The most effective language instruction focuses on the role of the individual in a multilingual, global society. The approach to second language instruction found at The Winchendon School is designed to facilitate genuine interaction with others, whether they are on another continent, across town, or within the neighborhood. In addition to reading and writing skills, a social-cultural-historical emphasis is a significant curricular goal in the world language classroom. Winchendon offers Spanish, French, ESL, and languages through our collaboration with Hybrid Learning Consortium, including American Sign Language.
At this level, the first two units
emphasize speaking and listening to French. Students learn greetings, introducing themselves, talking about friends, ordering in a café, numbers, telling time, days of the week, months and dates, weather, and seasons. The next part of the class is the core material. It provides the linguistic base needed for basic communication skills. Emphasis is on asking and answering questions. Students discuss daily activities and leisure pastimes, talk about people, possessions, and getting around town, describe where they live, and finally shop for clothes. The next section introduces somewhat more complex language functions. Each class is broken up into different activities, such as reading aloud, dictations,
listening to dialogs, watching or
listening to pieces of French films, and, of course, conversation. Students work in pairs, groups, individually, or as a whole class, depending on the activity. They also record their own activities online, so they can work on their pronunciation. In this course, students gradually learn most of the basic tenses in the indicative mood, including the present, future, and present perfect. Students also learn how to use stem-changing verbs and reflexive verbs. Finally, they also gain knowledge and understanding of the cultures of the Francophone world.
Prerequisite: French I or equivalent
French II reviews the basic communicative structures contained in the core material of French I. In the first semester, students focus on communication, more precisely on how to ask and answer questions about themselves, their friends, and their daily activities. There is also a review on how to introduce people and invite friends. After the “rappel” is over, students focus on the core material designed to develop more challenging communicative skills. We expect students to narrate past events, orally and in writing, to describe daily activities in more detail and engage in longer communicative exchanges. They read longer texts and stories. The communicative themes cover weekend activities, transportation, fashion, the home, and entertainment. Orally, students continue to record their different verbal activities and homework assignments. At first, these reports are only two to four minutes in length (with no written notes), but by the conclusion of the school year, all students deliver verbal reports of 6-8 minutes or longer. Students also listen to audio presentations between five and ten minutes long, taking notes on the information and answering questions afterward. Students also have the opportunity to reinforce structures and vocabulary while reading one of the classic comic strips of Tintin. In this course, students gradually review most of the basic tenses in the indicative mood, including the present, future, and present perfect, then learn in depth the different forms and uses of the past tense which are “l’imparfait et le passé composé.
Prerequisite: French II or equivalent
Students in French III continue to build their vocabulary and knowledge of daily life in France and other francophone countries while studying more complex structures and tenses. Topics include pastimes, housing, traveling, shopping, and the environment. Students also become acquainted with such famous characters as Maurice Richard, Tintin, Asterix et Obelix, by reading a novel, short stories, and plays or by watching a movie. They study the important contributions of historical personages from Vercingétorix to Louis XIV. A great emphasis is placed on communicating in the language throughout all class activities and discussions. Students practice their written expression as they construct longer compositions using transition words and conjunctions. In this course, students gradually review in depth the different forms and uses of the past tense, which are “l’imparfait et le passé composé.” Then we learn how to use and form the infinitive, imperative and the present participle. A thorough study of how to express hypothetical situations as well as opinions and desires is central to several different contexts. Students make both formal and informal presentations to their classmates and use language-learning websites.
Prerequisite: French III or equivalent
Students who enroll in French IV should be able to easily use the five basic verb tenses (present, preterit, future, imperfect, and present perfect) and be familiar with the other perfect tenses and the subjunctive mood. Fluent use of common irregular verbs and knowledge of basic everyday vocabulary are required. This class devotes at least fifty percent of class time to speaking and listening in French. Students begin with short questions and answers in French, and work up to discussions about current events and literature. Students in French IV also develop a portfolio of poems and stories in French that they have written either individually or in groups. Grammar topics covered include commands, the present and past subjunctive, the conditional, and the passive voice. In addition to grammar and vocabulary, the class develops a working knowledge of approximately fifteen common idiomatic expressions and fifteen French-language proverbs. During the course of the year, French IV students develop a strong knowledge of the human geography of French countries.
Prerequisite: French IV or equivalent
French V is for students who have successfully completed French IV and wish to continue to develop their fluency. Students in this class are mixed in with the French IV students, but are assessed differently. Over the course of the year, each French V student develops a portfolio of original French-language materials, such as interviews with French-speaking people, essays, poems, French-language newscasts, and other audio or video presentations. In addition to repeating or expanding on French IV coursework, French V students are expected to develop projects in which they use French in public, for example, giving tours to French-language students visiting the school or posting French-language videos on the class website. In conjunction with their exams, French V students are expected to speak for at least twenty minutes in French and answer questions from the teacher and class. During the course of the year, French V students are expected to study the history and geography of a specific French-speaking country and follow current events as they develop, reporting on them to the class in French.
AP French Language
Prerequisite: Current teacher
recommendation or permission
from the Dean of Academics and
The AP French Language and Culture course takes a holistic approach to language proficiency and recognizes the complex interrelatedness of comprehension and comprehensibility, vocabulary usage, language control, communication strategies, and cultural awareness. Students should learn language structures in context and use them to convey meaning. In standards-based world language classrooms, the instructional focus is on function and not the examination of irregularity and complex grammatical paradigms about the target language. Language structures should be addressed inasmuch as they serve the communicative task and not as an end goal unto themselves. The AP French Language and Culture course strives to promote both fluency and accuracy in language use and not to overemphasize grammatical accuracy at the expense of communication. In order to best facilitate the study of language and culture, the course is taught in the target language. The AP French Language and Culture course engages students in an exploration of culture in both contemporary and historical contexts. The course develops students’ awareness and appreciation of products, both tangible (e.g., tools, books, music) and intangible (e.g., laws, conventions, institutions); practices (patterns of social interactions within a culture); and perspectives (values, attitudes, and assumptions that underlie both practices and products).
Students begin this course by learning the most frequently used words in Spanish, including verbs, articles, nouns, and adjectives. In the first weeks of school, they learn how to use verbs in the present tense and how to combine the articles, nouns, and adjectives using elementary rules of grammar. In this course, students gradually learn most of the basic tenses in the indicative mood, including the present and future. Students also learn how to use stem-changing verbs, reflexive verbs and “backwards verbs” (gustar). Grammar is mastered through constant repetition in both speaking and writing. In this course we use the TPRS (Teaching Proficiency through Reading and Storytelling) methodology to increase confidence and ability to understand and speak Spanish. We also introduce a simple TPRS book to help with reading comprehension and also pronunciation. Students also begin to learn about Hispanic cultures. Readings are taken from living language such as advertisements, newspaper articles, and announcements. By the end of the year, students can hold simple conversations in Spanish.
Prerequisite: Spanish I or equivalent
Spanish II reviews the majority of the material from Spanish I, but students learn each basic tense more quickly and begin to learn the irregular forms of each tense and some of the less common uses. The first semester also focuses on getting students to be more fluent when speaking in Spanish and pushes them to use the language as much as possible. In the second semester of Spanish II, students focus on learning and mastering the preterite and imperfect tenses through stories, readings, lectures, dialogs, and group projects. The second semester focuses on Central America and the multifaceted cultures of each country. Students practice their grammar and vocabulary through researching and learning about each of the countries. By the end of the year, students have a strong usable knowledge of at least 150 common verbs in the five most common verb tenses, as well as having a vocabulary of at least 700 basic nouns, adverbs, and adjectives.
Prerequisite: Spanish II or equivalent
In order to succeed in Spanish III, students should start with a strong knowledge of the basic verb tenses and a strong vocabulary of common Spanish words, including at least one hundred basic verbs. Students spend the first semester reviewing the irregular verb forms in each of the major tenses and increasing their active vocabulary through conversation and readings. Students read newspaper articles from El Nuevo Herald and other papers, with an emphasis on learning to grasp the meaning of words from context without looking up every new vocabulary word. In addition, students in this course read short stories from Mexico, Puerto Rico, and Spain (Historias de Puerto Rico, España, y Mexico, Passport Books, 1980). Spanish III devotes at least one-third of all class-time to listening and speaking exercises, including Depaul University’s SPOD audio series and the Learning Like Crazy podcast series. In the second semester of Spanish III, students learn how to use the polite and familiar command forms and the formation and use of the present subjunctive. Students learn about the geography and culture of Central and South America by doing research and oral reports of up to ten minutes in Spanish. Finally, all Spanish III students read the 16th-century picaresque novel Lazarillo de Tormes (in a slightly simplified format).
Prerequisite: Spanish III or equivalent
Students who enroll in Spanish IV should be able to easily use the five basic verb tenses (present, preterit, future, imperfect, and present perfect), and be familiar with the other perfect tenses and the subjunctive mood. Fluent use of common irregular verbs (examples are ir, ser, estar, tener, hacer) and knowledge of basic everyday vocabulary are required. This class devotes at least 75% percent of class time to speaking and listening in Spanish. Students frequently give short presentations about current events, themes from movies that we have analyzed, and stories that they create. In Spanish IV, much like the other levels that we teach, we use the TPRS (Teaching Proficiency through Reading and Storytelling) methodology to increase confidence and ability to understand and speak Spanish. Students also improve listening comprehension through listening to Spanish popular music (and transcription of the lyrics) and watching films and YouTube clips
in Spanish. Students also give PowerPoint presentations about Hispanic
and Latino culture. Grammar topics covered include commands, the present and past subjunctive, the conditional, and the passive voice. Students gain the confidence and ability to tell a 20 minute fictional story to the class and teacher and answer questions after the story is concluded. Students should have the ability to quickly conjugate verbs in a conversation without hesitation and feel confident about their pronunciation.
Prerequisite: Spanish IV or
Spanish V is for students who have successfully completed Spanish IV but wish to continue to develop their fluency. Students in this class are mixed in with the Spanish IV students, but are assessed differently. Students who are in Spanish V are also encouraged to take the Spanish AP. In addition to repeating or expanding on Spanish IV coursework, Spanish V students are expected to develop projects where they use Spanish in public, for example giving tours to Spanish language students visiting the school. Spanish V students are also involved in teaching aspect of class; they often are asked by the teacher to help explain certain aspects of language or give a more detailed description to the class to help their fellow students understand certain ideas. In conjunction with their exams, Spanish V students are expected to speak for at least twenty minutes in Spanish and answer questions from the teacher and class. During the course of the year, Spanish V students will be responsible for explaining current events from Latin American countries to the class on a bimonthly basis. Students in Spanish V should have the ability to quickly conjugate verbs in a conversation without hesitation and feel confident about their pronunciation.
AP Spanish Language
Prerequisite: Current teacher
recommendation or permission
from the Dean of Academics and
The AP Spanish Language and Culture course emphasizes communication (understanding and being understood by others) by applying the interpersonal, interpretive, and presentational modes of communication in real-life situations. This includes vocabulary usage, language control, communication strategies, and cultural awareness. The AP Spanish Language and Culture course strives not to overemphasize grammatical accuracy at the expense of communication. To best facilitate the study of language and culture, the course is taught almost exclusively in Spanish. In addition, the AP Spanish Language and Culture course engages students in an exploration of culture in both contemporary and historical contexts. The course develops students' awareness and appreciation of cultural products (e.g., tools, books, music, laws, conventions, institutions); practices (patterns of social interactions within a culture); and perspectives (values, attitudes, and assumptions).