Spanish

At The San Francisco School, Spanish is a tool for communication and a gateway into culture.

We study the vocabulary and patterns of the language and practice them through engaging conversation, storytelling, and real-life experiences from local field trips to an 8th grade Nicaragua trip and home stay experience.

Creative projects inspired by Latino/Hispanic cultures and customs, include filmmaking, literature, artwork, music, cooking, skits, and more. Students learn to embrace the rich heritage of the Spanish-speaking world—a vital step toward fulfilling their intellectual, imaginative, and humanitarian promise.

One highlight of the Spanish program is the middle school program, which features five proficiency levels instead of grade-level instruction. This allows our teachers to better meet the wide range of exposure that exists in our middle school students.

  • Learn more about our Spanish curriculum: or View all grades »

    Preschool & Kindergarten

    • Essential introduction to:

      • Greetings and commonly used phrases
      • The sounds of Spanish
      • Engaging and useful vocabulary per instructor (i.e. animals, colors), often integrated with core curriculum
      • Cultural literary enrichment per instructor

      (45 minutes per week)

    1st Grade Spanish

    • Essential introduction to:

      • Greetings + school survival phrases (May I go to the bathroom?)
      • Some question words: Who? What? Where?
      • Engaging and useful vocabulary per instructor, often with cross-curricular integration
      • Cultural-literary enrichment per instructor

      (45 minutes per week)

    2nd Grade Spanish

    • Essential introduction to:

      • Describing people (self, family, friends)
      • Producing original sentences / phrases
      • Several high-usage verbs (i.e. wants, has, is, goes, gives, asks)
      • Humanitarian leaders in Latino/Hispanic history (i.e. Cesar Chavez)
      • High interest vocabulary per instructor, with opportunity for cross-curricular integration (i.e. birds unit, math practice using Spanish numbers)
      • Additional question words: i.e. Who? What? Where? When?
      • Spanish Hannukah song and performance collaboration with music department
      • Cultural-literary enrichment per instructor

      Dedicated Spanish time increases to two sessions each week, totaling 90 minutes.

    3rd Grade Spanish

    • Essential introduction to…

      • High-usage / high-interest verbs (i.e. plays, eats, needs, makes)
      • Question words: i.e. Who? What? Where? When? Why? How?
      • High interest vocabulary per instructor
      • Cultural-literary enrichment per instructor, with opportunity for core classroom collaboration (i.e. Mexico unit)
      • Imaginative leaders in Latino/Hispanic history (i.e. Frida Kahlo), with opportunity for art curriculum integration
      • Spanish Christmas song and performance collaboration with music department.

      (90 minutes of dedicated time per week)

    4th Grade Spanish

    • In Fourth Grade there is increasing academic emphasis in preparation for entrance into middle school program. Topics covered include:

      • Spelling and sound patterns
      • Formal writing conventions and organization
      • Listening comprehension tasks and oral presentation projects
      • Cultural-literary enrichment per instructor
      • Spanish holiday song and performance collaboration with music department

      (90 minutes per week)

    5th Grade Spanish

    • The Fifth Grade Spanish program features a continued increase in academic emphasis in preparation for entrance into middle school program.

      • Introduction to basic verb conjugation
      • Theatrical productions to deepen cultural proficiency
      • High-use and high-interest vocabulary per instructor
      • Spanish holiday song and performance collaboration with music department

      (90 minutes per week)

    Middle School Spanish

    • Our Middle School Spanish program is unique in its design. Students in Grades 6, 7, and 8 are placed each year into Spanish proficiency level groups that typically contain students from more than one middle school grade.

      SFS students have widely varying linguistic backgrounds, and our program provides optimally targeted instruction by grouping students according to their needs as Spanish learners. Students are placed into these proficiency level classes according to standards created by the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages. Each year, it is our goal for students to progress into a higher proficiency level within each of the four language skills: Reading, Writing, Listening, and Speaking. We encourage those interested to read the ACTFL Guidelines.

      Across all levels, we study the vocabulary and patterns of the language and practice them through engaging conversation, storytelling, and real-life experiences from local field trips to an 8th grade Nicaragua trip and homestay experience.

      Creative projects, inspired by Latino/Hispanic cultures and customs, include filmmaking, literature, artwork, music, cooking, skits, and more. Students learn to embrace the rich heritage of the Spanish-speaking world—a vital step toward fulfilling their intellectual, imaginative, and humanitarian promise.

       

      Who are the students in the different proficiency levels?

      Level 1:

      The typical Level 1 student has little or no experience studying or using Spanish. Many of these students are our new 6th grade students who have entered from other schools without Spanish programs.

      Level 1 Overaching Objectives

       

      Level 2:

      The typical Level 2 student has previously completed our elementary program from a young age, or has completed the Level 1 Middle School course. To start the school year, Level 2 students tend to have reached the Novice-Mid to Novice-High level per ACTFL guidelines.

      Level 2 Overarching Objectives

       

      Level 3:

      The typical Level 3 student has previously completed the Level 2 course or has entered SFS with a strong background studying Spanish as a Foreign Language. At the start of the school year, these students are often on the cusp of or have just entered the Intermediate level per ACTFL guidelines.

      Level 3 Overarching Objectives

       

      Level 4:

      The typical Level 4 student has previously completed the Level 3 course or has a strong background with Spanish, either through an immersion program, substantial focused study, and/or significant exposure to the language via native-speaking parent(s) or others. At the start of the school year, these students are in the intermediate-high or advanced-low levels per ACTFL guidelines.

      Level 4 Overarching Objectives

       

      Level 5:

      The typical Level 5 student has previously completed the Level 4 course and/or has a very strong background with the language, especially those who learned it as a first language at home via native-speaking parent(s), or were highly successful in an immersion elementary program or other immersion setting. These students have reached an advanced level per ACTFL guidelines.

      Level 5 Overarching Objectives

       

      How do students progress through the proficiency levels?

      Students typically progress one level when they move from 6th to 7th grade and from 7th to 8th grade. Less frequently, a few students may progress more than one level in a year, and others may need to remain in the same level beyond one year. Placement is based on instructor knowledge of the students and their previous work in our classes as well as the STAMP Proficiency Assessment taken by students at the end of each middle school year.

       

      Instruction is approximately 3.5 hours per week.