Spanish and all students enrolled in this course are required to take the Advanced Placement exam.  See “AP and Honors Courses” (p. 11and 12) for more information.

Summer work is required.