World Languages and Cultures


Grade 6: Introduction to Chinese Life and Culture

Introductory expressions and embracing customs and traditions are the keys to unfolding the beautiful nuances between Chinese and American lifestyles. Competency in pronunciation, pinyin and character formation steadily develops as students engage with their peers in classroom activities, leaving them yearning to continue their journey into the Chinese language and culture.

Grade 7: View and Spirit of Chinese Life and Culture

Continued perseverance into effective communication for both personal and public occasions unveils the relevance of understanding the spirit of Chinese culture. Students explore the cultural differences between East and West through project-based learning. Emphasis is placed on global citizenship and cultural comparisons through increased vocabulary and structures necessary to take student inquiries to the next level.

Grade 8: Chinese Literature and Composition and Global Awareness

Critical thinking and application of growing cultural knowledge strengthens as students immerse themselves in this enriching course. Ongoing and varied opportunities to further develop speaking, listening, reading, and writing proficiencies strengthen student language skills within the cultural framework inherent in the Chinese language and culture.


Grade 6: Introduction to Francophone Life and Culture

Traveling to a café or a French classroom and negotiating in a market are a few of the skills students learn in order to “survive” in a French-speaking country. Students travel to a local French restaurant or café to order in the target language followed by discussion about the differences and similarities in culture and food. Students also learn the history behind certain holidays and food, and study the development of culture in French speaking countries. A visit the Nationality Rooms at the University of Pittsburgh provides the opportunity to discuss what is there in the target language while learning the classroom vocabulary and commands.

Grade 7: View and Awareness of Francophone Life and Culture

How is fashion different in a French-speaking country? What is the geography of Africa, Europe and how do you say the name of the countries in the target language? Students utilize resources in the area through City As Our Campus projects and partnerships with local global industries. The course focuses on French-speaking countries in Africa and welcomes speakers from local universities that are in African studies. Students prepare a presentation about certain countries and review with a person from that country. During the fashion unit, students learn about Morocco’s fashion and create ads using the knowledge and vocabulary they have learned during the unit and about the culture. Students review geography and bodies of water by talking to each other about how to get from one place to another. The study of music videos from Senegal, France, and other countries are compared to America’s music videos. In a culminating project, students read and create children’s short stories incorporating all of the knowledge acquired during the school year.

Grade 8: French Literature and Composition and Global Awareness

What did you do this weekend? What are you going to do over the summer? These are some of the questions students are able to talk about in grade 8 French. Students focus on using the past tense to talk about every day activities and to discuss French novels. Learning about French-speaking countries continues with discussion of current events in these countries, and reading short novels engages students as well. Special City As Our Campus activities focus on research of French-speaking countries by meeting with people in the community to better understand a certain culture. Students end the year by going back in time and painting like an impressionist and understanding the history behind impressionism.


Grade 6: Hispanic Perspectives, Cultures, and Language

What do people eat for breakfast in Panama? How is the school day different for students in Spain? How would your life be different if you grew up in a Spanish-speaking country? These are just a few of the topics students explore in grade 6 Spanish. Students are able to discuss their school day, community, food, and favorite activities all in Spanish. Through a variety of games and interactive activities, they experience new vocabulary and phrases in Spanish and use individualized on-line Spanish programs, such as Duolingo. Students will discover the vibrant culture of Spanish-speaking peoples, including the Maya, Inca, and Aztec. Students try their hand at Mayan math and create their own altar in a celebration of the Day of the Dead.

Grade 7: Spanish Language and the History of the Spanish-Speaking World

Building upon the strong foundation gained in Spanish reading, writing, listening, and speaking developed in sixth grade, seventh grade students use their Spanish to complete a variety of hands-on activities. While learning about clothing and shopping in the Hispanic world they become online shoppers; while studying house and furniture vocabulary they become international real estate agents. Students create comics and skits, and have game days where only Spanish is spoken. Seventh grade students also dive into the history of the Spanish-speaking world from where they left off in sixth grade. In what ways did the Maya, Inca, and Aztec influence the culture of Latin America today? What happened when those cultures clashed with the Spanish upon their arrival in 1492? Students study passages from Christopher Colombus’ Log and travel through time to watch how other Europeans changed the New World.

Grade 8: Spanish Conversation, Literature, and Global Awareness

Reading novels in Spanish, ordering food at a local restaurant, and presenting about family history are skills that eighth grade Spanish students acquire. Eighth grade Spanish abandons the textbook in favor of a more immersive language experience. Each day students read a chapter from a current Spanish novel, practice conversing with each other, and strengthening writing skills. Throughout the year Spanish game days are supplemented by bringing in native speakers from the community to offer authentic assessment of speaking skills. These immersive all-in-Spanish days culminate with the annual spring field trip to Casa Reyna, an authentic Mexican restaurant, where students use their Spanish skills in the community. After learning so much about Hispanic history and United States history in sixth and seventh grades, in eighth grade students challenge each other to look objectively at where the two come together. How do Spanish-speaking countries affect us, and how do we affect them? Through the lens of immigration here in Pittsburgh, our City as Our Campus partnerships with local organizations allow students to conduct first-hand interviews with people around the world to construct the knowledge necessary to answer these questions.