This is from Ben Lev, Spanish teacher at the Reach School in Sebastopol, California (the San Francisco area) .  It gives a good framework for describing not only WHAT students should know and be able to do, but also HOW.  Good launch point for discussion.  I plan on using something very similar to this next year. Posted on this blog with Ben’s permission.

Expectations for world language instruction                                                                  Spanish 1

February, 2012


2010 ACTFL and 2009 California World Language Content Standards stipulate:

• Students in level 1 will mostly use formulaic language (learned words and phrases)

• Students in level 1 will mostly focus on the interpretive mode (comprehension)

• Instruction at all levels will be 90% or more in Spanish (ACTFL position statement)

Story format is used to prioritize acquisition of high frequency words #1 – 200

Emphasis on the first two communication domains: listening, reading, especially the first semester Second semester will include practice more writing and speaking

Students are not required to produce (write and speak) beyond their current level of acquisition

Class content is taught for mastery: 80% of students have acquired 80% of new material

Per Krashen: • input has to be comprehensible and compelling for our students: about them, their interests

• many words are caught in the “net” of natural language and don’t need explicit instruction

• language acquisition is the goal, not short term memorization

Grammar is rigorously taught in the context of natural language (Spanish) and via short pop-up explanations (English)

Learning languages is easy, natural and fun. This should be the tone of the classroom.

What will an observer see in the classroom?

Classroom management, procedures, routines:

• Students enter class, promptly begin an activity (bell work)

• Students converse with teacher and each other in Spanish, or ask permission to                                                                       speak English, which is limited to only a few words

• When one person talks, others listen. Students do not blurt out, especially in English

• During stories students have nothing on the desks, nothing in their hands

• All students have a binder of other system for neatly organizing songs and stories

• The tone in the classroom is of a respectful, interactive conversation led by the teacher

• Students who speak English or disrupt the class receive a “Págame” or other system for tracking their English and/or disruptions. Students stay after class to discuss briefly with teacher. Students are accountable to each other, their teacher, their parents, and the school administration.

• Closing routine or phrase or song at the end of class

Word lists are posted on wall with current target vocabulary and previously-acquired vocabulary

Use of the three steps of TPRS:

1)    Establish meaning of new target vocabulary

• TPR, PQA and/or gestures

• Spanish target vocabulary written on white board with English translation, in distinct colors

• Previous vocabulary is posted on walls and is referred to when necessary

• One word image and other techniques to associate Spanish with English

2)    “Ask” an oral story  (co-create it) with students

• Students participate actively by responding and giving answers to questions, and by ooh-ing and ahh-ing when teacher makes a statement

• Students who are actors follow the teacher’s instructions

• New target vocabulary is “circled” to provide repetition

• Point/pause, S-L-O-W, and other techniques are used to boost comprehension

• Students provide “cute” details for story. Teacher accepts his/her preferred answer

• Teacher provides unexpected details to maintain engagement

• Formative assessment with questions/instant responses/

• Students indicate with gesture to teacher when they don’t understand

• Differentiation with levels of questioning (Bloom’s taxonomy)

• Comprehension checks: “What did I just say?”  “What did I just ask?” “What does XYZ mean?”  “How would you say XYZ?”

• Teacher asks questions to whole class and to individuals

• Grammar explanations last < 15 seconds = “pop-up grammar”

• Quick quiz immediately following oral story — 10 item factual T/F assessment; one or two quiz questions are inferential to distinguish A students from B students. Star student writes quiz questions during oral story.

3)    Read a story that emphasizes repetition of the same current target vocabulary

• Pre-written stories (e.g. LICT, Cuéntame, Matava, Tripp) or teacher writes the story

• Current target vocabulary is reviewed before reading

• Read-and-discuss method is used to make story comprehensible

• Parallel characters (students) are inserted to personalize the story

• A reading assessment quick quiz is given immediately after class reading:

one or two quiz questions are inferential/more challenging, to distinguish A students from B students.

Writing: students write a story for ten minute using current and previous target vocabulary

• Once every one or two weeks beginning in November

• Teacher tracks class progress,  students track own progress

• Writing goals (# of words) are set for students. Expectation increases so that by June the average student writes 100 words using current target vocab.

• Ten minute writing is evaluated by teacher for common errors, which are then corrected in class via short re-teaching, emphasis in next story, etc.

• One or two accuracy-writing samples per semester, corrected, returned to students to re-write for a grade

Speaking One or two one-minute assessments in the second semester. None in first semester.

Singing: Students learn a new authentic or instructional song every one to two weeks

• Teacher selects songs that are level specific and free of inappropriate content

• Songs are presented in a progressive, repetitive manner that allows for understanding

• Students keep songs lyrics in binders and are organized, easy to access

• Singing is a regular part of class, at least weekly

90% + of class is in Spanish

• No English is spoken by students to other students or teacher without permission

• Students must ask for permission or ask how to say something

• Students who speak English without permission receive a “Págame” (or other system) and have to discuss it with teacher after class. Students are held accountable to teacher, other students and parents for their behavior.

Games and other activities are used occasionally to:

• review of new and previous target vocabulary

• laugh together in Spanish

• build sense of belonging to the “club” of Spanish speakers

for example: kindergarten day, reverse-charades, assassin, traditional /cultural dancing

Short novels

• class reads 2-4 novels during the year

• target vocabulary is pre-taught to boost comprehension

• read-and-discuss method used to boost comprehension

• variety of reading strategies and groupings, including reader’s theater format

• use of personalization and parallel characters to make novel engaging to students

• students read chapters for homework, given short T/F quiz next day

• assess specific target vocabulary acquired, writing,  speaking

• novels are completed quickly, in 3-4 weeks

Technology provides various ways to present compelling comprehensible input and exchange ideas

• short videos or power point presentations related to stories

• music videos of songs being sung in class

• videos, photos and content about countries/cultures being studied

• photos and other sources of CI

• class website / blog provide two-way communication about class activities

• students share content in class and post on class website / blog

• Skype-based teleconference with sister classroom

• teacher or students post on-line surveys in Spanish

• students speaking assessment from home using Voice Thread

• absent students get missing assignments via class web site, participate from home

• students collaborate in class and at home to create web-based projects

for example: music videos, karaoke videos, power point presentations

Grammar highlights for level 1

• the basic structure and syntax from stories initially told from third-person singular point of view

• points of view are acquired approximately in this order:

third person singular (va, está, quiere)

third person plural     (van, están, quieren)

first person singular  (voy, estoy, quiero)

second person singular (vas, estás, quieres)

first person plural       (vamos, estamos, queremos)

• verb/subject agreement (conjugations) from all points of view are acquired via:

1)    retelling stories from many different points of view

2)    dialogue between actors, teacher

3)    teacher confirming details with actor

• two-part verb construction with infinitives: quiere + inf., puede + inf., etc

• adjective agreement for gender and quantity