Middle School Curriculum Detail

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World and Classical Languages

We are committed to developing learners who through language:
 
  • Understand people, places and cultures beyond their own in order to function as global citizens;
  • Study historical, philosophical, artistic, literary, etymological and cultural elements of the language and their applications in real life;
  • Feel comfortable taking risks, both within and outside of the classroom;
  • Apply rigor and passion to lifelong intellectual pursuits with increasing independence, and continue to use the analytic skills developed in close linguistic study;
  • Strengthen their appreciation of English through comparison and contrast with the language being studied;
  • Take an active interest in the challenges and possibilities endemic to globalization;
  • Express themselves with growing sophistication in increasingly complex situations:
    • In the case of world languages, utilize reading, writing, speaking and listening skills in real-world contexts.
    • In the case of classical languages, translate accurately into idiomatic English based on a thorough understanding of the grammar and syntax of Latin.
Learn more about World and Classical Languages

 
French and Spanish
Intro Level
Level 1
Level 2
Level 3
Understanding Oral Communication in the Target Language
Respond appropriately to simple commands in the target language.
 
Recognize basic language patterns (e.g., forms of address, questions, statements).
Comprehend targeted audio visual materials.
 
Follow instructions in the target language, given one step at a time, for a wide range of activities.
Comprehend the main idea of authentic simple oral and audio-materials with assistance from resources (e.g., glossaries, guided questions, outlines).
Comprehend the main idea of authentic oral and audio-visual materials.
Interacting in the Target Language in Various Settings
Imitate pronunciation, intonation, and inflection, including sounds unique to the target language.
 
Respond to and ask simple questions with prompts.
Pose and answer questions spontaneously in structured situations.
 
Produce language using proper pronunciation, intonation and inflection.
Respond to open-ended questions and initiate communication in various situations.
Converse on a variety of topics.
 
Narrate using target vocabulary and more complex grammar.
Understanding Text in the Target Language
 
Recognize the written form of familiar language.
 
Infer meaning of cognates from context.
Comprehend written classroom directions, read simple passages, infer meaning of cognates.
 
Interpret new vocabulary using contextual clues, and drawing on words and phrases from prior lessons.
Comprehend the main message of a variety of written materials with the help of resources to enrich vocabulary.
Comprehend key vocabulary as well as the main message of written materials.
Using the Target Language to Present Information, Concepts and Ideas
Copy/write words, phrases, and simple sentences with increasing accuracy.
 
Describe people, activities, and objects from school and home.
 
Explore study skills for memorizing spelling (accent marks, gender, and pronunciation) of new words.
Write short paragraphs on familiar topics using appropriate grammar and target vocabulary.
 
Make simple presentations on familiar topics.
 
 
 
Write short compositions with a specific focus and supporting details.
 
Present a simple story based on a model.
Write compositions that show lexical and grammatical accuracy.
 
Make presentations with documentation from target language sources.
 
Appreciating Culture
Introduce the cultures of the target language
Explore customs and traditions of different communities where the target language is spoken
Compare and contrast cultural practices in the target language with those in the United States.
Explore films and music in the target language.
 
 
 
Latin
Expectation
      Level I
    Level 2
    Level 3
     Level 4
Comprehending and  Memorizing Latin Vocabulary. Developing English Vocabulary through Derivatives
Develop memorization skills through various techniques (e.g. flashcards, word lists)
 
Make connections between Latin words and English derivatives
 
Recognize parts of speech and locate in the correct declension/conjugation
Learn to recognize and reproduce irregular forms
 
Learn Latin vocabulary to aid in English spelling
Build and break down  compound words based on previous knowledge of vocabulary
Interpret new vocabulary using contextual clues and previously learned vocabulary
Understanding & Employing Grammar and Syntax
Comprehend basic English grammatical structure
 
Transfer understanding of English grammar to that of Latin grammar
 
Begin to differentiate between syntactical usage in Latin and English
 
Comprehend case usage and employ correctly
 
Comprehend more complex English grammatical structure and apply to Latin translation
Recognize and comprehend increasingly complex grammatical structures and usage
Begin to break free from literal into more idiomatic translation
 
Work with a variety of grammatical possibilities of expression
 
 
 
Memorizing and Using Declensions and Conjugations
 
 
 
Understand the concept and nomenclature of declensions and conjugations
 
Correctly categorize vocabulary into declensions and conjugations
 
 
 
Memorization and Usage skills reinforced at each level
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Memorization and Usage skills reinforced at each level
 
 
 
Memorization and Usage skills reinforced at each level
 
 
 
Becoming Familiar with and Appreciating Classical Culture, History, and Geography
Begin to appreciate Classical culture
 
Draw connections between Graeco-Roman and modern cultures
Become acquainted with Roman and Greek art and architecture. (e.g. trips to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, walking tours of neoclassical architecture)
Draw parallels between ancient, neo-classical and modern art and architecture
 
Recognize moral and ethical paradigms from Classical literature and historical examples
Understand and appreciate multiculturalism
within the Roman Empire
Becoming Proficient in Translating Latin into Idiomatic English and Vice Versa
Translate simple sentences from Latin to English and English to Latin
 
Learn and practice the principles of parsing grammar
 
Begin to appreciate the plastic nature of translation
Translate more complex sentences with increasing accuracy from Latin to English and English to Latin
 
Continue parsing increasingly complex grammar
Become comfortable with translating continued narratives
Increase comfort with continued narratives in preparation for reading literary texts in high school
Reading Latin Aloud Comfortably
Learn basic pronunciation of vowels and consonants
 
Become comfortable with reading aloud
 
Use pronunciation to reinforce spelling skills
Gain fluidity and increased comfort when reading aloud
 
Use pronunciation to discriminate between similar forms
Read aloud for recognition of cases, tenses and sentence structure
Read fluently, taking into account cadence and meaning
 
 
Mandarin
Intro Level
Level 1
Level 2
Level 3
Understanding Oral Communication in the Target Language
Respond appropriately to simple commands in the target language.
 
Recognize basic language patterns (e.g., forms of address, questions, statements).
Comprehend targeted audio-visual materials.
 
Follow instructions in the target language, given one step at a time, for a wide range of activities.
Comprehend the main idea of authentic simple oral and audio-materials with assistance from resources (e.g., glossaries, guided questions, outlines).
Comprehend the main idea of authentic oral and audio-visual materials.
Interacting in the Target Language in Various Settings
Imitate pronunciation, intonation, and inflection, including sounds unique to the target language.
 
Respond to and ask simple questions with prompts.
Pose and answer questions spontaneously in structured situations.
 
Produce language using proper pronunciation, intonation, and inflection.
Respond to open-ended questions and initiate communication in various situations.
Converse on a variety of topics.
 
Narrate using target vocabulary and more complex grammar.
Understanding Text in the Target Language
Accurately pronounce pīnyīn.
 
Pronounce and understand approximately 20 high-frequency characters, and 15 semantic components.
Pronounce and understand approximately 45 high-frequency characters and recognize their semantic components.
 
Recognize high-frequency multi-character words.
Pronounce and understand approximately 70 high-frequency characters as well as a few rare, low-interest characters, and recognize their semantic components.
 
Read simple stories in characters.
Pronounce and understand approximately 100 high-frequency characters as well as a few rare, low-interest characters, and recognize their semantic components.
 
Read a variety of simple documents in characters.
Using the Target Language to Present Information, Concepts and Ideas
Ask and answer simple questions.
 
Describe people, activities, and objects from school and home.
 
Copy/write words and phrases with increasing accuracy.
Express simple opinions, preferences, and ideas.
 
Write sentence-length language on familiar topics using comprehensible syntax and relevant vocabulary.
 
 
 
Express and explain opinions.
 
Talk and write simply about motion and location.
 
Narrate short, simple stories based on models.
 
Express plans and contingencies.
 
Narrate past events, using aspect comprehensibly to indicate their temporal sequence.
 
Narrate, in speech and writing, creative short stories.
 
Appreciating Culture
Introduce the cultures of the target language
Explore customs and traditions of different communities where the target language is spoken
Compare and contrast cultural practices in the target language with those in the United States.
Explore films and music in the target language.
  • Spanish

    Spanish study in grades 4-7 continues the work of our FLES (Foreign Language Early Start) program in Grades K-3. The middle school Spanish curriculum is STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math) centered, incorporating social justice themes, history, and literature. Along with learning vocabulary, communicative structures, and cultures of the Spanish-speaking world, students do hands-on experiments, read books and short stories, explore environmental topics, and more – all in Spanish! This kind of content-based learning is considered best practice by researchers and supported by our national professional organization, ACTFL (the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages). Our aim in the program is to build communicative proficiency, cultural understanding and to instill a love of languages from an early age.
  • French 1 MS

    In this second year of French, students explore daily life in the francophone world through themes like family, food, clothing, and travel. Particular attention is paid to grammar rules, vocabulary acquisition, and consistent application in class reinforced by nightly homework and daily practice. Cultural projects acquaint students with various regions of France and the French-speaking world. By the end of the year, they can successfully manage a number of communicative tasks and thoughts in straightforward social situations in the present, past, and near-future tenses of both regular and irregular verbs. The conversation focuses on predictable topics such as survival in the target language culture, basic personal information, basic objects, and limited activities, preferences, and immediate needs. Collaborative learning, particularly in cultural projects and role-play, is central to the class dynamic. Students are expected to listen to one another, keep their attention focused, and learn how to work efficiently in pairs and small groups. Class participation is key: students ask and answer questions, converse in small groups, and make presentations in the target language.
  • French 2 MS

    In French 2 MS, students gain confidence in narrating in both the present and the past. Students get to know each other by asking basic questions as well as describing themselves and others. Themes include a unit on food in which students learn how to talk about what one eats during meals in France and the Francophone world, expressions to purchase various ingredients, and the study of pronouns. Students also explore the world of travel and learn how to tell stories in the past by learning how to identify, conjugate, and distinguish between the passé composé and the imparfait.

    They read a bande dessinée/comicas well as read and recite short poems. They also partake in a project where they create and present their own fairy tale. Throughout the year, students generate dialogues, engage in interpersonal speaking, work with songs that reinforce the grammar covered, and build their vocabulary. They also watch short clips of news reports from TV5 Monde on cultural topics throughout France and the francophone world. It is the expectation that students use the target language as much as possible in class to maintain the immersive nature of the class.
  • French 3 MS

    The French 3 MS course seeks to help students learn to narrate effectively and at length in the target language. The overarching objective is to help students retain vocabulary for narrating life events comprehensively in past, present, and future tenses. Assignments and films provide narratives of practical but also creative subjects, including school, home, travel abroad, and fictional adventures such as those of La Belle et la Bête, La Princesse et La Grenouille, et Le Roi Lion. Students learn to work with tenses, conjugations, pronouns, and vocabulary as a coherent system for self-expression. In addition, students recount the events of a typical day, holiday, weekend, etc., in small groups and ask questions of one another to elicit more detail. They also write several episodes of a past tense story featuring characters they choose or invent. Students generally develop the vocabulary for speaking and writing proficiently enough for a sympathetic speaker of French. Students in this level work towards narrating fairly accurately and at length without undue recourse to external resources such as the teacher or Assignments for vocabulary. After their four-year study of French, students will participate in an integrated four-skills assessment that will demonstrate their level of proficiency in all modes of communication: interpersonal, interpretive, and presentational.
  • French Intro MS

    Our program designs the students’ first encounter with French to engage them and inspire enthusiasm about learning a new language. Students are introduced to French orally to become familiar with the sounds of the language. We avoid using English as much as possible to encourage students to connect words and ideas in the new language instead of the English equivalent; this immersion setting is the most effective way to learn a language. At this level, students can communicate on very familiar topics using a variety of words and phrases that they have practiced and memorized. Students carry on simple exchanges with one another and communicate basic information about themselves, such as their likes, dislikes, and activities from their daily lives. Songs, films, and videos are used in conjunction with workbook exercises to enhance listening comprehension skills. An Assignment, or Plan de Travail, is regularly distributed to students. The Assignment contains communicative objectives, vocabulary, grammatical tools, daily homework, and projects connected to varied cultural aspects of the French-speaking world. It also serves as a reference and resource for our students. Students gain vital practice of class material by completing daily homework.
  • Language 4th grade

    All students in 4th grade continue their study of Spanish from First Program.
  • Latin 1 MS (6)

    Second-year Latin students first consolidate and then extend the scope of the Latin grammar and syntax learned in the first year. Students expand their mastery of syntax to include all five conjugations of verbs and the 3rd declension of nouns. They learn the last three tenses of verbs (imperfect, pluperfect, and future perfect) as well as the passive voice of all six tenses. Learning the 3rd declension adds further challenge to their recognition and analysis of case usage and grammatical construction. Also, new this year, students will learn to work with and recognize exceptions to the basic paradigms of syntax; irregularities in the stems of Latin nouns and verbs abound. Extensive play with etymology and mythology enriches the setting in which Latin stories are translated and discussed, adding a cultural and historical component to our study of this ancient language.
  • Latin 1 MS (7/8)

    Second-year Latin students first consolidate and then extend the scope of the Latin grammar and syntax learned in the first year. Students expand their mastery of syntax to include all five conjugations of verbs and the 3rd declension of nouns. They learn the last three tenses of verbs (imperfect, pluperfect and future perfect) as well as the passive voice of all six tenses. Learning the 3rd declension adds further challenge to their recognition and analysis of case usage and grammatical construction. Also, new this year, students will learn to work with and recognize exceptions to the basic paradigms of syntax; irregularities in the stems of Latin nouns and verbs abound. Extensive play with etymology and mythology enriches the setting in which Latin stories are translated and discussed, adding a cultural and historical component to our study of this ancient language.
  • Latin 2 MS

    Students in Latin 2 MS continue to consolidate and extend their vocabulary, syntax, and grammar. Translation of continued narrative becomes a focus. Students learn to recognize and translate the 4th and 5th declensions of nouns, as well as the irregular demonstrative and personal pronouns. As the sentence structures become more complex, students learn to master comparative and superlative adjectives along with their grammatical idioms. Various participles increase the length and complexities of the sentence structures. The teaching of Roman history enhances and forms a basis for later years of translating authentic Latin historical texts, literature, and poetry.
  • Latin 3 MS

    After reviewing higher-level grammar and syntax from previous years, students study the subjunctive mood and the extensive variety of subordinate clauses involved. Further study includes the construction of gerunds and gerundives. Students also study deponent verbs and other highly irregular yet very common verbs. Extensive translation of adapted Latin stories prepares the students for reading authentic literature and Roman authors in later grades. The fascinating details of history presented in these readings and in the ongoing narratives of Latin history give evidence to the richness of Roman culture. After their four-year study of Latin, students will participate in an external Latin assessment that will demonstrate their level of proficiency in interpretive reading as well as their knowledge of some elements of Roman history and mythology.
  • Latin Intro MS (5)

    In the first year of Latin, we balance the study of simple grammatical constructions with opportunities for translation, both from Latin to English and English to Latin. Students first acquire a working knowledge of basic English grammar as an underpinning to their learning of Latin grammar. They then explore new concepts such as declension, gender, case, and number for nouns and adjectives and conjugation, person, and tense for verbs. Translating simple Latin sentences requires understanding case usage (from the 1st and 2nd declensions of nouns) and inflection of verbs in the present, perfect, and future tenses (from the 1st and 2nd conjugations). Students also learn to recognize and translate prepositional phrases, adverbs, and the imperative mood. Connections are made between Latin vocabulary and English derivatives, sparking an interest in etymology in general. Developing an understanding of Roman culture and history further enhances the importance and excitement inherent in the study of Latin.
  • Latin Intro MS (7/8)

    In the first year of Latin, we balance the study of simple grammatical constructions with opportunities for translation, both from Latin to English and English to Latin. Students first acquire a working knowledge of basic English grammar as an underpinning to their learning of Latin grammar. They then explore new concepts such as declension, gender, case, and number for nouns and adjectives and conjugation, person, and tense for verbs. Translating simple Latin sentences requires understanding case usage (from the 1st and 2nd declensions of nouns) and inflection of verbs in the present, perfect, and future tenses (from the 1st and 2nd conjugations). Students also learn to recognize and translate prepositional phrases, adverbs, and the imperative mood. Connections are made between Latin vocabulary and English derivatives, sparking an interest in etymology in general. Developing an understanding of Roman culture and history further enhances the importance and excitement inherent in the study of Latin.
  • Mandarin 1 MS

    In Mandarin 1 MS, students advance from rote, idiomatic language to the ability to participate in and understand simple, culturally-rich dialogues. In Introductory Mandarin, students learned many useful classroom phrases; in Mandarin 1MS, they use these phrases in order to conduct class in Mandarin as much as possible. Mandarin 1 MS students learn how to talk about their families and their hobbies, and they learn how to express simple preferences. They are able to answer and ask simple questions about a limited number of topics. In Mandarin 1 MS, students are still working on perfecting their pronunciation; last year, they were able to mimic, whereas this year, they are encouraged to produce the sounds and tones of Mandarin more independently. By now, they can use pinyin to transcribe these sounds with great accuracy. Successful Mandarin 1MS students can reproduce both familiar and unfamiliar Chinese characters with good stroke order and have a fairly deep understanding of the radicals that compose them. They can understand and read aloud no fewer than 80 Chinese characters.
  • Mandarin 2 MS

    Mandarin 2 students begin to develop a skill critical to any language learner – picking out the parts they know from novel, sophisticated language, as well as the parts with which they are unfamiliar. With this skill, Mandarin 2MS students learn to discern the main ideas of simple passages, both in writing and in speech. These students are becoming quite comfortable with the basic, high-frequency vocabulary they have acquired in the last two years. They are able to use ‘old’ words to create novel, sentence-length Mandarin. They can express opinions and preferences with conviction. It is in this year, too, that Mandarin students learn to use dictionaries and other resources to understand material that would otherwise be beyond them. By the end of the year, Mandarin 2 MS students can write small scripts, short letters, and other simple documents, all in Chinese characters. In all, they understand and can read aloud around 120 Chinese characters.
  • Mandarin 3 MS

    In Mandarin 3 MS, students focus primarily on the synthesis of familiar vocabulary, grammar, and speech patterns to create relatively rich, cohesive Mandarin. They can understand and express conditions, narrate simple past and future events, and comment in some detail on the reasons, causes, and context of a known event. In class, students listen to, summarize, and modify fairly sophisticated narrations. A successful student of Mandarin 3 MS is fully capable of functioning in an all-Mandarin classroom environment, responding accurately and thoughtfully to the teacher’s instructions. With some effort, the Mandarin 3MS student can effectively, though not fluently, communicate outside of the classroom environment with native Mandarin speakers. By the end of the year, Mandarin 3 MS students can write short stories, journal entries, blog posts, and insightful captions, having acquired mastery of no fewer than 200 Chinese characters. After their four-year study of Mandarin, students will participate in an integrated four-skills assessment that will demonstrate their level of proficiency in all modes of communication: interpersonal, interpretive, and presentational.
  • Mandarin Intro MS

    In Introductory Mandarin, students listen to stories, sing songs, and engage in a variety of interactive activities in order to develop a basic understanding of the geography, culture, and ‘standard language’ of China Mandarin. By the end of the year, they are able to produce and respond to idiomatic phrases including, greetings, requesting permission, and simple commands. They are able to imitate the sounds and tones of Mandarin with some accuracy. Introductory Mandarin students can represent all the common sounds of Mandarin using the common pinyin system of orthography. In addition, they are able to recognize and write some common Chinese characters, as well as have a basic theoretical understanding of the elements that compose Chinese characters. 
  • Spanish 1 MS (7/8)

    The excitement of discovery of the introductory course is built upon as students transition to balance effective communication with increasing accuracy. Students learn to express daily routines in and out of school and acquire the vocabulary needed to describe them. Topics related to the students’ own lives and experiences include leisure time activities, places in the community, celebrations, and ordering food in restaurants. Reading skills are broadened by reading short novels that include familiar vocabulary and take place in a Spanish-speaking country, enhancing our study of the history and culture of the Spanish-speaking world. In class students engage in dialogues, conversations, presentations and group activities that emphasize oral communication. Students develop and apply a variety of study and organizational skills to categorize and compile new information. Students will be accessing a digital textbook and workbook that includes authentic resources to sharpen their skills in the language.

Faculty

  • Photo of Lori Langer de Ramirez
    Lori Langer de Ramirez
    Director of World and Classical Languages
    SUNY, New Paltz - B.A.
    CUNY, Queens College - M.S.
    Teachers College, Columbia University - Ed.D.
  • Paul Alberti
    MS/HS Spanish Teacher
    Stony Brook University - B.A.
    Columbia University - M.A.
  • Photo of Allison Albino
    Allison Albino
    French Teacher
    New York University - M.A.
    Sarah Lawrence College - B.A.
  • Photo of Johanna Braff
    Johanna Braff
    Middle and High School Latin Teacher
    Swarthmore College - B.A.
    University of Pennsylvania - Post Baccalaureate
    University of Maryland - M.A.
    C.U.N.Y. - M.Phil.
  • Photo of Wyatt Crane
    Wyatt Crane
    MS Spanish Teacher
    Washington University in St. Louis, College of Arts and Sciences - B.A
    New York University - M.S.
  • Photo of Katie Dieken
    Katie Dieken
    Spanish Teacher
  • Jessica Greif
    MS/HS French teacher
    Amherst College - B.A.
    New York University: Steinhardt School of Education - M.A.
    Middlebury College - M.A.
  • Aida Kan
    MS/HS French Teacher
    Moscow State University - M.S.
    Moscow Textile University - M.A.
    Moscow Textile University - Ph.D. (ABD)
  • Cherokee Lynn
    Spanish Teacher
    The College of Saint Rose - B.A.
    Middlebury College - M.A.
  • Photo of Fatima Mhinat
    Fatima Mhinat
    Middle and High School French Teacher
    University of Delaware - M.A.
    Université de Savoie, France - M.A.
    Université de Savoie, France - D.E.A
  • Photo of Maria Nebres
    Maria Nebres
    Middle and High School Spanish Teacher
    University at Albany - B.A.
    University of Salamanca - M.A.
  • Photo of Cortney Norris
    Cortney Norris
    Middle and High School Latin Teacher
    University of Washington - B.A.
    University of California Berkeley - M.A.
  • Photo of Carlos San Juan
    Carlos San Juan
    Middle and High School Spanish Teacher
    Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico(UNAM) - B.S.
    City University of New York-Baruch College - M.S. Applied Mathematics For Finance
    State University of New York - B.A. Mathematics and Technology
    Klingenstein Center for Independent School Leadership, Columbia University - M.Ed. Organization and Leadership
  • Photo of Liqi Semenov
    Liqi Semenov
    World and Classical Languages
    New York University (NYU) - M.A.
    Yale University - M.A.
    Communication University of China - B.A.
  • Photo of S. Smith
    S. Smith
    Middle and High School Latin Teacher
    Washington University, Saint Louis - B.A.
    Teachers College, Columbia University - M.A.
    Teachers College, Columbia University - Ph.D.
  • Photo of Cindy Wu
    Cindy Wu
    World Languages Teacher
    National Hsinchu University - B.A.
    New York University - M.A.
(Grades K-3) 53 East 91st Street
New York, NY 10128
General: (212) 423-5200 | Admissions: (212) 423-5463
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(Gr. 4 Dalton East & PE Center) 200 East 87th Street
New York, NY 10128
General: (212) 423-5200 | Admissions: (212) 423-5361
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(Grade 5-12) 108 East 89th Street
New York, NY 10128
General: (212) 423-5200 | Admissions: (212) 423-5262
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