Serving Preschool Through 8th Grade in the San Francisco East Bay Since 1962
"If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his own language, that goes to his heart."

Nelson Mandela

Did you know?

Seven Hills has recently had 31 nationally-ranked French language students, and 51 nationally-ranked Spanish language students, based on the results of language proficiency exams.

Please click here for a TED Talk on the power of bilingual proficiency.

World Languages

Señora Deborah Frerk and Madame Christiane Brinkerhoff bring their love of world languages to life by creating an atmosphere of challenge, variety, cooperation and hands-on learning. Students of varied learning styles and cultural backgrounds are encouraged to communicate, read, write and understand grammatical elements in their chosen language.


At the end of sixth grade, French students will have a working knowledge of the most necessary topics in a foreign language. In seventh and eighth grades, reading, writing, skits, music and art are all continued in the form of story-asking, an expansion of TPR (Total Physical Response), as well as reading Brandon Veut Un Chien, Pauvre Anne, Le Nouvel Houdini and Pirates Français des Caraïbes, all of which focus on the 200 Most Common Words in French.

Madame Brinkerhoff believes that speaking and writing come naturally to those who have taken French by listening over an extended period of time. It is for this reason that the majority of class time is spent using French to talk about French. One of the main instructional methods is “story-asking”. This is a form of storytelling in which the storyteller (teacher) asks the audience (students) to decide what will happen in the story. Through the teacher’s questions, several target vocabulary terms are repeated, in order to get in the 70 – 150 repetitions needed for a word to become a part of a student’s vocabulary. Stories must be funny and creative and students must always understand what the teacher is saying!

This summer, French students will be immersed in French language, history and culture as they travel to France. They will see the sights, be welcomed into homes and work alongside locals on service projects, while improving their French language skills. They will visit Carcassonne, Provence, and Paris.

Sixth grade Spanish students are provided with a solid foundation, which includes developing reading skills, listening in the target language, speaking to increase language proficiency and writing sentences and small paragraphs.

Seventh graders are provided further language exposure to continue developing their reading, listening, speaking and writing skills. Grammar and verb usage in present, preterite and imperfect tenses are practiced.

Eighth graders are immersed in conversation. Through TPRS (Teaching Proficiency through Reading and Storytelling) and multiple other language methodologies, students have the opportunity to speak exclusively in Spanish. Thematic Units are used to promote the use of Spanish in real life situations.

Señora Frerk offers Spanish students a wide variety of learning tools, using the following resources as part of the curriculum:

• Culture, history and geography of Spanish speaking countries
• Cooperative learning activities
• Online resources
• Language apps
• Cooking traditional dishes in the classroom kitchen
• Videos to develop cultural appreciation
• "Dictados" to reinforce vocabulary and spelling
• Dancing and singing
• TPRS (Teaching Proficiency through Reading and Storytelling)
• TPR (Total Physical Response)   
• Practice of pronunciation
• Phonics
• Engagement in dialogue with individualized instruction
• Verb conjugations
• Guest speakers
• Holiday exposure (Dia de los Muertos,Navidad, and Cinco de Mayo)
• Essay writing preparation (using the writing process adopted by the Middle School English Department)
The seventh and eighth graders have an opportunity to travel to Costa Rica during the summer. The program involves cultural and linguistic immersion, home-stay, service-learning, STEAM, partner school interaction, exploration of the cloud forest, volcanoes, local flora and fauna, and ocean activities.

Japanese Cultural Exchange – Vocabulary Work
In anticipation of hosting Japanese students in the Fall, and visiting Japan in the Summer, Seven Hills 8th grade students learn basic Japanese vocabulary and conversation through a partnership with Las Lomas High School. The LLHS Japanese Language teacher and his honors class students hold four after-school sessions for all 8th graders to attend.