Term: Yearlong 2019–20, September 3–May 22
Target Grade Levels: 9-12
Schedule: 2x / week, 60 min.
Section 1: M/W 12:30 p.m. ET with Mrs. Edwards-Kubrina
This course is an introduction to modern Russian, where students will be given the foundation to communicate in written and oral forms. It is rigorous and, yet, takes time to linger with the richness and beauty brought to the language by its historical and cultural context. The class is creatively tailored to move systematically through the building blocks of Russian by a combination of explicit grammatical explanation with active, “real-life” based conversation between everyone in the class.
Vocabulary and grammar are clearly presented and explained in a logical progression, and then, the material is allowed to restfully “sink in.” At least 75% of each lesson is conducted in Russian, where in-class repetition and exploration of new concepts also engage the students’ senses: Russian conversation, art as visual aids, reading children’s stories or Biblical passages, virtual tea parties, singing or chanting, drawing, poetry or prayer memorization, Russian recipes, and the occasional special guest. Written homework will be required after each lesson to allow for quiet contemplation and further reinforcement of the new material. Though demanding and challenging, the course holds promise for students to experience the wonder and delight of discovery, beauty, and a sense of great accomplishment.
In the course, students will learn how to:
- Read, write, and pronounce the Russian alphabet
- Memorize and understand Russian vocabulary and distinguish between masculine, feminine, neuter, and plural forms
- Understand and conjugate some basic Russian verbs
- Distinguish between grammatical cases and tenses; students will begin to use and form the appropriate endings in their own speaking and written work
- Have elementary-level conversations in formal and informal settings, to include (but not limited to) such topics as introductions, giving and asking for information about others, cardinal numbers, talking about one’s family and/or nationality, expressing location and possession, expressing dismay or delight, talking about likes and dislikes, and talking about one’s hobbies or interests.
- Appreciate aspects of Russian culture and history that are embedded in the language, especially those related to Russian Orthodox tradition.
Students will be expected to be active participants in each class and to submit assigned homework on time. As much as possible, students should attempt to spend at least a few minutes each day memorizing new vocabulary. Bi-weekly unit tests or quizzes will be administered at home, including at least one oral exam.
Kristin will review online submissions of homework, give feedback, and grade online submissions of tests or quizzes. Grades will be assigned at the end of each semester. Kristin is available to students and parents via email, phone, or online meeting to discuss any particularly difficult concept, questions, or concerns.
- Golosa: A Basic Course in Russian, Book 1, Fourth Edition
*Used is acceptable and can be found here and here.
- Golosa: Book 1, Student Activities Manual, Fourth Edition
*Used (with minimal marking) is also acceptable and can be found here and here.
Highly Recommended (but not required):
- English-Russian, Russian-English Dictionary by Kenneth Katzner
Available here and here.
*Required materials are not included in the purchase of the course.
Kristin Edwards-Kubrina had her first exposure to the Russian language as a curious university student. A last-minute decision to study Russian as an elective fortuitously set the stage for Kristin’s long journey to Orthodoxy that consisted in years of traveling to Russia, supportive family and friends, meaningful encounters with the works of Fyodor Dostoevsky and Pavel Florensky, art history courses on Byzantium, the magnetism of the saints and their icons for her daughter, Eliana, and marriage to her faithful (Russian) husband, Egor. The family currently attends St. Ignatius Antiochian Orthodox Church in Madison, Wisconsin.
Kristin has an M.A. in Slavic Languages and Literature from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and is currently writing a dissertation on the Lives of the Saints and twentieth-century Russian literature. She comes to St. Raphael School with four years of experience teaching at the university level, as well as having known twenty years of being a language-learner herself. Her immersive Russian course draws upon its cultural context, with special attention to moments of interconnectedness between language and the Orthodox Christian tradition. It is a great joy and a special privilege for Kristin to teach. She hopes that both the rigor and beauty of learning Russian will enrich the minds, hearts, and everyday lives of her students.
Computer: You will need a stable, reliable computer, running with processor with a speed of 1 Ghz or better on one of the following operating systems: Mac OS X with MacOS 10.6 (Snow Leopard) or later; Windows 8, 7, Vista (with SP1 or later), or XP (with SP3 or later). We do NOT recommending using an iPad or other tablet for joining classes. An inexpensive laptop or netbook would be much better solutions, as they enable you to plug an Ethernet cable directly into your computer. Please note that Chromebooks are allowed but not preferred, as they do not support certain features of the Zoom video conference software such as breakout sessions and annotation, which may be used by our teachers for class activities.
High-Speed Internet Connection: You will also need access to high-speed Internet, preferably accessible via Ethernet cable right into your computer. Using Wi-Fi may work, but will not guarantee you the optimal use of your bandwidth. The faster your Internet, the better. We recommend using a connection with an download/upload speed of 5/1Mbps or better. You can test your Internet connection here.
Headset: We recommend using a headset rather than a built-in microphone and speakers. Using a headset reduces the level of background noise heard by the entire class.
Headset Recommendations: USB | 3.5mm
Zoom: We use a web conferencing software called Zoom for our classes, which enables students and teachers to gather from around the globe face to face in real time. Zoom is free to download and easy to use.
To download Zoom:
- Visit zoom.us/download.
- Click to download the first option listed, Zoom Client for Meetings.
- Open and run the installer on your computer.
- In August, students will be provided with instructions and a link for joining their particular class.
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