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Language and Literature in French, German, Mandarin, and Spanish

Language and Literature in French, German, Mandarin, and Spanish

Students who are in an advanced language course must have received previous instruction in this language during their primary school education. This advanced language is the object of a class itself and is also used in social studies or mathematics classes. All language skills, receiving and producing (speaking, writing, listening, reading, interpreting images) are treated with equal importance in advanced language classes and are at the center of a program where language, literature, and an appreciation of the arts and culture are taught. Advanced language courses include Chinese, French, German, and Spanish. Each is a three-year, non-tracked course. 

Throughout the three years in the language and literature in an advanced language course, students not only learn to communicate but communicate to learn. They increase their proficiency and deepen their understanding of the mechanisms of the language. The sixth-grade program develops a solid foundation of skills that is reinforced throughout seventh grade and then strengthened and expanded in eighth grade as students engage with texts from different genres, times, places, cultures, and perspectives. A spiral approach to learning where each year, concepts are added upon and seen with more depth is used by all language teachers. Specific language content is different for all languages and all skills are developed in each unit. 

The principles of immersion represent the first step towards international mindedness. Students are taught exclusively by native speakers who bring their experiences and backgrounds to the classroom. Collaboration between teachers of all different languages, towards similar goals and assessment tasks, opens both teachers’ and students’ minds to different perspectives and practices. The concepts and literary pieces selected for each unit attempt to address our human commonalities and universal values, rather than our differences. Questions and lines of reflection during each unit allow students to seek and express points of view from multiple angles while deepening their understanding of their own culture and beliefs. Whenever possible, the same literary piece in different languages will be used. 

Language and Literature learners at French International School strive to: 
  • Interact, inquire, think, and communicate with confidence in the languages they learn. 
  • Speak up, use the language in many forms, take risks, and improve from errors 
  • Demonstrate curiosity and an open mind for the world, its literature, and its diverse cultures. 
Aims and Objectives:
  • Develop multiliteracy skills in a variety of contexts and media: listening and speaking; reading and writing; viewing and presenting 
  • Continue to improve and apply linguistic skills to construct and demonstrate critical thinking. 
  • Demonstrate a deeper understanding of how the linguistic elements of the language work with each other and with other languages. 
  • Engage with texts in literature, arts, and culture throughout history to gain wider perspectives. 
  • Develop a desire to understand the world and get involved and interact with different communities. 
Students will: 
  • Hold Informal as well as formal oral communications and presentations within the class.; oral activities, role plays, debates, discussions, literature circles, and improvisations; formal presentations are activities used by all language teachers. Accurate pronunciation, intonation, and pace as well as sentence structure and use of accurate vocabulary share their place in the course. 
  • Develop their listening comprehension skills such as comprehension of a movie, a song, or a TV show. Informal listening is an integral part of the program since all communication occurs in the advanced language. 
  • Write frequently and in connection with topics and/ or texts studied in the class. Students are expected to follow the writing process (multiple drafts, revising, editing, publishing), meet the requests of a specific style, and write at their level (from complete basic correct sentence structures in grade 6 to showing developing mastery of complex sentences by grade 8). Audience, purpose, and the different styles of writing are addressed across the three years: narrative, expository, argumentative, and creative. Language mechanics and style are part of each writing assignment.
  • Continue to read a variety of authentic material. Novels, poems, songs, short stories, and excerpts of literary texts support all units. The goal is for our students to develop reading strategies, improve literal comprehension and move on to literary appreciation of the genre and style. Students read classic literature, as well as contemporary pieces originally written in the language or occasionally translated into the language. 
  • Work on style and language mechanics: use language to narrate, describe, analyze, explain, argue, persuade, inform, entertain, and express feelings, use language accurately; use appropriate and varied register, vocabulary, and idiom; use correct grammar and syntax; use appropriate and varied sentence structure; use correct spelling. 
  • Describe and analyze images and visual texts which bring a cultural component to the language class and lead to enriching discussions and in-depth learning. Visual communication encompasses all aspects of viewing and presenting. Viewing and presenting means interpreting or constructing visuals and multimedia in a variety of situations and for a range of purposes and audiences. They allow students to understand how images and language interact to convey ideas, values, and beliefs. Visual texts present information: learning to interpret this information and to understand and use different media are invaluable skills. Students learn how to look at and analyze images, they develop strategies to show understanding and interpretation of images. 

At French International School of Oregon, teachers commit to a variety of summative assessment tasks tied to learning objectives, skills, and criteria. Before an assessment or along with it, teachers will hand out clearly described tasks and criteria for assessment. All units of work include formative assessments leading to the summative piece. 

Sequence of Units:

Teachers of all languages work collaboratively to develop units of work centered around universal themes or issues. All units are constructed from a central big idea, and the skills addressed in the units are similar for all languages. Individual language content and cultural components are weaved together in by each teacher. The order in which units are introduced may vary with each language, as they differ in their language content. Grammar, vocabulary, sentence structures, and grammatical functions are integral to each unit.

Grade 6: Language

  • Communication varies according to audience and purpose.
  • A variety of communities share the same language which is in turn enriched and changed by these communities.
  • Language is used to construct and create texts that convey a cultural heritage( tales, fables, ballads).
  • Cultural heritage takes many forms We all have roots in our languages.
  • Language and visual arts are forms of human expression and creation: the study of visual arts and art history.
  • Language is used to create, and express thoughts and feelings, and help human beings find who they are (stories and autobiographies). All of us humans have similar and different stories.

Grade 7: Humans

  • Humans travel, explore and get to know each other… then tell and report and understand that we are part of one world.
  • Humans grow, change, and develop from young to old. They celebrate passages in life.
  • Humans throughout history have lived and expressed universal experiences and values: love, friendship, and need of one another (medieval literature and visual arts).
  • Humans create fiction from what they see and hear, humans need stories to understand themselves and each other.
  • Fiction, non-fiction, news articles, and a variety of short story genres.

Grade 8: Voices

  • How we choose to communicate impacts our relationships: Arguing, persuading, and explaining.
  • Families and communities, big and small, share a culture and a language that helps them sort out their issues.
  • Humans need to think about their future, they express what concerns them in the present to alleviate their fears of the future.: a study of science fiction.
  • Literature and artistic creations can be a vehicle when humans can not have their voices heard: literature and visual arts that were meant to express opinions.
  • Humans laugh, cry, and all are part of the same world of emotions.
  • Literature created to entertain us mirrors who we are and what we feel: theater

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