Students in Class

Students in the 6th grade begin with a quarter-long course that introduces them to language and language study and then take a quarter each of Latin, Spanish, and Chinese as an introduction to the study of foreign languages and cultures. Beginning in seventh grade, students choose between Chinese, Latin, and Spanish as their primary course of language study and commit to two years of the same language (7th and 8th grade). The middle school years are an excellent time to introduce a second language to young people and SAS is committed to making language available to students in the middle school in a way that is both meaningful and fun.


Language Introduction

For the first quarter, 6th grade students will explore the concept of language as a unique human phenomenon. They will explore questions such as: 

  • How do non-humans communicate? 
  • What does history and science tell us about the earliest evidence we have for human communication? 
  • How are different languages related? Why are they different, and are there similarities?  
  • How do modern humans learn their native languages?

These and other questions will be explored using collaborative methods that help students discover and articulate things they have already encountered, conceptually, and this process is intended to help them understand how to approach learning other languages--such as they'll do in the next three quarters. 

Introduction to Chinese

Introduction to Chinese (6th Grade) is a quarter-long course in Chinese language and culture. Students are introduced to Chinese geography, history, and cultural heritage, as well as elementary language. Games, art handcraft work, cooking food, Chinese painting, and calligraphy will integrate language elements with cultural themes.

Chinese I

Chinese I students learn pronunciation patterns, tones, and basic grammatical structures. While the focus of the class is primarily on oral proficiency, with students learning phrases and conversational Chinese, students will also learn to read, write, and type basic Chinese characters. At the end of this course, students will have acquired the ability to ask and answer questions and conduct meaningful conversations in Chinese. Units on Chinese history and culture will complement the language portion of the course.

Chinese II

Chinese II is a continuation of Chinese I with emphasis on listening, speaking, reading, and writing complex sentences and Chinese characters. Students will continue developing the four basic language skills: speaking, listening, reading, and writing in Mandarin Chinese. More Chinese characters will be introduced in this class. Classes are interactive with students participating in games, dialogues, oral presentation, and imaginative tasks. Students continue to explore Chinese culture through Chinese legends, history stories, movies, cooking, and handicraft making.

Introduction to Latin

Introduction to Latin (6th Grade) is a quarter-long survey course for beginning foreign language learners. The textbook, Minimus, is geared for this type of course and age of learner. Minimus follows the adventures of a mouse in Roman Britain. Basic linguistic principles are introduced with a focus on recognizing Latin vocabulary as the origin for most English words and learning how Roman culture has been a constant throughout Western History.

Latin I 

Latin I students follow Unit One of the Cambridge Latin Course (CLC), a reading-intensive approach that prefers visual and intuitive senses to understand language rather than the traditional memorization of paradigms. Each chapter introduces one or two linguistic concepts, just like traditional texts, but the CLC more fully integrates an interesting and continuous story line for subsequent chapters that educates students also in the fascinating cultural background of Roman affairs in the ancient Mediterranean world. Unit One is set in Pompeii and follows the family of Lucius Caecilius Iucundus, an historical character whose family actually lived in Pompeii before Mt. Vesuvius erupted in A.D. 79. Students also focus on a “Checklist Vocabulary” for each chapter, recognizing a core set of words that will set them at a great advantage in English classes, the SAT, and everyday life.

Latin II

Unit Two of the CLC follows the same pattern as Unit One and builds on its linguistic foundation but introduces students to a new locale. Mt. Vesuvius has erupted and Caecilius’ son Quintus escapes to Roman Britain near the Fishbourne Roman Palace, where a new set of characters are introduced. In the second half of Unit Two, Quintus recalls his initial travels after the eruption to Alexandria, Egypt. By the end of Unit Two, students have learned enough Latin that they are beginning to recognize grammatical paradigms that students of older more traditional texts are accustomed to, but they can read lengthier passages of Latin more quickly, with greater understanding and more enjoyment.

Introduction to Spanish

Introduction to Spanish (6th Grade) is a quarter-long course introducing students to the richness of the Spanish language and the diversity of cultures that can be found in the countries where Spanish is spoken. Students learn basic vocabulary and introductory grammar through songs, games, and the use of simple sentences. Students will work to develop skills in listening, speaking, reading, and writing correct Spanish.

Spanish I

Spanish I is an introduction to Spanish language and Hispanic cultures. Students learn grammar and vocabulary and develop their speaking and listening skills. They construct, practice, and present simple dialogues and essays

Spanish II

Spanish II students begin the year with a thorough review of grammar and basic skills of conversation and strengthen those skills. In pairs and in groups, they write paragraphs and short stories, working to expand vocabulary.

William Seavey

William Seavey

Titles: Foreign Language Department Chair, Latin, Linguistics, Junior Class Coordinator, Middle School Boys' Basketball (Head), Middle School Boys' Soccer
Degrees: B.A., Brigham Young University
M.A., Brigham Young University
Ph.D., University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Marcus Murphy

Marcus Murphy

Titles: International Student Coordinator, Chinese, House Parent (Watts), Outdoor Adventure, Varsity Boys' Soccer
Degrees: B.S., Natural Resources, The University of the South
M.A., Teaching Mandarin as a Second Language, Qingdao University
Diana Rinck

Diana Rinck

Class of 2015
Titles: Spanish, Middle School Volleyball, Varsity Volleyball, JV Volleyball (Head)
Degrees: B.A., German & German Studies, The University of the South
Stephen Thomas

Stephen Thomas

Titles: Spanish, Golf (Head), Outdoor Adventure
Degrees: B.A., Foreign Languages (Spanish), University of Alaska Fairbanks
M.A., Foreign Language (Spanish), Bowling Green State University