The sixth grade World Languages program is an introductory course in French, Italian, or Spanish stressing listening and speaking skills. Students meet every other day. During this first year of foreign language study, students are introduced to the sound system of the target language, using the aural/oral method. A basic vocabulary, consisting of greetings, titles, every day conversational phrases (e.g., “How are you? My name is . . ., — and yours?”), numbers, colors, days and months, is acquired at this level. Vocabulary dealing with topics of student interest (e.g., sports, pastimes, school and friends) is introduced in conversational form. Reading and writing are used to reinforce comprehension and speaking skills. An important component of this program is the cultural understanding of the countries where the target language is spoken. At this level, geographic family customs, holidays, festivals, major products, important historical and present-day figures are introduced and often form the basis of hands-on projects enjoyed by the students. An examination of our own multicultural heritage stems from these cultural studies.
The seventh grade World Languages program is a natural progression from our sixth grade introductory course. The skills and vocabulary learned in the sixth grade are reviewed. During the year, classes meet every day. The skills of listening and speaking are still emphasized, however reading and writing skills now take on greater importance. Topics through which vocabulary and language structure are introduced include the following: personal identification, school, sports and pastimes, time, travel, giving and receiving directions, weather, currency, and using the telephone. Cultural topics include education, geography, transportation, currency, sports and other leisure activities, including telephone customs. World Languages structures for mastery at this level encompass subject pronouns, articles, adjectives, present tense of regular verbs, major irregular verbs and immediate future tense.
The eighth grade World Languages program serves as the culmination to the two and-a-half year course that is equivalent to Level I of study on a high school level. Skills acquired in sixth and seventh grades are reviewed and reinforced. The four language skills of listening, speaking, reading and writing are incorporated into all lessons. Topics through which vocabulary and language structure are introduced include the following: home and family, neighborhood, professions, foods and meals, movies, theater and other media, clothing and fashion, shopping, socializing, travel (a continuation of this topic from seventh grade), and holidays. World Languages structures for mastery at this level encompass object pronouns, irregular verbs, past tense and interrogative constructions. Cultural topics, which are interwoven throughout the course materials include: continued geographical studies, cultural attractions in major cities, teenage lifestyles, shopping, metric system, family celebrations and food/meals.
The district-wide World Languages program continues at the high school level with Levels II and III usually taken in freshman and sophomore years, respectively. The Level III course culminates with the New York State Comprehensive Regents Examination. We encourage all our World Languages students to continue their study at least through completion of this Regents level. Many students avail themselves of the advanced level courses that are offered beyond Level III.