In Spanish 5 students build on the knowledge of Spanish that they acquired in the K-4 Lower School program. Students continue to practice and develop their speaking, listening, reading and writing skills through a variety of communicative exercises and thematic units. The class introduces them to grammatical concepts, such as verb conjugations, and students learn how to identify the elements that make up a sentence in order to develop their writing skills. The three verb groups, -ar/-er/-ir, and irregular verbs ser, estar, tener and ir are presented in an organic fashion. Cultural topics play an important role in the language learning process and are presented through thematic units and hands-on projects throughout the year. This allows the student to experience the culture of the target language.
At this level, students continue to work on grammatical structures and communication skills. The course begins with a review of the regular -ar/-er/-ir verbs. From there students are introduced to irregular verbs such as "estar" and "ir," to the "-go" verbs such as "hacer," "venir" and "tener," and to stem-changing verbs. Students also study "the near future" (ir+a+infinitive). Vocabulary and culture are introduced through short readings and videos, with special emphasis on daily life and the similarities and differences between the cultures of the United States and those of Spanish-speaking countries. The vocabulary includes food, health terms, places, after-school activities, family relationships, and possessive and descriptive adjectives. Throughout the year, students continue to develop their skills through individual and group projects and presentations.
In Spanish 7 the emphasis in listening, reading, writing and speaking will continue through the use of short books and magazines. Hands-on projects and the exploration of cultural aspects of Spanish-speaking countries will still be an integral part of the curriculum. This is a year of grammatical expansion. After two years of learning and reviewing different parts of the present indicative tense and near future indicative, Spanish 7 students initiate their studies of the preterite (past tense). Past, present and future indicative tenses will be integrated into their writing and readings. Besides, they will continue learning new grammatical structures such as: direct object pronouns, indirect object pronouns, demonstrative adjectives and pronouns, comparisons, and superlatives. Students will have the opportunity to review vocabulary such as countries and nationalities, physical descriptions and adjectives, numbers, calendar information, food, parts of the house and the weather. They will then add vocabulary to talk about vacations, moments in life, parts of the city and leisure activities.
Spanish 8, the final course in the Middle School sequence, provides students with opportunities to consolidate the vocabulary and grammar studied in previous years through an extensive review and learn new material that will deepen their written and oral expression. Usage of the target language is maximized through open class discussions and student presentations. New grammar includes the preterit tense, direct and indirect object pronouns, comparative expressions, and prepositional pronouns. In addition, their vocabulary and communication skills grow through various cultural topics, including how to order in a restaurant, describe the taste and quality of different foods, make a comparative study of the nutritional guidelines in the United States and Spanish-speaking countries, and investigate cultural celebrations in different countries among other topics. At the end of this course, students are prepared to enter the third level of Spanish in the Upper School, Spanish III.