World Languages Curriculum

Information for Students

Most students choose to meet the Salem Academy graduation requirement by taking three years of the same world language, but students can also choose to take two years of one world language and one year of a different language.  Students new to Salem Academy will have the opportunity to take a placement test to determine appropriate level placement according to Salem Academy’s world language curriculum.


Latin I           Grades 9, 10, 11,12           Year-long course

Latin I introduces students to the study of Latin language and Greco-Roman culture. The primary goal is to prepare students to read Latin literature, an integral part of our cultural heritage. Thus, in Latin I, students learn basic functions of grammar and syntax, increase their understanding of English, and become familiar with some cultural elements. The emphasis of Latin I is to develop, acquire, and apply skills in reading and comprehension of adapted Latin passages.


Honors Latin II           Grades 9, 10, 11, 12           Year-long course

Honors Latin II continues to connect students to the study of Latin language and Greco-Roman culture. The primary goal of Honors Latin II is to prepare students to read Latin literature, an integral part of our cultural heritage. Thus, in Honors Latin II, students learn complex functions of grammar and syntax, increase their understanding of English, become familiar with nuances of language, and develop an increasing awareness of Greco-Roman culture. The students will read adapted Latin passages, and in addition, they will be exposed to authentic selections of Latin literature, poetry, and historic texts, with increased emphasis on proficiency in translation and comprehension skills.


Honors Latin III           Grades 10, 11, 12           Year-long course

Honors Latin III builds upon the grammar and vocabulary that students learn in their first two years while exploring the depth and breadth of Latin literature. The readings will include selections on Rome’s early history; poems by Roman writers such as Ovid and Catullus; excerpts from Cicero’s prose; and scenes from Roman plays. Students will read from a variety of Latin genres including both prose and poetry. In addition to reading Latin texts by Roman authors, students will carefully analyze the themes, figures of speech, and style of the works they study.

AP Latin Literature           Grades 11, 12           Year-long course

AP Latin is a literature course that focuses on the poetry of Vergil’s Aeneid and the prose of Caesar’s Gallic War. Students translate selected episodes of Aeneas’s trek from Troy to Italy in Books I, II, IV, and VI of the Aeneid. Students trace Caesar’s triumphant procession through Gaul by reading excerpts from Books I, IV, V and VI of the Gallic War. In addition to reading Vergil and Caesar, students will practice sight reading selections from other writers from the Late Republic and Early Empire, including Cicero, Seneca, Martial, and Catullus. The goal is to improve students’ Latin fluency while reading two masterpieces of classical literature. Students study Roman history, meter, and poetic devices while reading about the exploits of Aeneas and the conquest of Gaul.


Spanish I           Grades 9, 10, 11, 12           Year-long course

Spanish I introduces students to the four components of language acquisition: listening, speaking, reading and writing. The goal in the first year is to provide a solid foundation to facilitate language acquisition and to encourage authentic communication in the classroom. The curriculum aligns with the National Standards for Foreign Language Learning. The three essential standards are Interpersonal (person-to-person communication skills), Interpretive (listening and reading), and Presentational (speaking and writing). In order to develop these skills, the curriculum provides a broad inclusion of a wide variety of sources, from texts to media, websites, news broadcasts, and movies, as well as an integrated approach to Ibero-American cultures.


Honors Spanish II            Grades 9, 10, 11, 12           Year-long course

Building on the foundation set in Spanish I, and in keeping with the National Standards, the goals of Honors Spanish II are to build proficiency and competence so students can hear and read the language, understand it, and speak it so they can be understood. Grammatical structures and extensive vocabulary acquisition are presented within the context of various topics relating to everyday life. Paired conversation activities are consistently used to help students perfect their oral skills. Writing samples include reports and compositions on a variety of topics. Hands-on realia from Ibero-American newspapers, magazines, and films enhance an understanding of culture.


Honors Spanish III           Grades 10, 11, 12           Year-long course

Students enrolled in Honors Spanish III have demonstrated the ability to handle the rigors of an advanced course of study. While most of the grammar needed for communication is covered in Spanish I and II, the grammar text in Honors Spanish III allows students to correct any deficiencies and to bring together everything they have learned to communicate effectively. A major focus of this course is to enable students to communicate in writing and in extended conversations on a variety of topics. The course also introduces students to literary works by prominent writers of Spain and Latin America and provides in depth study of the target cultures and their influence throughout the world.


Honors Spanish IV           Grades 11, 12           Year-long course

Students enrolled in Honors Spanish IV have completed three years of Spanish, meeting the three year world language requirement for graduation.  They have expressed their desire to continue a more in-depth study of Spanish. The primary goal of the course is to bring students to an advanced level of proficiency in listening, speaking, reading and writing. Emphasis is on all three modes of communication: Interpretive, Interpersonal, and Presentational. Other goals are to develop better fluency, to improve writing skills, to introduce students to Hispanic literature, and to broaden cultural knowledge. The course is taught entirely in Spanish.

Mandarin I           Grades 9, 10, 11, 12           Year-long course

Chinese is a fast growing and widely spoken language in the world. Understanding Chinese culture and history helps students open their minds and enrich their understanding of the world. This course introduces students to modern Chinese language and everyday culture. Course materials engage students in four basic skills: listening, speaking, reading, and writing. Students learn to recognize and write Chinese characters in the correct order. Basic grammar structure in writing and fluency in speaking are strongly emphasized. Course topics include greetings, family, time and schedule, hobbies, school life, and making friends. Class time is used for conversations, grammar activities, and cultural projects.


Honors Mandarin II           Grades 9, 10, 11, 12           Year-long course

Honors Mandarin II is designed to develop students’ skills in listening, speaking, reading, and writing at a faster pace. Honors Mandarin II students will learn to write and type short essays, create skits, and demonstrate understanding of Chinese pop culture. The topics of academic and daily life include ordering food, weather, birthday parties, going to a doctor, and dating. Honors Mandarin II students are required to participate in extracurricular activities such as Chinese tables, Chinese language contests, and International Day. The aim of this course is to prepare students to enter universities well above the lowest offered level of Mandarin Chinese.

Honors Mandarin III           Grades 10, 11, 12           Year-long course

Honors Mandarin III students must have completed Honors Mandarin II with excellent results and a deep understanding of the Mandarin language. Students are expected to use mostly Mandarin in class, lead discussions, make connections with other subjects, help organize cultural events, and communicate with native speakers in our school community. By the end of this course, students will read and write short articles without the use of pinyin, and will sustain conversations with native speakers in a coherent and fluent manner.


Honors Mandarin IV           Grades 11, 12           Year-long course

Honors Mandarin IV students must have completed Honors Mandarin III with excellent results and a deep understanding of the Mandarin language. Students will narrate, discuss, and support fairly complex ideas and concepts using concrete facts and topics with details in Mandarin Chinese. Honors Mandarin IV students are expected to lead various activities outside of class in both formal and informal settings. By the end of this course, students will be able to write papers about current events and give oral presentations in an organized way on topics they have researched. Finally, they will be able to use Mandarin Chinese to identify and discuss perspectives of Chinese traditional and contemporary culture with native speakers.

English for International Students           Grades 9, 10           Year-long course

Designed for international students who do not speak English as their primary language, this class covers five areas: listening, speaking, reading, writing, and culture. All students in this class are enrolled in the online learning ELLoquence program via Blackboard, which provides articles, vocabulary, and writing instructions for students to practice outside of the classroom. Students will develop their critical thinking skills from extensive readings and enhance their speaking and writing skills through hands-on assignments. The goal for ESL students is to understand the academic conventions and various aspects of American culture.


Advanced English for International Students           Grades 9, 10, 11           Year-long course

Advanced ESL is designed specifically for international students with higher English proficiency. The course will focus on reading and writing English literary articles, TOEFL test preparation, and the development of academic research skills. Students will read, analyze, and discuss topics from the ELLoquence program, in addition to learning about current topics in world affairs. Students will increase their level of oral proficiency with presentations, class discussion, and exercises on public speaking. Students who successfully complete this course should be able to understand descriptive discourse in reading and listening areas and deliver organized and coherent ideas in speaking and writing areas.