Thank for you all of the feedback on the two other units I posted. As teachers are scrambling to plan for the month ahead, I have a third unit plan to offer to others as an example, this time on the subject of Friends. This unit has taken me months to plan as I wanted to make the topic relevant to my students, connect with cultures of the Francophone world and speak to students about important acts of activism in as diverse countries as France, Belgium and Canada. For some reason before this I haven’t had a unit on description that I really liked and with a little extra work this week now I am pleased with the product. I would love to see activities and unit plans from readers for description. Please share generously if you have something to add and benefit without guilt if you want to use something I have included.
When teachers share work on Twitter or other social media platforms, one great way to communicate how to promote student learning in a language is to share a unit plan. Leslie Grahn’s template for unit plans on her website is visual and shows how the components of a unit integrate, so I like to use it. I had great response to the first unit I shared earlier this week and so I have decided to share a second unit, this time on the school day.
Here is link to a unit plan on My Day at School. It is my hope that through sharing online other teachers will be inspired to take this unit plan and make it their own or incorporate some of the resources into their teaching.
When I have time to reflect on teaching and pull back to the big picture, I like to work on unit plans. For different teachers this takes different forms. I favor unit plans that are visual and show how the components work together for student learning. Leslie Grahn offers on her website my favorite unit plan template as well as great resources for activities that promote student learning. I want to make sure that teachers flood the Internet with examples that can inspire other teachers, so in this post I am offering a sample unit plan, this one is on expressing your opinion on meals at the school cafeteria.
Unit Plan: School Cafeteria
This year, in 2021, our state finally updated the World Language standards. You may be thinking about how you can align your teaching to these standards. If you were already following ACTFL’s World-Readiness Standards, you will find this document very familiar. But for some of us, the framework will mean changes in the way we teach. How to get started? Here is a short list of essential hints on implementing the new Massachusetts 2021 World Language Curriculum Framework.
- The World Language Framework is online. You will want to bookmark it for easy reference. The framework was written by teachers here in our state. You probably know some of them, at school or personally. There are many voices who represent you in this framework, teachers who have classroom experience with real kids locally.
- Where to start? When you are having an inclination toward big-picture thinking, read only the guiding principles. Think about what you are already doing. Don’t concentrate on how much road you have in front of you. You have already put some of these guiding principles into action.
- A highlight from the Guiding Principles section is, “Students become proficient in a language by using it.” This simple idea can be a guide for your classroom. Measure activities not by what vocabulary they practice, but by whether or not students are negotiating meaning through communication.
- My favorite highlight from the Guiding Principles section is, “In effective programs, students use the target language to tell their own stories and to examine their own identities.” Intercultural understanding starts with understanding one’s own culture and talking about oneself.
- A good start as you ease into or dive deeper into teaching for proficiency is to commit to teaching in a more interesting and effective way through using Can Do statements based on the Standards.
- The Framework was written for each level to stand alone as a two-sided handout. Think about printing the level you are teaching (the one you are aiming for) and have it out at your workspace as you plan.
- Pay close attention to the verbs in the Standards. They were used very intentionally to progress from level to level. You will recognize the verbs from Blooms.
- To understand how to bring students one level up, look at the level they are at in a specific mode and then look at the level you are aiming for. You will learn what you need to do to extend their skills.
Consider printing out these pointers as a handout for you or your teachers and use it like a progressive checklist.