Languages

The primary objective of the language faculty is to provide our students with the ability to speak, understand, read, and write a language other than their own. In so doing, we seek to prepare them for cross-cultural experiences that will broaden their horizons and enrich their lives. To this end we address all four skills in our teaching. The target language is the spoken language of each Spanish, French, Chinese, and Japanese classroom. Reading and writing skills are developed alongside oral and aural skills in even the earliest levels. Students are routinely encouraged to pursue summer programs abroad to improve their language skills. We have instituted, as well, student exchanges during the academic year. Our classics program continues to grow, as students and their parents rediscover the value of studying Latin in high school. Our Latin classes strive to instill in students the foundations of Latin grammar, the ability to read, analyze, and appreciate Latin prose and poetry, an understanding of many aspects of Ancient Roman culture, and the power to explore the connections between the Latin language and our own.

Our classics program continues to grow as students and their parents rediscover the value of studying Latin in high school. Our Latin classes strive to instill in students the foundations of Latin grammar, the ability to read, analyze, and appreciate Latin prose and poetry, an understanding of many aspects of Ancient Roman culture, and the power to explore the connections between the Latin language and our own. Our biannual Latin trip to Italy is a favorite among the students.

Students who complete beginning French, Spanish, Latin, Chinese, or Japanese in Middle School may move into the second or third year in ninth grade. Although students are required to take language only through level three (with a minimum of two years in the Upper School), many continue their study into the fourth and fifth year. Students may also satisfy the requirement with two years in each of two languages.


Meet Dr. Cole Harrop

Dr. Harrop teaches Latin and French, including French V, which concentrates on philosophical texts.


Ancient Greek

Ancient Greek

Students in this yearlong course will learn all of Ancient Greek grammar in one year. By the end of this course, you will be able to translate any passage of Ancient Greek with the help of a dictionary, including texts by Plato and other ancient authors utilized throughout the RCS curriculum. The structure and style of the course will be similar to that of Latin courses. This course can only be taken as a student's second language course (or after completion of the language requirement).

Chinese I

Chinese I 

Chinese I provides students with a rudimentary knowledge of the Chinese Romanization system (pinyin), pronunciation, tones, vocabulary, sentence structures, and character writing of Mandarin Chinese. The textbook, Integrated Chinese, and supplementary materials are used to develop the four communication skills – listening, speaking, writing, and reading. By the end of the course, students are expected to engage in basic conversations on specific topics, be able to identify approximately 350 simplified characters and actively use approximately 170 of them. In addition, various topics related to Chinese culture will be introduced. Evaluation is based on class participation, homework, quizzes, tests, a cultural presentation, and an oral presentation.

Chinese II

Chinese II 

Chinese II builds upon the fundamental skills introduced in Chinese I and continues to focus on deepening, strengthening, and refining the four skills of listening, speaking, reading, and writing. This course introduces students to frequently used grammatical structures, and gives students an active vocabulary of approximately 600 characters, depending on students’ language proficiency. The textbook, Integrated Chinese, and supplementary materials are used to develop the students’ overall language skills. Authentic materials taken from various sources are also incorporated in each lesson. Evaluation is based on class participation, homework, quizzes, tests, and other performances.

Chinese III

Chinese Ill

Chinese III builds upon the fundamental skills introduced in Chinese I and II, and continues to focus on deepening, strengthening, and refining the four skills of listening, speaking, reading, and writing. This course introduces students to frequently used grammatical structures, and provides students with an active vocabulary of up to 900 characters. The textbook, Integrated Chinese, its accompanying workbook, and other authentic reading, listening, and multi-media materials from various sources are used to develop the students’ interpersonal, presentational, and interpretive language skills. In addition, this course frequently incorporates aspects of Chinese geography, literature, culture, history, and issues about contemporary China in its curriculum. Evaluation for this course is a comprehensive process, as all aspects of participation will be taken into account, which include homework, quizzes, tests, projects, class participation, attitude, and other performances.

Chinese IV

Chinese IV

Chinese IV integrates a diversity of materials and interactive activities for students to practice their interpersonal, presentational, and interpretive language skills. Building upon the fundamental skills of listening, speaking, reading, and writing introduced in Chinese I, II and III, Chinese IV strengthens students’ understanding and usage of frequently used grammatical structures, introduces students to more formal expressions, and systematically provides students with an active, up-to-date vocabulary of up to 1300 characters. Covering such topics as health, the environment, gender equality, China in the Western perspective, and so on, this course integrates aspects of the Chinese geography, literature, history, culture and contemporary issues in its versatile approach to language studies. The textbook Integrated Chinese, its accompanying workbook, and other authentic reading, listening, and multi-media materials are used. Evaluation for this course is a comprehensive process, as all aspects of participation will be taken into account, which include homework, quizzes, tests, projects, class participation, attitude, and other performances.

Chinese V (Honors)

Chinese V (Honors)

Chinese V (Honors) integrates a variety of materials and interactive activities for students to expand their vocabulary and upgrade their overall interpersonal, presentational, and interpretive language skills. Building upon the preparatory knowledge and skills introduced in Chinese IV, Chinese V (H) continues to focus on deepening, strengthening, and refining the four language skills of listening, speaking, reading and writing. This course includes intermediate- to advanced-level communicative tasks related to political, economical, cultural, environmental and ethical topics. By the end of Chinese V (H), students will be exposed to a wide range of formal and idiomatic expressions, as well as an active, up-to-date vocabulary of up to 2200 characters. In addition, Chinese culture will continue to be incorporated throughout the course. Evaluation is based on class participation, homework, quizzes, oral and written tests, projects, presentations, and other formative and summative assessments.

Chinese VI (Honors)

Chinese VI (Honors)

Chinese VI (H) continues to build students' vocabulary and upgrade their overall interpersonal, presentational, and interpretive language skills at the high-intermediate level. This course continues to examine and discuss social and cultural phenomena and practices in China through topics like managing finances, interviewing for a job, living as foreigners, dealing with accidents, etc. By the end of this course, students can command up to 2,000 frequently used words, in addition to a wide range of formal and idiomatic expressions. The course also aims to deepen students' understanding of modern China and Chinese America through films, interviews, current events and field trips. Evaluation is based on class participation, homework, quizzes, oral and written tests, projects, presentations, cultural reflections, and other formative and summative assessments.

French I

French I

This course covers basic material equivalent to that completed in grades 7 and 8 combined. By the end of the year, skills in listening, speaking, vocabulary, grammar, and reading are sufficiently developed to enable students to enter second-level courses. Grades are determined by several different evaluation methods such as full-period written tests with oral components, daily homework assignments, and oral proficiency in the target language.

French II

French Il

This course is for students who have had French in grades 7 and 8 or French I. Students review grammar extensively so that they become familiar and at ease with proper usage of all parts of speech. Increasing emphasis is placed on the use of idiomatic expressions, and varied kinds of oral work are required in all classes. Supplementary readings are selected by the teacher in accordance with the ability of the class and include the use of a year-long reader. Grades are determined by evaluation methods such as three full-period written tests per quarter, daily homework assignments, active class participation, oral and written projects, and reading comprehension.

French III

French Ill

This course entails the acquisition of large amounts of new vocabulary, reviews basic grammar, and introduces more advanced grammatical structures. Students discuss French literary texts in class and analyze them in compositions. They gain greater fluency in oral and written French. Books vary from year to year and from section to section but have included "Les Aventures du Petit Nicolas" and selections from Saint-Exupéry’s "Le Petit Prince." About 30 to 45 minutes of homework is assigned after every class. Students should expect one or two major tests per quarter, plus several quizzes and projects.

French III (Honors)

French III (Honors)

Prerequisite: Departmental Approval

A rigorous class designed for able French students with a desire to begin the serious study of language and literature and whose nomination to the track is supported by the department. The course incorporates all aspects of the regular French III curriculum, along with reading selections chosen to prepare students for more advanced literary analysis. In recent years the students have read Saint-Exupéry's "Le Petit Prince" and Camus' "L’Etranger," and have studied very closely François Truffaut’s film, "L’Argent de Poche." Students will receive regular e-mail attachments consisting of about 500-750 words from these works and several study questions. They will be expected to return to the teacher thoughtful and carefully written answers in French by e-mail before the next class. Slightly lengthier journal assignments will also be used to refine the students' writing skills throughout the year. Given the accelerated pace and increased difficulty of this class, students should expect to take, each quarter, two full-period grammar tests, one full-period literature test, and several vocabulary tests.

French IV: The Struggle for Identity

French IV: The Struggle for Identity

Prerequisite: French III

This yearlong course aims to provide the students with the opportunity to consolidate the foundations acquired in levels I, II, and III through a diachronic historical reflection of the evolution of French Language & Culture. The grammar and conjugation content and skills are tailored to fit the students' needs, with special emphasis on the indicative mood, especially the combined used of past tenses.

The main goal of the course is to improve the students' ability to communicate in the target language while simultaneously exploring French literature, culture, and civilization spanning 8th century through 19th century. The students will develop their skills in the four areas (listening, reading, speaking, and writing) in a demanding setting where immersion strategies and techniques will give them the opportunity to develop their proficiency towards an independent level of mastery.

French IV: Language and Culture (Honors)

French IV: Language and Culture (Honors)

Prerequisites: French III (Honors), Departmental Approval

The Honors French Language and Culture course is a single-semester course taught in both the fall and spring semesters, with different topics and emphases in each semester. Students may take one or both of the semesters. The courses are designed to develop intensively your knowledge of French vocabulary, grammar, and culture at a level generally equivalent to a third year language course in college. Culture will be incorporated in the choice of material, discussions, and presentations. We will use authentic material to expand equally on all four skills: speaking (in group discussions, presentations, personal opinions, etc.), listening (using documentaries, news reports, songs, conversations), reading (with extracts from literature, articles, poems, songs) and writing (compositions and essays). We will also watch movies and use them to develop these skills and our knowledge of the culture.

French V

French V

Prerequisite: French IV

In this yearlong French and interdisciplinary course students will study short French texts, videos and films that touch on many of the chief philosophical and literary themes studied in the Self and Virtue units of the Integrated Liberal Studies course. Authors, thinkers and textual selections to be studied include : key passages from the French translation – "Si c’est un homme" – of Primo Levi’s memoir; the short "Eloge de Socrate" by contemporary French philosopher Pierre Hadot; selections from "Genèse," "L’Exode," "L’Evangile de Matthieu," and "L’Epître aux Romains," from "L’Ancien Testament" and "Le Nouveau Testament"; several short tales from "L’Héptameron," the Renaissance Christian humanist classic by Marguerite de Navarre; two of "Les Essais" of Michel de Montaigne; selections from "Méditations Métaphysiques" by René Descartes; several fragments from "Les Pensées" of Blaise Pascal; several of "Les Fables" by Jean de la Fontaine; selections from "Les Maximes" by La Rochefoucauld; "Micromégas" by Voltaire; the fifth "rêverie" from Rousseau's "Rêveries Du Promeneur Solitaire"; selections from "La Généalogie De La Morale" by Friedrich Nietzsche; selections from "La Malaise Dans La Civilisation" by Sigmund Freud; selections from "L’Immoraliste" by André Gide; the short essay "L’Existentialisme Est Un Humanisme" by Jean-Paul Sartre. Louis Malle’s film "Au Revoir Les Enfants" will be studied in conjunction with Primo Levi. In the second semester, students will read and view classics of French comedic literature and popular culture. Readings may include selections from the medieval "Farce de Maître Pathelin," Rabelais’ "Gargantua," Molière’s "Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme," and Raymond Queneau’s "Zazie Dans Le Métro"; the contemporary classic "roman policier." "Total Khéops" by Jean-Claude Izzo will also be read. Films may include the comedy "Les Compères" with Pierre Richard and Gérard Dépardieu, as well as the crime thriller "Diva" directed by Jean-Jacques Beineix. All readings and film viewings will be studied both thematically and with the intent of advancing each student’s command of all four skill areas in French. Course work will consist of manageable nightly readings; Schoology posts; in-class discussion; short essays; and presentations. All readings and film viewings will be studied both thematically and with the intent of advancing each student's command of all four skill areas in French. 

French V Language and Culture (Honors)

French V Language and Culture (Honors)

Prerequisites: French IV (Honors), Departmental Approval

In this semester-long course based on the polemic of diversity, advanced students will explore current issues such as education (fall semester), immigration and racism (spring semester), pertinent in our ever-changing world. This exploration will be done through analysis of French and francophone newspapers and magazine articles; movies and documentaries; and literary texts such as novels, short stories, poems and songs. Students will be well-informed of current world issues by examining French, francophone, and world news. The course is designed to allow students to increase their scope of French vocabulary as well as their knowledge of French and francophone cultures. Students will enhance and refine all four language skills - speaking, listening, reading, and writing French.

Japanese I

Japanese I

An introduction to the Japanese language and culture. Students build basic reading and writing skills through mastery of hiragana and katakana phonetic alphabets and over 100 kanji (Chinese-derived characters). The "Genki" series textbook and workbook, along with supplemental materials, will introduce basic vocabulary and grammar principles needed to communicate in the classroom. Internet, videos, games, and field trips reinforce knowledge and interest. Progress is determined by weekly hiragana, katakana, and vocabulary quizzes; comprehensive tests at the end of each chapter; and a research project based on aspects of the culture/society. Students are required to actively participate during class time and effectively utilize homework assignments to reinforce their skills.

Japanese II

Japanese II

A continuation of Japanese I. Students continue to build reading and writing skills through the study of more complex sentence structures and learn to read and write 100 new kanji. Special emphasis is placed on basic verb forms to enhance communication skills. Students begin reading Japanese children’s books and researching pre-assigned topics via the Internet. Evaluation is based on daily homework assignments, weekly vocabulary/kanji quizzes, listening comprehension and chapter tests at the completion of each chapter. Students are expected to actively use Japanese during each class as well as complete assignments independently using technology.

Japanese III

Japanese III

Continues the study of Japanese through thematic lessons presented in "Genki." Students are introduced to more advanced conversation, reading, and writing as they review basic grammar and vocabulary. In addition to daily homework assignments, weekly vocabulary and kanji quizzes, and chapter tests, students are assigned thematic projects at the end of each lesson that include internet-based research, creative skits, and power-point presentations. Students communicate primarily in the target language regularly to hone oral and aural skills.

Japanese IV

Japanese IV

Continuation of Japanese III. The course aims to further develop language skills: reading, writing, speaking and listening using the "Genki" series textbook. Students will expand vocabulary and kanji base through newspaper articles, essays and short stories. The emphasis will be on accurate communication in Japanese, and students will be required to use the target language exclusively.

Latin I

Latin I 

An introduction to the Latin language and to Roman civilization. "Ecce Romani" and supplemental materials introduce declensions, indicative verb forms, pronouns, and infinitives. Word roots, word formation, and derivatives are explored. Roman civilization is examined through a study of the city of Rome and through myths and history. Nightly homework may include reading, translation, composition, and exercises in textbook, workbook, or worksheets. Students are expected to use available Internet material for practice and review. Frequent (weekly or every-other-week) written assessments; quizzes (vocabulary and/or grammar); and half-period or full-period tests on single chapters or multi-chapter units. Class participation and homework completion also contribute to the course grade each quarter. A two-hour mid-year exam and a two-hour final exam are given.

Latin II

Latin II

A course that completes the introduction of grammar, including participles, and the subjunctive mood and its uses. With "Ecce Romani II," this course prepares the students to begin to read Latin literature. Nightly homework may include reading, translation, composition, and exercises in textbook, workbook, or worksheets. Students are expected to use available Internet material for practice and review. Frequent (weekly or every-other-week) written assessments; quizzes (vocabulary and/or grammar); and half-period or full-period tests on large chapters or multi-chapter units. Class participation and homework completion also contribute to the course grade each quarter. A two-hour mid-year exam and a two-hour final exam are given.

Latin III

Latin III 

Introductory readings of original Latin texts, focusing on Caesar and Ovid. Students review grammar and vocabulary in the texts. Apart from translation, they study figures of speech and rhetorical or poetic devices, considering as well some aspects of Roman history, government, and politics in the late republic and the history and literature of the early empire. Nightly reading in primary (Latin) texts, with frequent worksheets. Approximately three period-long tests each quarter, a two-hour mid-year exam, and a two-hour final exam.

Latin IV

Latin IV 

Prerequisite: Latin III

Continues the study of Latin: selections from Vergil’s "Aeneid," the poetry of Catullus, and an oration of Cicero, with a consideration of both ancient and modern rhetoric. While emphasis still falls upon a solid foundation in grammar and vocabulary, students are also expected to recognize and discuss the literary merits of these authors. Nightly reading in primary (Latin) texts, with frequent worksheets. No fewer than three period-long tests each quarter, a two-hour midyear exam, and a two-hour final exam.

Advanced Latin V/VI (Honors)

Advanced Latin V/VI (Honors)

Prerequisite: Latin IV

Advanced Latin reading, with emphasis on fluency, literary analysis, grammatical detail, relationships between texts, and cultural context. Authors and topics vary from year to year, with both prose and verse authors possible. Upcoming topics for 2017-18 will include the poetry of Lucretius and Livy. It may be possible to take just one semester of this two-semester course.

Spanish I

Spanish I 

This course covers basic material equivalent to that completed in Spanish I-a and Spanish I-b combined. By the end of the year, skills in listening, speaking, vocabulary, grammar, and reading are sufficiently developed to enable students to enter second-level courses. Students study the present indicative tense in depth, including all irregular present-tense forms and the present progressive. They also build a solid foundation of vocabulary and the fundamental mechanics of sentence structure. Additional topics such as object pronouns, reflexive verbs, demonstratives, comparatives and superlatives, and Gustar-verbs are also covered. Both regular and irregular preterit forms are studied extensively. Grades are determined by several different evaluative methods such as full-period written tests with listening components, daily homework assignments, projects and oral proficiency exams in the target language.

Spanish II

Spanish II

Spanish II is for students who have completed either the Spanish I-a and I-b sequence or Spanish I. These include a review of language fundamentals, introduction of the preterite and imperfect tenses, and commands, among other topics. Ongoing acquisition of new vocabulary is emphasized and extensively practiced. Grades are determined by several different evaluative methods such as full-period written tests with listening components, oral and written quizzes, daily homework assignments, projects and oral proficiency exams in the target language.

Spanish III

Spanish III 

Spanish III is for students who have previously taken Spanish II. Along with ongoing vocabulary acquisition, students dedicate much of the year to learning the subjunctive mood in its present- and past-tense uses, as well as the future and conditional tenses. Grades are determined by several different evaluative methods such as full-period written tests with listening components, oral and written quizzes, daily homework assignments, projects and oral proficiency exams in the target language.

Spanish II/III

Spanish II/III

Spanish II/III is an accelerated course that covers in one year the topics included in both Spanish II and Spanish III. Enrollment in this course is contingent upon departmental nomination and reserved for a very small group of students who have demonstrated exceptional adeptness in Spanish language acquisition. Completion of Spanish I, Ia and Ib, or comparable coursework is required.

Spanish IV

Spanish IV

The Spanish IV course is primarily oriented toward revisiting previously studied topics to develop a more comprehensive understanding and greater mastery of those structures. However, some new structures are taught (such as the imperfect subjunctive, the perfect tenses, and compound si-clauses) in addition to the ongoing acquisition of new vocabulary. Students refine their understanding of previously studied topics and apply their language skills toward gaining and demonstrating deeper understanding of select cultural topics. Grading is based upon written exams, oral and written quizzes, active in-class participation, daily homework, essays, projects and presentations.

Spanish IV (Honors)

Spanish IV (Honors)

Prerequisite: Departmental Approval

Spanish IV Honors looks to revisit previously studied topics to develop a more comprehensive understanding and greater mastery of those structures. Students work with these structures in their most complex manifestations and at a very rapid pace. In addition, greater emphasis is placed on gaining and demonstrating a deeper understanding of select cultural topics and on learning how to independently read, interpret and analyze Hispanic cultural production. Students will be asked to make connections among diverse sources of information; demonstrate meaningful engagement with course material; exhibit intellectual curiosity and the ability to grasp abstract ideas; and explore language and culture through inference and interpretation. Students will also gain extensive practice in formal essay writing. These essays along with written exams, quizzes, daily homework, active in-class participation, individual and group projects and oral proficiency activities will be used to evaluate student progress.

Spanish V

Spanish V

Prerequisite: Spanish IV

The course hones the students’ grammatical, oral, and listening skills; significant time and effort is devoted to the subjunctive. Students read and discuss a variety of Spanish and Latin American cultural production, including news articles, novellas and short stories, film and theater. These materials are discussed in relation to the following thematic topics: class and economy in historical perspectives; human rights; realism and abstraction in art; media and global communications. In each quarter, there are two full period tests and a minimum of five quizzes. Participation also plays a large role in each student’s overall grade. Homework assignments are expected to be completed on a daily basis, and are reviewed at the beginning of each class.

Spanish V: Language and Culture (Honors) (Fall and spring semesters)

Spanish V: Language and Culture (Honors)

Prerequisites: Spanish IV (Honors), and/or Departmental Approval

This is a semester-long course that represents one half of the Spanish V Honors curriculum, the other half of which will is "Composition through Culture." "Language and Culture" focuses on improving the speaking skills of students who have already demonstrated an advanced level of proficiency in oral communication. Topics of conversation will be drawn from literary and film sources as well as current events. Students will be asked to express their views in the classroom and through online discussions. They will also be expected to complete a variety of oral projects ranging from short skits to comprehensive presentations.

Spanish V: Composition and Culture (Honors) (Fall and spring semesters)

Spanish V: Composition and Culture (Honors)

Prerequisites: Spanish IV (Honors), and/or Departmental Approval

This is a semester-long course that represents one half of the Spanish V Honors curriculum. While "Language and Culture" focuses on improving students' listening and speaking skills, "Composition and Culture" is designed to develop a strong foundation in reading and writing. The course will cultivate the language abilities, cultural knowledge and critical thinking skills essential to advanced expression and analysis in Spanish. Spanish V Honors builds upon the high-intermediate language proficiency and introduction to literary and cultural analysis developed in Spanish III Honors, and prepares the student for the advanced, sustained discussion of particular cultural moments and products in the Spanish V Honors elective courses.

The primary goals of this course are twofold: to teach students how to critically approach various forms of cultural production from the Spanish-speaking world (literary prose, poetry, theater, film, photography, plastic arts, etc.), and to carefully develop their writing skills in Spanish.

Throughout the year, students will be asked to create several short compositions that respond to the works studied. Each of these writing exercises would require the student to study and practice a different modality of writing in Spanish. These may include: close readings, creative pieces, reaction papers, reflection papers, reviews, editorial style writing, journalistic writing, and formal argumentation. In this way students will learn to effectively utilize and distinguish between a variety of essential rhetorical strategies for effective expression and analysis (such as developing and arguing an effective thesis, attentiveness to style and tone, fluidity of expression, understanding the implied audience for a given text, etc.). Students will also gain, throughout the year, an essential vocabulary for the interpretation of diverse cultural objects. These writing exercises will form a portfolio that each student will maintain and revise with guidance from the teacher. In the fourth quarter students will undertake a final project which will ask them to select, research and analyze a specific work of literature, art or other cultural product. They will employ the rhetorical strategies, concepts and vocabulary learned throughout the year to compose a 4-5 page essay on the work they have chosen. In addition, the student will teach her classmates about the chosen work by giving a formal presentation and leading the class discussion that day.

Spanish VI: Latin American Cultural Icons (Honors) (Fall semester)

Spanish VI: Latin American Cultural Icons (Honors)

Prerequisite: Spanish V or Departmental Approval

In this semester-long course, students will learn about Latin American cultural history through the study of its major icons: Simón Bolivar, Frida Kahlo, Eva Perón, Che Guevara, and Diego Maradona. These figures were chosen not only for their importance in Latin America but for their enduring international influence. Key areas of inquiry for this class include: What makes an icon; the historical contexts that shaped each of these figures; how the significance of each figure changes—sometimes radically—across time and place; and how studying these icons allows us to trace examples of cross-cultural influence. A central component of the course will be to examine the many visual and media representations of these figures, to consider how those representations create an icon while at the same time distancing the figure in question from their historical origins. To this end we will examine photographs, monuments, news clips, stories, and films that contribute to the evolving construction of each figure’s iconic status.

Spanish VI: A Cultural History of Food (Spring semester)

Spanish VI: A Cultural History of Food

Prerequisite: Spanish V or Departmental Approval

Could you imagine a world with no chocolate? No corn or potatoes? These are foods that the world had never seen before the Spanish conquest of the Americas, where indigenous peoples had cultivated them for generations. Their introduction to Europe set off a "global ecological convulsion" whose effects underlie almost every aspect of modern life.

The Spanish conquest also brought to Latin America foods from other shores that soon came to radically alter the social and ecological landscape. Caribbean sugarcane motivated the transatlantic slave trade for more than 200 years; other cash crops like coffee and bananas wiped out massive tracts of Amazon rainforest and toppled local governments in order to satisfy the dietary and economic cravings of the Western world.

This semester-long elective course will explore the cultural history of food in Latin America. We will focus our studies on four regions: Mexico, the Andes, the Caribbean and Brazil. Within each of those regions we will concentrate on specific foods that have profoundly impacted that area’s socio-economic, ecological and cultural identities.

Spanish VI: Hispanic Cinema (Honors) (Fall and spring semesters)

Spanish VI: Hispanic Cinema (Honors)

Prerequisite: Spanish V (H) and/or Departmental Approval

In this one-semester course, to be offered each semester of the academic year, students will study, analyze, and discuss a range of films from the Spanish-speaking world. Emphasis will be on the cultural, thematic, and linguistic aspects of the films, as well as on the cinematographic and stylistic choices made by the directors. Course work will consist of intensive oral and written analysis of the films and, as such, will both advance the students' increasing mastery of Spanish language and knowledge of Hispanic culture, and offer them an opportunity to do significant interdisciplinary study. This course ends with a final project consisting of original short movies filmed by the students.

Spanish VI: Novellas Ejemplares (Honors) (Fall and spring semesters)

Spanish VI: Novellas Ejemplares (Honors)

Prerequisite: Spanish IV (H) and/or Departmental Approval

In this course students will investigate the implicit dialogues between two of Spain’s most masterful and influential Golden Age writers: Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra and María de Zayas y Sotomayor. Though best known as the author of "Don Quijote," Cervantes also wrote a series of renowned novellas known as the "Novelas ejemplares" (1613), short stories that present Cervantes’ subtle and often humorous critiques of prevalent social issues in 17th century Spain. María de Zayas y Sotomayor was Cervantes’ contemporary and the most popular woman writer of Spain’s Golden Age, best known for her own "Novelas amorosas y ejemplares" (1637). The style and subject matter of her novellas connect her writing to the “querelle des femmes," a literary debate on the nature and status of woman that began during the Renaissance, making her Spain’s first early modern proto-feminist. Cervantes, rather than demonizing women like many authors of his time tended to do, was generally considered sympathetic to the plight of women, and his stories delineated the complex moral and social implications of individual actions. Zayas’ novellas reflect the influence of Cervantes’ craftsmanship in form and content, but also challenge his attitude toward and treatment of women. This course will explore how Zayas and Cervantes handle similar fictional situations within the “exemplary novel” genre and how Zayas' reading of Cervantes invited her to respond to his paradigmatic novellas. Like in Cervantes’ works, marriage, the treatment of women and cross dressing dominate Zayas’ stories. These themes and related social questions will be the focus of this course.

Spanish VII/Spanish VII (Honors): Creativity and Innovation in Spanish

Spanish VII/Spanish VII (Honors): Creativity and Innovation in Spanish

Prerequisites: Spanish V, Spanish V (H) or Departmental Approval

Note: This yearlong course will be differentiated so as to accommodate both Spanish VI and Spanish VI Honors students.

Taught entirely in Spanish in the Maker Lab by Mr. Merrow and Mr. Baidal, Creativity & Innovation in Spanish will allow students to develop their linguistic, creative, and entrepreneurial skills through hands-on art, design, and engineering projects. In the course, you will improve your Spanish proficiency through experiential learning, collaborative work, case studies, brainstorming discussions, and project presentations.

The course is intended for native, close to native, proficient or advanced students in Spanish. We will explore and practice innovation through design, using the language as both a cultural lens and for practical communication. We will research various design case studies from the Spanish-speaking world on the topics of environment and sustainability, technology and science, and global economy. After learning about specific issues in these areas, we will collaborate to create practical design solutions.

Language at Riverdale

"It amazes me how I relate so strongly to this archaic language. Sometimes I catch myself bursting out in laughter after deciphering a line of Latin. Catullus' sappy love poetry and Cicero's snarky political letters provide me with a daily dose of inspiration and joy. This 'irrelevant' language has offered me a glimpse into the humor, drama, and tragedy of the ancient Roman world all while propelling me through modern day life."

— Riverdale Upper School Student

Riverdale Country School

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info@riverdale.edu

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Approximately 20 percent of Riverdale students receive some level of financial aid. Go There >

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Last year's Annual Fund totaled nearly $5 million in gifts from alumni, parents, and friends of the school. Go There >

Have you included Riverdale in your estate plans? Please let us know and join our expanding group of Hackett Planned Giving Society members today. Go There >

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