Now the fun begins! It is time to create the curriculum and choose what units to teach. Think about the following as you pick…
1. Make it relevant to them! This is the most important in my opinion. This blog Thinktank12 has some good points to remember about Generation Y.
2. Connect to community events. Think about what is important to your community at different times of the year. Our city’s website has a calendar and it can be put in several languages. Bonus! We have a month of celebrations based on the Kentucky Derby, so we teach a “Celebrations” unit in April. Maybe a shopping unit around December? Food around Thanksgiving?
3. Vertically align your units. This means that you have some topics that are “repeated” in each level. Our goal is to get students to move up in the proficiency levels. If we build on their previous language knowledge, they can get there easily without having to start back at novice mid each time.
Let’s say level 1, unit 2 is a simple restaurant unit where they talk about what they like to eat and order meals (Novice). In level 2, unit 2, expand on that by making the focus describing meals and giving reviews (Intermediate low).
Think about lesson planning and resource gathering. Your cart teachers will love you if they can use the same resources for all the classes. I taught 3 preps from a cart and it drove me crazy having crates piled up and falling off (insert curse word). When I realigned the units, cart life got easier. When it came time to lesson plan, I could use the same resources too, like fresh tweets and magazine ads. I just adjusted according to their proficiency levels. When you have department meetings, everyone can the share ideas and resources, regardless of what classes they are teaching.
One last consideration is mixed level or ability classes. This is my reality. Two levels in one class. Or sometimes I get a level 2 student that is a wee bit behind the others. It helps them to have a “review” of the previous year so they can catch up.
4. Culture, culture, culture! Make sure each unit has a strong cultural connection. This helps you teach through culture, and then they can connect to their own lives.
Enjoy this process and remember there will be a little, or a lot, give and take when making these decisions, especially in a large department. Try to keep the topics broad so it can be adapted to the specific students in your class. Focus on the function, not the vocabulary. For example, if you have a shopping unit, don’t focus on clothing vocabulary. Focus on how to buy items. Let the students decide if they are shopping for clothes, electronics, sports equipment, etc. This also allows the teacher to adapt the unit to his/her experiences. Overall, just remember to keep it focused on THEIR interests!
Here is a link to our JCPS curriculum/profiles. It is not vertically aligned, so I switched the order around myself.
What units are you going to have? Please share!!
I can’t seem to get your link to the curriculum profiles to work?
Let me know if it doesn’t work again.
Let me know if it doesn’t work again.
Wow these are amazing! I can see how much work went into these. I’m developing some professional development for my department members, is it OK if I share some of these with them?
Definitely! Share away. And we’d love anything you all create and want to share back. 🙂
Kara Parker, NBCT South Park TAPP Spanish Teacher
What program (Microsoft Word?) did you use to create your documents? They looked so polished! Can you make those available to the public in an editable format?
I’m also wondering about the Minor focus areas on the rubric. In Task Completion, if they didn’t complete the task, how can that be something minor? Or are you assuming that if they didn’t complete the task, that will be reflected accordingly in the above areas on the rubric? I’m hoping I’m not coming across as critical; I’m very interested in understanding how this works 🙂
Fantastic points! I agree with you, but here’s what I was told. The point of the rubric is to rate what they produce, even if it doesn’t complete the task. If a student cannot get close to completing the task, I do not accept it yet. I tell them to try again. Many times it does reflect accordingly. Personally, I feel like I could get rid of the minor focus at the bottom and just give my specific feedback.