FOREIGN LANGUAGES CURRICULUM REVIEW

HOLLISTON PUBLIC SCHOOLS

MAY 19, 2011

__________________________________________________________________________________________________________

 

“Foreign Language is an Accelerant for Innovation

in 21st Century Learning”

 

“Essential in the formula for a world-class education is an urgent need for schools to produce students who actually know something about the world—its cultures and languages, and how its economic, environmental, and social systems work. Language learning is a central part of what high-performing nations are doing to make their students and their societies globally competitive—virtually all of the highest-performing nations on the recent Program for International Student Assessment exam require second-language learning. At this defining moment in American education, we sell ourselves short if we do not strive for schools that prepare students for an interconnected world driven by the demands and opportunities of globalization.” National Imperative for Language Learning by  Anthony W. Jackson, Charles E. M. Kolb, & John I. Wilson

http://asiasociety.org/education-learning/world-languages/-american-schools/national-imperative-language-learning

 

 

TABLE OF CONTENTS

FOREIGN LANGUAGE CURRICULUM REVIEW

 

 

 

Notice to School Committee
Acknowledgements
Introduction to the Curriculum Review Process

 

CURRICULUM REVIEW DOCUMENT

 

I. PERSPECTIVES:  (What We Believe)

·        Mission, Vision and Goals Statements 2011

·        Preface to Foreign Languages Curriculum Review

·        Statement of Philosophy ACTFL

·        Keeping Instruction in the Target Language

·        Foreign Languages and the Common Core

 

II. PRACTICES:  (What We Are Currently Doing; What We Need to Do)

·        Content-Based Thematic Instruction in Foreign Language Classrooms

·        Inclusion of Students with Diverse Learning Styles

·        Differentiated Instruction in Foreign Language Classrooms

·        Multiple Entry Points for Foreign Language Instruction

·        Technology Integration in Foreign Language Teaching and Learning

 

III. PRODUCTS: (What we have achieved)

·        Alignment of French Immersion Program, K-12 with MA Foreign Languages Framework (Executive Summary)

·        Alignment of Spanish FLES and Continuing Spanish and French Programs with MA Foreign Languages Framework (Executive Summary)

·        Alignment of French Immersion and Spanish FLES and Continuing Spanish and French to the ACTFL Performance Guidelines for K-12 Learners (Executive Summary)

·        Alignment of Mandarin Chinese with MA Foreign Languages Framework (Executiv Summary)

·        Special Recognition: Melba D. Woodruff Award, ACTFL 2010


IV. RECOMMENDATIONS (Where We Will Go From Here)

·        Recommendations for Spanish, French and Mandarin Programs

·        Recommendations for French Immersion Program

 

 

V. BUDGET (Resources we will need to make this happen)

 

 

VI. APPENDICES: 

 

Appendix A: Documents Illustrating our Perspectives

 

 

Appendix B: Documents Illustrating our Practices

 

·        Document # 7: Electronic Links for Foreign Language Learning

·        Document #8: Research on Content-Based Thematic Instruction in FL Classrooms

·        Document #9: Research on Differentiated Instruction in Foreign Language Classrooms

 

Appendix C: Documents Illustrating our Products

 

·        Document # 10: Videos of Classroom Teaching and Learning in the Annenberg Workshop For Foreign Language Teaching, K-12

·        Document #11: Videos of Holliston Public Schools Foreign Language Instruction

·        Document #12: Videos of Holliston Students Participating in the 2010 ACTFL Conference in Boston, MA

·        Language and Film Talent Award Competition  - 2008 winning entry

 

Appendix D: Alignment Tables for MA Foreign Languages Framework

 

Appendix E: Alignment Tables for French Immersion and Spanish FLES and Continuing Spanish and French with ACTFL Performance Guidelines for K-12 Learners

 

Appendix F Glossary of Foreign Language Teaching Terms  

http://www.learner.org/workshops/tfl/glossary.html#A  

 

Appendix G Surveys for Parents, Teachers, Administrators and Students

 

Appendix H: Independent Study on French Immersion Students’ Identity

 

Appendix I  Backward Design (UbD) Concepts (Courtesy Social Studies Review)


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HOLLISTON PUBLIC SCHOOLS

Office of the Superintendent

370 Hollis StreetHolliston, Massachusetts 01746

Telephone (508)429-0654 • FAX (508)429-0653

                         Bradford L. Jackson. Ed.D.                                                                                                                                      Timothy M. Cornely

                                Superintendent of Schools                                                                                                                                   Assistant Superintendent

 

To:          Members, Holliston School Committee

From:      Tim Cornely

Date:      May 19, 2011

RE:          Foreign Language Curriculum Review

 

I am pleased to announce that the district-wide foreign language curriculum review has been completed and that it will be presented electronically to you on Thursday, May 19, 2011. This review document has been developed by a committee of 9 foreign language teachers representing all levels of Spanish, French, Mandarin and Latin instruction, K-12.

 

During the past 10 months, members of the review committee have met frequently at the building level and the district level to complete the alignment of current curriculum practices with state and national standards for PreK-12 students and discussion of best practices in foreign language education, the most important of which is exclusive use of the target language for all classroom instruction.  Recommendations from this review will direct our work in the following areas:

 

  1. Professional Development centered upon exclusive use of the target language (district-wide workshop scheduled at HHS for TEC communities for September 2011) and content-based thematic instruction (district-wide workshop scheduled for May 13, 2011), as well as UbD curriculum documentation and inclusion of students with diverse learning needs in foreign language classes. 

 

  1. Mapping of curriculum in the Spanish FLES program and French Immersion Program, 6-12, in a consistent Backward Design format across all grades, inclusive of essential questions and enduring understandings;

 

  1. Development within curriculum documents of content-based, thematic units of instruction centered upon a literacy, content area or cultural focus;

 

  1. Increased focus on literacy and mathematical skill development via foreign language instruction, as per alignment with Common Core standards;

 

  1. Increased focus on meaningful cultural content at every level of foreign language instruction, through the development of essential questions and enduring understandings;

 

  1. Integration of Web 2.0 tools to increase student access to authentic representations of the target languages and cultures studied;

 

  1. Large-scale assessment of proficiency attainment on the part of students at exit points of Grades 5, 8 and 11; 

 

  1. Expansion of our high school Mandarin program.

 

At Thursday night’s meeting, one hard copy of the document will be available for your review.  Per our district practice, the entire document will be linked electronically to our district website.  In electronic format, the document will become an access portal through which students, parents and teachers will be able to expand their knowledge of and access to foreign language learning and 21st century skill development in a blended learning environment.

 

Members of the Foreign Language Review Committee will be presenting an overview of the process and outcomes of this work.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

 

 

With appreciation and gratitude, we acknowledge our Foreign Languages Review Committee:

 

Sam Placentino Elementary School (K-2)     Fred W. Miller Elementary School (3-5)

Sonya Merian (Spanish)                                     Diane Crefeld ( Spanish)

Dianne Nault (French Immersion)                     Claire Picard (French Immersion)

 

Robert Adams Middle School (6-8)               Holliston High School   (9-12)

Dr. Deborah Blinder (Spanish)                          Liz Moreno (Spanish)

Sheryl Bunker (French Immersion)                   Marissa Ferrante (French)

 

District Level

Terry Caccavale, World Languages Specialist, K-12

 

Central Office

Timothy Cornely, Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction

 

We wish to acknowledge all of our foreign language teachers, K-12 for their ongoing participation in the development of this review document, and to the building principals, K-12, for allowing the committee to hold regular review meetings throughout the 2010-2011 school year.

We also wish to acknowledge Judy Boroschek, Former Director of Curriculum and Instruction for the Wellesley Public Schools, and consultant to the original Holliston Curriculum Review Committee, for her expertise and knowledge, as well as for permission to us the structure and information of Wellesley’s curriculum review process and documentation; and Dr. Karen LeDuc, Assistant Superintendent of the Natick, MA Public Schools, for her permission to use and adapt  the content of Natick’s  foreign language curriculum review surveys. 

Special thanks to Kathy Caswell, Executive Assistant, and Susan Garvey, Data Administrator

 

Foreign Language Staff K-12

 

Placentino: Nancy Collins, Eleanor Gerson, Germinal Isern, Kendra Mason, Sonya Merian, Dianne Nault, Rosalie Paillard, Aaron Snyder

 

Miller School: Diane Crefeld, Erica Lerch, Maria Mamish, Claire Picard, Linh Pond, Dianne Zenowich,

 

Adams Middle School: Blanca Beltran, Deborah Blinder, Sheryl Bunker, Kathy Meade, Flora Pettinicchio

 

Holliston High School: Terry Caccavale, Joy Dinizio, Marissa Ferrante, Leah Li, Marilyn Miracle, Liz Moreno, Edith Nelson, Kim Thebado, Paul Whalen,

 

Special thanks to our teachers for their participation in the curriculum review process.

INTRODUCTION TO THE CURRICULUM REVIEW PROCESS

 

 

     The Foreign Languages Curriculum Review documents were developed by a joint committee of teachers representing both the French Immersion Program and the district-wide Foreign Languages Program including Spanish, Gr. 1-12, French, Gr. 6-12, Latin, Gr. 9-12 and Mandarin Chinese, Gr. 9-12. This team of eight members, comprised of two teachers from each of the four district levels, met during the 2010-11 school year, under the direction of the K-12 World Languages Specialist and the Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction. The principles of a Professional Learning Community Model were applied to this entire process, as the committee reached consensus on the main points of the review after sharing information at each of the four levels on an ongoing basis.  These meetings served as the culmination of a two-year period of data collection (2008-10)during which time the entire staff of the foreign languages department, K-12, met during scheduled monthly curriculum meetings to discuss alignment with standards, big ideas and essential questions related to foreign language teaching and learning.

 

     The first official meeting of the Review Committee occurred in June of 2010 as the committee met to begin to shape a Mission, Vision and Goals Statement for Foreign Languages in the Holliston Public Schools. Following an interactive, constructivist process, we examined mission statements written by national, state and local schools of excellence in regard to foreign language programming and instruction. We also viewed the official foreign language advocacy video sponsored by the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3-8hNBdtPbs).

We then began to research best practices in foreign language instruction, nationwide, as evidenced in these documents. From each of these sources, we gathered the content and constructs of our new Mission, Vision and Goals Statement for Holliston. Meeting separately as French Immersion and Traditional Foreign Language teams, we shaped a single statement that will stand for both of our programs. Meeting in August to finalize this work, we decided to shape our Mission, Vision and Goals using three concepts from the Cultural Strand of the National Standards and MA FL Framework, namely Perspectives, Practices and Products. The finalized statement has been since shared with and approved by foreign language teachers and administrators at every level of the district.

 

      Once the Mission, Vision and Goals Statement was finalized, the committee   and the foreign language staff began the rigorous process of aligning current curriculum with the MA Frameworks, the ACTFL K-12 Performance Guidelines and the ACTFL Proficiency Guidelines. As with other reviews conducted to date, the Committee examined and compared, by program, grade level and course, the specific strands and standards, or performance benchmarks, within each document. The outcome of this alignment process will be the reformatting of foreign language curriculum documents/maps, to begin in May of 2011 and continue throughout the 2013-14 school year. The content of these maps will guide the implementation of Backward Design for curriculum documentation as the UbD process is rolled out across the district in the next few years. It is essential to understand that foreign language curriculum documentation is much less about specific content and much more about the language functions students are able to perform with varied vocabulary themes. Unlike the Social Studies and Science reviews, which offer specific content to be covered at specific grades, the Foreign Language curriculum review addresses the benchmarks and outcomes for performance against specific language functions such as describing, telling stories, asking questions, sharing information, making hypothetical statements, etc.

 

     The Committee entered into very rich discussions of benchmarks and outcomes for foreign language learners, K-12. The constant comparing and contrasting of benchmarks for French Immersion and traditional foreign language courses was informative and motivational for all. One intended outcome of this review process is the creation of a district leadership team for foreign languages over the course of the implementation of our recommendations and beyond. These recommendations include future topics of discussion, technology integration, curriculum redesign and documentation, professional development specific to foreign language instruction, and more. Another intended outcome is the documentation of when and how well students are currently meeting the benchmark standards for foreign language education, K-12 and what recommendations we can put into place to increase the predictability of all students meeting our district-wide expectations for long-sequence foreign language instruction. In some cases, this review process has provided a venue for discussion of issues such as the inclusion of students with special needs in our foreign language programs. The discussions resultant from our findings will provide us with a more clear and consistent direction for providing interventions to students in need while considering their equitable access to foreign language instruction from K-12. In other cases, the review has provided us with a venue to reconsider our program’s central focus on the development of proficiency in another language and reconsider proficiency as but a stepping stone to deep and enduring understanding of other cultures, something that will become very clear through the documentation of all curriculum in the Backward Design model.


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PERSPECTIVES
(Guiding Documents: What We Believe)

 

 

This section of the review contains all of the work compiled by the District K-12 Foreign Languages Curriculum Review Committee during the 2010-11 school year.

 

MISSION, VISION AND GOALS FOR FOREIGN LANGUAGES

IN THE 21ST CENTURY

HOLLISTON, MA PUBLIC SCHOOLS

 

 

PERSPECTIVES

(Philosophy and Mission Statement)

__________________________________

 

   Second language learning provides students with an incomparable problem-solving experience, enhancing cognitive development and stimulating the creative and divergent thinking skills essential to meaningful interaction in an increasingly complex, multilingual global society.

 

    All students in our Foreign Language Programs will develop linguistic and cross-cultural competence and sensitivity, enabling them to view the world through multiple lenses and to develop an insider’s perspective on other cultures.

 

PRACTICES

(Vision and Goals)

_________________________________      

 

         The Holliston Public Schools Foreign Language Programs will help all students develop a deep understanding of the Perspectives, Practices and Products of the cultures associated with the target languages being taught.   Deep cultural understanding is only attainable through the acquisition of advanced proficiency in a second language.

 

     Research shows that the development of advanced proficiency in a second language (L2) requires an early start in a long-sequence, well-articulated curriculum. Research also supports the fact that students that participate in this type of foreign language program achieve higher levels of linguistic and mathematical literacy and transfer these skills to all other curricular areas.  Our curriculum will be reflective of an early start,  spiraling in conceptual breadth and depth, based upon Power Standards, Big Ideas and Essential Questions, and correlated to the Massachusetts Foreign Languages Framework and the National Standards for Foreign Language Learning in the  21st Century, and the ACTFL Performance Guidelines for K-12 Learners.

 

            This level of advanced proficiency will be achieved in an environment which is rigorous and relevant, intellectually and emotionally safe, and promotes risk-taking, which is essential to engagement in authentic communication in the target language.  A natural outcome of student participation in this rigorous curriculum will be the development of 21st century skills such as:  cross-cultural competence, global awareness, multiple literacies, critical thinking/problem solving, collaboration, flexibility and adaptability, and mutual responsibility.

 

All foreign language curricula will be guaranteed and viable, and formatted using the Backward Design model. Holliston’s foreign language curriculum will be content-enriched, interactive and delivered through the exclusive use of the target language in the classroom. 

 

PRODUCTS

(Outcomes of Student Learning)

__________________________________      

 

As they become meaningfully engaged citizens in a 21st century global society, FL students will:

 

·        consistently demonstrate appropriate levels of functional fluency/bilingualism in the target language,

·        understand and recognize bias as it relates to cross-cultural issues,

·        make appropriate choices and judgments demonstrating deep cross-cultural understandings,

·        demonstrate insight into relationships between language and culture,

·        analyze the perspectives, practices and products of target cultures through the use of Essential Questions,

·        demonstrate adaptability both inside and outside classroom setting,

·        demonstrate the application of critical thinking and cognitive flexibility to everyday life,

·        demonstrate transferability of skills and habits developed in FL classrooms to other domains,

·        demonstrate cultural curiosity through the discussion and formation of Essential Questions,

·        become better prepared to meet college and career expectations of a multilingual world, and

·        develop second language literacy skills and strategies applicable to English language learning.

 

_____________________________________________________________________________________________________

PREFACE TO FOREIGN LANGUAGES CURRICULUM REVIEW

 

 

(Introduction to Standards for Foreign Language Learning in the 21st Century, pp. 11-12)

Copyright ACTFL  1999

 

 

     The businessperson, the poet, the emergency room nurse, the diplomat, the scientist, and the teenage computer buff are representative Americans who play diverse roles in life, yet each could present a convincing rationale for the importance of studying a foreign language. Their reasons might range from the realistic to the idealistic, but one simple truth would give substance to them all: to relate in a meaningful way to another human being, one must be able to communicate.

 

     From the flowing green lawns and porch swings of rural America to the front stoops of our cities, ours has traditionally been a culture of openness, of passing the time of day with friends who stroll by. But today it is the whole world that is strolling by --- coming to our door with questions to discuss, to request our aid, and to bring rich gifts. And since the street leads in both directions, we are going out into the wide world to run our errands. The neighborhood language of the front porch will no longer serve to transact world business and make new friends. We must acquire the ability to understand and to be understood in the languages of the worldwide neighborhood. 

 

     To study another language and culture gives one the powerful key to successful communication: knowing how, when, and why, to say what to whom. All the linguistic and social knowledge required for effective human-to-human interaction is encompassed in those ten words. Formerly, most teaching in foreign language classrooms concentrated on the how (grammar) to say what (vocabulary). While these components of language remain crucial, the current organizing principle for language study is communication, which also highlights the why, the whom, and the when (the sociolinguistic and cultural aspects of language). The approach to second language instruction found in today’s schools is designed to facilitate genuine interaction with others, whether they are on another continent, across town, or within the neighborhood.

 

FOREIGN LANGUAGES AND THE EDUCATED CITIZEN

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     To study another language and culture enhances one’s personal education in many ways. It is only in learning a new linguistic system that one acquires an objective view of one’s native language. For someone who has never learned a second language, this point is difficult to comprehend; for those who have learned one, it is manifestly clear. The structural bones of one’s language, the limits to the range of ideas expressible in that language, the intense interdependence of language and culture – all these concepts become apparent only as second language acquisition takes place. The student becomes aware of the ways in which language

speakers adroitly switch levels of discourse as the context of communication changes. The contributions of volume, pitch, speed, and tone of voice to the emotional layers of language become clear. The language learner also realizes that eye contact, facial expression, and gestures play a vital role in enhancing the message that is being conveyed. With these understandings comes a new-found respect for the beauty and grace of others’ languages, as well as one’s own.

 

     Research studies indicate that the very process of studying another language may give students a cognitive boost which enables them to perform at higher levels in some other subjects. An analysis of data on over 17,000 students who applied for admissions to Northeast Missouri State University between 1981 – 86 revealed that students who had completed a foreign language class in highs school tended to have higher scores on their ACT exams in English and math regardless of their ability level (Olsen and Brown, 1992 ). This study reinforces the findings of another researcher, who discovered that high school foreign language students perform significantly better on the SAT verbal exam than non-foreign language students, and that SAT verbal scores increase successively with each half year of foreign language study. In the same study, it was shown that the economic background of foreign language students did not affect performance; students from lower socio-economic levels who studied foreign languages performed on par with their more affluent peers (Cooper 1987).

 

     To study another language and culture provides access to literature as it is experienced by the audience for whom it was written. Irony, humor, satire, and other rich textures of prose are revealed at their deepest level only to those familiar with both the language and culture. Similarly, the subtle seasonings which flavor drama and poetry are discernable only to those who know the language of the playwright and the poet.

 

    To study another language and culture increases enormously one’s ability to see connections. Since the content of a foreign language course deals with history, geography, social studies, math, and the fine arts, it is easy for students to develop an interdisciplinary perspective at the same time they are gaining intercultural understandings. Pedagogically, this is enhanced by the methods used to teach foreign languages: the use of images and items from real life for sharpening perception, a wide variety of physical activities and games, involvement in role play and other dramatic activities, the use of music in both receptive and participatory modes, and learning experiences that call for sequencing, memorizing, problem solving as well as both inductive and deductive reasoning. This broad range of language learning strategies appeal to a variety of learning styles and expands the learner’s awareness of the many dimensions of his/her own intelligence.

 

     To study another language and culture is to gain an especially rich preparation for the future. It is difficult to imagine a job, a profession, a career, or a leisure activity in the twenty-first century which will not be enhanced by the ability to communicate effectively and sensitively with others. While it is impossible to foresee which foreign language will be useful at a later point in life, those who have once experienced the process of acquiring a second language have gained language learning skills that make learning another language easier. Possession of the linguistic and cultural insights which come with foreign language study will be a pre-requisite for life as a citizen in the worldwide neighborhood. 

________________________________________________________________

STATEMENT OF PHILOSOPHY – ACTFL 1999

_____________________________________________________

 

The following statement was developed by the K-12 Student Standards Task Force as it began work on developing national standards in foreign language learning. From this philosophy, the goals for foreign language education were derived, and all the work in standards setting relates to these concepts.

 

Language and communication are at the heart of the human experience. The United States must educate students who are equipped linguistically and culturally to communicate successfully in pluralistic American society and abroad. This imperative envisions a future in which ALL students will develop and maintain proficiency in English and at least one other language, modern or classical. Children who come to school from non-English-speaking backgrounds should also have opportunities to develop further proficiencies in their first language.

     Supporting this vision are three assumptions about language and culture, learners of language and culture, and language and culture education:

 

Competence in more than one language and culture enables people to

 

>communicate with other people in other cultures in a variety of settings,

>look beyond their customary borders,

>develop insight into their own language and culture,

>act with greater awareness of self, of other cultures, and their own relationship to those cultures,

>gain direct access to additional bodies of knowledge, and

>participate more fully in the global community and marketplace.

 

All students can be successful language and culture learners, and they

>must have access to language and culture study that is integrated into the entire school experience

>benefit from the development and maintenance of proficiency in more than one language,

>learn in a variety of ways and settings, and

>acquire proficiency at varied rates.

 

Language and culture education is part of the core curriculum, and it

>is tied to program models that incorporate effective strategies, assessment procedures, and technologies,

>reflects evolving standards at the national, state and local levels, and

>develops and enhances basic communication skills and higher order thinking skills.

 

KEEPING INSTRUCTION IN THE TARGET LANGUAGE:

WHY IT IS IMPORTANT

 

 

The following excerpt from ACTFL’s national standard document explains the difference between foreign language study and the study of sequential subjects such as math, science and social studies. (Standards for Foreign Language Learning in the 21st Century, pp. 25-26)

 

SPECIAL FEATURES OF LANGUAGE STUDY

______________________________________________

 

Most teachers and educators within a given subject matter or discipline have a variety of reasons for thinking that their subject matter is “special” in one way or another, from history to art, from math to music. What is rather special about language learning, however, is that it can be learned without formal schooling at all. People “learn” their first languages all over the world without schooling, even without lessons, as might be the case in learning the piano or learning to tap dance. Moreover, this sort of learning is not dependent on talent. While we may say that Mary learned to play the piano “by ear” or Jose was a “natural artist” from age four, or that Tina was a “natural” swimmer by age five, we do not say that Maria had a “real talent” for learning her first language, Spanish, whereas her brother did not. All children all over the world, unless they have some sort of neurological disorder, are typically fluent in their first language by age five. They gain control of various components of language for competent use long before the emergence of the cognitive skills that will be necessary for schooled learning, and they seemingly learn it “naturally,” that is, without conscious effort.

 

     Much of this same sort of natural learning can occur when children acquire a second language. There are plentiful examples of children learning a second language through exposure and use far outside of school environments – residence in the country of the language learned being a typical case. Again, neither formal lessons nor “talent” seems to enter the picture. These unique features of language acquisition as an “unschooled” learning experience contrast sharply with math, science, social studies, art, music, dance, drama and the like – subjects we normally think of as being learned only through instruction (schools or lessons) and/or in some cases by a combination of talent and instruction.

 

     Even for older learners, the idea persists today that the “best” way to learn a language is to just “go to the country” and learn the language “naturally” without formal instruction. Surely, it is rarely said that the best way to learn math is to just “hang around” mathematicians, or the best way to learn studio art is exposure to professional artists, or the best way to learn social studies is to “live in the society”.


     Putting language learning into formal educational environments does not change the features unique to language acquisition; in fact, these features offer certain challenges to treating language study as a pure, sequentially mastered subject matter such as math, science, or history. In mathematics, for example, the school curriculum moves students through a fairly well-defined sequence of steps in acquiring mathematical competencies involving computation and problem solving. Subjects such as “math,” “biology,” and “social studies” may be taught and learned as an unfolding of increasingly complex concepts (arithmetic to algebra to calculus) and/or as the learning of a set of facts. Foreign languages, on the other hand, are not “acquired” when students learn an ordered set of facts about the language (e.g., grammar facts, vocabulary). Ideally, students need to use the target language for real communication, that is, to carry out a complex interactive process that involves speaking and understanding what others say in the target language, as well as reading and interpreting written materials. Acquiring communicative competence also involves the acquisition of increasingly complex concepts centering upon the relationship between culture and communication. For some students, this acquisition process takes place in a natural setting. They have access to another language because they interact frequently with people who speak to them in this language or because they have spent time abroad. For other students, the process takes place in the classroom. For still others, it takes place in both the classroom and a real-world setting.

 

     The standards have been written to suggest that the goals of language study cannot be divided into a set of sequenced steps. It is not the case that young students must first deal with isolated bits and pieces of language. Real communication is possible for young students as well as for students in high schools. While the progress indicators for each grade level – 4, 8 and 12 – reflect differences in student cognitive development, maturity and interests, the standards at all levels offer a vision of what students should know and be able to do in another language.

 

     This document was written one year after Holliston started its Spanish FLES Program, and twenty years after we started our French Immersion Program. Both of our programs were founded upon the premise that all instruction in foreign language classrooms should be kept in the target language.

 

      Years ago, it was assumed that second language learners learned to speak, read, and write other languages in a part-to-whole fashion, first focusing on small bits of instruction, such as isolated vocabulary and grammar, and eventually building the capacity to express language in big, meaningful chunks. We now know that this model simply does not work. Students neither learn a second language in part-to- whole fashion, nor in whole-to-part fashion, but, rather, in whole-to-part-to-whole fashion, listening to long streams and sequences of phonology from which they eventually can pick out the small pieces which eventually they can reconstruct into whole segments of streaming, fluent language output. In order for students to be exposed to the rich, flowing stream of language necessary to their ability to develop fluency, all classroom instruction must necessarily be kept in the target language.

 

     Years ago, foreign language teachers practiced a methodology known as the grammar-translation method, whereby students were exposed to small, isolated bits of grammar and vocabulary, in sequential order, following the model used to teach highly sequential subjects such as mathematics. Over the course of the past twenty years, foreign language teaching has changed entirely. We now know that languages have to be acquired, in the long run, and that long sequences of exposure to the target language delivered in meaningful contexts are essential to the development of true proficiency. We know that languages do not map with each other in one-to-one correspondence for syntax and word order, and that the act of translation from one language to another is something so difficult to achieve that in university foreign language programs, translation is considered a post-graduate level class even for foreign language majors. Therefore, in 21st Century foreign language classrooms, the focus is not on grammar-translation, but on the development of oral proficiency in the second language followed by proficiency in reading and writing. Modern language theory also tells us that learning to speak a language is much less cognitively complex than is learning to read and write that language, and that those students who are exposed to an immersive learning environment first learn to communicate orally, and then go on to have better achievement in reading and writing, following the developmental pattern of native language acquisition and learning.

 

    If instruction in foreign languages is centered upon the development of oral/aural proficiency, teachers can actually “cast a wider net” for success of all learners, some of whom may have language-related difficulties and disabilities that make grammatical rules and spelling difficult to master. Again, since the act of speaking is much less cognitively complex than is the act of writing, it makes good sense for foreign language teachers to target the language skill that all students can master.

 

    In 2009, thirty years after Holliston began its foray into immersion education, the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages published its first formal position statement on the use of the target language in the foreign language classroom.



USE OF THE TARGET LANGUAGE IN THE CLASSROOM
MAY 2010

AMERICAN COUNCIL ON THE TEACHING OF FOREIGN LANGUAGE

 

 

     Research indicates that effective language instruction must provide significant levels of meaningful communication* and interactive feedback in the target language in order for students to develop language and cultural proficiency. The pivotal role of target-language interaction in language learning is emphasized in the K-16 Standards for Foreign Language Learning in the 21st Century. ACTFL therefore recommends that language educators and their students use the target language as exclusively as possible (90% plus) at all levels of instruction during instructional time, and when feasible, beyond the classroom. In classrooms that feature maximum target-language use, instructors use a variety of strategies to facilitate comprehension and support meaning-making. For example, they:

 

  1. provide comprehensible input that is directed toward communicative goals;
  2. make meaning clear through body language, gestures and visual support;
  3. conduct comprehension checks to ensure understanding;
  4. negotiate meaning with students and encourage negotiation among students;
  5. elicit talk that increases in fluency, accuracy and complexity over time;
  6. encourage self-expression and spontaneous use of language;
  7. teach students strategies for requesting clarification and assistance when faced with comprehension difficulties; and
  8. offer feedback to assist and improve students’ abilities to interact orally in the target language.

 

* Communication for a classical language refers to an emphasis on reading ability and for American Sign Language to signed communicative ability.

 

 

FOREIGN LANGUAGES AND THE COMMON CORE

 

 

 During the 2010-11 school year, the term Common Core has come into colloquial use, both nationally and locally.  At this point in time, the areas of Language Arts (including English reading) and Math are considered to be the foundational Common Core subjects. It is important to understand that in teaching other languages, we are continually scaffolding students’ skills in these core areas. Our instruction of reading in the target language helps students to build skills and strategies transferable to English reading, and our inclusion of content-area skills such as mathematical operations in our K-8 program scaffolds student performance in this area as well.

 

     One study, conducted in Georgia Public Schools (see reference in bibliography linked below, entitled The Effects of Second Language Learning on Test Scores and Intelligence),

set up a control group of students whose foreign language instruction took time away from their basic math instruction. Remarkably,  students who studied a foreign language even when time spent in the foreign language class took time away from math performed better, overall, in math testing than did the students with no foreign language instruction. The results of this study are replicated in a doctoral dissertation by Dr. Carolyn Taylor.

 

In this study, a reprise of the original Louisiana Study, the author found the same results: The findings of the present research indicate that foreign language students significantly outperformed their non-foreign language counterparts on every subtest of the LEAP 21 test and were more successful passing this test. Moreover, foreign language students significantly outperformed their non-language peers on the language portion of the fifth-grade ITBS.

 

    It is the belief of the Holliston Public Schools Foreign Language Department that foreign language instruction scaffolds all learning in the Common Core, and should therefore be considered a core discipline in the Holliston Public Schools.

 

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PRACTICES
(What we are currently doing; what we need to do to improve our programs)

 

 

This section of the review contains position statements on various aspects of pedagogical practice in foreign language instruction.

 

 

CONTENT-BASED THEMATIC INSTRUCTION

IN FOREIGN LANGUAGE CLASSROOMS

 

 

     For 21st Century foreign language learners, it is simply not enough to learn about the linguistic systems of languages, namely vocabulary and grammar. The ACTFL Standards for Foreign Language Learning in the 21st Century have, as their goal, the knowledge on the part of all students of how, when, and where to say what to whom. In this scenario, students need something more. That something is Culture, with a capital “C”. And, while it is entirely possible for second language learners to learn to speak like natives without ever truly developing a deep and enduring understanding of a language’s relative cultures, it is entirely impossible to develop deep and enduring understanding of cultures without first speaking a language fluently, in such a way as to be readily understood by native speakers of the language. Functional fluency allows us to make ourselves understood; true fluency allows us to participate in conversations and cultural events intended for native speakers.

 

     In order for 21st Century learners to be able to arrive at the intended destination, which is a deep and enduring understanding of other cultures, we must first ensure their acquisition of fluency (reading, writing, speaking and listening on level with native speakers) in the target language. Fluency in the second language is the portal through which we must pass in order to access knowledge of the cultures associated with that language. Developing real fluency takes time and motivation on the part of the learner.

 

     How, then, is it possible to better develop the levels of fluency of our students while aiming for deep and enduring understanding of the cultural aspects of the languages they are studying? For deep and enduring understanding does not imply information about a culture or cultures, but an understanding of the Perspectives, Practices and Products associated with that culture and why and how this belief system (Perspectives) is translated into daily life (Practices and Products). The implementation of content-based, thematic instruction calls for a central focus of culture (folktales are often used) or content (integration of math, science, or another content area) through which greater levels of fluency are attained on the part of the students.

 

      Researchers in the field of second language learning often call upon research first developed to explain phenomena in the area of first language acquisition. Canadian researcher Kieran Egan (Simon Fraser University, Toronto, Canada http://www.educ.sfu.ca/kegan/ ) in his book, Teaching as Storytelling: An Alternative Approach to Teaching and Learning in the Elementary School,  highlights what is referred to as “the orality of childhood” and the integral importance of storytelling in the “mental life” of children (http://www.ierg.net/assets/documents/ideas/supplement.PDF ). 

Associations such as the Imaginative Education Research Group, directed by Egan,  have identified the value of shaping curriculum delivery in all content areas into a story format, and integrating content, including cultural content, as the foundational basis of each “story” told (http://www.ierg.net/about/storytell.html). Second language researchers such as Curtain and Dahlberg, in their own book, entitled Languages and Children: Making the Match (4th Edition, 2009), highlight the work of Egan to underscore the importance of storytelling in second language instruction as an effective methodology. They and others (Granville, Langer de Ramirez) have developed a model of content-based thematic instruction in second language teaching. In this model, either a content-area concept, such as the solar system, or a cultural perspective, usually embedded in an authentic folktale, becomes the thematic center of the unit. Once the center is established, the instructor finds more connections to that center, and tries to make connections to every other content area. This theory is illustrated in an article written by Curtain and Haas in 1995, and accepted throughout the foreign language profession as the best illustration of content-based thematic instruction (http://www.cal.org/resources/digest/int-for-k8.html).

 

     Holliston’s foreign language programs were formatted to develop oral/aural proficiency on the part of our students. 21st Century learners need more than fluency in another language for language’s sake; they need to be able to use the language to interact with members of other cultures to make significant contributions to the global society in which we now live. The neighborhood of the 1960’s has gone global, and as members of this global neighborhood, we need to use more than one language to connect with our intercultural peers. If the ultimate outcome of foreign language learning is connectedness with other cultures, the best means of achieving that goal is to practice content-based, culturally embedded, thematic instruction for all students, K-8, and culturally based thematic units for high school, grades 9-12.

 

 

CONTENT-BASED INSTRUCTION IN THE FOREIGN LANGUAGE CLASSROOM –
FLAM Conference 2008 Wendy Brownell

 

 

INCLUSION OF STUDENTS WITH DIVERSE LEARNING NEEDS IN FOREIGN LANGUAGE INSTRUCTION

 

 

      Since long before the inception of the national foreign language standards document, entitled Standards for Foreign Language Learning in the 21st Century, it has been considered a best practice in foreign language instruction to include in long-term, articulated instruction, students with diverse and differentiated learning needs. This group of students includes students with emotional or physical disabilities, learning disabilities, needs for differentiated instruction through preferred modalities, and English Language Learners.

 

     National, State and Local Foreign Language organizations, from the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages to The Education Cooperative, have long sponsored workshops on the advisability of including ALL students in elementary through secondary foreign language instruction. Research studies have shown that it is students who are performing academically in the average to below average ranges who actually have the most to gain from studying a second language.

 

The Effect of Second Language Learning on Test Scores, Intelligence and Achievement

An Annotated Bibliography

 

    For students with social, emotional or physical difficulties, learning a second language can open to them a whole new world of possibilities, in terms of social interactions and emotional skill development. Speaking a new language allows a person to take on a whole new aspect. For some children, foreign language study is an area in which they find something uniquely interesting.

 

    For students with language-based learning disabilities, foreign language instruction offers them a new chance to “start over” in another language. Children who have difficulty with English spelling find it ultimately easier to spell in Spanish, wherein each letter makes a single sound, and each sound is represented by a single letter or letter combination. Unlike English, which is the most difficult language in the world to spell, Spanish offers phonemic consistency, and a much simpler spelling system. Every foreign language offers students the opportunity to speak in other words, to participate in other cultures. Since the development of speaking skills is much less cognitively complex than is the development of reading and writing skills, our foreign language programs cast a wide net for meeting the needs of all students by being proficiency-based. This means that the intended outcome of our program is to first produce students who know what to say when, and to whom, in the target language. Since bilingualism, and, in many cases, multilingualism, is the norm, world-wide, we can no longer think that “English is enough” or that “Two languages are too many for this child.” Research has shown that the notion of a specific foreign language learning disability has been disproved and that all students can successfully learn to speak a second language. For students with language-related difficulties, more exposure to the target language over a longer sequence of time is necessary. Since the benefits of an early start in a long sequence program apply to all second language learners, students with special linguistic needs should not be excluded from foreign language instruction, as the later they begin foreign language instruction, the less time they will have to be surrounded by the language in order to develop the speaking skills targeted in our curriculum. We value and encourage the participation of all students in foreign language classes, Grades 1-12.

 

    The national standards documents are also specific in encouraging each English Language Learner (ELL) to take part in foreign language and sometimes heritage language instruction, aside from English. Based upon the English proficiency level of the student, instruction in English will take precedence in the student’s schedule. We encourage the eventual inclusion of English Language Learners in our foreign language programs, whenever they complete ELL instruction,  in order to provide them with equitable access to learning what their English-speaking peers are offered in terms of foreign language instruction.

 

     It is therefore recommended that foreign language instruction be included in the curricular goals for students with diverse learning needs  whenever possible, with due consideration to individual linguistic, social and academic circumstances.

 

DIFFERENTIATED INSTRUCTION IN THE FOREIGN LANGUAGE CLASSROOM

 

 

     The term “differentiated instruction” refers to instruction (content) either delivered differently (process) or assessed differently (product), depending upon the academic, social-emotional, or motivational profiles of the individual learner. Differentiation allows for individualization and personalization of the learning process without calling for separate one-on-one instruction of each individual learner.

 

     ACTFL 2009 Teacher of the Year Toni Theisen, of Loveland, Colorado, has written the foremost article related to differentiated instruction in foreign language classrooms. Her article, entitled, Differentiated Instruction in the Foreign Language Classroom: Meeting the Diverse Needs of All Learners offers teachers an overview of the ways in which content, process and product can become differentiated for individual and unique learners. This article provided the basis for a professional day presentation to Holliston’s foreign language teachers, Grades 6-12, in January of 2009.

 

     In accordance with the Holliston Public Schools’ favorable disposition toward differentiated instruction, the Foreign Language Department K-12 will continue to make strides toward differentiated instruction that can scaffold learning for all students in foreign language classes.

 

 

MULTIPLE ENTRY POINTS FOR FOREIGN LANGUAGE LEARNERS IN HOLLISTON PUBLIC SCHOOLS

 

 

      In keeping with its philosophy of an early start for all second language learners, Holliston offers multiple entry points and a variety of options for all students. ACTFL’s National Standards Document emphasizes the importance of offering all students more than one choice for foreign language study, and not limiting options.

 

In the case of our traditional students it is possible to study Spanish  in depth over the course of twelve years, adding another language at the high school level; or to study Spanish at the elementary level, switch to French at the middle school level, and perhaps add Chinese at the high school  level, thereby studying two or three languages, each for a shorter period of time. Students are recommended to follow a single foreign language for a longer sequence, adding additional languages whenever possible. It must be noted that students who are successful in their study of Spanish at the elementary level and choose to study French beginning in Grade 6 and continuing through high school are just as likely to achieve high levels of proficiency in French as are their counterparts who choose to remain in the Spanish program over the long sequence. This is because they have become efficient second language learners over the course of five years of Spanish study, and can easily transfer their knowledge of second language learning to the situational context of the second foreign language.

 

 The following chart illustrates options open to our traditional foreign language students.

 

 

Language #1

Language #2

Language #3

Grade 1

         à

Start Language #1

     (Spanish)

 

 

 

 

 Grade 5

 

 

 

 

 

          

     OPTIONS

    OPTIONS

 

  Grade 6

         à

Continue Spanish

Switch to French

 

 

 

   Grade 8

 

 

 

 

  

 

     OPTIONS

      OPTIONS

    OPTIONS

  Grade 9  

        à

Continue Spanish

Continue French

 

 

 

Add Mandarin

Add Latin

 

 

   OUTCOMES

 

OUTCOMES

 

OUTCOMES

  Grade 12

         à 

10-12 year sequence based upon options taken

 

5-7 year sequence based upon options taken

2-3 year sequence based upon options taken

 

      In the case of French Immersion students, it is highly recommended that students remain in the program from K through 12, as the outcome of the completed immersion program is a much higher rate of oral/aural proficiency than that of the Spanish program, due solely to the amount of time on task in each of the programs. Many Immersion students choose to undertake the study of a second foreign language at the high school level.                     

 

 The following chart illustrates options open to our French Immersion students.

 

 

 

Language #1

Language #2

Language #3

Grade K-1

         à

Start Language #1

     (French)

 

 

 

 

 Grade 5

 

 

 

 

 

          

     OPTIONS

   

 

  Grade 6

         à

Continue French 

 

 

 

 

   Grade 8

 

 

 

 

  

 

     OPTIONS

      OPTIONS

    OPTIONS

  Grade 9  

        à

Continue French

Add Spanish

or

Add Mandarin

or

Add Latin

 

 

 

 

 

 

   OUTCOMES

 

OUTCOMES

 

OUTCOMES

  Grade 12

         à 

13-year sequence in Language #1

2-3 year sequence based upon options taken

 

 

 

TECHNOLOGY INTEGRATION

 IN THE FOREIGN LANGUAGE CLASSROOM

 

 

     The use of technology in foreign language teaching allows students to access portals through which other worlds and other cultures are readily available to them. Technological applications allow students to experience other cultures in real time, and to not only view those cultures from an outsider’s perspective, but to interact with members of those cultures in order to begin to develop an insider’s perspective.

Since cultural Perspectives, Practices and Products cannot be taught, but must be acquired, it is imperative that our 21st Century classrooms move beyond the four-square, walled environments we once knew as the center of instruction to the dynamic model of 21st Century teaching and learning, using technological applications to extend and embed the teaching and learning experience into the arena of the world beyond the classroom.

 

     Technological applications include much more than hardware. The technology of the overhead projector has been replaced by the technology of  LCD projectors fully configured with networked computer hard drives and wired for instant Internet access, thereby allow teachers to find, flag and click onto sites allowing students access to real-time learning in culturally authentic environments. Students of French, Mandarin and Spanish are now able to view streaming videos of news and cultural broadcasts in the target languages, and to access blogs, wikis and other social and academic networking sites that take them far beyond the desks of their classroom learning environment. MP3 downloads allow them access to documents formatted in the target language for aural/oral practice. Technological applications allow students to participate in “flipped” classroom environments where they can review basic lesson content online on their own, so that classroom discussion may move far beyond the basics and into the realm of application and critical thinking skill development.

 

     Collaborative teaching and learning environments no longer require the presence of two or more teachers or students in the same room at the same time. Through Moodle, Google Docs, Blackboard, Wikis, Blogs (www.Blogger.com ), Glogs (www.Glogster.com ),  podcasts (www.PodOmatic.com ) and websites such as www.delicious.com  (social bookmarking for sharing favorite sites),  www.VoiceThread.com (audio recording, online). www.issuu.com, www.voki.com,   www.classroom20.com and other means of sharing information related to teaching and learning, students and teachers can access the work of myriad other professionals, thereby allowing themselves to focus not on the nuts and bolts of hunting for information in the first place, but on the application of critical thinking skills they will invite their students to put into place in processing digital, visual and auditory information available from Web 2.0 applications. Through integration of meaningful technology, teachers of foreign languages can bring new languages to life for their students by capitalizing on the digital world in which they live to make communication in a second language a meaningful experience.

 

     A recent workshop (May 13, 2011) held at Holliston High School featured Dr. Lori Langer de Ramirez of Herricks Public Schools, NY. Dr. Ramirez shared her own website, www.miscositas.com, and all of the links on her site related to blended learning and Web 2.0 technology integration, found on www.miscositas.com/webtools.  Visitors to the site may hear her Voki (voiced-over avatar) giving visitors a virtual tour of the site. Visitors may also find links to virtually hundreds of other sites allowing teachers to provide students with a blended learning environment in French, Spanish and Chinese, as well as English.

 

     Various grants from parent organizations have afforded the foreign language teams at different levels the opportunity to provide students with meaningful technology integration in the foreign language classroom. The middle school language lab, the technology for which was recently purchased by the MS-PTSA, is now in the process of being updated with new hardware.  Students at this level are able to visit host sites as a class, including those sites included in their virtual foreign language textbooks, for which they have all received site licenses (Spanish and traditional French). French Immersion students visit websites formatted entirely in French and are able to take virtual tours of the countries representative of the Francophone experience. At the elementary schools, we are hoping to receive the funds to purchase a MIMEO stick, which will turn each whiteboard in the classroom into an interactive SMART board. The High School and Middle School levels just received grants for this purchase, and will be integrating this tool into classroom instruction beginning this spring. At the high school level, the use of LCD projectors on carts allows life-size access to internet sites with content to assist in daily instruction. Students have equal access to online textbooks and are able to complete formative assessment activities at their own individual pace. The 2010-11 school year proved to be pivotal in moving all high school foreign language teachers into the arena of blended learning.

 

     A recent article by Tiesa Graf, First Vice-President of the Massachusetts Foreign Language Association (MaFLA) describes the use of recording software known as Audacity in the foreign language classroom (and beyond).

 

     The phrase technology integration should always be preceded by the term meaningful. In their book, Brave New Schools, second language acquisition experts Jim Cummins and Dennis Sayers provide clear direction for the meaningful use of the Internet in 21st Century learning. They argue that the notion of cultural literacy as put forth by E.D. Hirsch is really not enough, but that it represents only monocultural literacy, when the wider world demands more— when the world-wide network demands multicultural literacy.

 

     Brave New Schools is a vision of schooling for the 21st Century as well as a guide for parents and teachers. Brave New Schools describes a world in which students, teachers, and parents are globally connected by the Internet and thereby able to communicate across geographical and cultural barriers once thought impassable. In one of the book’s many astonishing case studies, a high school student on Long Island translates an Internet message from a young man in a Croatian refugee camp describing prisoner abuse, send the translation around the world, and sets off a wave of humanitarian aid. Brave New Schools also contains an invaluable updated guide to the Internet and World Wide Web for parents and teachers, which includes a listing of K-12 networking resources, lists of available and published materials, and descriptions of successful networking activities. Stunning in its implications for the future of learning guided by technology, Brave New Schools offers hopeful solutions to the problems of cultural differences and the future of our children. (Back cover, Brave New Schools)

 

     Cummins and Sayers add, “…the educational value of computer-mediated learning networks can be realized only within a context of collaborative critical inquiry.  A community of learning must be created in the classroom, where students and teachers jointly investigate issues that are of relevance to them in their lives and of broader social significance.” (Cummins, J. and Sayers, D. 1995. Brave New Schools. New York: St. Martin’s Press, pp. 142-143)

 

       The role of technology should never be to replace a face-to-face, interactive classroom environment, but to provide students with instant access to portals through which they can immediately apply their second language skills.  Holliston’s foreign language staff is committed to the inclusion of meaningful technological applications in the second language teaching and learning process.


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PRODUCTS
(What We Have Achieved)

 

 

This section contains the Executive Summaries of our FL Programs and Standards Alignment, K-12

_______________________________________________________________

 

Alignment of French Immersion Program K-12 with MA Foreign Language Framework

 

Executive Summary
­

 

 

      The work of aligning the French Immersion Program with the MA Foreign Language Framework began two years ago, as each team of French Immersion teachers met to discuss how well students were meeting each individual standard at each grade level. It was decided that there was so much incremental growth from one grade level to the next that we would not delineate growth against the standard by Stages of the Framework, but rather by individual grade levels.

 

    There are 5 Strands to the MA Foreign Language Framework. These Strands are exactly the same as the Strands of the ACTFL National Standards document.

 

Standard #1: Interpersonal Communication (Speaking, Writing)

 

      By the end of Grade 2 in the French Immersion Program, students have reached standards for interpersonal communication met by students in Grade 10 in the early start Spanish Program. The Immersion environment offers such a degree of intensity in exposure to the foreign language that students are fully able to communicate daily wants, needs, desires, opinions, emotions, etc. by the end of Grade 2. Writing skills in French are not fully developed until the middle school years, still far ahead of their Spanish-speaking peers. Ability in writing is commensurate with ability to perform analytical grammatical functions in the target language. It is not a guarantee of program participation that every child will prove to develop great analytical skill levels, as the immersion experience is far better at developing global competencies on the part of students who learn to circumlocute (use peripheral language skills to “talk around” a specific topic) to make themselves understood by interlocutors, or conversational partners.

 

    Standard #2 : Interpretive Communication (Listening, Reading)

 

     Again, by the end of Grade 2 in the French Program students achieve what their peers in Spanish can do in the area of reading by Grade 7. The gap is somewhat closer in this regard, as reading skills naturally improve with age, and traditional learners can learn to read and write foreign languages very well. In the area of listening, the second receptive skill, Grade 2

 

French Immersion students perform at least on par with Grade 10 traditional students, and often higher. This is remarkable given the fact that our traditional foreign language students are meeting expectations for their grade level in the foreign language. French students’ listening and reading skills grow incrementally over time, to the point where they are functioning in both of these areas on a third-year college level by the time they complete the AP French Language sequence, the final year in the program.

 

Standard #3:  Presentational Communication (Speaking, Writing for an audience)

 

     By the end of Grade 2, students in French Immersion have reached levels attained by their Spanish-speaking peers at the end of Grade 10 in the traditional program. Their ability to speak extemporaneously about a variety of topics is simply amazing. We do find, however, that by the high school level, if students have not been asked to participate in presentational tasks along the way, they are hesitant to get up and speak in front of their peers.

 

    We recommend more focus on presentational skills through the middle school years of instruction in all curriculum areas, to help scaffold students’ confidence levels and ability to organize thoughts orally in order to make presentations on specific topics of curricular importance.

 

Standard #4: Culture

 

     Deep and enduring understanding of the cultural perspectives, practices and products of speakers of other languages is the ultimate goal of every foreign language program.

 

     The review process brought to light several issues requiring immediate attention in the context of the French Immersion Program. Since children follow the same curriculum as that established for their grade levels, they are not really immersed in aspects of French culture as much as they should be. The teachers in our program have decided to focus more intensely on developing knowledge of Francophone cultures on the part of our students. We will immediately begin the development of thematic, culture-based units of instruction for each grade level. Students in the elementary grades will study Carnaval in Quebec in a more formal manner, as well as the French-speaking regions of the USA and the French explorers in Canada. Students at the middle school level will begin units of study on Francophone West Africa at the Grade 6 level. Students in Grade 9 will participate in a virtual residence program in Paris, and students in Grade 10 will explore essential questions related to the cultural aspects of each of the regions of France. The text Tresors du Temps, which recounts French history from the caves of Lascaux to the present day, will be moved to Grade 11 so that current events in French history and culture may be studied in depth in Grade 12, in preparation of the new AP exam. The work on preparing these cultural units will begin in the month of May 2011.

 

Standard #5: Linguistic Comparisons

 

     The review process also brought to light some inconsistencies in meeting this strand of the MA Framework. This, however, is due to the fact that no English is spoken in the context of the immersion program, and therefore, making direct connections between the two languages is not something we do in a formal manner. Students in the upper levels of the Immersion Program do begin to make these connections on their own, as vocabulary roots, prefixes and suffixes are directly taught and students are asked to think more analytically about their learning.  

 

Standard #6: Cultural Comparisons

 

     Since culture with a big “C” is not being effectively taught at present, it is difficult to assess how and when students are making cultural comparisons. Some of these comparisons are a natural outcome of learning about things relative to culture, but not explicitly taught. For instance, the French calendar begins on Monday, not Sunday, as does the English calendar. Although students are never quizzed on the differences between the two, they do learn to make these comparisons on their own. More explicit teaching of French culture begins at the 9th Grade level. It is our hope to move more cultural content down to the middle school level, as students learn about Francophone West Africa and compare those countries to France and to their own.

 

Standard # 7: Connections

 

     Since Immersion students follow the same curriculum as the traditional students at the same grade level, the standards of the Connections Strand are fully met. Students at the K-5 levels are instructed in French language arts using the same standards as those used in English classrooms. Since French is a second language for students and since they cannot use context clues to gain meaning from a written passage, it is imperative that students learn to decode with “automaticity”, that is, automatic recognition of letters and letter sounds. Once decoding skills are firmly established, students can go on to learn the meaning of new words on their own. In math, French Immersion students are instructed using the same standards at each grade level of instruction as those followed in the traditional program. Students are instructed in math using specific French vocabulary in Grades K-2, and in Grade 3, when English is introduced into the curriculum, they begin all math instruction in English. The transfer from French to English requires direct teaching of English vocabulary used in math instruction. By the end of Grade 4, students are expected to have transferred their reading and math skills from French to English, and are expected to be performing on grade level, individual circumstances not withstanding.  Students at the high school level learn that they are not learning French, per se, but rather life, in French. French Immersion curriculum in grades K-2 also includes math, science and social studies. French Immersion curriculum in grades 3-5 no longer includes math, but is based upon reading and social studies, allowing students to make full and rich connections to other curricular areas. The development of content-based thematic units will allow more cross-curricular learning, in French.

 

Scenario Grade 2 French: ACTFL Conference Presentation

 

     Students in French Grade 2 were invited to participate in a professional conference presentation in the fall of 2010. Students, facilitated by their classroom teacher, discussed the parts of a tree, the ways in which trees help the environment, overall, and the dire consequences which would result from a sudden loss of trees in the natural world around us. Connections to science, language arts and math curricula were evident in this discussion.

 

     NB A review of the math program used in French Immersion classes should be part of the district-wide Math Review in 2011-12, and a complete review of the French Immersion Reading Program should be part of the district-wide Language Arts Review in 2013.

 

Standard # 8: Communities

 

     The standards of the Communities Strand are met within the grade levels of the program, as older students interact with younger students, and also with adult fluent speakers of the target language, but are not being met in terms of development of deep understanding of the cultural perspectives, practices and products of French-speaking countries. The introduction of thematic, culture-based units is but one way to scaffold this understanding. The other way to ensure the development of deep understanding is to engage in a learning partnership with a school in France or Canada, to scaffold the cultural knowledge of our students. Such   partnerships make exchanges between the partner schools a viable outcome of communication between the two over long sequence of instruction.

    

 

Alignment of Spanish FLES 1-5 and Continuing French and Spanish Program 6-12 with MA Foreign Language Framework

Executive Summary

 

 

     The results of the alignment process for our Spanish FLES (1-5) and Continuing French and Spanish Programs (6-12) also yielded very valuable information regarding our students and their success as second language learners. Since progress in the Spanish FLES Program is not as dramatic from grade to grade, given the time and exposure to the target language, we formatted the standards alignment by stages, as per the MA Foreign Languages Framework. We are very please to report that our students are meeting and sometimes exceeding all of the standards for language skill development. However, the same concern exists for the Spanish Program in that we are not fully meeting the standards for Culture with a capital “C”; that is, developing deep and enduring understandings related to the cultural perspectives, practices and products of Spanish-speaking countries and regions around the world. Our recommendations, therefore, include the development of culture-based thematic units of instruction for grades 5-8 Spanish, and thematic units with a content area base for the younger grades.

 

 

Standard #1: Interpersonal Communication (Speaking, Writing)

 

     Students in our program meet and often exceed the benchmark standard of the MA Foreign Languages Framework in this area, if they continue their study of a second language over long sequences of instruction. Since the ability to speak a second language is directly correlated to time and exposure to the language, this point is extremely important. 

     The early start of our Spanish Program in Grade 1 allows students to develop positive dispositions to learning a second language, and to develop knowledge of the phonological system of Spanish in order to begin to develop oral/aural proficiency. Using total immersion methodology combined with highly visual materials, teachers ask students in the lower elementary grades to chant rhymes, recite passages  and sing along with CD’s and big books. At the Grade 3 level, students continue to develop their receptive language skills and begin to mimic phrases and expressions used by their instructors. Production of simple phrases and fixed expressions continues through Grade 5. At the middle school level, students’ ability to actually speak in full sentences is developed. Students become functionally fluent over long sequences of instruction in an articulated program with spiraling curriculum. Functional fluency (the ability to make oneself understood when speaking the language) is a springboard to the development of true proficiency as students move on to the college level of foreign language study.

     

     Writing skills develop separately from speaking skills, and are more directly related to the development of analytical/grammatical skills. In other words, it is much more difficult to write effectively in a second language than it is to speak effectively. In some cases, students who hesitate to speak aloud in front of their peers find it much easier to commit their thoughts to paper, given the time to prepare using graphic organizers. Again, it is important to note that the benefits of an early start program are incrementally greater, the longer the course of study pursued by the student.

 

     We encourage all students to continue their study of French or Spanish through the fourth year of instruction, to allow them to develop at least an intermediate level of interpersonal communication skills.

 

Standard #2: Interpretive Communication (Listening, Reading)

 

     All communicative proficiency begins with the development of listening skills in the target language. The phonological benefits of instruction formatted entirely in the target language are great; students exposed to a constant stream of target language use develop listening skills much more quickly than do those for whom instruction about another language is offered in English. Holliston’s practice of total immersion methodology beginning in Grade 1 is consistent with the ACTFL position paper encouraging exclusive use of the target language for all classroom interactions in foreign language teaching and learning.

 

     As a result of this practice, Holliston’s students often surpass expectations set forth in the MA Foreign Languages Framework for interpretive (listening) skills.

 

      In the area of reading skill development, students begin with the basics of phonetic pronunciation in Spanish at the Grade 3 level. Since Spanish is one hundred percent phonetically consistent, that is, since one letter or letter combination makes only one sound, with no exceptions, Spanish is much easier to learn to read and write than is English. In many cases, students who experience difficulty with English reading and writing find more success in Spanish due to this high level of consistency between letters and sounds.

 

     One recommendation of this curriculum review is that reading in Spanish become a greater part of the curriculum in Grades 5-8, especially in consideration of the fact that we will be developing content and culture-based thematic units of instruction. When reading is the center of instruction, grammar becomes more familiar in a natural manner, without explicit and direct instruction. As students explore stories together, they are called upon to visit the forms of verbs indicating a change in tense or time (past, present, future) and become “familiar” with otherwise difficult verb tenses. What is difficult to learn in a direct and explicit manner, out of the context of a story, becomes much easier to understand and recognize within a story format.

 

    Improvement in the Spanish and French reading skills of our traditional students is one goal of this review process.

 

Standard #3: Presentational Communication (Speaking, Writing for an Audience)

 

     The standards for presentational communication are not targeted in the early years of our Spanish FLES program. Since presentational skills are correlated to one’s level of productive skills in the language, and since our program targets the development of receptive skills at the earliest levels, this standard is not applicable to students in grades 1-5.

 

     Presentational communication at middle and high school levels is one area in need of improvement on the part of our foreign language students. Although our students eventually do meet the standards for presentational communication, after long sequences of instruction (Standards for Grade 10 are met by Grade 10), it has become apparent especially at the middle school level that students do not have well developed presentational skills. This ability is not developed in isolation in foreign language classrooms; in fact, this is one area that is usually developed in large part in other courses.

 

     We will continue to work with colleagues in other subject areas to try to develop common goals for presentational communication that can be applied to both foreign language coursework and coursework in other disciplines.

 

Standard #4: Culture

 

     Deep and enduring understanding of the cultural perspectives, practices and products of speakers of other languages is the ultimate goal of every foreign language program.

 

      The curriculum review process brought to light some issues regarding the teaching of cultural aspects of the target languages (Spanish, French, Chinese) in a manner consistent with the development of deep and enduring understandings. Although we have long participated in cultural celebrations such as Day of the Dead and Mardi Gras, or Carnaval, we have not really been successful at developing any deep level of understanding of cultural perspectives found in the societies representative of the target languages we offer. The national standards document is clear in delineating the importance of Culture with a capital “C” as opposed to cultural capsules, or small “c” culture.

 

     In reorganizing our curriculum according to the Backward Design framework, we will invite the discussion of essential question and enduring understandings on the part of our students at all levels of instruction. The development of cultural-based thematic units will allow students to develop deep understanding of the perspectives, practices and products of those cultures chosen for joint exploration on the part of the teachers and students.

 

Standard #5: Linguistic Comparisons

 

     Although we purposely do not spend much time directly teaching linguistic comparisons between the target languages and English, students do begin to make them on their own. Teachers often use knowledge of cognates and verb stems to compare one aspect of the target language to another aspect, and often will make side comparisons to what students know in English. Since we follow the premise that all instruction should be kept in the target language, this strand of the Framework is less focused upon than are the others.

 

Standard #6: Cultural Comparisons

 

     As stated in the synopsis of Standard #4, we have found that the cultural component of our foreign language program is weaker than the linguistic component. Since fluency in a language is an absolute prerequisite to the development of deep understanding of its relative cultures (basically, if one cannot communicate in the language to begin with, there is no means by which to understand anything related to the speakers of that language), it is understandable that in our zeal to develop proficiency on the part of our students, we set aside a real focus on the development of cultural understandings. New research on the teaching of foreign languages actually demonstrates that by using culturally authentic folktales or documents as the thematic center of instructional units, we can actually engage all learners by making instruction more meaningful to them, thereby scaffolding the development of proficiency on their part. The idea of waiting for them to become proficient before introducing cultural topics for discussion is no longer considered to be a viable approach to instruction, as teaching culture in the target language is now recognized as a means of making instruction more meaningful and engaging even to younger students.

 

     As a result of our curriculum review process, we will be moving forward with the incorporation of cultural topics as the centers of thematic units. UbD documentation begs the question of developing units of deep understanding, and, in foreign language instruction, this means cultural content.

 

Standard #7: Connections

 

     Our K-5 Program of Spanish FLES provides myriad opportunities for students to make connections to other subject areas. At the lower elementary levels, Spanish students explore concepts from math, science, language arts, social studies, music and art. Actual lessons in the target language include concept development in these areas. Often, districts think that making time for foreign language instruction will result in time “taken away from” other areas. In Holliston, this is certainly not the case. Our foreign language programs are formatted to scaffold students’ learning in Common Core subjects. In Holliston it is not a question of fitting five quarts of water into a one-gallon tank. It is, rather, a question of coloring the water in that tank. Content-enriched foreign language instruction is the coloring of the water, making curriculum look and feel different while not adding any extraneous material to the existing curriculum, but rather inviting students to look at the same concepts through a totally different lens. Making connections through foreign language instruction results in increased problem-solving ability and critical thinking skills on the part of all of our students.

 

Standard #8: Communities

 

       Holliston as a community is becoming ever more divergent in terms of the cultural backgrounds of its citizens. While our students meet some of the benchmarks within the Communities Standard, we are not fully engaged in inviting members of the Spanish-speaking community to make presentations in Spanish to our students. The idea of finding a partner school where Spanish is taught or of communicating with a community in Central or South America (or Spain) is one means of increasing the sense of community among our second language learners, and would provide them with authentic cultural contexts in which to place their developing knowledge of the language.



Alignment of French Immersion and Spanish FLES and Continuing Spanish and French to the ACTFL Performance Guidelines for K-12 Learners.

Executive Summary

 

 

     This document delineates the progress of our French and Spanish students in relation to five specific standards having to do with communicative proficiency in all of its iterations: receptive language skills, expressive language skills, grammatical and syntactical accuracy, vocabulary, and discourse competence (how well they are able to maintain communication in the target language). Whereas the national standards document and state frameworks do not delve into the specifics of grammar and syntax, this document is categorized by developmental levels with appropriate descriptors, and is designed specifically for K-12 learners. The results are graphed into three categories, Novice (K-4), Intermediate (K-8) and Pre-Advanced (K-12). The Novice Level describes what students should be able to do by the end of Grade 4 in a K-12 Sequence; the Intermediate Level describes what students should be able to do by the end of Grade 8 in a K-12 Sequence; the Pre-Advanced Level describes what students should be able to do at the end of Grade 12 in a K-12 Sequence. The results of this alignment process, by program, are as follows

 

  1. Comprehensibility: How well are they understood?

 

French Immersion Program --Interpersonal and Presentational Modes

 

     Students perform at the Novice Level in grades K-1 only; students move to the intermediate level in grades 2-5; students perform at the Pre-Advanced Level in grades 6-10 and move beyond this scale to the ACTFL scale for adult learners, Advanced, in grades 11-12 (AP). ALL French Immersion students meet and surpass this standard.

 

Spanish FLES and Continuing Program--Interpersonal and Presentational Modes

 

     Students perform at the Novice Level of presentational communication in grades 1-6, as the focus of our program during this time is the development of receptive language skills. Students perform at the Intermediate Level in grades 7-11 (IV-CP) and move to the Pre-Advanced Level in grades 11-12 (IV Honors, V and AP).

 

     One recommendation from this review is to scaffold better presentational skills on the part of our Spanish and French traditional students earlier on.

 

  1. Comprehension: How well do they understand?

 

French Immersion—Interpersonal Mode

 

     Students perform at the Novice Level in Kindergarten only; by Grade 1 they have moved to the Intermediate Level of listening comprehension. By Grade 5, French Immersion students are at the Pre-Advanced Level, and by Grade 11, they have moved to the Advanced Level on the ACTFL scale for adult learners.

 

French Immersion – Interpretive Mode

 

    Students perform at the Novice Level in Grades K and 1, when they are just learning to read. By the end of Grade 2, students have moved to the Intermediate Level, and by Grade 7 they have moved to the Pre-Advanced Level. Students in Grades 11-12 are performing on the Advanced Level of the ACTFL scale for adult learners.

 

Spanish FLES and Continuing Program—Interpersonal Mode

 

    Students perform at the Novice Level in Grades 1-6, as our program is built upon the development of receptive skills at these levels. Students move to the Intermediate Level in Grades 7-11, and to the Pre-Advanced Level in Grades 11 Honors and 12 V/AP. Consistent use of the target language in the classroom through all levels of instruction will allow students to develop better interpersonal communication skills earlier on.

 

    This recommendation is consistent with our perspective on target language use.

 

 Spanish FLES and Continuing Program—Interpretive Mode

 

     Students perform at the Novice Level in Grades 1-4. They move to the Intermediate Level in Grades 5-11, and to the Pre-Advanced Level if they move to IV Honors, V or AP in Grades 11-12.

 

      It is recommended that we incorporate much more reading in the target language in our Spanish and continuing French programs, Grades 5-10, in order to have students at higher levels of proficiency in reading before exiting the program. More reading in the middle school years will allow for more cultural content to be explored.

 

  1. Language Control: How accurate is their language?

 

French Immersion—Interpersonal Mode (Speaking, Writing)

     Students perform at the Novice Level in Grades K and 1; they move to the Intermediate Level in Grades 2-4; they are performing at the Pre-Advanced Level in Grades 5-10 and move off the chart to the Advanced Level of the ACTFL scale for adult learners in Grades 11-12 (AP). Writing skills in the target language are the most difficult skill to master, and the last to be developed.

 

French Immersion –Interpretive Mode (Listening, Reading)

 

     Students perform at the Novice Level in Grades K-1; they move to the Intermediate Level in Grades 2-6; they perform at the Pre-Advanced Level in Grades 7-10 and move into the Advanced Level of the ACTFL scale for adult learners in Grades 11-12. Listening skills are much easier to develop than are reading skills at all levels.

 

French Immersion – Presentational Mode

 

     Students perform at the Novice Level in Grades K-1; they move to the Intermediate Level in Grades 2-6; they perform at the Pre-Advanced Level in Grades 7-10 and move off the chart to the Advanced Level of the ACTFL scale for adult learners in Grades 11-12 (AP). Writing skills lag behind speaking skills at every level, per developmental expectations.

 

Spanish FLES and Continuing Spanish and French Programs –Interpersonal Mode

 

     Students perform at the Novice Level in Grades 1-6; they move to the Intermediate Level in Grades 7-11(CP); they perform at the Pre-Advanced Level in Grades 11-12 (IV Honors – AP).

 

     Consistent use of the target language in the classroom and focusing on increasing student speech production is recommended. More opportunities for student interaction in the target language are needed to help students develop better speaking skills. Risk-taking is encouraged in FL classrooms.

 

Spanish FLES and Continuing Spanish and French Programs –Interpretive Mode

 

     Students perform at the Novice Level in Grades 1-6; they move to the Intermediate Level in Grades 7-11; they perform at the Pre-Advanced Level in Grades 11-12 (IV-Honors, V, and AP).

 

      A recommendation to include many more reading activities in Grades 5-8 is one outcome of our review.

 

Spanish FLES and Continuing Spanish and French Programs—Presentational Mode

 

     Students perform at the Novice level in Grades 1-7; they move to the Intermediate Level in Grades 8-11; they perform at the Pre-Advanced Level in Grades 11 -12 (IV Honors, V and AP).

 

     A recommendation to include more opportunities for students to speak in classes will result in better performance against this standard.

 

  1. Vocabulary Use: How extensive and applicable is their vocabulary?

 

French Immersion – Interpersonal Mode

 

     Students perform at the Novice Level in Grades K-1; they move to the Intermediate Level in Grades 2-6; they perform at the Pre-Advanced Level in Grades 7-10 and move off the chart to the Advanced Level of the ACTFL standards for adults in Grades 11-12 (AP).

 

French Immersion – Interpretive Mode

 

     Students perform at the Novice Level in Grades 1-4; they move to the Intermediate Level in Grades 5-6; they perform at the Pre-Advanced Level in Grades 7-9 and move off the chart to the Advanced Level of the ACTFL standards in Grades 10-12.  

 

 French Immersion – Presentational Mode

 

     Students perform at the Novice Level in Grades K-1; they move to the Intermediate Level in Grades 2-5; they perform at the Pre-Advanced Level in Grades 6-10 and move to the Advanced Level of the ACTFL standards for adult learners in Grades 11-12 (AP).

 

Spanish FLES and Continuing Spanish and French Programs—Interpersonal Mode

 

     Students perform at the Novice Level in Grades 1-6; they move to the Intermediate

Level in Grades 7-11; they perform at the Pre-Advanced Level in Grades 11-12.

 

        Recommendations to teach vocabulary in FL classes using techniques considered to be best practices in elementary and middle school English classrooms are an outcome of this review.

 

Spanish FLES and Continuing Spanish and French Programs—Interpretive Mode

 

     Students perform at the Novice Level in

  1. Communication Strategies: How do they maintain communication?

 

Alignment of Mandarin Chinese Program to the MA Foreign Language Framework

Executive Summary

 

 

Students in our Mandarin Chinese Program perform at Stage 1 of the Framework in all areas, after two semester of instruction.  It is very impressive to see the rapid progress made by all students in Mandarin classes, especially those with prior foreign language learning experience. Several of our district’s top-performing foreign language students have gone on to college study of Chinese as a major.

 

Our recommendation resultant from this review is to expand our Mandarin offerings here at Holliston High School, to be able to offer three or more consecutive years of instruction to our students.

 

 

MELBA D. WOODRUFF AWARD 2010

 

 

(This section contains all information included in Holliston’s nomination dossier for the Melba D. Woodruff Award, which we won in the fall of 2010)

 

HOLLISTON PUBLIC SCHOOLS
FOREIGN LANGUAGE PROGRAMS
MELBA D. WOODRUFF AWARD NARRATIVE


Prepared by T. Caccavale, K-12 FL Specialist
Dr.
Bradford L. Jackson, Superintendent of Schools
Mr. Timothy Cornely, Assistant Superintendent

 

 

1. PROGRAM MODELS:

 

a.)    Elementary program model in place for a minimum of 5 years

 

     Our French Immersion Program began in 1979 and has been in place for over 30 years. Our Spanish FLES Program was begun in 1998 and has been in place for 12 years. Both programs are formatted entirely during the school day for students.

The French Immersion Program follows a model of total immersion in Grades K-2 (100% classroom instructional time) and partial immersion (50% classroom instructional time) in grades 3-5 with a follow-up immersion program in grades 6-12, with one course per year taught entirely in French. The Spanish FLES Program is formatted at 1x 50 minutes per week in Grades 1-2, 3X30 minutes per week in Grade 3, and 5 times 25 minutes in Grade 5, followed by 38minutes per day in Grades 6-8 and one course per year at the high school level.

 

b.)    Participation open to all students

     Participation in both foreign language programs is open to all students in the Holliston Schools. The French Immersion Program is open to all children whose parents enroll them at the K level, and continues through the twelfth grade.  There are two sections of French Immersion open to students at the K level. In cases of over-enrollment, an open lottery without sibling preference is held in order to ensure that all students have equal access to enrollment. All students who do not participate in the French Immersion Program are placed in the Spanish FLES Program beginning at the 1st grade level, and continuing through the middle school and high school, which has a two-year high school foreign language requirement. Approximately eighty percent of our students continue in foreign language study for more than the two required years of study. Programs are entirely heterogeneously grouped, K-9, and honors classes are available for the last three years of high school study. At the high school level, French and Spanish students may choose to enter classes of Latin or Mandarin Chinese as well.

 

c.)    Articulation plan for elementary school through high school for sequential language learning.

 

        There is a clear plan for articulation for both foreign language programs.

 

     French Immersion teachers meet in vertical teams, K-2, 3-5, 6-8 and 9-12, on a monthly or bi-monthly basis. K-12 meetings are held as appropriate. At all levels, K-12, there is a flow of sequential, spiraling curriculum from one grade level to the next, and teachers at one level meet with teachers at the subsequent level in the spring of each year to provide vertical articulation regarding individual student needs. All curriculum taught in French, K-5, mirrors that which is taught in English, providing horizontal articulation with each grade level of traditional instruction. Monthly curriculum meetings at the elementary level, K-5, include discussions of individual student concerns in a vertical team format. Student portfolios with samples of student work at each grade level, standardized tests of French listening and reading comprehension, and rubric-based classroom assessments, including running records and DRA (Developmental Reading Assessments) in French  accompany students throughout the elementary and high school years. At the middle school level, there is one single French Immersion teacher who loops with all French Immersion students in grades 6-8, providing built-in articulation from one level to the next. The middle school teacher meets with both the Grade 5 teacher and the Grade 9 teacher at the beginning of each year in order to facilitate program articulation. Over the course of the past several years, as high school teachers have noticed some weaknesses in vocabulary among our immersion students, we have asked that the AP vocabulary lists be addressed in Immersion grades 6-8, to provide initial exposure to words found in non-fiction reading passages. This has been highly successful in helping students to better develop their second language vocabulary. Program articulation continues through the Advanced Placement Level at the high school, offering exposure to college-level curriculum and instruction.

 

         Spanish teachers follow an established curriculum for each grade level of the FLES Program. The program is articulated not only vertically, from one grade level to the next, but horizontally, following the same curriculum used in the English classroom program at each grade level, 1-5.  If the Solar System is taught at a certain grade level in English, it is also taught in Spanish at that grade level. Portfolios of large-scale and individual assessments given in Grades 3, 5, 6, 7 and 8 follow students into the high school where they are appropriately placed in Spanish classes. Students are heterogeneously grouped for instruction, in order to maximize the scaffolding of language for our neediest students.

 

      Program articulation also includes the placement of high school foreign language students as interns in our elementary and middle school classrooms on a regular basis. This program helps us to develop a community of learners within and outside of the Holliston Public Schools.

 

d.)    Periodic Program Evaluation

 

     Most evaluation of the French Immersion program, which has become entirely engrained in the fabric of our school culture,  comes in the form of disaggregated test scores of Immersion students in relation to traditional classroom students on such measures as the Stanford Achievement Tests and the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS) Tests. As per findings from language immersion programs across Canada, our students perform as well or better than their grade level peers by the end of Grade 4 on all measures of English language achievement and subject matter tests, including English spelling and writing. Although Immersion students make up only 20 percent of the overall school population, they tend to make up at least 30 percent of the top ten students per graduating class from Holliston High School. Program evaluation has not included such measures as the SOPA and the ELOPA, as our immersion students have traditionally far outperformed expectations for students enrolled in sequential FLES programs.

 

     Evaluations of our Spanish FLES Program have been formatted in terms of student results on large-scale assessments given at the end of Grade 3, Grade 5, and at the end of each of three terms of instruction in Grades 6-8. Results of these assessments are regularly communicated to administration and parents.

 

      The best form of program evaluation is obviously the results of learning on the part of our students. Holliston’s foreign language program graduates are known throughout the country for their second language proficiency and their achievement on incoming college freshmen placement exams, consistently scoring among the top candidates on these assessments.

 

         During the 2008-10 school years, foreign language teachers in both programs have spent hours and hours of curriculum meeting time mapping curriculum documents and demonstrating alignment to MA Foreign Language Curriculum Frameworks, including the level of rigor to which each standard is met at each individual level. This work will culminate in a revised Mission and Goals Statement for Foreign Languages as well as in an annotated curriculum document to be presented for review to our School Committee in the spring of 2011.

 

2. CURRICULUM:

 

a.)                  Curriculum aligned with the “5 C’s” of the National Standards

Holliston’s curriculum is entirely predicated upon the 5 C’s of the MA FL Framework, which is a direct mirror of the National Standards for FL Learning. Holliston was instrumental in providing feedback to the MA Dep’t of Education in regard to the proposed Framework and Holliston K-

12 FL Specialist Terry Caccavale was member of the FL Framework Development Committee. Evidence of our framework alignment is as follows:

 

Communication:  Holliston’s French Immersion and Spanish FLES Programs are entirely proficiency-based. This means that ALL instruction is formatted in the target language and that students are immersed in the language from the very first day of class, albeit French or Spanish. In August of 2009, ACTFL President Janine Erickson wrote an article stating that teaching someone another language using English for instruction is comparable to teaching someone to swim in a pool with no water. Just as the buoyancy of water holds the swimmer afloat, so the scaffolding of language provided by the total immersion environment in French and in Spanish catapults students into new realms of oral/aural proficiency.

 

Cultures: While it is entirely possible to learn to speak another language with native-like proficiency and yet not have mastered the cultural nuances of that language, it is impossible to develop deep and enduring understanding of another culture without first being proficient in speaking, reading and writing the language(s) associated with that culture. It is for this reason that so much focus in Holliston is placed upon the development of oral and written language proficiency as a conduit to cross-cultural understanding.

 

        In the French Immersion Program, cultural knowledge is developed first in relation to the countries of Canada and France, and later on, through the middle school years, this knowledge is expanded upon with the study of African French-speaking countries. At the high school level, La Francophonie is the subject of an entire year’s curriculum.

 

        In the Spanish FLES Program, cultural content is infused from the very beginning into each and every lesson. Simple mannerisms such as the way of counting on one’s fingers or raising a finger instead of a hand are modeled and reinforced without explicit teaching. Cultures are not learned, but rather acquired, and language is the conduit to cultural knowledge.

 

Comparisons: Linguistic and cultural comparisons are naturally scaffolded in the context of these proficiency-based programs. Although it is very difficult to teach explicit comparisons between the target language and English when all instruction is offered in the target language, students do learn to make implicit comparisons on their own. Most explicit comparisons are done at the middle and high school levels when they can be used as teaching tools. Cultural comparisons are made on a daily basis, beginning at the earliest levels of instruction. Language is simplified, but cultural content is rich and complex. As one student recently stated in a letter of support for our program, she found the experience of living with a Hispanic roommate whose cultural background differed from her own to be “not foreign at all.” This is a wonderful testimony to her foreign language experience here.

 

Connections: Both of our programs fully implement the Connections strand into daily instruction. Our French Immersion Program delivers the exact same curriculum as that taught in English classrooms, in French. This means that all mathematics, social studies, science, language arts, etc. addressed in the classroom is delivered through the medium of the French language. There is a 100% mapping of connections to the regular grade level curriculum. Our Spanish Program uses content areas such as math, social studies (including geography), language arts, reading and writing to teach through the medium of Spanish. Our content-based curriculum is also rich in cultural relevance and comparisons.


Communities
:

 

       Both French and Spanish programs succeed in developing communities of learners within the Holliston Public Schools and beyond. French Immersion students meet with students within the program at the lower grade levels to help scaffold students’ success with reading and writing. Our high school students of French and Spanish often serve as interns in our elementary and middle school programs, through our School to Career Partnership Program. One recent graduate has noted that learning Spanish helped her to communicate with the workers who boarded and groomed her horse, and thereby allowed her to assure better care for this animal. As our elementary assistant principal has noted, foreign language is such a part of our school community that it has simply become “what we do here.” Those within our own community who are speakers of the languages we teach are invited to be guest readers in our classrooms and our libraries. Our annual Family Reading Night at the elementary schools is punctuated by the voices of French and Spanish teachers reading aloud their favorite predictable books in the target languages to an auditorium full of children and their families. Such is definitely not the case in many school districts around us. However, Holliston’s development of a community of foreign language learners has been modeled by several surrounding towns which have gone on to model programs after our own. Such has been the case in Mendon, Millis, Milton, Wellesley, Uxbridge, Foxboro, and other surrounding towns which have begun FLES and Immersion Programs following our lead.      

 

    b. Integration of language with content areas as appropriate to the program model and grade level.

 

      The French Immersion Program is based upon the premise that French is the medium, but not the sole object of classroom instruction. In this manner, all classroom instruction in Grades K-2 is formatted entirely in French, with no English spoken. The curriculum taught at each level follows the exact same curriculum taught in English at the respective grade level in the traditional educational program. Reading begins with a highly phonetic approach known as Jolly Phonics (Jolly Phonique) which is also used in our English program. Our Math series has been translated into French, and is delivered to students via the target language. The same goes for Social Studies and Language Arts. The spelling program is unique to French, however. At the 3rd grade level, students who have learned to read entirely in French in grades K-2 are introduced to English reading. Per the theory of linguistic transfer, they do not need to learn to read all over again, but simply to transfer the skills and processes they have learned to apply in French to the task of reading in English. Having had no formal English reading instruction in Grades K-2, over 80% of our students are reading on grade level in English at the beginning of Grade 3. This remarkable phenomenon speaks to the multiple cognitive benefits of learning to speak, read and write a second language at an early age. At each level of the program, K-5, what is taught in French mirrors the curriculum taught in English classrooms. When French becomes an individual subject area in Grade 6, more focus is placed upon the language and culture of the French-speaking world.

 

     The Spanish FLES curriculum reflects elements of all of the various curricula taught in English at each grade level. Since the theme of aquarium is taught in Grade 1 English, it is also taught in Grade 1 Spanish. It is extremely important to remember that second language development always follows the path of cognitive development in children, and that curriculum should never be minimized because of  limited linguistic development in the target language. This principle holds true for ESL instruction in our schools, and certainly hold true for foreign language instruction in both languages. Our program follows the model of “If you build it (interesting curriculum), they will come (and learn!)”. Units are spiraling in nature, and will soon be rewritten to reflect Backward Design using Essential Questions and Enduring Understandings. The UbD model is currently in use at the high school levels of foreign language instruction, and is making its way down to the elementary levels.

 

3. STAFFING:

 

a.)        Elementary foreign language teachers are highly qualified for their positions

 

Our elementary foreign language teachers are all highly qualified for their positions, as we insist upon them holding MA Elementary Certification in order to teach in our programs. This means that whereas other schools might allow them to teach at the elementary level while holding foreign language certification for that level, we also insist that they actually be certified to teach general elementary education. In this way, we are guaranteed that our teaching staff is focused first and foremost on the overall development of every individual child.

 

French Immersion teachers are all elementary certified and have near-native proficiency in the target language of French. Our Spanish teachers are possess near-native proficiency in Spanish and are all elementary certified. In order to teach in our content-enriched program, it is imperative that they be able to teach math, science, social studies, etc. in addition to Spanish vocabulary and language arts skills. We draw upon the best of both worlds by demanding that they hold elementary certification to work in our foreign language programs, K-5.

 

   At the middle school level (6-8), teachers in our programs hold certification to teach the specific language at that level of instruction. Since our program is proficiency-based, they participate in workshops run by the curriculum coordinator and addressing such topics as reading and writing, which are two instructional domains not usually covered in foreign language teacher education courses. Their rubric-based assessments are indicative of their highly qualified status.

 

b.)        Evidence of active involvement of our staff in foreign language professional organizations that promote early language learning.

 

Our district holds an organizational membership to the National Network for Early Language Learning (NNELL). The NNELL journal, Learning Languages, is available to our teachers each time it is published. Several of our teachers are also individual members of NNELL. Some of our teachers are members of other foreign language associations, including MaFLA, AATF and AATSP, as well as ACTFL.  Our curriculum coordinator has served on the Board of Directors of NNELL (President, 2006-08) and also belongs to ACTFL, AATF, MLA and ASCD. She is a frequent presenter at state and national conferences, and shares much information gained from attendance at these events with our staff, K-12.

 

c.)        Evidence of teacher participation in foreign language professional development.

 

Staff members regularly attend the MaFLA Conference, held each October, and also are invited to participate in conferences such as NELMS (New England League of Middle Schools) and NECTFL (Northeast Conference on the Teaching of Foreign Languages). MaFLA’s conference history is replete with references to presentations made by teachers from the Holliston Public Schools. Last fall, our Superintendent, Dr. Bradford Jackson, participated in a Superintendents’ Roundtable and defended foreign language as a core subject area, stating that in Holliston, “anything deemed important enough to teach is considered a core subject area.” Teachers from both our French Immersion Program and our Spanish FLES Program will be presenting a session at ACTFL 2010, entitled “Look Who’s Talking!” Children from our programs will also be in attendance at the ACTFL Conference, as they were ten years ago in the fall of 2000 in Boston. Staff members have recently taken part in workshops sponsored by NNELL (Helena Curtain) and The Education Cooperative (Susan Fenton, Terry Caccavale) and facilitated here in the Holliston Public Schools. All teachers are undergoing in-district training in Backward Design as it applies to foreign language instruction.

 

d.)        Communication among language teachers and classroom teachers

 

      Ongoing communication between classroom teachers and foreign language teachers is essential to the success of our programs. In the Spanish FLES Program, all initial program curricular development was done in partnership with our own classroom teachers at each grade level. Meetings were held to decide which aspects of the grade level curriculum could also be addressed during Spanish instruction. Such communication continues to this day, as Spanish teachers touch base with classroom teachers before each day’s instruction begins. Spanish teachers join their grade level counterparts for district professional development days each year.

 

     In the context of the French Immersion Program, French classroom teachers are members of their respective grade level teams. There are two immersion teachers at each grade level for grades 1 and 2, and a single French teacher at each level of instruction in grades 3-5. These teachers meet on a weekly basis with other teachers at their respective grade levels to discuss curricular issues and planning implications. The middle school program in grades 6-8 is staffed by one teacher who teaches two classes each day at each grade level. All middle school foreign language teachers meet together on a monthly basis to discuss curricular issues with the District Coordinator. Teachers at each level of instruction do the same in once-a-month foreign language curriculum meetings.

 

e.)        Evidence of teamwork in school, school district and community.

 

Teamwork is the hallmark of our foreign language programs. Within each level of each individual school, teachers are teamed for instructional planning. French Immersion teachers (K-5) work together in grade level and also vertical teams. Spanish teachers (K-5) plan lessons in common, and have worked to develop and maintain a curriculum rich in content and thereby complex by design. At the middle school level (6-8), all teachers have common planning each day, and meet twice a week to discuss common goals and objectives, as well as to implement new curriculum objectives and plan for assessment, both formative and summative. At the high school level, teachers also engage in common planning time twice a month to develop common formative and summative assessments, and FL curriculum in UbD format which will be made available to the greater FL profession upon its completion. Our teachers have worked very hard to develop curriculum which is specific to grammar, in Backward Design format.  Our foreign language teachers regularly seek out community support in terms of professionals who speak more than one language. Holliston has been contacted by the Language Flagship of the US Government to explore interest in partnering as a feeder school to universities specializing in the development of speakers of critical languages such as Mandarin, which we offer to our high school students.  

 

4. ADVOCACY:

 

a.)                Evidence of promoting early language learning, advocating for early language learning in the community and interaction with the community.

 

      The Holliston Public Schools, as an organizational member of NNELL, has long been devoted to foreign language advocacy. Letters attesting to this fact are included in this nomination packet. James Palladino, former Principal of the Miller Elementary School, points out that for many years, Holliston has formatted visiting days, whereby people from other districts around the state and the nation are allowed to enter our classrooms and interact with our students and teachers during the course of instruction. Visiting dignitaries, including members of foreign consulates in Boston and New York, have graced our hallways. District Foreign Language Specialist Terry Caccavale was awarded the prestigious Palmes Académiques in 2002 for her efforts for promotion of the French language and culture. As President of NNELL from 2006-08, she advocated for foreign language instruction in all forms and all languages for all children in the United States. One of our foreign language teachers served on the Education Committee of one of the presidential candidates in the 2008 election, in order to provide advocacy for elementary foreign language programs. Our teachers contribute regularly to listservs such as Nandu, FL Teach, etc. Several of our teachers have been published in different educational publications such as Learning Languages, the publication of NNELL.

 

 5. ACHIEVEMENT:

a.)                Evidence of student success

Student success in foreign language education is not measured simply by the number of students who go on to major in second languages at the college level, but by the number  of students whose creative and critical thinking skills have been further developed through the experience of learning a second language. Results of MCAS and Stanford Tests tell us that our students are achieving in relation to educational standards. Success in real life tells us that our students are achieving in relation to those intangible standards that are used to measure quality of life and meaningfulness of our overall educational experience. On all counts, Holliston’s programs have met with success.     

b.)                Program outcomes aligned with program model.

As a proficiency-based district, we have targeted real life applications of foreign languages as the desired outcome of instruction. Former students from Holliston High School frequently contact their foreign language teachers to let them know how they are doing in the real world, after graduation. We have produced, since 1992 ( the first graduating high school class of French Immersion students) an entire generation of functionally bilingual young men and women whose careers have taken them from the classroom to the boardroom, to the operating room, to the stockroom, to the drawing room, to the conference room, and beyond. Our first class of Spanish FLES students graduated just last year, in 2009, and we will continue to monitor their progress as well. Our students have always come back to tell us how much they appreciate having been instructed in oral/aural language as opposed to simply learning to read and write another language.

 

 

 

Dr. Bradford L. Jackson, Superintendent, Holliston, MA Public Schools

 

 

 

Mr. Timothy Cornely, Assistant Superintendent, Holliston, MA Public Schools

 

 

 

Ms. Therese S. Caccavale, K-12 Foreign Language Specialist, Holliston, MA Public Schools

RECOMMENDATIONS
(How We Can Improve)

 

RECOMMENDATIONS (2011-2014)

SPANISH FLES AND CONTINUING FOREIGN LANGUAGE PROGRAMS INCLUDING FRENCH, MANDARIN AND LATIN

 

CURRICULUM DESIGN, ASSESSMENTS, and LEARNER SELF_EVALUATION :

 

Pre-K-12:

 

Using an Understanding by Design (UbD) model for curriculum design, we will develop and continue to develop content-based, thematic units around identified power standards, big ideas , enduring understandings and essential questions related to the themes of language and cultures as determined to be appropriate to each grade level.  Such curriculum development will also include the development of essential questions and enduring understanding related to strategies to use in learning a second language.

 

 

Institute the use of a second-language based portfolio system, such as Linguafolio, to scaffold students’ ability to self-assess their own capacity to use the foreign language they are studying for meaningful communicative purposes, and to permit the collection of learning evidence over time (as opposed to administering assessment as a single event in time) in order to meet the needs of diverse learners.

 

  Develop lessons using Web 2.0 tools to allow students to access learning about other cultures in real time.

 

Format large-scale and small-scale assessment of foreign language learners in grades 5, 8 and 11/12 to provide objective feedback about student performance. Online assessments for foreign language learners are currently available and provide a viable option for this purpose.

 

Increased focus on integration of concepts from Common Core subjects into the existing foreign language curriculum.

 

Pre-K – 8

  

Design content-based, thematic units of instruction encompassing all curriculum topics in a meaningfully connected format, with essential questions and enduring understandings.

 

 

Redesign common summative assessments at Grades 3 and 5 to match the projected learning outcomes of content-based, thematic instruction at these levels.

 

Redesign common summative assessments in Grades 6-8 to include a cultural component based upon thematic units of geography and culture.

 

Include more reading in the target language as the central focus of instruction in Grades 5-8; using folktales or readings about cultural topics in authentic formats wherever possible.

 

Grades 9-12

 

1.9    Expand existing Mandarin Program to provide a cohort of core courses through four years of high school study.

 

Continue to document all new and existing curriculum in UbD format.

 

 

Design and document in ATLAS various common formative and summative assessments to track our students’ learning over their years of foreign language study.

 

Design and document in ATLAS a variety of formative and summative assessments to be used at the discretion of the teacher, taking into account learner variables and differentiated instruction.

 

 Develop units of study in UbD format using reading selections (graded and authentic texts) as the thematic center of each unit, with essential questions and enduring understandings developed for the reading experience.

 

* The Linguafolio System is a trademark of the Kentucky Department of Education, and is available to foreign language learners nationwide. Holliston has been given permission by the publisher to translate the entire system into French for our French Immersion students.

 

STAFF PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT

 

Provide ongoing professional development to all teachers, district-wide, in relation to keeping all classroom instruction in the target language; provide venues for K-12 discussion of what practice looks like in the classroom at various levels.

 

Provide ongoing differentiated professional development specific to foreign language teaching (culture) and its connections to core curriculum (reading, writing, speaking and listening).

 

Format partnerships with organizations such as the Center for Applied Second Language Studies at the University of Oregon (CASLS) to provide ongoing professional development in Action Research for K-12 FL Staff.

(Proposal TBA Summer 2012)

 

TECHNOLOGY INTEGRATION AND WEB 2.0 APPLICATIONS

 

K-12

 

Incorporate use of SMART technology such as interactive white boards, LCD projectors, and ceiling mounted projectors in foreign language classrooms, including portable SMART technology.

 

 

Middle School (5-8): 

 

 Maintain and update existing Middle School Language Lab to keep pace with Web 2.0 applications for learning.

 

High School (9-12):

 

  Update existing Language Lab technology to a digitally formatted lab.

 

 

RECOMMENDATIONS (2011-2014)

FRENCH IMMERSION PROGRAM

 

CURRICULUM DESIGN, ASSESSMENTS, and LEARNER SELF_EVALUATION :

 

Pre-K-12

 

Using an Understanding by Design (UbD) model for curriculum design, we will develop and continue to develop content-based, thematic units around identified power standards, big ideas , enduring understandings and essential questions related to the themes of language and cultures as determined to be appropriate to each grade level.  Such curriculum development will also include the development of essential questions and enduring understanding related to strategies to use in learning a second language.

 

 

Institute the use of a second-language based portfolio system, such as Linguafolio, to scaffold students’ ability to self-assess their own capacity to use the foreign language they are studying for meaningful communicative purposes, and to permit the collection of learning evidence over time (as opposed to administering assessment as a single event in time) in order to meet the needs of diverse learners.

 

  Develop lessons using Web 2.0 tools to allow students to access learning about other cultures in real time.

 

  Design content-based, thematic units of instruction encompassing all curriculum topics in a meaningfully connected format, with essential questions and enduring understandings.

 

Format large-scale and small-scale assessment of foreign language learners in grades 5, 8 and 11/12 to provide objective feedback about student performance. Online assessments for foreign language learners are currently available and provide a viable option for this purpose.

 

Pre-K – 8

  

Redesign common summative assessments at Grades 1-8 to match the projected learning outcomes of content-based, thematic instruction at these levels.

 

K- 5

 

Increase instruction on phonetic decoding and increase frequency of assessments regarding students’ automatic decoding abilities.

 

Participate in District K-12 Math Review by reviewing materials, concepts, language-related issues in math instruction in Grades K-2 French Immersion.

 

Conduct a thorough review of the French Immersion reading program in Grades K-5, documenting all curriculum in scope and sequence format with assessments. (2011-12)

 

Update existing reading program with a new, phonetic-based reading series with a strong vocabulary and comprehension component.

 

Include findings from the French Immersion Reading Review in the District Language Arts Review document in 2013.

 

Grades 6-8 

 

Redesign curriculum in Grade 6 French Immersion to reflect the study of Francophone countries of Africa, and relevant folktales/reading selections from those cultures.

 

Redesign  curriculum in Grade 7 French Immersion to reflect the study of French regions and culture

 

 Expand the vocabulary program of French Immersion Grade 8 to reflect best practices and to introduce students to AP word list.

 

9-12

 

Continue to document all new and existing curriculum in UbD format.

 

  Design and document in ATLAS various common formative and summative assessments to track our students’ learning over their years of foreign language study.

 

Design and document in ATLAS a variety of formative and summative assessments to be used at the discretion of the teacher, taking into account learner variables and differentiated instruction.

 

Develop units of study in UbD format using reading selections (graded and authentic texts) as the thematic center of each unit, with essential questions and enduring understandings developed for the reading experience.

 

 

* The Linguafolio System is a trademark of the Kentucky Department of Education, and is available to foreign language learners nationwide. Holliston has been given permission by the publisher to translate the entire system into French for our French Immersion students.

 

BUDGET
(Materials and Resources We Will Need to Make Recommended Improvements)

 

 

FOREIGN LANGUAGE CURRICULUM REVIEW

RECOMMENDED IMPLEMENTATION BUDGET 2011-2014

 

 

 

 

TIME

FRAME        TOPIC/UNITS                COST              MATERIALS         STAFF

Summer

2011

or 2012

 

Development of Content-Based Thematic Units in K-2 Immersion

6 staff x 6 hours x $30 per hour

$1080

Professional Resources $100 per teacher = $500

5 teachers plus K-12 Curriculum Specialist

Summer

2011

Development of Content-Based Thematic Units French Immersion Grade 6

2 staff x 18 hours each x $30 per hour

 

$1,080 

Professional Resources

 

   $300.00

1 teacher plus K-12 Curriculum Specialist

Summer

2011

Development of   Content-Based Units

Grades 4-5 Spanish

3 staff x 18 hours each x $30 per hour

$1,620

Professional Resources

   $300.00

 

2 teachers plus K-12 Curriculum Specialist

Summer

2011

Development of Content-Based Thematic Units for Grade 6 Spanish

4 staff x 18  hours each x $30 per hour

    $2,160

Professional Resources

    $600.00

 

3 teachers plus K-12 Curriculum Specialist

Summer

2011

NEW AP French Curriculum HHS

and Term Elective

in UbD Document 

2 staff  x 24 hours x $30 per hour’

    $1,440

Professional Resources

    $400.00

2 AP French Teachers

Summer 2011

NEW Grade 9 Immersion Virtual Residence Curriculum

2 staff x 18 hours x  $30 per hour

$1,080

Professional Resources

   $300

1 teacher plus 1 K-12 Immersion Curriculum Specialist

Summer

2011 

NEW Spanish AP and Term Elective in UbD Document

1 staff x 18 hours x $30 per hour = $540.00

Professional Resources

$300

1 AP Spanish Teacher

Summer

2011

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Summer

2011

Development of Content-Based Thematic Units of Culture in French Immersion 3-5

 

-------------------------

 

 

Development of Content-Based Thematic Units of Reading with a Cultural Center

HS Grades 9-11

 

4 staff  x 12 hours x $30 per hour

$1,080

 

 

 

 

 

3 staff x 12 hours x $30 per hour =

$1,080

Professional Resources

   $300

 

 

 

 

 

 

Professional

Resources

    #300

3 teachers plus K-12 Immersion Specialist

 

 

 

 

 

3 HS Spanish Teachers

School Year

2011-12

 

 

------------

School Year 2011-12

District-Wide PD on Keeping Instruction in the Target Language  9/16/11

 

--------------------------

District-Wide PD on use of Web 2.0 tools for Foreign Language Learning

25 teachers for full day = 25 subs x $75 per day = $1875

 

 

25 teachers for full day = 25 subs x $75 per day = $1875

½ cost of TEC workshop presentation

= $ 1,250

 

 

$2,000 including travel expenses

All District FL Staff

 

 

 

-------------------

All District FL Staff

 

 

School Year 2011-12

Release time meetings of Curriculum Review Committee  for follow-up on progress

4        x ½ day

x 8 teachers = 16 days x $75 = $1200.00

 

No Cost

7 teachers plus K-12 Curriculum Specialist

 

 

 

 

 

Summer

2012

 

 

-----------

Summer

2012

Development of Content-Based Thematic Units for Grade 6 Spanish

-------------------------

Development of Content-Based Thematic Units French Immersion Grade 6

 

4 staff x 18  hours each x $30 per hour

    $2,160

------------------

2 staff x 18 hours each x $30 per hour =

 

$1,080 

Professional Resources

    $600.00

 

-------------------

Professional Resources

 

   $300.00

3 teachers plus K-12 Curriculum Specialist

-------------------

1 teacher plus K-12 Curriculum Specialist

Summer

2012

Development of Content-Based Thematic Units in Grades 4-5 Spanish

 3 staff x 18 hours x $30 per hour =

$1,080

Professional Resources

$300

2 teachers plus K-12 Curriculum Specialist

Summer

2012

District-wide Collaboration with CASLS on Action Research Projects for FL

Estimated Cost to District

$4,000-10,000

(per conditions of grant)

Professional Resources

 

$1,000

Invitation to join in Action Research Group to all District FL Teachers

Summer 2012

Development of Content-Based Thematic Units of Reading with a Cultural Center

HS  Grades 9-11

3 staff x 12 hours x $30 per hour =

$1,080.  

Professional resources

$300

3 HS Foreign Language Teachers

Summer 2013

 

TBA Professional Development

 

     TBA

 

      TBA

 

TBA

2013-14

District-Wide PD on Teaching Vocabulary in FL

 

       TBA

 

     TBA

All District FL Teachers

 

 

 

 

 

TBA

Language Lab HHS

$85,000 plus cost of new computers

  TBA

Sanako or Sony Lab

TBA

TBA

Language Lab Adams Middle School

Updating of software and hardware

 

TBA

Sanako or Sony Lab

TBA

 

 

TEACHER MATERIALS REQUESTED: PROFESSIONAL RESOURCES

 

CONTENT-BASED THEMATIC UNITS OF INSTRUCTION: (2011)

 

 

Title

ISBN No

Quantity

Price per item

Extended Price

Haas, Mari

The Language of Folk Art

Workbook

9780801314063

  6

 

$30.00

$180.00

 

The Language of Folk Art

Teacher’s Guide

 6

$50.00

$300.00

Blaz, Deborah

Differentiated Instruction: A Guide for Foreign Language Teachers. Larchmont, NY: Eye on Education.

 

9781596670204

4

$40.00

$160.00

Egan, Kieran (1986).  Teaching as Storytelling : An Alternative Approach to Teaching and Curriculum in the Elementary School. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

 

9780415007009 

5

$20.00

$100.00

Curtain, Helena, and Dahlberg, Carol Ann. (2009). Languages and Children: Making the Match, New Languages for Young Learners, K-8. Boston: Allyn and Bacon Publishers.

 

 

      5

$80.00

$400.00

Allen, Janet (2008). Inside Words: Tools for Teaching Academic Vocabulary

 

 

5

$40.00

$200.00

 

 

 

                                             

 

PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT:

 

Conference, ACTFL (American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages)

November 19-20, 2010 Boston, MA

All teachers allowed to attend one or two days of sessions

 

Cost to District                                         $3,000.00

 

 

Workshop, Lori Langer de Ramirez May 13, 2011

 

« Using Folktales as Thematic Centers of Content-Based Instruction »

 

Preparation and Presentation                  $1,000.00

Transportation , Meals                                  600.00

                                                             ________________

                                                                    $1,600.00                

 

Workshop, September 16, 2011

 

Alice Kosnik, Bureau for Educational Research

 

How to Improve Your Foreign Language Program    = $1,250.00

 

 

Workshop TBA  2011-12 

 

Lori Langer de Ramirez, Ed.D.

 

Web 2.0 Applications for Foreign Language Instruction

 

Preparation and Presentation                $1,000.00

Transportation, Meals                                 600.00

                                                       _______________ 

 

                                                                $1,600.00 

 

 

Workshop offered by NFLRC Oregon State

Summer 2012

“Developing Plans for an Carrying Out Action Research in the Foreign Language Classroom”

Carl Falsgraf, Director, NFLRC

 

Cost to District           approximately        $ 10,000.00

(may be less if grant fully funded by US Dep’t Education)

                                                

Return to Top      

 

APPENDICES

 

 

 (This section contains links to documents illustrating our Perspectives, Practices and Products relate to Foreign Language instruction and learning.)

 

Return to Top      


Appendix A: Documents Illustrating our Perspectives

 

Document #1: Article, The Benefits of Foreign Language Study (NEA 2007)  

(This study by the National Education Association highlights the benefits of foreign language study for all students.)

 

Document #2: Article, The Correlation Between Early Second Language Learning and Native Language Skill Development by T. Caccavale

(This article explains how foreign language study makes students better problem-solvers and thereby scaffolds vocabulary skill development in one’s native language.)

 

Document #3: Bibliography

 

Research on the Importance of Foreign Language Learning and the Effects of Foreign Language Learning on Test Scores and Intelligence

 

ACTFL Abstracts of articles on academic achievement and foreign language learning

 

Article: 700 Reasons for Studying Languages by Angela Gallagher-Brett, The Higher Education Academy

 

Article, Cognitive Benefits of Learning Languages

Duke Digest of Gifted Research

 

Article, Effect of Bilingualism on Intelligence by Kalyani K. Sampath, Tamil Language Institute

 

Article, Foreign Languages, An Essential Core Experience, by Robert D. Peckham, Ph.D

 

Article, Foreign Language Requirements and Students with Learning Disabilities, compiled by the Center for Applied Linguistics (CAL)

 

Article, French: The Most Practical Foreign Language

 

Article, Importance of the Foreign Language Study

 

Article, Improving Students’ Capacity in Foreign Languages

The Asia Society, 2008

 

Article, Is There a Disability for Learning a Foreign Language? by Richard Sparks

(Research does not support this notion!)

 

Article, Language Education and Learning Disabilities by Jean LeLoup and Robert Ponterio, SUNY Cortland, in Language Learning and Technology, Vol. 1, No. 1, July 1997, pp. 2-4

(ALL students can learn to speak another language!)

 

Article, Making a Case for French: Arguments and Resources By Marie-Christine Koop, AATF Past President   April, 2011 French Review

 

Article, Motivation as a Contributing Factor in Second Language Acquisition by Jacqueline Norris-Holt

 

Article, National Imperative for Language Learning by  Anthony W. Jackson, Charles E. M. Kolb, & John I. Wilson

Essential in the formula for a world-class education is an urgent need for schools to produce students who actually know something about the world—its cultures and languages, and how its economic, environmental, and social systems work. Language learning is a central part of what high-performing nations are doing to make their students and their societies globally competitive—virtually all of the highest-performing nations on the recent Program for International Student Assessment exam require second-language learning. At this defining moment in American education, we sell ourselves short if we do not strive for schools that prepare students for an interconnected world driven by the demands and opportunities of globalization.”  

 

Article, The Benefits of Second Language Study, a white paper compiled by the National Council of State Supervisors of Foreign Languages

 

Article, The Correlation between Early Second Language Learning and Native Language Skill Development, by T. Caccavale, Learning Languages, Fall 2007. National Network for Early Language Learning

 

Article, The Importance of Learning a Second Language

]

Article, The Importance of Spanish

 

Article, The Importance of Teaching Culture in the Foreign Language Classroom by Dimitrios Thanasoulas  - Member of TESOL Greece and the AILA Scientific Commission on Learner Autonomy

 

Article, The Robustness of Critical Period Effects in Second Language Acquisition by Robert M. De Kuyser, University of Pittsburgh

 

Article, What’s the Importance of Learning a Foreign Language? by Joe Carroll. The Business Journal, August 29, 2005

 

Article, Why Learn Languages? 10 Reasons Why You Should Be Learning a Foreign Language.

 

Article, Why Should I Learn a Language?

 

Bibliography, Speaking in Tongues - Benefits of Second Language Study

 

Dissertation,   The Relationship Between Elementary School Foreign Language Study in Grades Three Through Five and Academic Achievement on the Iowa Test of Basic Skills (ITBS) and the Fourth-Grade Louisiana Educational Assessment Program for the 21st Century (LEAP 21) Test. Carolyn Taylor-Ward (2003).

 

JNCL Executive Summary 2010

A new provision in HEA from Rep. Rush Holt’s International Education Leadership Act established a new Deputy Assistant Secretary of International and Foreign Language Education as a political compromise.  JNCL-NCLIS worked very closely with Rep. Holt regarding the creation of this position which was originally intended to be an Assistant Secretary requiring Senate confirmation.  In October, Andre Winston Lewis was appointed as Deputy Assistant Secretary.  Mr. Lewis has a degree in Russian Studies and worked with the State Department in the late 90s. 

Paper, Report of Current Research on the Effects of Second Language Learning on First Language Literacy Skills by Monique Bournot-Trites and Ulrike Telowitz

 

Video: The Importance of Foreign Language Study

 

Video, ACTFL: A Case for the Study of Foreign Languages as a Required Core Subject in our Schools

 

www.utm.edu/~globeg/profren.shtmlwww.utm.edu/~globeg/profren.shtmlwww.utm.edu/~globeg/profren.shtml 

 

White Paper, The Benefits of Foreign Language Study published by the National Council of State Supervisors of Foreign Languages

 

Document #4: LINKS: Advocacy and Resource Links for Foreign Languages

 

    FOREIGN LANGUAGE ADVOCACY and RESOURCES LINKS  

 

National Organizations: 

 

AATF ( American Association of Teachers of French)

 

AATSP ( American Association of Teachers of Spanish and Portuguese)

 

ACIE ( American Council on Immersion Education)

 

ACL ( American Classical League)

 

ACTFL (American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages)

 

ACTFL 21st Century Skills Map

 

ACTFL POSITION STATEMENTS: (Use of the Target Language)

 

ACTFL Video: “A Case for the Study of Foreign Languages as a Required Core Subject in our Schools”

 

ACTFL BRIEF: 3rd graders in Fairfax County, Virginia have an amazing grasp of Mandarin Chinese because the school is employing these proven methods of teaching!

 

Annenberg Foundation - Teaching Foreign Languages K-12: A Library of Classroom Practices

(Video Library of Best Practices in Teaching FL K-12)

 

Advanced Placement (AP) Central

 

Asia Society

 

CASLT (Canadian Association of Second Language Teachers)

 

CAL (Center for Applied Linguistics)

 

CALICO (Technology-Assisted FL Education)

 

CARLA ( Center for Advanced Research on Language Acquisition)

 

CIEE (Council on International Educational Exchange)

 

Cervantes Institute website in Spanish for children:

 

CLASS ( Chinese Language Association of Secondary Schools)

 

Digital Dialects – Language Learning Games

 

ERIC (Educational Resources Information Center)

 

Executive Planet (Cultural resources)

 

Fairfax County Public Schools (Great teaching resources and rubrics)

 

Federal Resources for Educational Excellence (13 sites for free resources for foreign language classes)

 

FLAD (Foreign Language Assessment Directory)

 

IALLT (International Association Language Learning Technology)

 

JNCL/NCLIS (Joint National Committee on Languages/ National Council on Languages and International Study) 

 

Links to all major US and World Foreign Language Organizations, including state organizations of foreign language teachers

 

JNCL/NCLIS Advocacy Video – Making Your Voice Count

 

LAC (Languages Across the Curriculum)

 

Linguistic Society of America

 

MLA (Modern Language Association)

 

NADSFL (National Association of District Supervisors of Foreign Languages)

 

NCSSFL (National Council of State Supervisors of Foreign Language)

 

NNELL (National Network for Early Language Learning)

 

NRCSA (National Registration Center for Study Abroad)

 

Partnership for Global Learning

 

TFLTA Professional Resources Center

 

Statewide Organizations:

 

MaFLA (Massachusetts Foreign Language Association)

 

      Local Advocacy

      Statewide Advocacy

      National Advocacy

 

 

Regional Organizations:

 

CANE (Classical Association of New England)

 

NECTFL (Northeast Conference on the Teaching of Foreign Languages)

 

 

Local Organizations:

 

EMFLA Eastern Massachusetts Foreign Language Administrators

 

French Library and Cultural Center

 

TEC The Education Cooperative (Job-Alike Group for FL Supervisors)

 

Return to Top

Document #5: 21ST Century Skills Alignment with Foreign Language Learning  

 

Document #6: ACTFL 21st Century Skills Map for Foreign Languages

(This document is essential to understanding the role of foreign language instruction in 21st Century Schools.)

 

Return to Top      


Appendix B: Documents Illustrating our Practices

 

Document # 7: Electronic Links for Foreign Language Learning

 

      Resources for Foreign Language Learning: Online 

 

Audacity Self Recording Freeware

 

Audio-lingua.eu   has samples of native speakers in several languages. You can search not just by language, but also by difficulty level, which is nice (it uses the European system, with A1 the most basic and C2 the most advanced).

 

French: Elementary:

 

Links to several great French sites for children.  

 

http://www.instant-french.com/top-learn-french-site/

 

http://french.about.com/od/kids/French_for_Kids_French_Resources_for_Children.htm

 

http://www.bbc.co.uk/learning/subjects/childrens_learning.shtml

 

http://www.primarylanguages.org.uk/resources/online_resources/french.aspx

 

http://www.bilingualfamiliesconnect.com/resourcesfrench.html 

 

http://freelanguage.org/learn-french/digital-tools-and-media/games/learn-french-children-games

 

Resources for French Immersion students

 

Cool websites for children learning French.  

 

Activities for children learning French

 

French Phonics Recordings to help students practice French reading skills at home! 

 

http://www.sitespourenfants.com/  Site in French

 

http://www.webjunior.net/

 

http://www.momes.net/

 

http://www.radiojunior.com/

 

http://www3.sympatico.ca/martine.mario/Pomme-or/pomme-or.html  Site recognized in France for the quality of its content

 

French: Adolescents

 

http://www.kidadoweb.com/

 

http://www.webjunior.net/

 

French: High School

 

 

FL TEACH Listserv

http://web.cortland.edu/flteach/flteach-res.html

 

(Hundreds of websites to help foreign language teachers and students!)

 

French Culture and Civilization:

 

Tennessee Bob’s On the Importance of Knowing French

 

Marie Ponterio’s French Civilization Website

http://web.cortland.edu/flteach/civ/

 

Newscasts in French:

www.france2.fr 

 

http://videos.tf1.fr/jt-13h

 

French Grammar Websites:

http://www.uni.edu/becker/grammar.html

 

French Listening Exercises: All levels


http://www.ielanguages.com/frlistening.html

http://www.merlot.org/merlot/viewMaterial.htm?id=495250


French Websites from Jim Becker

http://www.uni.edu/becker/French.html

 

French Websites from Tennessee Bob Peckham

http://www.utm.edu/departments/french/french.html

 

Mandarin Websites:

 

http://www.chinese4kids.net/

 

http://www.semanda.com/ 

 

http://www.digitaldialects.com/Chinese.htm

 

http://www.hello-world.com/Mandarin/index.php

 

http://www.bamboolearning.com/

 

Project Gutenberg not only has copyright free texts in maybe 40 or 50 languages, but also audio
books in mp3 and other formats.

 

Spanish
Teacher Resources:

 

http://www.laits.utexas.edu/spe/index.html Spanish Proficiency Exercises - University of Texas at Austin

 

Spanish: Elementary: 

 

Links to Spanish sites for children.

 

Other sites:  Check them out!

 

www.miscositas.com  Dr. Lori Langer de Ramirez’s site for students in elementary and middle schools. 

 

 www.spanishworkshopforchildren.com/ 

 

 

http://anacleta.homestead.com/learninganewlanguage.html Website developed by longtime Spanish teacher, Kathy Siddons

 

BBC website for children learning Spanish

 

spanish-learning-websites-children.html

 

http://gardenofpraise.com/spanish.htm

 

http://www.ala.org/gwstemplate.cfm?section=greatwebsites&template=/cfapps/gws/displaysection.cfm&sec=20   Great websites for children!

 

http://webs.rps205.com/schools/training/websites4kidsspan.html

 

http://theschool.columbia.edu/co-curriculars/spanish/websites 

 

http://webtech.kennesaw.edu/jcheek3/spanish.htm

 

http://spanish.About.com   

 

http://www.enchantedlearning.com/books/spanish/


http://www.123teachme.com/learn_spanish/spanish_for_children


http://www.d.umn.edu/~ezeitz/Curriculum%20Project/Topicsindex.html


http://www.spanishtown.ca/spanishforkids/grade1/grade1.htm


http://www.spanishplayground.net/fun-game-reinforces-spanish-clothes-vocabulary/ 

 

http://www.uni.edu/becker/children.html

 

http://www.123teachme.com/learn_spanish/spanish_for_children

 

http://www.uni.edu/becker/Spanish3.html For all ages

 

http://zachary-jones.com/spanish

 

http://ochoamores.typepad.com/morespanish

 

Spanish: Adolescents and Older Learners

 

http://www.uni.edu/becker/Spanish3.html

 

Spanish: Advanced Learners:

 

Anuncio radiofónico

Why Study Languages? Website Promotes Multilingualism

The Why Study Languages website is full of materials promoting language study: for children ages 7-college, for teachers, for parents, and for career advisors. The site is designed for people in the UK, but its resources can also be used to promote language study in the United States.

BlogUrl: http://casls-nflrc.blogspot.com/2011/04/why-study-languages-website-promotes.html 

 

 

Document #8: Research on Content-Based Thematic Instruction in FL Classrooms

 

 

Research on Content-Based Thematic Instruction for Second Language Learning

 

 

 

Article, Accountability to the Child: Key Concepts for Success in Early Language Learning Programmes by Helena Curtain, University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee

 

Article, Content-Based ESL Curriculum and Academic Language Proficiency by Clara Lee Brown, University of Tennessee Knoxville

 

Article, Content-Based Instruction

 

Article, Content-Based Instruction by Myriam Met

www.carla.umn.edu/cobaltt/modules/.../decisions.html

 

Article, Content-Based Instruction, Cooperative Learning, and CALP

Instruction: Addressing the Whole Education of 7-12 ESL Students by Nicole Troncale, Teachers College, Columbia University

 

Article, Content-Based Second Language Instruction: What Is It? CARLA (Center for Advanced Research in Second Language Acquisition)

 

Article, Teaching Language Through Content compiled by Bronwyn Coltrane, CAL (Center for Applied Linguistics)

 

Article, The Evidence Base for the Connections Standard - Ohio Department of Education Website

 

Article, The Whats, Whys, Hows and Whos of Content-Based Instruction

in Second/Foreign Language Education by Maria Duenas, University of Murcia

 

CAL (Center for Applied Linguistics) Digest: Integrating Foreign Language and Content Instruction in Grades K-8 (1995)

by Helena Curtain, Milwaukee Public Schools, and Mari Haas, Teachers College, Columbia University

 (This is the article studied by the FL Curriculum Review Committee)

 

Links to articles and lessons on content-based instruction

 

Paper, Literacy Development Through Content-Based Instruction: A Case Study by Nicole D. Papai, University of Pennsylvania

(Pertains to ELL Students)

 

Selected References on CBI (Content-Based Instruction)

Compiled by Fredericka L. Stoller

http://www2.nau.edu/fls/cbi-bib.html

 

Video, Subjects Matter

The Annenberg Project, K-12 Foreign Language Instruction

 

Website, Language Study and the Brain, edited by Dr. Teresa Kennedy

 

Workshop on Content-Based Thematic Instruction for Self-Study

The Annenberg Project, K-16 Foreign Language Instruction

 

Document #9: Research on Differentiated Instruction in FL Classrooms 

 

RESEARCH ON DIFFERENTIATED INSTRUCTION IN THE FOREIGN LANGUAGE CLASSROOM

 

 

Article, Differentiating Instruction in the AP Spanish Classroom by Grace Smith and Stephanie Throne

 

Article, Differentiated Instruction in the Foreign Language Classroom: Meeting the Diverse Needs of All Learners, by Toni Theisen (2008).

 (The premier article on differentiated FL instruction)

 

Article, Reaching Every Student in the Classroom Through Alternative Assessment

 

Article, The First Step of Differentiated Instruction

 

Book, Differentiated Instruction: A Guide for Foreign Language Teachers, by Deborah Blaz

ISBN: 9781596670204

 

Glossary of Foreign Language Terms, The Annenberg Foundation, Teaching Foreign Languages K-12 Workshop

 

Differentiating Instruction in the World Language Classroom

 

Presentation, Powerful Strategies for Differentiating Instruction in the FL Classroom

 

Website, Differentiated Instruction, Webquests and Problem-Based Learning

 

Return to Top      


Appendix C: Documents Illustrating our Products

 

Document # 10: Videos of Classroom Teaching and Learning in the Annenberg Workshop For Foreign Language Teaching, K-12

 

Document #11: Videos of Holliston Public Schools Foreign Language Instruction

 

             (TBA)

 

Document #12: Videos of Holliston Students Participating in the 2010 ACTFL

Conference in Boston, MA

 

         (TBA)

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Appendix D: Alignment Tables for MA Foreign Languages Framework

 

·        French Immersion Program K-12 with MA Framework

·        Spanish FLES and Continuing Spanish and French with MA Framework


Return to Top
      

 

Appendix E: Alignment Tables for French Immersion and Spanish FLES and Continuing Spanish and French with ACTFL Performance Guidelines for K-12 Learners

 

·        Alignment Tables for French Immersion and Spanish FLES and Continuing Spanish with ACTFL Performance Guidelines for K-12 Learners

·        Alignment Tables for French Immersion and Spanish FLES and Continuing Spanish with ACTFL Performance Guidelines for K-12 Learners Single Chart

 

Return to Top      

 

Appendix F:  Glossary of Foreign Language Teaching Terms 

http://www.learner.org/workshops/tfl/glossary.html#A  

 

Return to Top      

 

Appendix G:  Surveys for Parents, Teachers, Administrators and Students 

  

Foreign Language Student Survey Traditional

Foreign Language Student Survey French Immersion

Foreign Language Parent Survey Traditional

Foreign Language Parent Survey French Immersion
Foreign Language Curriculum Review Teacher Survey

Foreign Language Administrative Survey

 

Return to Top      


Appendix H: Independent Study on Immersion Students’ Cultural Identity


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Appendix I: Understanding by Design (UbD)

_________________________________

 

Understanding by Design

 

The concept of “backwards planning” offers a particularly effective way of planning unit instruction so that core knowledge, concepts, and understandings can be planned by teachers and learned by students in such a way that neither is overwhelmed by the quantity of facts involved in the march of history.  Understanding by design is about the design of curriculum to engage students in exploring and deepening their understanding of important ideas and the design of assessments to reveal the extent of their understanding.  The logic of backward design suggests a planning sequence for curriculum in three stages,

 

Identify desired results (key learnings derived from national standards, state standards, district standards, regional topic opportunities, teacher expertise and interest).

Determine acceptable evidence (gathered through a variety of formal and informal assessments during a unit or study or a course).

Plan learning experiences and instruction around big ideas and essential questions (research-based repertoire of learning and teaching strategies that are built around essential and enabling knowledge and skills).

 

Helpful questions when examining curriculum and the identification of the desired results (key learnings):

To what extent does the idea, topic, or process represent a “big idea” having enduring value beyond the classroom?

To what extent does the idea, topic, or process reside at the heart of the discipline?

To what extent does the idea, topic, or process require uncoverage (as opposed to coverage—the degree to which students need to be taught and coached and given the opportunity to work their way through to a deep understanding of the material; which activities, recourses, processes  can best equip students with the needed knowledge and skills)?

To what extent does the idea, topic, or process offer potential for engaging students?

 

See p. 51 for Chart Describing Facets of Understanding

_________________________________

 

Purpose of Essential and Guiding Questions

 

Essential and guiding questions assist teachers in planning and deciding what is included in instruction and what is left out.  Essential questions are based on the broad topics (lynchpin ideas) that are common to all aspects of social studies.  Guiding questions provide focus and direction in answering the essential questions and are linked to the specific region or time period being studied.  Both essential and guiding questions define key instructional content and assist students and teachers in understanding what is important to teach and to learn.  Common guiding questions across the grade provide basic consistency without requiring conformity of instructional approaches.  As units and courses are developed and refined on a yearly basis, essential and guiding questions will also be reviewed and revised.

 

Guiding questions should not inhibit a teacher’s creative ways of thinking about teaching or about assessing student understanding.  Sound guiding questions often invite a range of different answers and lead students to higher levels of thinking (analysis, synthesis, and evaluation).

 

If an individual or team wishes to change or pilot different guiding questions, they are encouraged to do so speaking first with the curriculum coordinator.  Proposals to permanently change core-guiding questions common to all teachers of a grade level or unit should be submitted for review to the curriculum coordinator.

 

 

_________________________________

 

Rationale for Guiding Questions

 

The answers to guiding questions are open-ended, leaving students with the responsibility and opportunity to do their own thinking, not simply repeat the teacher’s ideas and classroom-presented themes.

Guiding questions lead students to higher levels of thinking that can then be applied to both prior and new learning.

They help students know where they are going to end up.  Guiding questions imply why students are studying a particular topic.

They provide a link from the past to the present and to the student’s present life. 

Good guiding questions are motivating.  They beg to be answered.

They require reasoning, ideas, and information, not just recall of information.

They are generative, sparking inquiry and further questions.

On a practical note, guiding questions help move the state standards from a burdensome, extensive list of topics to valuable and memorable, shorter, goals.

Guiding questions can bring the students to the enduring values at the heart of the discipline.

How did Jefferson (or Lincoln) view slavery?  How has that view changed with new evidence and different perspectives?

How did the authors of the Constitution attempt to balance the rights of individuals with the common good?  Were they successful?

In each of the following time periods, which part of the U.S. government is most powerful, the state governments or federal government?  1788?  1810?  1860?  1940?  1957?  2005?

Again, on a practical note, guiding questions are helpful to teachers new to the school or subject area.  Guiding questions are an efficiency tool, focusing teachers’ efforts in the first years with the curriculum and guiding students to better understand the key points of good curriculum.

 

 

____________________

 

Criteria for Writing Essential Questions

Heidi Hayes Jacobs in Mapping the Big Picture offers eight criteria for writing essential questions based on the best practices for generation questions that guide learners and refine teaching.

 

Each student should be able to understand the question.  Be wary of language that students to not readily understand (e.g. What were the intellectual underpinnings of sectionalism?).  Keep in mind that simple questions do not necessarily connote simple answers.

The language of the question should be written in broad, organizational terms.   Essential questions provide an umbrella-like focus and act as a heading for a set of activities on a broad topic.  If a question is too narrow, it is probably an activity in itself of something that might be a point of discussion in the classroom.

The question should reflect your conceptual priorities.  Make choices about what you will spend your time on, and develop essential questions that focus on those priorities.  Allow students to negotiate the questions with the teacher and thus choose what they will write, speak, and think about during the unit.

Each question should be distinct and substantial.  Each question should require a number of activities and experiences in order to uncover the multiple layers of answers to the question.  There may be one set of activities to address one aspect of the question and other experiences to address other aspects.

Questions should not be repetitious.  If questions are repetitious, they should be collapsed into one question with subheads.  Each question should stand on its own with distinct content integrity (similar to a chapter of a book). 

The questions should be realistic given the amount of time allocated for the unit or course.  Units that are shorter in duration should have a lesser number of questions.  2 – 5 essential questions are sufficient for a unit of study that ranges from 3 weeks to 12 weeks.  Make adjustments based on content of the question.

There should be a logical sequence to a set of essential questions.  If you are able to explain to students the rationale behind the sequence of questions, you probably have them in good order.  Without that rationale, learners will likely have problems focusing on what is important.  The order does not have to be rigid, but should not be arbitrary.

The questions should be posted in the classroom.  Posting questions is not a helpful hint but is crucial to long-term retention and understanding.  Posting essential questions is a public declaration that theses questions are essential for students to know and to remember.  Posted questions provide a constant visual organizer and focus for the learner—and for the teacher.  Essential questions are points of reference and indicate common agreement among teachers of a grade and across the grades.

 

 The order does not have to be rigid, but should not be arbitrary (See on following page).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The questions should be posted in the classroom.  Posting questions is not a helpful hint but is crucial to long-term retention and understanding.  Posting essential questions is a public declaration that these questions are essential for students to know and to remember.  Posted questions provide a constant visual organizer and focus for the learner—and for the teacher.  Essential questions are points of reference and indicate common agreement among teachers of a grade and across the grades.

 


 

 

_________________________________

 

Rubric for the 6 Facets of Understanding according to Grant Wiggins and Jay McTighe Understanding by Design

Explanation

Interpretation

Application

Perspective

Empathy

Self-knowledge

Sophisticated: an unusually thorough, elegant, and inventive account (model, theory, or explanation); fully supported, verified, and justified; deep and broad: goes well beyond the information given.

Profound: a powerful and illuminating interpretation and analysis of the importance /meaning/ significance; tells a rich and insightful story: provides a rich history or context; sees deeply and incisively any ironies in the different interpretations.

Masterful: fluent, flexible, and efficient; able to use knowledge and skill and adjust understandings well in novel, diverse, and difficult contexts.

Insightful: a penetrating and novel viewpoint; effectively critiques and encompasses other plausible perspectives; takes a long and dispassionate view of the issues involved.

Mature: disposed and able to see and feel what others see and feel; unusually open to and willing to seek out the odd, alien, or different.

Wise: deeply aware of the boundaries of one's own and others' understanding; able to recognize his prejudice and projections; has integrity=able and willing to act on what one understands.

In-depth: an atypical and revealing account, going beyond what is obvious or what was explicitly taught; makes subtle connections; well supported by argument and evidence; novel thinking displayed.

Revealing: a nuanced interpretation and analysis of the importance/ meaning/ significance: tells an insightful story; provides a telling history or con text; sees subtle differences, levels, and ironies in diverse interpretations.

Skilled: competent in using knowledge and skill and adapting understandings in a variety of appropriate and demanding contexts.

Thorough: a revealing and coordinated critical view; makes own view more plausible by considering the plausibility of other perspectives; makes apt criticisms, discriminations, and qualifications.

Sensitive: disposed to see and feel what others see and feel; open to the unfamiliar or different.

Circumspect: aware of one's ignorance and that of others; aware of one's prejudices; knows the strengths and limits of one's understanding.

Developed: an account that reflects some in-depth and personalized ideas; the student is making the work her own, going beyond the given—there is supported theory here, but insufficient or inadequate evidence and argument.

Perceptive: a helpful interpretation or analysis of the importance/ meaning/ significance; tells a clear and instructive story; provides a useful history or con- text; sees different levels of interpretation.

Able: able to perform well with knowledge and skill in a few key contexts, with a limited repertoire, flexibility, or adaptability to diverse contexts.

Considered: a reasonably critical and comprehensive look at all points of in the context of one's own; makes clear that there is plausibility to other points of view.

Aware: knows and feels that others see and feel differently; somewhat able to empathize with others; has difficulty making sense of odd or alien views.

Thoughtful: generally aware of what is and is not understood; aware of how prejudice and projection can occur without awareness and shape one's views.

Intuitive: an incomplete account but with apt and insightful ideas; extends and deepens some of what was learned; some "reading between the lines"; account has limited support/ argument/data or sweeping generalizations. There is a theory, but one with limited testing and evidence.

Interpreted: a plausible interpretation or analysis of the importance/ meaning/ significance; makes sense of a story; provides a history or context.

Apprentice: relies on a limited repertoire of routines; able to perform well in familiar or simple contexts, with perhaps some needed coaching; limited use of personal judgment and responsiveness to specifics of feedback/situation.

Aware: knows of different points of view and somewhat able to place own view in perspective, but weakness in considering worth of each perspective or critiquing each perspective, especially one's own; uncritical about tacit assumptions.

Developing: has some capacity and self-discipline to "walk in another's shoes, but is still primarily limited to one's own reactions and attitudes: puzzled or put off by different feeling.

Unreflective: generally unaware of one's specific ignorance; generally unaware of how subjective prejudgments color understandings.

Naive: a superficial account; more descriptive than analytical or creative; a fragmentary or sketchy account of facts/ideas or glib generalizations; a black-and-white account less a theory than an unexamined hunch or borrowed idea.

Literal: a simplistic or superficial reading; mechanical translation; a decoding with little or no interpretation; no sense of wider importance or significance; a restatement of what was taught or read.

Novice: can perform only with coaching or relies on highly scripted, singular "plug-in" (algorithmic and mechanical) skills, procedures or approaches.

Uncritical: unaware of differing points view; prone to overlook or ignore other perspectives; has difficulty imagining other ways of seeing things; prone to egocentric argument and personal criticisms.

Egocentric: has little or no empathy beyond intellectual awareness of others; sees things through own ideas and feelings; ignores or is threatened or puzzled by different feelings, attitudes, or views.

Innocent: completely unaware of the bounds of one's understanding and of the role of projection and prejudice in opinions and attempts to understand.


 

BLOOM’S REVISED TAXONOMY

Creating

Generating new ideas, products, or ways of viewing things

Designing, constructing, planning, producing, inventing.

 

Evaluating

Justifying a decision or course of action

Checking, hypothesizing, critiquing, experimenting, judging

 

Analyzing

Breaking information into parts to explore understandings and relationships

Comparing, organizing, deconstructing, interrogating, finding

 

Applying

Using information in another familiar situation

Implementing, carrying out, using, executing

 

Understanding

Explaining ideas or concepts

Interpreting, summarizing, paraphrasing, classifying, explaining

Remembering

Recalling information

Recognizing, listing, describing, retrieving, naming, finding

_________________________________

How the Taxonomy Promotes Active Learning

Source: Anderson, L.W., & Krathwohl, D.R. (Eds.) (2001).
A taxonomy of learning, teaching, and assessment:
A revision of Bloom's taxonomy of educational objectives. New York: Longman.

Clark (2002) provided an adaptation of Bloom's work to facilitate active learning. Although originally the tool was developed by a class of teachers for use in curriculum building in the high school level, the suggestions would work for college level classes as well. The inner ring contains the original levels of Bloom's taxonomy. The middle ring offers synonyms for the various academic processes that comprise that taxonomic level. The outer ring links process to product. For example, if you wanted to increase application skills, you might ask students to construct diagrams of the key concepts involved in the content of the class. If you wish to improve evaluation skills, you might ask students to produce an editorial for the student newspaper in which they discuss the strengths and weaknesses of a particular side of a controversial issue. We have modernized the language of the original circle to reflect the latest version of Bloom's Taxonomy.

Cognitive Taxonomy Circle

 


_________________________________

 

BLOOMS REVISED TAXONOMY

Remembering: can the student recall or remember the information?

define, duplicate, list, memorize, recall, repeat, reproduce state

Understanding: can the student explain ideas or concepts?

classify, describe, discuss, explain, identify, locate, recognize, report, select, translate, paraphrase

Applying: can the student use the information in a new way?

choose, demonstrate, dramatize, employ, illustrate, interpret, operate, schedule, sketch, solve, use, write.

Analyzing: can the student distinguish between the different parts?

appraise, compare, contrast, criticize, differentiate, discriminate, distinguish, examine, experiment, question, test.

Evaluating: can the student justify a stand or decision?

appraise, argue, defend, judge, select, support, value, evaluate

Creating: can the student create new product or point of view?

assemble, construct, create, design, develop, formulate, write.

 

Bloom’s Taxonomy of Cognitive Levels Based on the Old Blooms

TABLE OF VERBS

1 Knowledge

2 Comprehension

3 Application

4 Analysis

5 Synthesis

6 Evaluation

list
name
identify
show
define
recognize
recall
state

summarize
explain
put into your own words
interpret
describe
compare
paraphrase
differentiate
demonstrate
visualize

find more information about

restate

solve
illustrate
calculate
use
interpret
relate
manipulate
apply
classify
modify
put into practice

analyze
organize
deduce
choose
contrast
compare
distinguish

design
hypothesize
support
schematize
write
report
discuss
plan
devise
compare
create
construct

evaluate
choose
estimate
judge
defend
criticize
justify