World Languages

The Norwood World Languages program is a core part of Norwood School’s curriculum.  Norwood offers Spanish (grades PK-8), French (grades 5-8), Chinese (grades 6-8), and Latin (grades 7-8). In both Classical and Modern language classrooms, instruction focuses on developing language proficiency with accuracy and effective understanding of culture. Through thematic instruction in the modern languages classroom students, learn real-life communication skills using the three modes of communication; interpretive, interpersonal, and presentational in the target language. In the classical language classroom, the Latin students learn language structure, grammar and an understanding of Roman civilization. In keeping with the American Council of Teachers of Foreign Languages’ Statement of Philosophy, teachers include the 5 C’s (Communication, Cultures, Comparisons, Connections and Communities.) The World Languages curriculum promotes critical thinking, cultural literacy, and global citizenship. 

List of 8 items.

  • Pre-kindergarten

    Young children have a natural gift for learning languages so our pre-kindergartners are exposed to Spanish language and culture a several times a week. The children explore the language in a story-based approach through movement, songs and skits. They build vocabulary as they repeatedly hear clear and accurate Spanish, helping them learn proper language patterns. Every day, they practice conversational Spanish by completing classroom routines in Spanish, and they are encouraged to use the language beyond the classroom. Topics include, but are not limited to, greetings, numbers, colors, animals, family members, emotions, parts of the body, and parts of a house.
  • Kindergarten

    Young children have a natural gift for learning languages and this is why our kindergartners are exposed to Spanish language and culture. The children explore Spanish in a story-based approach through movement, songs and skits. They build vocabulary as they repeatedly hear clear and accurate Spanish, helping them learn proper language patterns. They practice everyday conversational Spanish that is natural and child-centered, and they are encouraged to use the language beyond the classroom. Topics include, but are not limited to, greetings, numbers, colors, animals, family members, emotions, parts of the body, and parts of a house.
  • First Grade

    Through the use of thematic units, storytelling, movement, games, music and art, first grade students are immersed in the Spanish language and acquire a variety of vocabulary and expressions.  As students learn greetings, how to state feelings, and understand classroom directions, they make puppets to stage conversations with classmates.  Students continue to build their vocabulary and conversational abilities around topics such as colors and numbers, parts of the body, family members, household vocabulary, and clothing.
  • Second Grade

    The second grade Spanish program is closely tied in to the social studies curriculum. The students learn to name and locate the continents, oceans, and Spanish-speaking countries, particularly those in South America. By focusing on the animals of South America, the children learn plurals, definite and indefinite articles, action verbs, gender agreement, and adjectives as they describe the physical traits of the animals, what they eat, and their habitats. The students write and illustrate their own class version of the story Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? and share the book with parents and classmates.
  • Third Grade

    Third graders continue to be engaged in meaningful and playful communicative activities. Through partnered activities, students build their oral and aural skills by applying their understandings of vocabulary and grammar to conducting conversations around certain topics. Focusing on understanding the cultures of Spanish-speaking countries, particularly those of Central America and Mexico, students learn the alphabet and practice spelling in Spanish.  They increase their ability to count in Spanish and learn how to talk about the weather, their clothing, and foods. While studying these topics, the class is taught in the target language, helping students further develop their language skills.
  • Fourth Grade

    Focusing on school life, fourth graders study the lives of Spanish-speaking children their own age. They also take a closer look at the Spanish-speaking countries of South America, learning the capitals and some of the geographic features of the region. Units covered include: hobbies and extracurricular activities, giving directions, school life, and businesses in the community. While students learn about these topics in the target language, they cover grammar topics like the use of prepositions, sentence construction, and verb tenses. Connecting with the math curriculum, students learn to discuss numbers: counting to 1,000, skip counting, adding, subtracting, and multiplying.
  • Fifth & Sixth Grade

    Beginning in fifth grade, students have the option to continue their study of Spanish or switch to French. Mandarin is an option beginning in sixth grade.

    In fifth and sixth grades, Spanish students delve deeper into the topics presented in Lower School. Maintaining the emphasis on communicating in the three modes, Interpretive, Presentational, and Interpersonal, students expand vocabulary and mastery of grammar structures allowing them to communicate at a more sophisticated level. They grow from Novice Low to Novice Mid to Novice High, from using words to using memorized or partial phrases to using strings of emerging sentences. Students identify, describe, explain, compare, and give opinions on a variety of topics and contexts, such as identity, basic needs (house, clothing, food), and self, community, and the world. Students expand their worldview and gain perspective by relating their own customs to those in Spanish-speaking countries throughout the world.  


    The French program introduces students to practical vocabulary and grammatical structures that enable students to communicate in French. They learn the basic vocabulary of everyday life situations, how to greet people, colors, numbers, family, body parts, animals, house, city, sports and food. New vocabulary is introduced through different kinds of activities; games, role play, interactive PowerPoints, contests, technological and hands on activities. The course focuses on speaking, listening, reading, and writing. 

    Studying the fundamentals of Mandarin Chinese, students develop the four language skills of listening, speaking, reading, and writing. Through the use of communicative activities, students learn to introduce themselves, describe families, school life, and converse using typical greetings and daily expressions. Students study the structure of Chinese characters, Chinese phonetic (Pinyin) writing, speaking tones, and characters’ strokes. Students also study culture through exposure to Chines art, songs, and games.
  • Seventh & Eighth Grade

    The seventh and eighth grade Spanish program includes the study of history and events from Spanish speaking cultures and has the goal of expanding the students’ abilities to express themselves accurately in oral and written Spanish. Students are exposed to authentic sources of Spanish via online recordings, songs, videos, full length films, and news sources. They read a wide variety of materials written for native speakers and for language learners. The students conduct research, write compositions, sing traditional and pop songs, act in skits, and do oral presentations in the target language. Both seventh and eighth grade Spanish students take the National Spanish Exam.

    Seventh and eighth grade levels provide opportunities to develop communication skills in the language, at an emerging level, while deepening the understanding of the people and culture of China. The target language is used almost exclusively in the classroom to work toward proficiency in listening, speaking, reading, and writing. Topics include: foods, clothes, body parts, sports, animals, transportation, shopping, languages, weather, and making comparisons. Class activities include short essay writing, research projects, implementation of language-related web activities, use of Kuaiban (“bamboo talk), discussion of current events, use of a variety of authentic Chinese materials, and visits to Chinese cultural centers.

    The seventh and eighth grade French curricula focus on theme-based units that cover more complex grammar concepts as well as new conjugation tenses (perfect tense, future, and conditional.) Students read at an intermediate level getting a taste of genuine French literature such as La Tulipe Noire by Alexandre Dumas, 20,000 Lieues sous les Mers by Jules Verne. In seventh grade, students research important places in France through Le Tour de France Culturel.

    In seventh and eighth grade, students learn Latin through the study of language structure, vocabulary acquisition, and translation. They are encouraged to make comparisons to the grammar structure of English which gives them great insight into their own language. Through vocabulary, students learn that many English words are derived from Latin words, and they learn to decode more complex English words by looking for the Latin roots. Students study Roman culture to put the Latin language into the context in which it was originally used. The culture studied is incorporated into the translations and story lines to make the passages more authentic. Language and culture are integrated from the outset by using as much authentic Roman subject matter as possible.

Lower School

List of 2 members.

  • Photo of Laura Cotter

    Laura Cotter 

    Lower School Spanish Teacher
    University Autonoma Metropolitana - B.A.
    University of Alcala - M.A.
    Madero University - Certificate
  • Photo of Emily Salgueiro

    Emily Salgueiro 

    Early Childhood Spanish Teacher
    Trinity College - B.A. & M.A.T.

Middle School

List of 5 members.

  • Photo of Rosine Riachi

    Rosine Riachi 

    Middle School French Teacher
    Holy Spirit University of Kaslik - B.A., M.Ed. & M.A.S.
  • Photo of Alexandra Gichner

    Sandra Gichner 

    Middle School Latin Teacher and Advisor
    Connecticut College - B.A.
  • Photo of Lan Jin

    Lan Jin 

    Middle School Mandarin Teacher
    Notre Dame of Maryland University - M.A.T.
    Nanjing Normal University - B.A.
    Jiangsu Xiaozhuang Normal Institute - Teaching Degree
  • Photo of Vicky Masson

    Vicky Masson 

    Middle School Spanish Teacher and World Language Coordinator
    University of Maryland, University College - B.A.
  • Photo of Maria Del Carmen Alvarez

    Carmen Alvarez 

    Middle School Spanish Teacher
    Universidad Pontificia de Salamanca - B.A.
    Moreland University - M.Ed.
Located in Bethesda, MD, Norwood School develops students in grades PK-8 into confident lifelong learners who have the academic, character, and leadership skills to succeed in high school and beyond. Recognizing that children are multi-faceted, Norwood provides many opportunities for safe risk-taking, exploration, discovery, and growth in a nurturing, supportive, and inclusive school community.