Four semesters of the same language are required

[Unless otherwise noted, all academic courses in this department meet both CSU and UC entrance requirements]

The current requirement for Modern Language study at Notre Dame is two years.  However, both the Administration and the Modern Language Department, in consultation with the Director of College Counseling, recommend that most students at Notre Dame complete a four-year sequence in one language.  All students who finish Level II with a "B" (or a strong "C+" with teacher recommendation) are encouraged to pursue the advanced levels in the language.  The Modern Language Department considers Levels III and IV as essentially one course and therefore does not anticipate that grades vary significantly from Level III to IV.  Students should also keep in mind that the rigor of their senior year schedule is far more important for college admissions than their senior year grades.

For students who are particularly gifted in language, there is also the opportunity to double up on languages, picking up Level I of the other language as a sophomore or junior. For the student who is not qualified to go on to Level III, there is also the option of taking two years of a different language, demonstrating to the college admissions committees that the student is pursuing a rigorous schedule as a senior.

Students who are interested in American Sign Language should have a conversation with their counselor and the modern language department chairperson.

College Prep Classes

Honors & AP Classes

Electives

#4000 FRENCH I   
10 credits - Grade(s) all
Prerequisite: Department approval      

This course is designed to give students an introduction to the French language.  Grammar, vocabulary and culture are taught through the four basic communication skills: listening, speaking, reading, and writing. Students will often work in pairs and teams to do written and oral exercises as well as skits and presentations.  Students will be writing paragraphs, which will increase in difficulty and length, with each unit.  Oral proficiency and class participation are critical to success at this level.

Each lesson focuses on an aspect of life in French speaking countries which high school students can appreciate – school, home, family, food, travel, etc. In addition, these cultural lessons will allow the students to compare and contrast their customs and beliefs with those of people in French-speaking countries.  

#4010 FRENCH II    
10 credits - Grade(s) All
Prerequisite: French I with a grade of C- or better both semesters or teacher approval  

This course builds on the French I curriculum.  Students will further develop speaking and listening skills through conversation, group work, discussion of class materials and oral presentations.  Their writing will continue to improve through assigned paragraphs and compositions, which students will write and revise for a better grade based on “correction codes” given by teacher.  Oral work will be evaluated through classroom presentations and performances.  Grammar, especially verb tenses, will be emphasized at this level.  The cultural lessons will concentrate on Paris, French-speaking countries outside of France, as well as everyday life.

#4020 FRENCH III
10 credits - Grade(s) 10, 11, 12
Prerequisite: French II with a grade of B- or better both semesters or teacher approval  

This course, conducted primarily in French, concentrates on elevating language skills to students' thought level.  Students will move toward self-expression through various activities.  Class discussion of reading materials along with debate and dramatizations will be used.  Grammar will be reviewed and new, more complex structures will be introduced.  Formal writing introduced in French II will continue.  Students will study French culture, songs and short stories, and conduct research on various topics.

#4050 SPANISH I  
10 credits - Grade(s) 9, 10, 11 
Prerequisite: Department approval  

This course is designed to give students an introduction to the Spanish language. Grammar, vocabulary and culture are taught through the four basic communication skills: listening, speaking, reading, and writing. Students will often work in pairs and teams to do written and oral exercises as well as skits and presentations. Students will write paragraphs which will increase in difficulty and length with each unit. Oral proficiency and class participation are critical to success at this level.

Each lesson focuses on an aspect of life in Latin America and/or Spain which high school students can appreciate – school, home, family, food, travel, etc. In addition, these cultural lessons will allow the students to compare and contrast their customs and beliefs with those of people in Spanish-speaking countries.

#4060 SPANISH II 
10 credits - Grade(s) All
Prerequisite: Spanish I with a grade of C- or better both semesters or teacher approval

This course builds on the Spanish I curriculum.  Students will further develop speaking and listening skills through conversation, discussion, and oral presentations.  Their writing will continue to improve through assigned paragraphs and compositions.  In addition there will be 3 – 4 written and/or oral projects. Their oral work will be evaluated through classroom presentations and performances.  Grammar, especially verb tenses, will be emphasized at this level.  The cultural lessons will focus on routines, travel, cuisine, pastimes, shopping, health, cities and the countryside as well as Spanish and Latin American traditions.

#4070 SPANISH III 
10 credits - Grade(s) 9, 10, 11, 12 
Prerequisite: Spanish II with a grade of B- or better both semesters or teacher approval    

Spanish III consists of 5 units that build on curriculum from Spanish II. Students will work in the presentational, interpersonal, and intrapersonal modes of communication. Students will continue to add to their vocabulary from previous courses and further develop their reading and writing skills. The units focus on sports and physical activity, art, health, relationships, and work.

#4083 ADVANCED SPANISH CULTURE AND CONVERSATION
10 credits - Grade(s) 11, 12 
Prerequisite: Spanish III with a grade of C- or better both semesters

This course would follow Spanish III or any subsequent course in the curriculum.  The emphasis is learning about Hispanic culture and history, while expanding vocabulary, developing communication skills, and working through individual problem areas in grammar.  This would also be an option for students who have an interest in additional study in Spanish as a supplement to the normal course of study or as an extension for those who finish Spanish IV AP or Spanish V AP.  Heritage speakers of Spanish who chose to take French as an academic subject may also enjoy taking this class as an opportunity to learn more about their background and the diversity of the Spanish-speaking world.

#4040 CHINESE I COMPETENCY  (MANDARIN I) 
10 credits - Grade 9

This online course is designed to give students an introduction to the Mandarin language.  Grammar, vocabulary and culture are taught through the four basic communications skills: listening, speaking, reading and writing.  Students will be actively engaged in their own language learning, become familiar with common vocabulary terms and phrases, comprehend a wide range of grammar patterns, participate in simple conversations and respond appropriately to basic conversational prompts.  There is a strong emphasis on providing context and conversational examples for the language concepts presented in each unit.  Both Chinese characters and pinyin are presented together throughout the course and specific character practices are introduced after the first quarter.

#4045 CHINESE II COMPETENCY  (MANDARIN II)
10 credits - Grade 9

This online course builds on the Mandarin I curriculum.  Students will further develop their knowledge of key vocabulary topics and grammar concepts while also improving their abilities to listen, read, speak and write.  Students will be actively engaged in their own language learning, understand common vocabulary terms and phrases, use a wide range of grammar patterns in their speaking and writing, participate in conversations and respond appropriately to conversation prompts.  Character recognition and practice are a key focus of the course and students are expected to learn several characters each unit.  Pinyin is still presented with characters throughout the course to aid in listening and reading comprehension.

#4047 CHINESE III COMPETENCY  (MANDARIN III)
10 credits - Grade(s)  All 

This high intermediate course builds on the Mandarin 2 curriculum, with a particular emphasis on speaking and listening in the interpretive, interpersonal and presentational modes. Vocabulary and grammar skills will be further developed as students add advanced sentence structures, phrases, and characters, with less reliance on Pinyin.

#4095 American Sign Language I
10 credits - Grade(s) all
Enrollment based on counselor recommendation and department approval
Offered in Summer School Only

This course is designed to give students an introduction to American Sign Language and the cultural components of deafness. Students will learn basic vocabulary and grammar in order to communicate and comprehend. Students will also compare and contrast ASL with English, as well as explore products, practices and perspectives related to the Deaf community.  By the end of the course, students will  perform the tasks of a novice language learner. 

 

Eligbility Criteria

Eligible to register for ASL

 

 

Candidate for course pending counselor approval (additional fees will apply)

Students with ASL as formal learning accommodation as part of their learning needs evaluation

  • Students for whom ASL is a beneficial language alternative based on learning needs
  • Students who prefer to take ASL in addition to their school-year language course
  • Student who prefer to take ASL in lieu of their school-year language course

 

Honors Program
Prerequisites for Honors Courses in Modern Language

Course being applied for: Grades must be maintained throughout the year or demonstrate significant improvement.

Spanish II Honors,

Spanish III Honors, AP Spanish Language and Culture, AP Spanish Literature and Culture

 or

French II Honors, French III Honors, AP French Language and Culture

Entry into honors level classes is based on:

  • grade of A- or better both semesters (verification of June grades)
  • application/contract
  • teacher recommendation regarding: the quality and quantity of oral work, effort, and grades
  • any student with at least a passing grade of C- in level III of the language and the ability to comprehend the spoken target language may enroll in AP Language and Composition
  • any student with at least a passing grade of C- in the AP Language and Culture course and the ability to comprehend the spoken target language may enroll in AP Language and Composition course

 

Suggested course sequence for honors students is:

Level I; Level IIH; Level III H; AP Language and Culture; AP Literature and Culture, Advanced Culture and Conversation

#4015 FRENCH II HONORS 
10 credits - Grade(s) 9, 10, 11, 12
Prerequisite: see Prerequisites for Honors Courses in Modern Language 

The pace in French II H is faster than that of regular French II, thus allowing the students to acquire more knowledge with the expectation of a higher level of proficiency.  Written work will be frequent with greater depth and detail. Students will be challenged to speak freely and frequently in the target language; oral proficiency will be emphasized.  In addition, the students will read and discuss several literary extracts including a unit on The Holocaust, using the original French text of Night by Elie Wiesel.  This unit will be a precursor to the work in French III Honors where students move away from “tourist” vocabulary and start to talk about issues that engage and inflame their spirits.

#4025 FRENCH III HONORS
10 credits - Grade(s) 9, 10, 11, 12 
Prerequisite: see Prerequisites for Honors Courses in Modern Language  

This is a literature-based, honors level advanced language class where students will use their abilities as self-motivated learners to: develop a broad vocabulary, elevate grammar usage to a level of sophistication that will allow the student to express ideas clearly and concisely, refine reading skills, and speak and write with a level of sophistication that is suitable both to the content and their age. This will be accomplished through the use of film and literature based around 5 themes:  friends and family, schooling, women’s rights, immigration and racism, and an independent reading project. . The students will read: Petit Nicolas, Une Si Longue Lettre, Le Racisme Expliqué à Ma Fille, and Le Petit Prince. Students will develop comfort in speaking by working daily in small groups. Oral assessments will consist of recorded commentary, debates, Socratic seminars, and class discussion. Written work will include writing, discussion and reaction questions, compositions, and 4 culminating written pieces – an illustrated book, a research paper, an additional chapter of a book and a brochure focusing on women’s rights in francophone countries.

#4030 AP FRENCH LANGUAGE AND CULTURE
10 credits - Grade(s) 11, 12   
Prerequisite: see Prerequisites for Honors Courses in Modern Language 
Fee: Advanced Placement Exam  

Students will prepare for university level language study and for the AP exam given in the spring through the reading, writing, speaking and listening components of this course.  There will be a comprehensive review of grammar with emphasis on complex structures and stylistic use.  Students will read a variety of literary genres including short story, poetry, novel, essay and newspaper as they study and research life in the Francophone world.  Readings will include the following topics, as set forth by the College Board: the arts, global challenges, families and communities, the quest for self, contemporary life, and science and technology.  Students will discuss readings in a seminar style setting and prepare both group and individual presentations.  Written assignments will allow the students to show creativity, cite evidence, and express opinions. Summer reading of “Oscar et La Dame Rose” is required.

#4065 SPANISH II HONORS
10 credits - Grade(s) All   
Prerequisite: see Prerequisites for Honors Courses in Modern Language

This course builds on the Spanish I curriculum.  Students will further develop speaking and listening skills through conversation, discussion, and oral presentations.  Their writing will continue to improve through assigned paragraphs and compositions.  In addition there will be 3 – 4 written and/or oral projects. Their oral work will be evaluated through classroom presentations and performances.  Grammar, especially verb tenses, will be emphasized at this level.  The cultural lessons will focus on routines, travel, cuisine, pastimes, shopping, health, cities and the countryside as well as Spanish and Latin American traditions.

The pace in Spanish II H is faster than that of regular Spanish II, thus allowing the students to acquire more knowledge with the expectation of a higher level of proficiency.  Written work will be frequent with greater depth and detail. This writing process will also include pen-pal program with a nearby bilingual.  Students will be challenged to speak freely and frequently in the target language; oral proficiency will be emphasized.  In addition, the students will read and discuss several literary extracts, including an illustrated version of Don Quijote de la Mancha.

#4075 SPANISH III HONORS
10 credits - Grade(s) 10, 11, 12
Prerequisite: see Prerequisites for Honors Courses in Modern Language  

Spanish III Honors consists of six units that progress through Notre Dame’s Education for Justice and Leadership framework. The pace, depth, and rigor of the course are all at an advanced level- requiring students to quickly and comfortably learn from mistakes. The units intertwine the presentational, interpersonal and intrapersonal communication modes with national Spanish standards, while also pushing students to think critically about personal responsibility, solidarity, stewardship, and advocacy as related to learning Spanish. Students review and expand the grammar concepts learned in level 2, and further develop their vocabulary and cultural knowledge. Students read a novel (in its original form) in Spanish, interview native Spanish speakers, create a Global Citizen Portfolio, and work with the Mountain View Day Worker Center. The course specifically addresses complexities of Hispanic immigration in the US both academically and through community involvement.

#4085 AP SPANISH LANGUAGE AND CULTURE
10 credits - Grade(s) 10, 11, 12
Prerequisite: see Prerequisites for Honors Courses in Modern Language 
Fee: Advanced Placement Exam

Using Spanish-language literature, news articles, film and music as a framework for language study, this course focuses on the advanced listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills necessary for upper-division college study in the Spanish language.  This class, conducted entirely in Spanish prepares the students for the Advanced Placement Spanish Language Exam by developing critical thinking and academic skills as well as striving for a sophisticated level of expression in Spanish, both orally and in writing.  A detailed review of grammar and vocabulary will take place throughout the year, as well as an emphasis on extemporaneous discussion and composition writing, literary analysis and cultural awareness.  The themes for study are: global challenges, science and technology, contemporary life, personal and public identities, families and communities, and beauty and aesthetics.

#4090 AP SPANISH LITERATURE AND CULTURE
10 credits - Grade(s) 10, 11, 12
Prerequisite: see Prerequisites for Honors Courses in Modern Language 
Fee: Advanced Placement Exam

AP Spanish Literature and Culture is an advanced Spanish class that surveys Peninsular and Latin American literature from the Middle Ages to today.  It is the equivalent of an upper-division college course and serves as an introduction to literary analysis and discussion of Spanish-language literature.  Beyond developing reading comprehension, students will actively engage with text, understand the context in which it was written, think critically about its themes and greater message, and analyze the author’s craft.   The class is conducted entirely in Spanish and students will learn the terminology and academic language to discuss content, structure, theme, character development, and figurative language. They will also write interpretive and analytical compositions and work to develop their academic writing skills in Spanish.  The primary goal for the class is that students enjoy reading the classics of Spanish-language literature and develop their autonomy in reading on all levels. Summer reading required.

Electives

#7001 HISTORY THROUGH ART
5 credits - Grade(s) 10, 11, 12
Prerequisite: None
This course will be offered every other year - - Even numbered summers  

This is a 2 week trip to France and Spain sponsored by NETC and chaperoned by 5- 6 Notre Dame teachers. The itineraries vary each year, but always include Madrid and/or Barcelona, and Paris.

This independent study project is based on French or Spanish artwork created during a particular era, movement or political event. Prior to departure, students research a specific topic along with relevant artists and relevant artworks. During the trip they will view the works of art, take notes and photos, make journal entries, do an interview with a native speaker, and create a final project.  Students will be required to have access to 2 resources (books) in the target language.

Credits will be conferred upon completion of the final project – no later than November 1.

These credits are supplemental Travel Credits and do not apply towards Notre Dame’s graduation requirements.  They will, however, be included on transcripts as additional summer school experiences.