TPRS Curriculum?

I got this from Lori – there are two good discussion points in it, one about designing a curriculum from target structures (the only way I would ever “design” a curriculum and that with reluctance) and another about the P word – projects. Please throw some ideas at Lori. If she comes up with a curriculum connected to one of the three story scripts books we use (Matava, Tripp) then we could “borrow” some of it maybe if it is all right with her. Better yet, are there any existing curricula out there build around target structures? I remember there being one in CA but can’t remember where.

Here is Lori’s email:

Hi Ben,

I just got back from ETPRS (formerly known as the workshop in Agen) and I learned soooo much! Now I am trying to get all my ducks in a row for the school year!

Entering my second year as a teacher my department head and I are now trying to create our own TPRS/CI curriculum!! Very exciting but so hard to do! We are trying to combine all of our beliefs in the more CI the better with our schools wants and children desires for “projects”.

I am trying to create this by making a list of the most frequent structures and then connecting these to real world application products.

First, I keep hearing that there are these lists of structures/grammar in order of acquisition yet I can’t seem to find them.

Second,  in reference to “projects” or an end product the student can do. I feel like this isn’t your thing but I’m feeling pressured to figure this piece out and also I’m thinking this might be a nice reward for myself after a successful 80% of a unit of CI having the remaining 20% be a product the students create themselves.

Merci,

Lori B

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46 thoughts on “TPRS Curriculum?”

  1. You’re not, and nobody is, going to get away from the “create” piece so long as the Common Core State Standards are coming. Having said that, why can’t the product though be some sort of interpersonal presentation or presentational writing piece (buzz words that align with AP and ACTFL) where they would [create a story where a person gets lost and finds her way (provided you have used those structures in your previous lessons)]. Students could create and illustrate a story, or vignette, as part of a class book. That’s an actual product that isn’t too offline from a CI class (although we know not to push production, I think we might have our hands tied–just use a loose rubric).

    I know that as department chair I am feeling pressure from my admin to create department goals and create assessments that reflect those goals to give her the golden data that district admins need. It’s better to be on the creating end than on the receiving end of this one.

    One thing that I am doing this year, something that I learned from Jason Fritze at IFLT, is to backwards plan from my novels. I picked each chapter’s vocab out and I am trying to find the appropriate Matava script to match that vocab. I am keeping a journal/a lesson plan book of the structures I am teaching, I am putting all of my dictations, readings, and picture sequences in a binder by level. That is becoming my yearly curriculum.

    I would say you are better off to create the curriculum after this year. Find the stories that work and the structure combination that creates dynamite stories, and just keep it all together in chronological order in a binder. You can reflect on it in the beginning of the fall semester and rearrange stories and structures with a different lens.

    In terms of the grammar and structures, I noticed teaching levels 1, 2, and 3 this year that I say “sing/sang” in level 1, “was singing when” in level 2, and “would sing if” or” would have sung if” in level 3. The vocab repeats but when we add more complex ideas into our stories, that differentiates the levels.

    Another idea of having a common curriculum is taking a novel like “Mi propio auto” and getting one of those teacher guides with the objectives of each chapter. Use those questions to plan your target structures. Make sure that the kids can [Describe Ben and what he wants for his birthday] and [Explain why Ben thinks his parents are punishing him].
    In level 3, 4, AP your common curriculum could be 1 or 2 short stories. In our level 3 class this year our common curriculum is Semester 1: Las aventuras de Juan Bobo, The Amazing Race episodes 1-5, Viva el toro; Semester 2: The Amazing Race episodes 6-13, Cajas de cartón, Naranjas, and some other story. (Note: I think this is too much and I will abridge a lot of this stuff).

    Good luck with your common curriculum.

  2. Lori this is truly an important question because we all have to play the Common Core game this year and we have to have real answers.

    I like Drew’s response because it is global. Too often we tend to build curricula around local ideas connected to the way things are done in our districts, the people around us, things we have done with past materials that we have used in our buildings, etc.

    Drew’s response comes under the heading that “the best defense is a good offense.” In his comment above he has listed a number of possible “plays” that a good football coach would have ready on the sidelines at any time as per this point that most of us don’t heed:

    …it’s better to be on the creating end than on the receiving end of this one…..

    The fact is that if we don’t manufacture some things to offer that are consistent with ACTFL and standards we will pay the price from whacko admins who resemble sharks at feeding time – we need to learn to just give them what they want and keep that product consistent with standards.

    I have made the point before that we are not the ones who are screwed here because what we do actually aligns with standards and all we have to do is show it. Those traditional departments who still use a book, even now in 2013, are the ones who are truly screwed by the Common Core initiative.

    Let’s highlight a few of these plays by Coach Drew:

    1. …the product [could be] some sort of interpersonal presentation or presentational writing piece … where they would … create a story [that includes] those structures in … previous lessons.
    2. Students could create and illustrate a story, or vignette, as part of a class book.

    Other members of the group could add to the list in the comment fields below and we could even think about starting a nice “playbook” to feed the sharks with.

    Now Coach Drew is also doing this:

    … I am keeping a journal/a lesson plan book of the structures I am teaching, I am putting all of my dictations, readings, and picture sequences in a binder by level. That is becoming my yearly curriculum….

    I don’t know who it was in, also in CA,, who is doing this as well. There are actually a few of us doing this, if I remember correctly over the past few years. We are doing it in DPS. But it is not well discussed or organized. Who is writing an entire curriculum from the Matava script books? I know it isn’t just Drew who is thinking this way.

    Why is this important? Because it’s like recovering a fumble in a game and taking it back for a touchdown. It’s like a pick six. Why? Because what Drew is doing there is saying, “Yeah, your idea of a curriculum is not my idea of a curriculum and I don’t like and will never use yours because it is not based in research and so I will take some target words and plan backwards from them to create the foundation of a strong curriculum that is based on best practices of comprehensible input.”

    What Drew is suggesting Lori is a great start to a discussion about how to design a curriculum that is in fact consistent with the research we have come to respect as the only way a student will actually ever acquire the language. It’s a nascent thread here, touched on over the years but never addressed properly so your question is a most welcome one and I hope we keep it alive here over the year. I’m sorry that this answer has a klutzy feel to it but it is always that way when we are trying to define the very problem, which we haven’t done yet. All we know is that the problem has to do with curriculum design and TPRS/CI and that’s really all right now. It’s so new.

    Look at this:

    …find the stories that work and the structure combination that creates dynamite stories, and just keep it all together in chronological order in a binder….

    Now I think but am not sure that Joey Dietzic in DPS has designed a curriculum very much like this. I invited Joey (we call him Little Joey Krashen) to share this product here but he hasn’t gotten around to it yet. I will see him today and ask him about it. (I get to present on jGR to 80 DPS WL teachers later today at a training. Fun!)

    What we really need is for Diana Noonan to just comment on this conversation. She could set us straight in a few paragraphs. But she is trying to prepare 100 WL teachers for the year, complete with Learning Labs, etc. AND finish up our first ever third year pre and post assessments which we are trying to put in place this fall.

    What Drew suggests in the last two paragraphs about aligning objectives in terms of levels is right at the center of this new curriculum design work. It’s all nascent. We don’t know what it’s going to look like. But Drew in his comment gives us some glimpses into where this work of curriculum design is going.

    We really must have Diana’s thoughts on this. Once we can tie down the nature of the problem a bit more and can articulate it, a lot of us will be happier because we will have built one of those underwater cages where the sharks can’t get us.

  3. I agree with Drew: can you delay creating a more formal curriculum until you have a year of success? I think you’ll end up needing to make a lot of changes if you tried to plan a whole year in advance. Why not build it as you progress through the year, and get used to the rhythm of teaching this way first?

    That’s actually what I’m planning to do with my new 5th grade class this year. I know that I’m going to aim to stay within the structures in a high-frequency Chinese list that was recently compiled by 5 of us who teach Chinese with CI, but I am not going to pre-plan too much of it. I know how I’ll begin and I know I want to focus on high-frequency structures instead of lists of nouns and topics. Then again, I teach at a private school and I have a lot of freedom about lesson plans and curriculum mapping – no one really asks for those things from me. So I can experiment and I will use my creation in future years as a more set curriculum plan.

  4. I know Scott Benedict has created a new curriculum for Spanish 1 called Immediate Immersion and he’s working on for the higher levels. You might want to check it out as it may give you some ideas. Just a thought.

    1. Leignh Anne,
      It’s coming. The new Common Core State Standards are supposed to increase rigor in all disciplines. Right now English and Math are full speed ahead. Soon to come are sciences, social studies, then eventually foreign languages and physical education.

      Right now, they don’t exist for foreign language. What we are doing is using a document that shows how the CCSS literacy from English/Language Arts blends in with world languages. Good news: focus on literacy. Bad News: …

        1. Ummm, Drew….I still feel dumb.

          I read the document, and it doesn’t seem to be saying anything. What do you take away from reading this, Drew? What are the implications, from where you sit?

          Help!

          1. You’re right. It doesn’t say much! 🙂

            What it hints at, though, is the future of interpersonal, interpretive and presentational.

            What it looks like though is up to the people who create it, although it looks a lot like the AP exam, doesn’t it?

            What I fear, and I emailed my district literacy coach today, is that we will say that level 3, for example, will be tested at Intermediate Mid, requiring them to do some sort of task they aren’t ready for. I reminded her that in a 9-12 program kids reach intermediate low and a few will reach mid. I told her that our comprehensive high school district of 9 schools will require tons of TPRS and CI trainings NOW to be able to meet the rigors.

          2. Rant warning.

            Drew you are very on top of this discussion. You should lead it. The Common Core discussion here is going to be a long one if we let it. This sentence you wrote is particularly important:

            …what I fear, and I emailed my district literacy coach today, is that we will say that level 3, for example, will be tested at Intermediate Mid, requiring them to do some sort of task they aren’t ready for….

            This is very insightful. It also raises a huge point about communication among professionals in various language fields like WL and ELA – it’s going to be bad. ELA in Denver Public Schools is fast becoming robotic, almost going backwards away from Krashen into the past in terms of pedagogy.

            I’m trying to say that with Common Core we are going to get into a true Land of Confusion. We both heard Krashen just go off on it this summer. I’ve never seen him so animated about anything and I don’t think it was the coffee. He knows that the future is going to be one big meaningless ocean of conflicting currents. Who is going to suffer? Classroom teachers and students who just want to be left alone to do CI will suffer.

            As I return to school and having been through the in-service meetings this past week I am most concerned that administrative demands on us, not connected to Common Core yet but as Drew said coming around the bend like a freight train, are starting to pull us away from what we should be focusing on – our teaching.

            I called Sabrina yesterday just to check on her. It can’t be easy moving away from home with her family still in Chicago and finding out that your new principal is a controlaholic micromanager. She was setting up her classroom for students on Monday at Thomas Jefferson High School in Paul’s old classroom, and she said that she had to provide two weeks of lesson plans in advance and ask permission of the principal to even go to the bathroom. I believed her for a second about the bathroom but she explained she was just joking but her voice revealed a real concern about how this is going to work for her. She hasn’t even been able to read the blog lately and we miss her voice.

            What would you do in a micromanaged situation in a new school with a controlling and fearful new principal? It’s not good because Sabrina should be allowed to just relax and teach in the wonderfully relaxed way that she does as we have seen on video here:

            https://benslavic.com/blog/videos/sabrina-janczak-video-1/
            https://benslavic.com/blog/videos/sabrina-janczak-video-2/

            But she can’t – most of her attention is being diverted right now away from her classroom instruction. I suspect others here could say the same thing and we need to talk about that and how to respond.

            We need to ask ourselves the question – can we even meet the non-classroom demands being heaped upon us right now especially at this time of year and still be good classroom teachers or should we revolt and not do all that stuff so we can RELAX this weekend and not get into the kind of illness that is gripping teachers in our country right now where we are all overworking. Hell, I’m half time and I’m overworking. What is going on?

            Sorry for the rant but I haven’t had my coffee yet today. Drew how do you do that? How do you keep all this crap clear in your mind and how do you bring balance to your department? Don’t you have 12 teachers you are leading as department chair? And how many are on board with what we do? Isn’t it kind of chaotic?

            It is chaotic here in DPS. We say that we have many teachers on board and we really do, but many are just so new and need training like you say elsewhere Drew. They don’t need meetings and lectures they need training. Liam wrote and told me that he preferred NTPRS over iFLT because of the coaching. That says a lot. Maybe it’s now finally time to quit with the rhetoric and start to do only training.

            All of us, I would guess, are enduring too many meetings with no apparent goal – we are being instructed on filling out forms like lesson plans and setting up all sorts of technology related tasks like setting up grade books. We are getting ready to spend a very imbalanced portion of our time on assessing kids’ language skills when human beings don’t need to be assessed to learn a language.

            Lincoln High is huge on data and I just don’t want to do that stuff. I have done it in the past but I don’t want to do it this year. I will try to share what we come up with here because my teammates are really good at filling forms, but should we be doing this? Can’t we just teach?

            There are macro and micro parts to this work. The macro part is all the meetings, the filling out of forms, the arguing with people who don’t want to change, the politics, the generalized articles that find their way into this blog, all that theory and field and anecdotal research in support of Krashen, etc. What about the teaching part?

            Now we are up to over 200 articles in the queue and at least half of them are about TPRS/CI theory. How long are we going to talk about this? I think we need to change the direction of the PLC discussion away from such macro general theoretical items.

            We already know TPRS/CI/Krashen are far superior ways to teach kids a language. I think that what we need (and I am thinking out loud here if you haven’t noticed) is less discussion about why this approach works and more on how to do it.

            I got an email from a blog member in Germany today and she is totally new and is convinced (she is a Waldorf teacher) that she wants to teach this way, and she just wants to know how.

            So should I direct the blog content here more to training and less to general discussion less. I should stop the thread on TPRS vs. Georgia, for example. Is it time for that? Honestly, the blog has kind of blown up into a big discussion and we don’t have time, not one of us has the time, to talk in generalities anymore here. I want to go and delete half of those articles in the queue, and only publish articles/video related to training.

            We can’t live in our minds about this anymore. We have to move this kind of instruction into our bodies, and fast. Teaching this way is as physical as it is mental.

            I just checked the internet. Starbucks opened at 5:00 a.m. I’m off on my bike in the pre-dawn hours for a fix. Any responses to my pre-coffee rant?

          3. Personally, I would welcome a switch from articles to more hands-on training advice. We’re all here because we KNOW that TPRS/CI works. I don’t think we need more (research) articles to prove it, our proof is in our own classrooms.

          4. Well said Brigitte and thank you. I feel your position is shared by many. Again, we need to return to our theme of simplicity.

            I just rode my bike through the Columbine HS parking lot and on this Saturday morning there were no less than 15 cars in the front parking lot. At 7:00 a.m. They were planning.

            One of the reasons among the many that I was attracted me like a bee to honey is the time it frees up for us (blog excepted). It feels right to be talking about this right now. Our success is a function of time (Gladwell) not of planning. It’s a function of classroom time. We can’t speed up the process of moving our entire concept of what teaching is from the mind to the mind/body/heart overnight. The only way we can speed it up really is what Drew said this morning here:

            …our comprehensive high school district of 9 schools will require tons of TPRS and CI trainings NOW to be able to meet the rigors….

            So this morning represents a shift in my vision for this PLC, one reflecting your comment. Thank you.

          5. I agree Brigitte, BUT I hesitate asking someone who is as good at something as Ben to stop doing it! I never know when I will need some of the nuggets and always read them…

            That said, I do get more personal use out of the practical ideas on here….

            skip

          6. Thank you skip. I do feel that the period is finally over – it lasted over a decade – where we seemed to think we needed to defend our position against some very strong opposition. And we were and remain so few!

            But it is the emails from the new people which pull me now. They are so right when they, like Laura Censi in Beaufort, SC, home of Moco Loco Thompson one of the earliest pioneers of TPRS, wrote to me this:

            …I could just use guidance on how to do the first month or get to story asking. I guess I’m so literal, I need it spelled out….

            This is the real future of our work here. Helping the new ones. Some shift is occurring right now. My failure to even respond to important questions that are stuck in a very jammed queue says a lot. Laura has made requests that just have to be responded to well, and in a timely manner. We can still talk about the method as we have been, but I personally can’t do it at the expense of the new people and honestly I just can’t see continuing in the old vein. I’ll let the 200 posts roll out over the next few years but I would like to be able to say in the spring that we will have had a very strong training year here for new people. It certainly represents a shift from the past seven years, but I personally can’t do both. We’ll see what happens.

          7. I would second putting more emphasis on the big topic “What can I do in my classroom to get these kids more listening and readings reps that they actually want to pay attention to?”

            We have so many ideas already, like freewrites, essential sentences, dictation, stories, PQA, quick quizzes, R&D, and many more, all of which let us stay true to the principles of CI, but it is still a HUGE DEAL when we come up with something new that actually works. Like think of life before dictations, just for example. Now think of it after. That one activity–NOT THE MINDLESS KIND!!!–does so freaking much. It would be cool to focus our efforts on coming up with more stuff like that. And also on just getting coaching and sharing ideas on the HOW of PQA, stories, and reading–the big three.

          8. Jody (I didn’t see a reply option after your comment so I will put it here)

            I have had this idea lately, though, that administrators will only know the truth if we tell them… I have been considering sending a passionate letter to EVERY high school principal in this state explaining to them what should be happening in their WL classes and offering their teachers support and training.

            I was thinking of sending them something like Robert’s scope and sequence or the thesis that chris wrote…

            Do you think it would be a total waste of time?

            Skip

          9. Hi Drew,

            I have been trying to contact Diana Noonan to see if she can share Denver Public School’s proficiency exam, but I imagine she 1) has a lot of other things on her plate and 2) may not have acquired board approval to do that. I am really interested in this test because it sounds like a more accurate measure of proficiency than what is out there (and is created from a TPRS perspective). Ben, if you aren’t too fed up with this discussion, what do you think?

            Heidi

          10. I am hoping for the same thing. Now with so many of us having to measure proficiency as part of our evaluations (gotta love that accountability and student growth!) it would be nice to see a TPRS created proficiency exam.

          11. She can’t let it go. We would be fired if we leaked it. It is proprietory to Denver Public Schools. I totally agree what a gold mine it would be if we could just share it. It represents thousands of hours of work by teams of up to ten teachers for two weeks each June over the past six years. We just finished level 3 this fall and will implement it next week as a pre-test. Diana has put all her heart into it. Maybe some day we can talk them into selling it. No document exists like it. Just think that every question was written with distractors, studied by data people for months, fixed, rolled out again the next year, certain questions thrown out, certain kept in, and on and on. But that’s where we stand on it now Heidi.

          12. I told my Asst. Superintendent of Instruction about DPS and Diana Noonan. He wants to get ahold of her because he likes the idea of proficiency based assessments at every level.

          13. I would like an idea of what it COULD look like. If it’s just a writing piece, we could recreate that together.

          14. Drew – I totally agree! I understand the proprietary nature of their exams; however, if it is working for the benefit of their students, then can DPS at least share what went into the creation of these tests: i.e. are they similar to the National Spanish Exam? The NYS Regents or Proficiency Exam? the AP Exam?
            How is it designed so as to appease the CI instructors as well as the traditional instructors? Can it also point out the efficacy of one type of instructional method over the other?
            Does it have a Performance Task like the Common Core and most states are now asking for? Does it use the 6 global themes that AP uses? or does it adhere to the Davies (Davis?) high frequency word lists? or high frequency structures? —and where does one find these high frequency structures?
            Is the post-test the same test as the pre-test, and if not, what changes took place between the two to ensure validity? Upon what criterion was validity based?
            Do they make different tests for Levels 1, 2, 3, etc….. or are they based on ACTFL Proficiency Levels: Novice L,M,H; Intermediate L, M, H; Advanced…..
            But, now, since we do not have this access or information, and the year is starting, I recommend that you check out the NYS Regents or Proficiency Exams — I have found them to be good. You can give the test from one year as the pre=test and another year as the post-test.
            Now it has been argued to me that they are “discreet grammar” tests; some of this is true, however, there is more proficiency assessment to it – reading authentic advertisements, posters, etc. AND to be honest you can NOT fully get away from grammar on a standardized language exam!!!
            So, I would like to know how different are the DPS tests to the NYS and National exams? I think that if we are going to push CI-based instruction, we need to come to a consensus as to how we pre- and post-test our students to quantify the efficacy of Teaching with Comprehensible Input. As Ben stated in regard to Chris Roberts’ Master Thesis: it is a great thesis; however, we do not have enough comparisons between CI-taught classes and Traditionally-taught classes to have large enough sample groups or enough heterogeneous sample groups. If we had similar tests (they do not need to be EXACT, but certainly SIMILAR so we are comparing apples to apples) then we could start to have a leg to stand on.
            Just sayin’

    2. Hi Leigh Anne, my savior with a car at iFLT! I’ll never forget the way you guys took me in so quickly and made me part of your group at iFLT thanks to Ben’s PLC and your loving hearts (hey, MJ!).
      I think what they mean here is that we want to teach the CI way but we have to look like we are conforming to these new Common Core standards coming down from the clueless higher ups. So we have to put a crust on what we are doing that looks like what they want while inside is really the sweet fruit pie filling of CI.

      1. Hi, Tamula!

        It was so nice meeting you. It is good to hear from you!

        So, what does a ‘crust’ look like to you, Tamula? I have no imagination when it comes to what administrators want. That is why I am so popular on my campus. 😉

        1. My crust right now looks like this awful curriculum writing I am supposed to be doing that I have been procrastinating on. I’d rather just teach but I have to write essential questions and all that nonsense. And now my chair seems kind of jealous because she threw this little zinger at me today asking me if I actually plan my classes. I wanted to say, “yeah, it’s me planning instead of some publisher planning for me,” but instead I just said, “of course I do,” and walked away. My enrollment is at 101 students this year, up from 65 last year so they lost a Spanish class. Oops! Sorry, it’s the method. Plus, she is concerned that I didn’t order any workbooks this year. But it’s okay. Most of the time we support each other and the other Spanish teacher who is from Peru is my best bud. We have lunch together every day and spend the whole time laughing. Life is busy but good. Hope you are well.

  5. HI to both of you!!! Leigh Anne was MY savior with a car also! 🙂
    I just posted earlier today a conversation I had with my colleague. I posted it to Chris’ Thesis 2 (see sidebar), but it definitely fits into this conversation also — even more-so, because she was explaining to me how “ACTFL and the State want us to design our units.” (spoiler: us CI teachers already do it!!! surprise, surprise)

  6. Project Based Learning is very big over here in France and my plan to have Blaine Ray demonstrate for some primary school teachers was vetoed because our “Inspecteur Pédagogique” decided that TPRS doesn’t fit with PBL. So now I’ve been granted a class of pre-apprentices and told that it doesn’t really matter if they learn nothing because we don’t expect them to attain even a moderately high level, but that they should do some kind of project. I’m being rebelliously ambitious and planning on taking those boys as far as they can go. Our project? We’re going to make up funny stories, illustrate them and put them in a book that the boys will be able to read to anyone who cares to listen. If I have the nerve, I’ll have them read the stories to the administrator who suggested that I might want to make my classes “fun” by teaching them expressions like “It’s raining cats and dogs.”

    1. Hi Judy! I am so going to have to visit you next time I am in France. It’s too bad they are so closed-minded — I think PBL and TPRS could really complement each other well if given the chance.

  7. The administrator was showing off his knowledge of American idioms. He firmly believes in his own language abilities but clearly not those of certain others. This is right up Krashen Alley. Can you tell us what an apprentice is, and why it seems that they can’t learn a language to the point of command over idioms?

  8. @Skip — I think it WOULD be beneficial for you to do this! If you only get one or two THIS year, then that’s more “informed” Admins than we had last year!!!
    BUT…be sure to include the State mandate of having to be proficient in a WL as part of the Class of 2018’s Proficiency Diploma (check out our state’s less-than-up-to-date website!) If you can’t find it let me know.
    I am going to email you privately — I have some thoughts!

  9. the bummer is I think you are right Ben! 🙁

    I will say, though, that the Greeley principal that started attending our conference for the first time the year you presented, continued attending. ALL of her teachers attended. Now it has spread to the high school because the MS was SO successful. ALL 12 WL in that district are attending the conference in October.

    To top it off, that principal is now our assistant superintendent.

    That wouldn’t change your mind, would it?

    Thanks
    skip

  10. Hi,
    Does anyone have a sample TPRS curriculum for Spanish that you could share with me? I am a first year Spanish teacher, just testing out these TPRS methods for the first time. The high school I teach at is going through accreditation next year and asking for updated curriculums. I am wondering how other teachers have been mapping their curriculums when using TPRS. I think they are expected a more traditional, textbook based model, but I really want to avoid that since it won’t be useful to me. The best curriculum I have found online that is from a teacher that uses comprehensible input is Martina Bex… I wonder if they are others? Thanks for any help or advice!

    1. Hello Sra. Wane. Let me take a stab at this.

      Although Carol Gaab has wonderful textbooks, they lack the personalized edge that you have the power of creating in your classroom. I used Carol Gaab’s textbooks my first year. They did help me, certainly, but I am much better without them now.

      In the first year of a foreign language, at least for those with lots of cognates, we on this PLC have mapped out a kind of curriculum that goes a lot like this:

      1st month: lots of CWB or Circle with Cards… lots of PQA
      2nd – 6th month: cycle through the 3 steps regularly: PQA –> Story-Asking –> Read
      6th – end of year: more reading and less stories (kids can get tired of stories, some CI teachers say… but I think if you can somehow keep the story-asking novel each time, in some way, you can continue with them). Many of us also include MovieTalk I think, especially in the later part of the year.

      I find myself targeting the top 20 high frequency verbs in the mix of core language structures I teach throughout the year. I think we all also include vocabulary that make stories interesting, relate to activities that students like, and help students express their ideas (for example, I find “truth” and “lie” words students love to use… another example being those ‘degree of frequency’ words: always, never, sometimes)

      I hope this helps.

  11. So thank you for the clarification on Carol’s stuff. Next year most of us are going to need to hand in a curriculum, or something with lots of official looking pages, and so Kristen’s question is really one that we need to somehow address. Ideally we come up with something that I can put on some hard link somewhere on this page here that we can just all copy.

    The thing on the curriculum is that comprehensible input doesn’t lend itself to that kind of organization. We just flow the language and Sean certainly describes in a few short words above exactly what my “curriculum” has looked like for many years now.

    In order to pacify the powers that be in DPS we are writing one around the novels. We just finished it a little while ago but it’s not published yet. We can’t figure out how to write one that’s not around the novels. But it will keep the dogs at bay.

    So what to do? Surely some of the more industrious among us who have done this can send me what you have for sharing @ benslavic@yahoo.com

    We need to knock this out now so we have less work next year.

    And what is the difference between a pacing guide and a curriculum?

    Related: https://benslavic.com/thoughts-on-pacing-guides.html

    1. We had to talk about pacing guides/curriculum this last year. I separated the 9 weeks periods by 3rd personal singular, first person singular etc… along with other things. I now know that this probably isn’t the best thing to do. I used all subjects in class from the beginning but just planned on acquisition of one before focusing/testing and going on the next “officially”. This just seemed a handy way of separating out the skills for others to understand. I do have to say my students have a good grasp of how to use endings without much thought. They are light years ahead of my traditional students.

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