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FRSD Elementary World Language Curriculum
Thematic Units and the five C’s: Communication, Cultures, Connections, Comparisons, and Communities
The World Language program K-4 is student-centered and revolves around three (3) thematic units of study. The ultimate goal within each unit is student communication in each of three modes of communication (interpretive, interpersonal, presentational), while progressively developing all four language skills (listening, reading, writing, and speaking). As move forward, students gain knowledge and understanding of other cultures, connect with other school disciplines, compare the language and culture studied with their own language and culture, and participate in multilingual communities by using the language both within and beyond the school setting.
Grades K-4 Thematic Units
Unit 1 - All about me
Unit 2 – School Days
Unit 3 – Family and Home
Language is taught very differently from the way it has been in the past! No longer do we have students memorizing useless conjugation charts and vocabulary that can not be used to communicate a message. Our Goal at the Elementary level at FRSD is to reduce the inhibitions most adolescents experience when learning a foreign language. Our main goal is to enable students to communicate orally in the target language to convey their message and comprehend language via the three modes of communication Oral communication is an innate human instinct that we are all born with and have the ability to master. If you can speak your native language you can learn any language you wish to learn. Our curriculum utilizes an adapted version of the Naturalistic Approach created by Stephen Krashen and Tracy Terrell. It is an adapted version because we have taken the very best strategies of this theory and have infused additional strategies that create an optimal language learning environment that targets oral proficiency at the Novice- Mid Level. We follow the New Jersey Langauge Progression Standards, the New Jersey Model Curriculum for World Langauge, utilize the ACTFL Proficiency Benchmarks and Can-Do Statements, utilize WIDA Speaking Rubrics, SIOP strategies, and other language acquisition strategies and theories that support student growth and development.
Our young elementary students are natural language learners. They have the ability to learn a language at a much faster pace than adults with ease if provided with the correct environment filled with comprehensible input. Their brains are filled with neurons ready to make new connections that are triggered by the input of new knowledge. Please refer to the image below:
Image courtesy of http://michuchutren.com/stages-second-language-acquisition/
"Acquisition requires meaningful interaction in the target language – natural communication – in which speakers are concerned not with the form of their utterances but with the messages they are conveying and understanding"
Our Langauge specialists at FRSD create an optimal language learning environment by utilizing specific scientifically proven strategies and methods. The strategies and methods implemented include but are not limited to the following:
* Target language immersion
* TPR- movement and sign language
* Low affective filter- low anxiety + student-centered environment = LEARNING
* Multisensory environment = comprehensible input
* Choral response and Individual response- repetition moving towards independent language production
* Focused on the three modes of communication
* SIOP strategies - Sentence stem, support provided as needed moving towards independent and spontaneous language production
* Pre-reading and Pre-writing skills are supported
* Authentic culture exposure
* Differentiated Instruction
* Individual goal setting
* Technology integration
There are many factors that affect the rate at which a student can reach oral proficiency. All students are unique and we meet our students at their individual language development stage. While our goal is to have our students functioning within a Novice- Mid-level of proficiency according to the standards set forth by ACTFL, we are well aware that our students are all very unique and can be at different stages of their language acquisition journey. Time is the most crucial factor in language acquisition, our students at FRSD receive a total of 30 classes per year. Each class is 45 minutes and meets once every 6 days. Therefore, our students only receive a total of 22.5 hours of instruction in the target language per year. At the end of our 5-year program, our students have received a total of 112.5 hours of instruction. Homework and time spent outside of the classroom practicing and using the target language can drastically improve retention and proficiency levels. Our homework is designed to support and extend the vocabulary used in the classroom. Students that consistently practice at home have higher retention, proficiency, and performance levels than those that do not dedicate time to practice outside of the classroom. Our homework is meant to be stress-free and a fun extension of classroom activities that require limited support from parents. With the use of technology, our students can visit the Rockalingua site or the Shared World Language site to review all of the vocabulary learned in class. Our more advanced students can venture into the more challenging activities that require a deeper level of comprehension and a higher level of mastery of the language. We provide differentiation within our homework assignments as well. Students are free to choose from a variety of activities that do not require the use of technology.