This page is devoted to exploring issues related to lesson planning and curriculum development through questions such as:

Curriculum Development Process

Selecting the Content

  • Who are our students?
  • What compels them?
  • What matters to them?

Structuring the Content

  • How will you capture learners' interest and attention?
  • What are learners likely to know already about these materials? How will you activate prior knowledge?
  • How will you help learners to make sense of the content?
    • What do learners need to know before they work with these materials?
    • What misconceptions or misunderstandings are learners likely to have about these materials?
    • What will you need to "unpack" in order to facilitate understanding?
    • How will you structure, sequence, and package the content?
  • How will you help learners to make meaning from the content?
    • How will you engage them in thinking deeply about the content?
    • How will you engage their feelings?
    • How will you connect the content with their personal experiences?
  • How will you actively involve learners with the content?
  • How will you support the development of language skills?
  • How will you give learners opportunities to show that they know?

Sequencing & Scaffolding the Content

  • Pre-: What do learners need to know BEFORE they work with the content? How will you prepare them for each activity?
  • During: What will LEARNERS do with the content?
  • Post: What will learners do AFTER they have interacted with the content?
  • Closure Activities: How will you help learners to summarize, reflect, connect, extend, and preview?
  • Assessment: How will evaluate learners' understanding so that you can make informed decisions about what to do next? - chericem1 chericem1


Curriculum Development Resources


ACTFL. (n.d.). Characteristics of effective elementary school foreign language programs. ACTFL. Retrieved May 26, 2006, from http://www.actfl.org/i4a/pages/index.cfm?pageid=3655 - A nicely-organized, annotated summary of key characteristics of effective FL programs at the elementary level. - chericem1 external image chericem1-sm.jpg

Crandall, JoAnn. (1994, January). Content-centered language instruction. Washington, DC: Eric Clearinghouse on Languages and Linguistics. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED367142) Retrieved May 26, 2006, from http://www.ericdigests.org/1994/content.htm - This ERIC digest addresses issues of curricular content and program development models intersect. - chericem1 external image chericem1-sm.jpg


Curtain.gif Curtain, Helena, & Dahlberg, Carol Ann. (2004). Languages and children, making the match: New languages for young learners, grades K-8 (3rd ed.). NY: Pearson. ISBN 0-205-46371-1. - The last 5 chapters of this book are devoted to planning and sustaining effective foreign language programs and address issues such as making the case for initiating an elementary foreign language program, public relations and advocacy, selecting a program model, staffing a program, planning, assessment, articulation, and immersion. The book also contains a wealth of practical instructional resources, including ideas for assignments, literacy development, and standards-based games and activities; information on thematic planning, assessment, and classroom management; instructional strategies, templates, and sample student work. Image source: http://phcatalog.pearson.com/program_single.cfm?site_id=6&discipline_id=813&subarea_id=1323&program_id=12541 - chericem1 external image chericem1-sm.jpg




Planning Resources


  • Backwards Design -- This page gives helpful info about backwards design. The references with links at the bottom of the page are excellent and include a PDF of an introduction to backwards design and some planning templates.



  • Literacy for the 21st Century Language Learner - This electronic newsletter from the National K-12 Foreign Language Resource Center will connect you to ideas, information, and materials that will help you to consider multiple literacies as you plan curricular units. - chericem1 chericem1









Technological Tools for Supporting Curriculum Delivery & Development


Audacity – Phenomenal, free software you can download and use just like a tape-recorder. The files can be saved as MP3s that can be exported to iPods! Use the software to create more opportunities for your students to hear the language (both in and outside of class):

  • audio field trips to different places in the community that students can discuss, illustrate, and/or write about
  • interviews with children or adults who speak the target language about topics of interest to the children in your classes
  • pronunciation models using culturally authentic materials such as proverbs, children's chants or songs, Gouin sequences, rhymes or poems, simple jokes, tongue twisters, etc.
  • short retellings of favorite stories. Children can use puppets to re-enact the stories at home as they listen. http://audacity.sourceforge.net/ - chericem1 chericem1

Brochure Creator - Consider mapping your curriculum visually using this brochure/flyer design site. Simply select themes and templates, edit the text, add your own images, and print. http://www.mybrochuremaker.com/brochure-creator-fun.html - chericem1 chericem1

BubblePLY - Allows you or students to add speech and thought bubbles to any online video, which means that you can now direct students' attention to key language patterns, cultural issues, or vocabulary and make video input more comprehensible by providing pop-up supports. http://www.bubbleply.com/default.aspx - chericem1 external image chericem1-sm.jpg

Bubbl.us - Easy-to-use, online, colorful graphic organizer that is shareable. Great for planning lessons or units, and for mapping curriculum. http://www.bubbl.us/ - chericem1 chericem1

ClassTools - Provides flash-based templates for the creation of graphic organizers, puzzles, and worksheets. Use them to create practice activities for students. http://www.classtools.net/ - chericem1 chericem1

Cmap - Free, online collaborative concept mapping. Teachers can create a concept that shows the National Standards and how curricular goals and objectives are linked to them. Then students can attach documents that represent their progress in meeting each goal. In this way, students' progress can be clearly linked to the National Standards and curricular goals and objectives. chericem1 external image chericem1-sm.jpg

Comeeko - Free, well-designed software that lets you create your own comic strips (using photos or images) and save them for others to view. It is particularly useful for teachers who want to incorporate stories and photos of cultural mix-ups and mishaps from their travel experiences into their curriculum. http://www.comeeko.com - chericem1 chericem1

Create Your Scenario - Darling tool that lets you select characters, type lines for each one, save the work, and generate a playscript. This tool could be used for creating simple plays that students can perform in the target language for community members. http://www.kids-space.org/HPT/1a/11a.html - chericem1 chericem1

De.licio.us - This free social bookmarking site allows you to create an annotated list of online bookmarks to your favorite websites and to share them with others. This is an excellent way for busy teachers to collect links to enrichment activities for students, ideas for projects and activities, and links that will assist students in completing classroom projects. You can quickly direct students to the appropriate lists of links using the tags you entered when you saved the links. You can also embed lists of links you have collected on particular topics into relevant pages of your website. http://del.icio.us

Edublogs - A free blogging service specifically designed for educational use. With appropriate permissions and precautions in place, blogs can provide students with authentic, real-world audiences and opportunities to practice interpersonal, interpretive, and presentational communication skills. They can also be used to negotiate curriculum with older students and to solicit feedback from parents about curricular goals and content. http://edublogs.org/ - chericem1 chericem1

Google Calendar - Set up a separate homework calendar for each class, then use the RSS feed function to funnel them into your class blog or webpage. You can also aggregate the calendars so you can print out daily and weekly agendas for each class or for your entire set of preps - chericem1 chericem1

Google Reader - After creating a free account, teachers can use this service to collect information about units they are teaching from blogs and webpages to which they have "subscribed" (for free and very easily) using RSS technology. This is also a great way for busy teachers to aggregate and organize links to information for student projects in one convenient location. http://www.google.com/reader - chericem1 chericem1

Dumpr - This free online suite of tools allows you to edit your Flickr photos in order to turn them into coloring book images (VERY COOL), make them look old, turn them into globes, or add reflections. You can then save them to your Flickr account. (Still in beta) http://www.dumpr.net

FDs Flickr Toys - Some FUN things you can do to Flickr photos (such as create CD covers, magazine covers, mosaics, trading cards, etc.) that would make super assignments. http://bighugelabs.com/flickr/

Flickr - Allows you to create libraries of images that you can share with others and is a particularly good place to "store" a shared collection of photos for a group. http://www.flickr.com

FoxIt - Free PDF reader that allows users to annotate PDFs via highlighting, text, or drawing tools, to fill out forms and save them, to view PDFs as text, etc. Also has a multi-language interface, self-upgrade, on-demand download, and javascript support.

Generator Blog - A fantastic blog that contains links to all sorts of free, interesting generators (such as cereal boxes, insurance cards, money, etc.) that would be great tools for students to use in creating creative advertising campaigns

Go2Web2.0 Directory - A handy directory of Web 2.0 services, many of which could be used to facilitate curriculum development. - chericem1 chericem1

Google Docs - Free, online spreadsheet and word processor like Microsoft Excel and Microsoft Word that lets multiple users on different computers edit a document simultaneously and save it online. Great for collaborative authoring of curricular units. Combine this with Skype for voice features too! http://docs.google.com - chericem1 chericem1

Google Notebook – Lets you copy snippets from online articles, or create your own running notebook on the topics of your choice online. The notebooks can be kept private or shared, making them a great place for you to organize, store, and distribute the resources you gather to support student projects. http://www.google.com/gn - chericem1 chericem1

Google Reader - After creating a free account, you can use this service to keep track of the webpages to which you have "subscribed" (for free and very easily) using RSS technology--making this an easy way to get up-to-date content re: the topics you are teaching. You can also "subscribe" to their students' blogs and easily keep track of who has posted new content. http://www.google.com/reader - chericem1 chericem1

Google Scholar – Returns only scholarly articles and books, tells you how many people have cited them, and links you to related articles. Helpful for exploring research-based information and instructional strategies. http://scholar.google.com - chericem1 chericem1

GoToQuiz.com - Allows you to create free quizzes, polls, and surveys that you can use on your blog, MySpace, etc. http://www.gotoquiz.com/ - chericem1 chericem1

Jumpcut - Allows you to edit digital video for free online. Great for creating your own instructional videos. http://www.jumpcut.com - chericem1 chericem1

Keep Toolkit - A free, online project planning template that allows you to input images, text, and video into different "boxes" to create a shareable "project portfolio." A useful way to organize content for students to explore. http://www.cfkeep.org - chericem1 chericem1

Media Convert - A free, slick little online tool that will let you identify a media file on your desktop or at a particular URL and convert it to the format of your choice simply by filling in a simple form. No registration required. http://media-convert.com/convert/ - chericem1 chericem1

Motivator - Create your own motivational posters for free with a digital photo and a few clicks. Download them, e-mail them, print them, or upload them to Flickr. You can also order print copies. Great for creating your own, customized posters that support whatever curricular content you are teaching. http://bighugelabs.com/flickr/motivator.php - chericem1 chericem1

Pandora - Type in your favorite artists and Pandora will create "stations" of streaming music that is similar to the work of the artists you have selected, based on research from the Music Genome Project. You can create up to 100 stations for free (registration required)! A great way to find and keep track of songs that correspond to the curricular content you are teaching. http://www.pandora.com - chericem1 chericem1

Picnik - Absolutely fabulous, free, easy-to-use, extremely functional, online image editing software. Lets you rotate, crop, color, or edit photos and will soon offer special effects. Interfaces very well with Flicker. (Still in beta) An easy way to create photos that illustrate the curricular content you are teaching. http://www.picnik.com/app/ - chericem1 chericem1

Protopage - Ever wonder what a Web 2.0 webpage will look like? Well, here's the answer! Register for free to get your own page, then customize the content by clicking on any of the tabs and altering their contents. Make as much as you like public or private. Like someone else's content? Simply click import and watch it all get added to your page! An easy way to keep curricular presentations organized. - chericem1 chericem1

Quickmaps - Allows you to pinpoint locations on a Google map, title and annotate the map, draw on the map, save all your annotations, and then generates a code you can embed into your blog or website to display the map. Useful for helping students to see how what they are studying links to geographical locations. http://www.quikmaps.com/ - chericem1 chericem1

Quintura - A very cool search engine that returns the results visually. Mouse over one of the tag words to see additional layers of results. A quick way to get an overview of a new topic you have decided to teach. http://www.quintura.com See the new site for kids here: http://kids.quintura.com/ - chericem1 chericem1

Scrapblog - Combines the purposes and multimedia features of blogging with the visual affordances of scrapbooking. Comes with built-in templates and can accommodate music and video too. Prepare scrapblog pages to introduce students to new curricular content. http://www.scrapblog.com - chericem1 chericem1

Slide.com - Use premade themes to create slideshows from your photos that you can embed in your blog or website. An easy way to activate prior knowledge. http://www.slide.com - chericem1 chericem1

Skype – Free software that allows you to talk to anyone in the world (up to 4 people at once) through your computer for free with a cheap headset mic (like the telemarketers wear) as long as the other person also has the software. Great for group conversations about projects. You can also call landlines or cell phones, but there is a charge for that. A useful tool for arranging virtual guest speakers to enhance your curriculum. http://www.skype.com - chericem1 chericem1

The Amazing You Tube Tools Collection - A collection of tools to help those interested in using/publishing materials to You Tube. - chericem1 chericem1

Tubes - Allows users to drag and drop content (audio files, bookmarks, documents, e-mail contact lists, spreadsheets, videos) into a "tube" that can then be accessed by all those who have been invited to share it. Invitees can also upload content to the tube, making project collaboration easier. The latest versions of content in the tube synch up when the user is online. Click on the Download link to see a 30-second demo. An easy way to organize content for students. - chericem1 chericem1

Webnote Wiki - Allows users to collaboratively take color-coded notes in a space they create and organize them graphically. People can subscribe to your RSS feed. An easy way to brainstorm curriculum maps or webs. - chericem1 chericem1

Wikispaces - Allows you to set up collaborative work spaces where multiple people can collaborate. Allows uploading of documents, files, images, and multimedia in addition to basic text, and includes discussion boards for every page, editing histories, revert options, RSS subscriptions, and the ability to review recent changes. An easy way to manage group projects. http://www.wikispaces.com - chericem1 chericem1