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World Languages

Study a language—or two—at Chatham Hall and gain a highly coveted professional, social, and cultural asset in the global economy. If you choose to learn Spanish, French, or Chinese, you’ll be offered a solid foundation of grammar and vocabulary in both oral and written communication and will also study culture and history as part of our foreign language boarding school curriculum. If you opt for Latin, you’ll learn about language roots, cultural influences, and classical allusions as well as syntax, pronunciation, vocabulary, history, and literature.
 
Graduation requirements
3 credits of one language or 2 credits each of 2 languages
  • Chinese VI

    This course is designed for students who have already finished the Chinese V coursework or have the equivalent knowledge. This course is a precursor to AP Spanish or in place of AP Spanish. While expanding on vocabulary and reading skills in culturally informative lessons, students will obtain mastery of very complex sentence patterns and grammatical structures. The course stresses speaking, reading, writing, and listening comprehension. At the end of the year students will be able to communicate competently in Chinese on a wide range of important topics in everyday life and to read fairly complicated texts.  In addition, students will have a good foundational knowledge of Chinese culture, including a solid understanding of key aspects of the simplified Chinese writing system.
  • Latin IV: Advanced Latin Literature

    The Advanced Latin Literature class is the capstone class of the Latin curriculum. After three or four years spent mastering Latin grammar and syntax, students will read an excellent selection both of prose artists (Livy, Cicero, Caesar) and of poets (Catullus, Vergil, Horace, Ovid, et. al). We will, of course, work on translation skills, but we will also become familiar with Classical rhetorical figures, scansion, and historical contexts for our readings.
  • AP French

    Full year; by application and permission of the Foreign Language Department and the Academic Dean; 1 credit


    Advanced Placement French Language is taught in French and the students are expected to use only French in the classroom as well. This course focuses on preparing students for the AP Exam in four key areas: reading, writing, listening, and speaking. This course will focus on the six major topics that are designated by the AP board: la famille et la communauté, la vie contemporaine, la quête de soi, les défis mondiaux, la science et la technologie and l’esthétique. We will also do an overview of grammar, but this area, as has been determined by the AP board, will be deemphasized in favor of a more communicative approach to second-language acquisition. Our activities will explore all of the four skills. Our resources will include, among other things, radio podcasts, TV news segments, articles, short films and music. All of this content will be relevant to the six topics mentioned above. All of our content will be authentic in nature: it will come from French sources and is intended for a French-speaking target audience. Our assessments will include lesson quizzes, unit tests, class participation, homework, and Voicethread speaking assessments.
  • AP Latin

    Full year; 1 credit

    This course prepares students for the AP Exam through the reading of the Catullus/Horace syllabus designed by the College Board. 
  • AP Spanish Language

    Full year; by application and permission of the Foreign Language Department and the Academic Dean; 1 credit


    AP Spanish Language and Culture is taught at the fifth year in the Spanish-language sequence.  Students at this level must have a solid foundation in Spanish vocabulary and grammar.  While the students continue to practice grammar in essays and oral presentations, they are expected to know how to use the structures by the time they take the AP course.  The content of the course follows the six themes established by AP:  Global Challenges, Science and Technology, Contemporary Life, Personal and Public Identities, Families and Communities, and Beauty and Aesthetics.  During the year students will continue to significantly build vocabulary on an advanced level as they study the listed themes.  Students practice listening and reading exercises, produce oral presentations, and write compositions using information from the Hispanic countries as applied to the six AP themes.  The students are evaluated on all four skills:  listening, speaking, reading, and writing.
  • Chinese I

    Full year; 1 credit

    Taught almost entirely in the Chinese language. This course provides an introduction to spoken and written Chinese, with an emphasis on pronunciation, the Pinyin Romanization system, and the building blocks (radicals) of Chinese characters.
  • Chinese II

    Full year; 1 credit

    Taught almost entirely in the Chinese language and builds upon skills developed in Chinese I. Increased focus on oral and writing skills as well as broadening vocabulary, grammar, and recognition of Chinese characters. 
  • Chinese III

    Full year; 1 credit

    This course continues students on the path to increased fluency in all facets of language learning. Taught mostly in Chinese, students continue to focus on their pronunciation, reading, writing, and use of characters. Students work to improve their pronunciation, recognition of characters, vocabulary, and reading ability.
  • Chinese IV

    Full year; 1 credit

    Taught in Chinese, and students continue to focus on the fluency of the language. Students work to improve their vocabulary and sentence patterns, and write compositions. Students also read some literary works written in Chinese, and discuss cultural topics. 
  • French I

    Full year; 1 credit

    Taught almost entirely in French. The presentation of vocabulary emphasizes oral and aural competence. Students are evaluated daily on the four skills that form the backbone of world language acquisition: listening, speaking, reading, and writing. Listening and speaking skills are assessed in daily participation exercises which range from responses to written cues to making a movie in the target language. Reading and writing skills are assessed through homework and in-class writing exercise. Tests may encompass any element of language acquisition, depending on the needs of contexts of individual units. Culture is explored through film, cuisine, readings, iPad apps, and music.
  • French II

    Full year; 1 credit

    In this course, vocabulary acquisition and understanding of the structural aspects of French is of major importance, as students begin to express themselves verbally and write in the target language. Class is conducted almost entirely in French. In addition to exploring French and Francophone cultures, instruction stresses proficiency in all four skills: reading, writing, listening, and speaking. Our resources will include, among other things, radio podcasts, TV news segments, articles, short films, and music. Our assessments will include lesson quizzes, unit tests, class participation, homework, and Voicethread speaking assessments. 
  • French III

    Full year; 1 credit

    This course is a continuation of the multi-discipline approach to the study of French. Students concentrate on the development of their proficiency skills and vocabulary acquisition. Students give in-class presentations relating to the cultural aspects of French and Francophone countries. Understanding of the structural aspects of French will continue to be an integral part of this course. Students are expected to demonstrate essay capability in all written work and to express themselves completely in the target language. Our resources will include, among other things, radio podcasts, TV news segments, articles, short films, and music. Our assessments will include lesson quizzes, unit tests, class participation, homework, and Voicethread speaking assessments. 
  • French IV

    Full year; 1 credit

    This course serves the dual purpose of exploring France and the development of the Francophone world from the beginning of the twentieth century to the end of the French colonial empire, as well as serves to strengthen proficiency in all skill areas. Many activities are directed toward the development of oral proficiency. Vocabulary presentation follows the needs of the curriculum. Writing skills are reinforced by grammar review as needed. Students give in-class presentations relating to cultural aspects of French and Francophone countries. This course is taught in French and the students are expected to use only French in the classroom as well. Our resources will include, among other things, radio podcasts, TV news segments, articles, short films, and music. Our assessments will include lesson quizzes, unit tests, class participation, homework, and Voicethread speaking assessments. 
  • French V

    This course is analogous to AP French Language and Culture. It will introduce students to the same six themes that are included in the AP level, but the pace and the scope will be lighter. It is intended for students, who plan to go on to the AP level the following year. It is also an alternative for students, who would like to experience the form, content and rigor of the AP level without the pressure of both a content-driven course and a year-end AP exam. The objective of the course is to strengthen proficiency in all skill areas – reading, writing, listening & speaking. Grammar is explored as needed and is reduced to a minimum. Students give in-class presentations about current events (thèmes d’actualité) and about other cultural aspects of French and Francophone countries. This course is taught in French and the students are expected to use only French in the classroom as well. Our resources will be authentic in nature and are originally intended for native speakers. These resources include, among other things, radio podcasts, TV news segments, articles, poems, short stories, short films, and music
  • Latin I

    Full year; 1 credit

    This course is designed to teach the basic forms, syntax, pronunciation, and vocabulary of the Latin languages. Students translate from Latin to English and English to Latin using their acquired syntax and vocabulary. The primary aim of the course is to establish the basis for further coursework in Latin leading to the translation of Latin literature. Students also learn foundational knowledge of Roman civilization. 
  • Latin II

    Full year; 1 credit

    This course begins with an extensive review of the material covered in first year Latin and progresses through the study of the basic Latin language skills necessary to read works of Latin literature. More complicated aspects of the language are introduced and worked on in detail. Students continue to study Roman culture, geography, and history. 
  • Latin III

    Full year; 1 credit

    This is essentially a reading course. Students spend time on review and final uses of the subjunctive. Students are introduced to the more complex and idiomatic constructions used in Latin primarily through the reading of such writers as Cicero, Virgil, and Ovid, although content will vary. Students also examine the times and individuals that produced this literature. 
  • Latin IV

    Latin Literature: full year; 1 credit

    This is a continuation of the reading course begun in Latin III. Students spend time on review of uses of the subjunctive. Students are introduced to Latin poetry through reading and discussion of Catullus, Horace, Virgil, Ovid, Juvenal, and Martial.  Focus is upon reading the poetry as poetry, with much attention devoted to learning about imagery, meter, rhetorical devices, and figures of speech. 
  • Spanish I

    The Spanish I course introduces the students to the Spanish language.  Students learn vocabulary in all thematic categories and grammar concepts to facilitate basic communication.  They learn to conjugate the present, preterit and imperfect tenses.  The class emphasizes using the language orally, as well as the written language.  Students participate in daily conversations in class to practice the vocabulary and the verb tenses.  They create questions to ask classmates, present brief monologues to describe their lives, and work on group projects such as the creation and decoration of a house, designing a clothes outfit, or the creation of a supermarket.  They begin the year writing basic sentences, and by the end of the year are expected to write short essays in the preterit tense.  In addition, the students build reading skills with a reader that describes the life of a Hispanic family in the United States, and introduces the history of Mexico.  They also read headlines from major Hispanic newspapers.  To help with both reading and listening skills, the students read advertisements and watch video advertisements, as well as listen to a series of conversations that deal with thematic vocabulary.  Students are evaluated on all four skills:  listening, speaking, reading and writing.
  • Spanish II

    The Spanish II course begins with a study of the usage of the preterit and imperfect tenses.  The students then learn the future, conditional, and present perfect tenses.  They learn to conjugate the present subjunctive tense, and are introduced to the basic concepts of using the subjunctive with volition, doubt, and emotions.  The students also review the thematic categories of vocabulary and increase their word banks in each category.  The Spanish II students work on increasing their listening skills with a series of audio programs that builds vocabulary and teaches culture.  They also build reading skills with two readers that teach about Spain and South America.  In this class students continue to write personal essays, but they also begin writing critical essays about the history and culture of Hispanic countries.  At this level, students present vignettes of Hispanic culture with oral presentations.  They are evaluated on all four skills:  listening, speaking, reading and writing. 
  • Spanish III

    The Spanish III course begins with a review of the present, preterit, imperfect, future, conditional, and present perfect tenses.   The students then learn about the Mayan culture and review the usage of preterit versus imperfect by practicing with a series of Mayan legends.  The students proceed to study the four indicative perfect tenses, and then work with the present subjunctive and imperative tenses, as well as an introduction to the imperfect subjunctive, present perfect subjunctive, and pluperfect subjunctive.  Students in Spanish III are expected to have a good knowledge of basic vocabulary presented in Spanish I and II.  A lot of vocabulary studied at this level is taken from the reading material.  Students read articles about various topics including history, philosophy, Hispanic culture, biology, politics, etc.  The Spanish III students work on increasing their listening skills while viewing a series of video programs that teach about Hispanic culture in the United States, Mexico, Spain, Puerto Rico, Ecuador, and Costa Rica. The students complete a study of the geography of the Hispanic American countries and learn different geographical terms. Students continue to write a combination of personal essays to practice grammar, and critical essays to discuss history and culture.  They are evaluated on all four skills:  listening, speaking, reading, and writing.
  • Spanish IV

    Students in Spanish IV practice the usage of all verb tenses (present, preterit, imperfect, future, conditional, present perfect, pluperfect, future perfect, conditional perfect, present subjunctive, imperative, imperfect subjunctive, present perfect subjunctive, pluperfect subjunctive, and present progressive).  Students are expected to have a good knowledge of vocabulary, and they will continue to develop their vocabulary through the reading and audio materials.  The focus of this class is based on the study of the history and culture of Hispanic America and Spain.  Audio recordings from radio programs and video series are used to help build listening skills and teach culture.  Students read articles from newspapers, magazines, and history books that help build reading skills and present history and culture of the Spanish-speaking world.  This class presents an introduction to cultural material that will be covered in more detail at the AP level the following year.  Students write essays and make oral presentations about history and culture.  They are evaluated on all four skills:  listening, speaking, reading, and writing.
  • Spanish V

    Students who take the Level 5 course take the course as a precursor to AP Spanish or in place of AP Spanish.  Students will read selections of literature (mostly short stories) from Spain and Hispanic America and review history and culture from the countries.  Literature will help students improve their reading skills, increase vocabulary and grammar knowledge, and expand their understanding of the Spanish-speaking world.  There will be class discussions on the material, which will help improve speaking and listening skills.  There will also be written work on the material to help improve writing skills.  In addition, students will be viewing videos based on the literature or history that will aid in their understanding of the written material and enhance listening skills. Using literature is an excellent way to make significant advances in language skills and is a great preparation for the AP course or future study at the university level. Students will be evaluated on all four skills:  listening, speaking, reading and writing.

Our Faculty

  • Photo of Kim Jackson
    Kim Jackson
    World Language Department Chair
    434-432-2941 x276
    Bio
  • Photo of Anna Bodnar
    Anna Bodnar
    French and Spanish Teacher; 2nd Pruden Dorm Advisor
    434-432-5514
    Bio
  • Photo of Martha Griswold
    Martha Griswold
    Dean of Academics; French Teacher
    434-432-5617
    Bio
  • Photo of Sheppard Morrison
    Sheppard Morrison
    Latin Teacher; English Teacher; Quilting Teacher; Associate Director of Residential Life for Staff
    434-432-5546
    Bio
  • Photo of Cassandra  Patterson
    Cassandra Patterson
    Chinese Teacher; Student Activities; International Student Coordinator;Dorm Advisor
  • Photo of Alan Spearman
    Alan Spearman
    Latin and English Teacher
    434-432-5229
    Bio
A girls' boarding and day school in southern Virginia, Chatham Hall prepares girls for college and for productive lives. Our innovative academic program offers advanced courses, global study and travel, as well as project-based learning. We foster the intellect and character of each student and, through our Honor Code, live in a community of trust. Grounded in its Episcopal heritage, the school welcomes students of all faiths and backgrounds.
800 Chatham Hall Circle | Chatham, VA 24531 | 434.432.2941 | admission@chathamhall.org