World Language Course Offerings

  • One year (10 credits) of World Language is required for graduation and must be attempted by the end of a students’ 10th grade year. The San Mateo High School World Language Department offers three world languages: Chinese (Mandarin), French and Spanish. We also offer Spanish classes for Native Speakers of Spanish.

     

Chinese (Mandarin)

  • CHINESE 1 (MANDARIN)

    Grade: 9-12
    Duration: Year
    Credits: 10
    University of California (U.C.)/California State University (C.S.U.): Yes; “e” - Language
    Prerequisite: None

    Chinese 1 is designed for students with no background in the Mandarin language. This course helps students develop basic communicative skills in listening, speaking, reading, typing and writing. Students also learn cultural knowledge such as traditional festivals, the origin of Chinese characters and the etiquette of greetings. During the first semester, students will be expected to master Pinyin – the Chinese phonetic spelling system and the major 40 radicals. Students will begin their study of Chinese characters the second semester. By the end of the year, students should be able to read and type about 150 commonly used characters.

     

    CHINESE 2 (MANDARIN)

    Grade: 9-12
    Duration: Year
    Credits: 10
    U.C./C.S.U.: Yes: “e” – Language
    Prerequisite: Satisfactory completion of Chinese 1 or equivalent

    This course is a continuation of Mandarin Chinese 1 with a holistic approach to enhance students’ reading, writing, speaking and listening skills of Mandarin Chinese and understanding of Chinese culture. The lessons will be conducted in Mandarin most of the time to give students first-hand experience of “living in Chinese.” Students will be able to communicate with others about their daily activities, school life, shopping and traveling experiences in Mandarin Chinese through writing and speaking. Students will be able to write short paragraphs and use about 300 new words at ease by the end of the year. Students will be expected to type their writing most of the time.

     

    CHINESE 3 (MANDARIN)

    Grade: 9-12
    Duration: Year
    Credits: 10
    U.C./C.S.U.: Yes; “e” - Language
    Prerequisite: Satisfactory completion of Chinese 2 or equivalent

    Chinese 3 is designed for students who have previously studied Mandarin for two or more consecutive years. Students will continue to develop their communication skills in listening, speaking, reading and writing. Rigorous practice of spoken and written Mandarin will be conducted. By the end of the year, students should be able to read and type about 800 high frequency characters. The instruction will be conducted primarily in Mandarin.

     

    CHINESE 4 HONORS (MANDARIN)

    Grade: 9-12
    Duration: Year
    Credits: 10
    U.C./C.S.U.: Yes; “e” – Language
    Prerequisite: Satisfactory completion of Chinese 3 or equivalent

    This is an advanced level course in which students will further develop their listening, speaking, reading and writing skills through the textbook and multimedia resources. Mandarin is the only language used in class. Students are expected to write short essays and express their view of points for different events by the end of the year. Some simplified Chinese literature will be introduced at the second semester to enrich the understanding of Chinese culture. Students will type their writing as homework and in class whenever the computer is available since Chinese typing is expected in work places and for higher education.

     

    ADVANCED PLACEMENT (A.P.) CHINESE LANGUAGE AND CULTURE (MANDARIN)

    Grade: 10-12
    Duration: Year
    Credits: 10
    U.C./C.S.U.: If offered, submission will be completed
    Prerequisite: Teacher recommendation and completion of Chinese 3 with an A; or completion of Chinese 4 Honors

    Approximate Homework: 1 hour/day, 5 days/week; extra hours for weekend homework/assignments; summer assignment

    The Advanced Placement Chinese Language and Culture class will prepare students for the College Board’s Advanced Placement examination. The goal of this class is to have students master the material that is equivalent to the second year of college level Chinese. The class will be taught in Mandarin Chinese and students will be expected to use Chinese only in class in order to be fully immersed in Chinese culture. Students will further develop their reading, speaking, listening, writing and critical thinking skills in Chinese through the year.

French

  • FRENCH 1

    Grade: 9-12
    Duration: Year
    Credits: 10
    U.C./C.S.U.: Yes; “e” - Language
    Prerequisite: None

    This beginning course provides students with a general introduction to the French language, its sound system and pronunciation. Introductory topics such as describing oneself, friends, family; school and home life; leisure activities, dining out, shopping, getting around in a city and travel are treated. Through the acquisition of vocabulary and structures based on these themes, students gain basic skills for proficiency in listening, speaking, reading and writing French. Emphasis is given to understanding cultural perspectives, customs, art and music of France.

     

    FRENCH 2

    Grade: 9-12
    Duration: Year
    Credits: 10
    U.C./C.S.U.: Yes; “e” - Language
    Prerequisite: Satisfactory completion of French 1 or equivalent

    This second year elective course is designed to further develop basic communicative skills through topics such as holidays, cuisine and mealtime, cinema, technology, health and nature. Classroom instruction is designed to engage students in communicative tasks that relate to the present, past and future. Students learn the target language in a contemporary cultural context that supports living in a global society.

     

    FRENCH 3

    Grade: 10-12 or permission of teacher
    Duration: Year
    Credits: 10
    U.C./C.S.U.: Yes; “e” - Language
    Prerequisite: Satisfactory completion of French 2 or equivalent

    Summer Assignment

    Students improve language skills to a level where they are able to satisfy most survival (not just basic) needs and many social demands. They increase their communicative abilities through personal written narratives, stories, poems and oral presentations in French. There is a strong focus on grammar, including writing and listening. Cultural topics focus on current events with more emphasis on customs and traditions of French speakers beyond France’s borders.

     

    FRENCH 4 HONORS

    Grade: 10-12
    Duration: Year
    Credits: 10
    U.C./C.S.U.: Yes; “e” - Language
    Prerequisite: Satisfactory completion of French 3 or equivalent

    Approximate Homework: 30-40 minutes/day, 5 days/week; extra hours for weekend homework and assignments

    Students will continue to build their skills through lessons in advanced structures, vocabulary and idiomatic expressions of the language and cultures of the French speaking world. Use of blogs, journals, realia, authentic texts, social media and assigned projects enhance units of study. The themes of study (global challenges, science and technology, contemporary life, personal and public identities, family and community, beauty/aesthetics) correlate with those presented on the Advanced Placement French Language and Culture Exam which many students opt to take at the end of French 4 Honors.

     

    ADVANCED PLACEMENT FRENCH LANGUAGE AND CULTURE

    Grade: 10-12
    Duration: Year
    Credits: 10
    U.C./C.S.U.: If offered, submission will be completed
    Prerequisite: Teacher recommendation and completion of French 3 with an A; or completion of French 4 Honors

    Approximate Homework: 1 hour/day, 5 days/week; extra hours for weekend homework assignments and projects

    Students will conduct an extensive study of French through reading, listening, presenting, and writing about current events, articles, poems and short stories. Students will review and expand their knowledge of advanced grammatical concepts, vocabulary, and idiomatic expressions. They will strengthen their writing and speaking skills. Students will prepare for the Advanced Placement French Language and Culture exam. Their goal will be to reach a mastery level equivalent to second-year university level French. Students enrolled in this class are encouraged to take the Advanced Placement exam in May.

Spanish

  • SPANISH 1

    Grade: 9-12
    Duration: Year
    Credits: 10
    U.C./C.S.U.: Yes; “e” - Language
    Prerequisite: None

    Students learn the basic language tools and gain the experience needed for proficiency in using the foreign language for communication. Instruction in grammar, spelling, punctuation and pronunciation will be given as needed to increase proficiency.

     

    SPANISH 2

    Grade: 9-12
    Duration: Year
    Credits: 10
    U.C./C.S.U.: Yes; “e” - Language
    Prerequisite: Satisfactory completion of Spanish 1 or equivalent

    Students learn basic survival needs and at least the minimum courtesy requirements. Students are able to maintain simple face-to-face conversations and to ask and answer simple questions. Homework will include practice in reading and writing. Instruction in grammar, spelling, punctuation and pronunciation will be given as needed in order to reach proficiency.

     

    SPANISH 3

    Grade: 10-12 or permission of teacher
    Duration: Year
    Credits: 10
    U.C./C.S.U.: Yes; “e” - Language
    Prerequisite: Satisfactory completion of Spanish 2 or equivalent

    Students will improve language skills to a level where they are able to satisfy most survival (not just basic) needs and many social demands. There is a strong focus on grammar, including writing and listening. Students are responsible for essays, reports, stories, poems, note-taking and oral summaries in the foreign language.

     

    SPANISH FOR NATIVE SPEAKERS 3

    Grade: 9-12
    Duration: Year
    Credits: 10
    U.C./C.S.U.: Yes; “e” - Language
    Prerequisite: Native speaker of Spanish and a writing sample

    This course is designed to meet the needs of students whose home language is Spanish. Students will expand their linguistic abilities in Spanish and develop a deeper understanding of the Spanish-speaking world. This course will also reinforce literacy skills taught in their English classes. Areas of focus include basic and advanced grammatical structure and orthography through reading, writing, speaking and listening. Through a variety of media, students will explore culture, geography, history, current events and literature of the Spanish-speaking world. Upon completion of this course, instructors will recommend the appropriate subsequent level of Spanish study. This may be Spanish 4 Honors or Advanced Placement Spanish depending upon student proficiency and advancement.

     

    SPANISH 4 HONORS

    Grade: 9-12
    Duration: Year
    Credits: 10
    U.C./C.S.U.: Yes; “e” - Language
    Prerequisite: Satisfactory completion of Spanish 3, Spanish Native Speakers 3 or equivalent

    Approximate Homework: 30 minutes/day, 3 days/week and four weekend projects

    Students will strengthen speaking, listening, reading and writing skills using a variety of authentic texts and real-life experiences in the language and cultures of the Spanish speaking world. Students will continue to expand their knowledge of grammar, vocabulary and orthography at an advanced level. Topics of study include Latin American history and archaeology, cultural practices, dialects of the Spanish speaking world, Magical Realism, professions, letter writing and technological innovations of the future.

     

    ADVANCED PLACEMENT (A.P.) SPANISH LANGUAGE AND CULTURE

    Grade: 10-12
    Duration: Year
    Credits: 10
    U.C./C.S.U.: Yes; “e” - Language
    Prerequisite: Teacher recommendation and completion of Spanish 3 or Spanish Native Speakers 3 with an A; or completion of Spanish 4 Honors

    Approximate Homework: 1 hour/day, 3 days/week; extra hours for weekend homework/assignments; summer reading

    Students will conduct an extensive study of Spanish through reading, writing and speaking about current events, articles, poems and short stories. Students will review advanced grammatical concepts and will strengthen their writing and speaking skills. Students will prepare for the Advanced Placement Spanish Language and Culture Exam. All students who enroll in this course are expected to take the Advanced Placement exam in May.

     

    ADVANCED PLACEMENT SPANISH LITERATURE AND CULTURE

    Grade: 10-12
    Duration: Year
    Credits: 10
    U.C./C.S.U.: Yes; “e” - Language
    Prerequisite: Completion of Advanced Placement Spanish Language or teacher recommendation with completion of Spanish Native Speakers 3 or Spanish 4 Honors; students may enroll in Advanced Placement Spanish Language simultaneously

    Approximate Homework: 1 hours/day, 6 days/week; extra hours for weekend homework/assignments; summer reading

    The course will be presented with a thematic approach to the study of Spanish literature and culture. This is an opportunity for Spanish speaking students and advanced Spanish as a second language students to participate in college level coursework in Spanish and Latin American literature. Students will read and analyze Spanish literature from a variety of Spanish speaking countries. Besides reading, students will build their cognitive skills of analysis, critique, and justification through their observations of style, theme, and historical influences on the work. Students will also explore the interdisciplinary connections between literary works and other artistic forms of expression such as music, painting, architecture, and film.