Foreign Language

Mission Statement

The Foreign Language Department of the Medford Public Schools is committed to satisfying the requirements of the Curriculum Framework put forth by the state of Massachusetts. It is our goal to prepare students using the best knowledge available regarding foreign language pedagogy and to adapt curriculum and methods to achieve success for the greatest number of students.


We subscribe to the belief that all students should learn a foreign language and that this instruction should begin as early as possible.

Communication is at the heart of what we do. Proficiency and skills development are the foremost goals. The Framework says, “The study of the language system itself, while useful for some students, does not automatically result in the development of the ability to process language in real situations. Most learners learn a modern language best when they are provided opportunities to use the target language to communicate in a wide range of activities.”(p.14-15) Therefore, teachers will use the target language as much as possible in class. Students also are expected to use the language with the teacher, in written work, and in pair or group activities to exchange information or solve problems.

To be truly proficient requires an understanding and appreciation of the peoples who speak the language studied (target language.) This cultural knowledge includes the typical products of culture, history, geography, literature and the arts as well as the common routines and features of everyday life. Knowledge of the target culture(s) as well as an understanding of how it compares to our own is essential for a well-educated person.

Teachers are encouraged to make connections with other disciplines so that students may be challenged to use the higher order thinking skills of synthesis and analysis. Students are also able to take better ownership of the material as they add new facts and restudy the material from a new perspective.

Foreign language, like other subject areas, prepares students for life-long learning. Efforts to make connections to the community, learn technology skills, and develop research abilities are valuable components of the curriculum.

Foreign Language Curriculum

Grade 6: Italian and Spanish

* Acquire very basic vocabulary
* Use a restricted number of verbal forms in Spanish, including ser, tener, gustar, and a few forms of the regular verbs.
* Recognize the concept of noun/adjective agreement.
* Speaking, listen and write, limited to short phrases and lists. Achievement will be on a lesser level than grade 6 Italian
* Identify the geography of the Spanish speaking world, and a few figures from Hispanic art, music, and literature.

Grade 7: Italian and Spanish

* Use common vocabulary topics such as number, colors, time, weather, etc. with greater ease and assurance.
* Achieve some comfort with common regular verbs of the first and second conjugations.
* Understand the concept of masculine, feminine, singular, plural, and noun/adjective agreement
* Speak daily, as well as listen
* Produce a short writing assignment at least once every two weeks

Grade 8: Italian and Spanish

* Use new vocabulary relating to travel, the home, clothing and shopping, food, and the environment.
* Use the present tense of many regular and irregular verbs as well as a language-specific variety of verbal expressions
* Recognize and manipulate object pronouns and the comparative and superlative forms of adjectives
* Acquire cultural information as per the text
* Speak daily and write creatively, even if briefly, at least once every two weeks