World Languages

“Engaged and immersive” can describe any language class at Fountain Valley School. In addition to learning the language, you will take a deep dive into understanding the cultures that speak French, Mandarin Chinese and Spanish. You will be exposed to the authentic art, film, literature, history and geography of various cultures. Fun language events are held throughout the school year sponsored by the language clubs.
You will be given opportunities to further practice your language on international Interim trips where you can immerse in a country where the language is spoken. In 2019, language-based Interims included trips to Morocco, Puerto Rico and Mexico.

Communication, cultural awareness, and connections with the real world are at the core of every language class at FVS. Language teachers at FVS are either native speakers of or have near-native proficiency in the language they teach, and strive to make learning meaningful through engaging, colorful activities and innovative techniques. 
 
 

List of 19 items.

  • Advanced Chinese Language and Culture

    This advanced level class is designed so that a student will be prepared to take the AP Chinese Language and Culture exam. A student who does not take the AP exam will be required to take a final exam in May. This advanced Chinese course is intended to develop the students' language skills in three communicative modes (interpersonal, interpretive, and presentational), while deepening their insights into the various aspects of the cultures of China and other Chinese‑speaking communities. Throughout the year, students will learn about various aspects of contemporary and historical Chinese society and explore the realm of Chinese societal relationships. The course introduces students to significant persons, products, and themes in Chinese history through topics such as Chinese philosophy, government institutions, and artistic pursuits (e.g., calligraphy, painting, literature, and music, as well as folk arts and culture). Students will also develop an awareness of China’s role in global issues, such as energy and the environment, economics, and politics.
  • Advanced French Language and Culture

    Prerequisite: Grade of B+ or higher in Honors French III or both French IV semester classes, teacher recommendation, and support of Languages Department Chair.
    This course offers students who have completed Honors French III or two semesters of level‑IV electives the opportunity to pursue their study of the French language at the most advanced level available at FVS, with an emphasis on cultural awareness and communication. In this yearlong course, students discuss a variety of concepts through authentic materials from a variety of sources, including newspaper articles, TV and radio newscasts, short films, short stories and literary extracts. Engaging activities are based on a thematic structure aimed at strengthening all language learning skills while enabling students to express themselves about real‑world issues in the target language and learn about the diversity of the French‑speaking world. The themes explored in this course include global issues, science and technology, beauty and aesthetics, contemporary life, family and community, as well as personal identity. Students in this course will be prepared to take the AP French Language and Culture exam in May if they choose to do so. Students who choose not to take the AP exam will complete a final project instead.
  • Advanced Spanish Language and Culture

    Prerequisite: Grade of B+ or higher in Honors Spanish III or both Spanish IV semester classes, teacher recommendation and support of Languages Department Chair
    The Advanced Spanish Language and Culture course is a rigorous course that is taught exclusively in Spanish and approximately equivalent to a 5th or 6th semester university course. The course requires students to improve their proficiency across the three modes of communication (interpretive, interpersonal, and presentational). The course focuses on the integration of authentic resources including online print, audio, and audiovisual resources, as well as traditional print resources that include literature, essays, and magazine and newspaper articles, with the goal of providing a rich, diverse learning experience. Students communicate using rich, advanced vocabulary and linguistic structures as they build proficiency in all modes of communication. The course is divided into thematic units which are further based on recommended contexts and guided by essential questions. Corresponding cultural elements are integrated into the study of the units, and activities are directed with those cultural connections in mind. Discussion of the topics completely in Spanish is a requirement for this course. It is assumed that students have previously been exposed to advanced language structures in the courses leading up to the Advanced Spanish Language and Culture course; however, review of the mechanics is done within the contextual framework of each unit as needed. Students in this course will be prepared to take the AP Spanish Language and Culture exam in May if they choose to do so.
  • Advanced Spanish Literature and Culture

    Prerequisite: Grade of B+ or higher in Advanced Spanish Language and Culture, teacher recommendation, and support of Languages Department Chair
    The Advanced Spanish Literature and Culture course is a rigorous course that is taught exclusively in Spanish and is approximately equivalent to a 7th or 8th-semester university course. This course is designed to introduce students to the formal study of a representative body of texts from Peninsular Spanish, Latin American and U.S. Hispanic literature. The goal of this course is to teach students to read, understand, and interpret Spanish literary texts as independently as possible. This course will prepare students to understand lectures in Spanish, to participate actively in discussions in Spanish on literary topics, to do a close reading of literary texts of all genres in Spanish, and to analyze critically the form and content of literary works using appropriate terminology. The course provides opportunities for students to demonstrate their proficiency in Spanish across the three modes of communication: interpersonal, interpretive and presentational. The overarching aims of the course are to provide students with ongoing and varied opportunities to further develop their proficiencies across the full range of language skills and to encourage them to reflect on the many voices and cultures included in a rich and diverse body of literature written in Spanish. Students in this course will be prepared to take the AP Spanish Literature and Culture exam in May if they choose to do so.
  • French I

    In this elementary course, students begin developing all four language‑learning skills (listening, reading, writing and speaking). Students participate actively in each class and begin building a strong working vocabulary, a good understanding of structure and grammar, and an appreciation for cultural differences and similarities in the French‑speaking world. Written work is generally limited to question/answer sentences and simple paragraphs. The ability to express simple ideas in the present, past, and future tenses is expected as a minimal expectation for students at the conclusion of this course.
  • French II

    This course strengthens the grammar and vocabulary foundations of French I and continues to enrich the students’ knowledge of French culture. Using the language to personalize the experience, students expand their abilities to express their own concerns on a more complex level. The class begins to move from the primitive paragraph level to more cohesive and organized writing. More complex tenses are also introduced. Depending upon the student’s performance and motivation at the end of this course, as well as the completion of summer work, it may be recommended by the French II teacher and by the chair of the department that the student continue with Honors French III the following year.
  • French III

    In this class, students are challenged by more complex grammatical structures and more detailed vocabulary. Students learn about the French‑speaking world through short stories, songs and films. Role plays, interviews and oral presentations about various aspects of French culture enable students to improve their speaking skills, while creative writing assignments, such as fictional stories, poems and postcards help them perfect their language proficiency. All the tenses have been studied by the end of this course.
  • French IV: Culture Through Films

    Prerequisite: Completion of French III or Honors French III
    This course is offered in the spring as a level IV, semester‑long elective where students are immersed in the French language and explore cultural themes through films. Such themes include education, social injustice, family and identity, as well as French regions and contemporary life in Quebec. Each film will be complemented by articles and short texts, as well as interviews and other types of audio‑visual material. Students in this class will be able to considerably increase their knowledge of French vocabulary and review advanced grammatical concepts while strengthening their speaking, listening, reading and writing skills. This is an advanced French course and therefore requires prior completion of French III or Honors French III. Students wishing to take Advanced French Language and Culture the following year must take both a fall elective and a spring elective in French. Placement in Advanced French Language and Culture following two semesters of French electives will also require approval from the teacher and the Languages Department Chair.
  • French IV: Culture Through Songs Fall Semester

    Prerequisite: Completion of French III or Honors French III
    This course is offered in the fall as a level‑IV, semester‑long elective where students are immersed in the French language and explore cultural themes through song lyrics. Such themes include education, social injustice, family and identity, as well as Parisian life and challenges of French‑speaking Africa. Each song will be complemented by articles and short texts, as well as interviews and other types of audio‑visual material. Students in this class will be able to considerably increase their knowledge of French vocabulary and review advanced grammatical concepts while strengthening their speaking, listening, reading and writing skills. This is an advanced French course and therefore requires prior completion of French III or Honors French III. Students wishing to take Advanced French Language and Culture the following year must take both a fall elective and a spring elective in French. A placement in Advanced French Language and Culture following two semesters of French electives will also require approval from the teacher and the Languages Department Chair.
  • Honors French III

    Prerequisite: Grade of A‑ or higher in French II, teacher recommendation, and support of Languages Department Chair
    Honors French III is designed for students who would like to continue their study of the language at a faster pace and prepare themselves for AP French Language and Culture. The structures and concepts introduced at the French III level are studied in more depth in this Honors class and are analyzed in the context of themes that match those prescribed by the AP French Language and Culture exam, including environmental issues, travel and living spaces in the francophone world. While students are provided with many opportunities to improve their listening comprehension skills with authentic interviews and documentaries, and to practice their oral communication skills in real‑life situations, they also read longer and more complex documents than in French III and start learning how to write essays and other structured compositions.
  • Honors Spanish III

    Prerequisite: Grade of A‑ or higher in Spanish II, teacher recommendation, and support of Languages Department Chair
    Similar to Spanish III, this course also offers students a deeper understanding of the relationships between the U.S. and the Spanish‑speaking world (Hispanic America, Spain). Students work at an accelerated pace in a setting of higher expectations. Students discuss various subjects and express their ideas at an abstract level. Students prepare formal written and oral reports on human rights, biographies of prominent Hispanic figures, and points of interest in the Spanish‑speaking world. Each unit includes a short film by a contemporary filmmaker from a Spanish‑speaking country as well as the analysis of a literary text. Students read and analyze in depth works by authors such as Cervantes, Borges, Garcia Marquez, Benedetti Quiroga, Neruda, Allende, and Denevi. This course offers multiple opportunities for students to voice their opinions and to engage in serious discussions in Spanish. The workload for this course is rigorous. Students develop and refine both oral and written skills, working on fluency, accuracy, and self‑confidence in Spanish. Building on grammatical and vocabulary foundations learned in previous levels, students work especially on the following grammatical points: preterit vs. imperfect, personal pronouns, the subjunctive both in the present and past, the future and conditional tenses, and "if" clauses. This course is conducted entirely in Spanish.
  • Mandarin Chinese I

    This beginner course introduces students to the Mandarin Chinese language and culture with an emphasis on producing meaningful, authentic communication. Students engage in realistic interactions to become familiar with life in China and other Chinese‑speaking countries. Information about cultural practices, products and perspectives will be explored, guiding students to discover differences and similarities between their own culture and other cultures in a non‑judgmental way. To develop proficiency in listening, speaking, reading and writing students will be expected to actively communicate about familiar topics, focusing on themselves, their families, school and friends, their interests and hobbies. They will learn about Chinese songs, games, making traditional Chinese food and celebrating Chinese traditional holidays. Students will also participate in a pen pal program to communicate with Chinese teens.
  • Mandarin Chinese II

    This course continues to develop the students’ language skills by providing them with opportunities to produce meaningful, authentic communication while further developing their cultural understanding. To increase proficiency in listening, speaking, reading and writing, students actively communicate about a variety of topics pertaining to the real world. They engage in meaningful activities, such as learning Chinese pop songs, writing children’s books, role-playing at a Chinese restaurant, making an appointment and shopping at stores. After successfully completing this course, students will reach an intermediate level of Chinese listening, speaking, reading and writing, which will allow them to communicate when traveling to China. In this class, students will also learn to make traditional Chinese food and celebrate traditional Chinese holidays, and they will participate in a pen pal program to communicate with Chinese teens.
  • Mandarin Chinese III

    Chinese III continues to strengthen the students’ speaking, writing, listening and reading skills through various authentic texts, media, culture and language contexts. In this course, students learn advanced Chinese characters through drama, pop music, and poetry. They also participate in a pen pal program to communicate with Chinese teens. Chinese III is designed to improve the students’ abilities to communicate effectively and appropriately in real‑life social contexts. In addition, students develop an understanding of the relationship between the products and perspectives of Chinese society by participating in holidays, festivals and other cultural activities. By comparing them with their own, students recognize distinctive viewpoints about the different Chinese cultures and develop respect for other cultures in the world community.
  • Spanish I

    This course introduces students to the basic vocabulary, pronunciation and grammar of Spanish using the four language acquisition skills (listening, reading, writing and speaking). Students are familiarized with the Hispanic culture through guided readings, songs, games, skits, discussions and paragraph writing. Along the way, this class will give rich insight into Spanish speaking cultures with an emphasis on art, music, and social customs from a variety of countries. No prior knowledge of the Spanish language is needed or expected for this class; however, students will leave the course with a developed vocabulary and confident command of the present and future tenses. Although an entry-level course, this class is taught primarily in Spanish
  • Spanish II

    In this course, students continue to build on the structural foundations acquired in Spanish I, expanding greatly their vocabulary and cultural awareness. Students grow immensely from Spanish I to II by gaining oral competence through active participation in class discussions, skits, and presentations conducted exclusively in Spanish. Spanish II students will become more and more comfortable expressing themselves in multiple tenses with an emphasis on the past and future tenses. Throughout the school year, students will read a short novel and follow a video series to further connect their classroom instruction to authentic material. Depending on the student’s performance and motivation at the end of this course, as well as the completion of summer work, it may be recommended by the Spanish II teacher and by the chair of the department that the student continue with Honors Spanish III the following year.
  • Spanish III

    This course emphasizes communicating in Spanish with grammatical and cross‑cultural accuracy. Vocabulary and structures center on contemporary issues: personal relations, hobbies, daily life, health and well‑being, travel, nature, science and technology, economy and occupations, popular culture and communication, and literature and art. Written and oral mastery through building appropriate vocabulary and linguistic structures is actively pursued by writing and sharing short essays, literary pieces, dialogues and monologues. Additionally, students will discover appropriate music, film, and video clips for auditory mastery and cultural enrichment.
  • Spanish IV: Hispanic History Fall

    Prerequisite: Completion of Spanish III or Honors Spanish III
    This advanced level‑IV language course will explore the diverse landscape of the Spanish‑speaking world: its geography, the variations on its language, and its rich culture through its history. Our studies will begin with the Pre‑Columbian civilizations of the Maya, Inca, and Aztec and will compare them to the early cultures of the Iberian Peninsula. From there we will learn of the merging of cultures via the Conquest of the Americas, and see how both sides respond through Colonization, Revolution, Civil Wars and eventually the dictatorships that plagued the Spanish‑speaking countries on both sides of the Atlantic. The semester will conclude by looking at contemporary Latin America and Spain and their roles in an ever‑developing global society. This course will use various primary source writings, films, music, and art to better understand the many faces that compose “Hispanic Culture” and its development over time. Students will advance their written and spoken skills in Spanish through class participation and completion of assessments: tests and quizzes, formal and informal writings, classwork, homework, and presentations. Students wishing to take AP Spanish Language and Culture the following year must take both a fall elective and a spring elective in Spanish in addition to receiving teacher and Department Chair approval.
  • Spanish IV: Hispanic Literature and Film

    Prerequisite: Completion of Spanish III or Honors Spanish III
    The purpose of this advanced level‑IV language course is to refine the student’s analytical and creative writing and speaking skills through the overarching study of literary and film theory. The semester will be structured around excerpts from a novel and selected poems representing distinct regions of the Spanish‑speaking world: El beso de la mujer araña by Manuel Puig (Argentina) and Romances del gitano by Federico Garcia Lorca (Spain). Students will read and analyze the novel and poems in tandem with watching the film adaptations of these texts. During class, we will cover literary and film theory and use these ideas to learn how to write in the reseña style in Spanish. Pre‑ and post‑reading activities include vocabulary work, personal reflection, and alternative activities which may be assigned based on students’ interests and skill levels. Formal evaluations will be based on quizzes, presentations, participation in class discussion, and formal/creative writing assignments. The semester’s study will conclude in a culminating project where each student will create their own short story and film adaptation. This is an advanced Spanish course and therefore requires prior completion of Spanish III or Honors Spanish III. Students wishing to take Advanced Spanish Language and Culture the following year must take both a fall elective and a spring elective in Spanish in addition to receiving teacher and Department Chair approval.

List of 6 members.

  • Photo of Stephanie Kimlicko

    Stephanie Kimlicko 

    Chair of Languages Department, Languages Faculty - French
    (719) 391-5352
  • Photo of Nathan Eberhart

    Nathan Eberhart 

    Languages Faculty - Spanish, French, North Perry House Director
    (719) 391-5311
  • Photo of Melissa Alley

    Melissa Alley 

    Languages Faculty - Spanish
    (719) 391-5350
  • Photo of Kathleen Czop

    Kathleen Czop 

    International Student Adviser, History Faculty, ESL Faculty
    (719) 391-5333
  • Photo of Brittany Harrison

    Brittany Harrison  

    Director of Global Education
    (719) 391-5208
  • Photo of Xiaohong Teng

    Xiaohong Teng 

    Languages Faculty - Mandarin
    (719) 391-5209
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