World Languages Courses
Monsignor Donovan Catholic High School offers Spanish and Latin in our World Languages Department. Spanish offerings range from Spanish I for beginners to AP Spanish Language & Culture and AP Spanish Literature for advanced speakers. Students in their first two years of Spanish follow the Auténtico curriculum to master the grammatical tenets of reading, writing, speaking, and listening in the target language, aiming for a B1 to B2 intermediate oral fluency by the end of Spanish II/II Honors. Subsequently, students may take Spanish III Honors or Advanced Placement courses based on diagnostic placement, and will acquire the skills of formal debate, academic essay writing, and independent analysis of sociopolitical and literary themes in Spanish, in preparation for the AP Spanish Exams and college-level courses. In the Latin program, students spend two years reading from the Cambridge Latin Course. These first two years allow students to master the fundamentals of grammar via a reading-based approach, whereby they read about the daily lives of a family living in ancient Pompeii and Britain. By Latin III, students are reading authentic authors ranging from Horace to Sulpicia, and are learning the finer points of grammar. Finally, AP Latin offers students the opportunity to read extensively from Caesar and Vergil while discussing the thematic, political, and rhetorical elements within their respective works.
61.04107 (9th grade) 2 semesters, 1 credit
We explore and master the fundamentals of the Latin language. As a platform for our discovery, we follow the daily life of the Caecilii. This story allows us to develop the vocabulary we need to begin to translate Latin that grows in complexity. Readings about Roman slavery, the Forum at Pompeii, and the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius provides a deep historical context in which grammar, usage, and vocabulary are developed. Students spend time learning the mythological and historical story of Rome.
61.04207 (10th grade) 2 semesters, 1 credit
We delve more deeply into the complex grammar that will allow us to read “real” Latin. We continue to follow the daily life of Quintus Caecilius as he tells of his adventures in Alexandria and the British isles. We also explore the ceremonies and celebrations surrounding coming of age, death, and marriage. Studying the collapse of the Roman Republic and the full glory of the Roman Empire prepares students for understanding the greatest Roman authors.
Latin III Honors
61.24307 (11th grade) 2 semesters, 1 credit
Students begin to read abridged and unabridged Latin texts. They continue to deepen their understanding of Roman history and culture through reading Caesar, Pliny, Cicero and the like. Through their encounters with the great historical writers of their day, the students are exposed to a wide variety of styles. Students also prepare for taking AP Latin in this course. Through Vergil: A Legamus Reader students begin to learn about the poetic voice of Vergil and his work the Aeneid. They read both the English translation and translate extensive passages.
61.04707 (12th grade) 2 semesters, 1 credit
Students reach the deepest level of understanding and interpretation of two authors, Vergil and Caesar. They read the primary sources the Aeneid and De Bello Gallico and secondary articles. A great emphasis is placed on interpreting the texts and discussing the greater historical context of the work. Students develop an extensive vocabulary of terms and devices and are able to identify their purpose and function in the work. Students practice translation and analysis in high-stakes environments culminating in the AP Latin exam at the end of the course.
60.07107 (9th grade) 2 semesters, 1 credit
Spanish I: This introductory course guides students through elementary and conversational vocabulary related to family, school, health, food, recreation, and nature. The grammatical pedagogy of the class is complemented by discussions of Pre-Columbian indigenous societies, the Colonial Encounter, artistic movements of the Spanish-speaking world, intercultural influences on Hispanic cuisine and vocabulary today, and immigration and biculturalism among the Latino populations of the United States. Projects and assessments include oral examinations, cultural reflections, and Spanish compositions. Students will master verbal and written usage of the present and preterite tense and should attain an A2 elementary fluency in the target language by the end of the year. No prior experience with Spanish is required.
Spanish II or II Honors
60.07207 (10th grade) 2 semesters, 1 credit
Spanish II or II H: Building on the previous year’s study of Spanish, this intermediate course introduces students to vocabulary on technology, media, entertainment, occupations, and commerce. Students regularly employ the progressive, preterite, imperfect, and perfect tenses in written and spoken Spanish. From the beginning to the end of the year, cultural discussions transition from English to Spanish and center on comprehension of authentic audiovisual sources such as news broadcasts and documentaries. Key projects from this class include individual and group oral presentations, original poetry, and Spanish essays, culminating in a B1-B2 intermediate fluency by the year’s end. Prerequisite: Passing grade in Spanish I (for on-level Spanish II), grade of A in Spanish I (for Spanish II H), or diagnostic placement by Dr. Barrientos.
Spanish II H for Heritage Speakers
Spanish II H for Heritage Speakers: This course is designed to prepare heritage speakers—or Hispanic students who speak conversational Spanish at home—for higher placement in the Spanish program. While reviewing vocabulary on a range of topics from family and education to commerce, technology, and entertainment, the class emphasizes mastery of writing in academic, business, journalistic, and creative registers. Projects include film reactions, one-act plays, cultural essays, and news presentations in the target language, in addition to traditional oral and written assessments. Prerequisite: Diagnostic placement by Dr. Barrientos.
Spanish III Honors
60.27307 (11th grade) 2 semesters, 1 credit
Spanish III H: This advanced course merges grammatical and linguistic study of Spanish with intensified examination of authentic sources such as short stories, poetry, drama, novellas, and cinema in the target language. Learners differentiate between homonyms and idiomatic expressions, and by the end of the year should be comfortable employing the subjunctive mood, auxiliary verbs, conditional tense, and commands in written and spoken Spanish. Key historical periods covered include the Spanish American Baroque era, the Mexican Revolution, the Latin American Boom, Hispanic modernism and liberation, and Caribbean and Latinx diasporas. Students will encounter hallmark Hispanic essayists such as José Martí, Juan Rulfo, Jorge Luis Borges, and Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, in preparation for AP Spanish Language and Culture, AP Spanish Literature and Culture, or rigorous use of Spanish outside the classroom. Projects range from creative short stories and original poetry, to analytical papers on contemporary Hispanic cinema such as Diego Quemada-Diez’s La jaula de oro (2013). Prerequisite: Grade of A or higher in Spanish II H, grade of B or higher in Spanish II H for Heritage Speakers, or diagnostic placement by Dr. Barrientos.
AP Spanish Language and Culture
60.07707 (12th grade) 2 semesters, 1 credit
AP Spanish Language and Culture: Generally open to upperclassmen with advanced oral and written fluency in Spanish, this college-level course follows the College Board curriculum covering such topics as scientific advances in the Spanish-speaking world, global and political challenges, family values and cultures, and artistic and literary movements and devices, culminating in the AP Spanish Language and Culture Exam in May. Students are expected to develop near-native conversational skills, interpret challenging academic reading passages, comprehend a variety of spoken accents, and articulate original arguments in academic Spanish. Daily discussions take the form of a Socratic seminar purely in the target language. In addition to traditional written and oral assessments, projects include formal team debates, product advertisement videos, drama performances, and a midterm essay following a field trip to the Georgia Museum of Art. Prerequisite: Grade of A or higher in Spanish III H or diagnostic placement by Dr. Barrientos.
AP Spanish Literature and Culture
AP Spanish Literature and Culture: Designed to mirror the rigor and content of a college-level Hispanic literature survey course, this class transports students from Pre-Columbian texts such as the Mayan Popol Vuh through the Spanish Golden Age, the Hispanic Baroque, Peninsular realism and naturalism, Latin American romanticism and modernism, the Latin American Boom, and contemporary Caribbean and Central American diasporas. Ballads by Nezahualcóytl, de Góngora, and de la Cruz present the universal search for value in love and human life, while modernist poetry by Darío, Vallejo, and Mistral provoke discussions on class struggle, discrimination, and mortality. Students will confront the complexities of discourse on race, migration, rights, and identity, in the short stories and plays of García Márquez, García Lorca, and Morejón, to name a few. Excellent fluency and argumentation in Spanish are honed through student-led Socratic discussions, analytical presentations, poetic declamations, original topic term papers, and the like. Prerequisite: Grade of B or higher in AP Spanish Language and Culture or diagnostic placement by Dr. Barrientos.
Greek I - Elective
Greek I: This is a beginning course in the Attic dialect of classical Greek, which was used by authors such as Plato,
Aristotle, Sophocles, Thucydides, and Aeschylus. Students will proceed through a study of grammar and vocabulary to
the reading and writing of sentences and short narratives in the language of fifth century Athens. They will translate short
sentences from a variety of works, including the New Testament. They will also read short stories following a fictional
family in Athens.
Mythology - Elective
Latin American Culture and Music - Elective
Latin American and Caribbean Studies (elective): Held in either English or Spanish according to the needs of the student body, this elective incorporates musical analysis into cultural and historical appreciation. Surveying the origin cultures and landmark events of seven Spanish-speaking regions across the globe, the class explores diverse musical genres from the epic villancicos of the Spanish Golden Age to the nueva trova of the modern Caribbean, to the mariachi ballads of Mexico, to the genre-blending rhythms of the Southern Cone and US Latino traditions. Students will self-direct a book reading project in support of their midterm book report and engage in a variety of creative applications, such as collaborative music performance. Culminating readings at the end of the year include Barry Estabrook’s investigative Tomatoland, Gustavo Pérez Firmat’s anthology Life on the Hyphen, and René Marqués’ drama The Oxcart. By the end of the course, students should have gained a holistic view of Latin American history, an appreciation for its cultural complexity, and a meaningful understanding of its personal connection to their own lives.