Mr. Carpenter's Site

Agoura High School

Bienvenue! ¡Bienvenidos! Welcome to Mr. Carpenter's website for French and Spanish at Agoura High School. Here you will find some lively information about French and Spanish at Agoura High School, about me, as well as links to pages for all of my classes. Read on! Lisez! ¡Leed!

In French, We use the D'accord textbook series from Vista publishing in levels 1-3. The D'accord program has a wonderful array of web-based materials giving students access to a wealth of materials 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. In addition, each level of D'accord has it's own web page and calendar where you will find homework assignments and important dates published.

IB 1 and IB 2 will be using: Le Monde en Français, ASSIMIL French with Ease, ASSIMIL Using French

In Spanish 1 we will be using ¡Qué chévere! by EMC publishing.

If you wish to contact me, please e-mail me at I will generally respond within two school days.

A little about me...

I am a 9th generation Angeleno and grew up in Thousand Oaks. French is my 3rd language (Spanish is my 2nd), and a 1982 graduate of Westlake High School where I played varsity soccer for four years and junior varsity tennis for two. I am thrilled, however, to have been able to teach at Agoura. I was recruited as a soccer player by Claremont McKenna College but instead chose to go Occidental College where I again played four years of varsity soccer. I graduated with a major in History and a minor in English Literature and wrote my senior thesis on education in Victorian England. In 2001, I received my M.Ed. from California Lutheran University.

Why did I learn French and Spanish?

I learned Spanish (starting in middle school) because as a youth my family and I would often take small trips to Baja California on vacation as well as to maintain a cultural connection with my Spanish speaking roots that date back almost two hundred years in Los Angeles. I learned French due to the fact that I got bored speaking English and was planning on moving to Paris to train as a competitive fencer (épée).

How old was I when I started to study?

I was 13 when I started to study Spanish formally, and I was 29 years old when I started to study French--way too old according to "the experts" to become fluent.

How long did it take me to become fluent in French and Spanish?

I was more or less fluent in French after two and a half years. Once I decided to become fluent in Spanish, the process took about a year and a half.

How did I learn French so quickly?

I had started to fence competitively at 27 and saw that the students of Russian and Eastern European coaches tended to progress much more quickly than the students trained by American coaches, and thus consciously applied what I understood of their pedagogical approach to 2nd language learning.

What was the secret?

If there was a secret, it was to not criticize myself. Beyond that, I worked every day, and had fun. Some days my study went well, some days it went less well. The important point was to commit to a given amount every day, put forth the effort-- which felt like play because I wasn't criticizing myself -- and then stop. Stopping is important. I would throw my books in a corner and not think about them until the next day, just like my fencing equipment. It was what allowed me to train every day and not get tired of it or burn out.

How long have I been at Agoura?

I've been at Agoura since January of 2000.