Classroom Resources & Ideas


The Classroom Resources & Ideas section of the World Language Education Newsletter contains information for all World Language programs and classrooms. The classroom resources, teaching articles, and other materials are sorted into three broad categories:
  • All Languages - Articles about activities and teaching ideas that could be used or adapted for any language,
  • Multiple Languages - Links to resources and materials that are available in more than 1 language, and
  • Specific Languages - Links to websites, resources and materials for a specific language, some of which may be posted in the target language.

Notes:
  1. There are currently 17 languages being taught in North Carolina's K-12 public schools. A variety of resources, listservs, and materials banks are analyzed on a regular basis to find classroom resources for all 17. If you know of a resource that could be added, please forward the information to ann.gunter@dpi.nc.gov for consideration.
  2. The inclusion of any offering on this list does not constitute endorsement or verification by the NCDPI.

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All Languages

Cross-Curricular Learning, Multiliteracies, and Commercial Games

by Stephanie Knight, CASLS Language Technology Specialist

“A concept is a big idea—a principle or conception that is enduring, the significance of which goes beyond aspects such as particular origins, subject matter or place in time” (Wiggins and McTighe (1998) as quoted in MYP: From principles into practice).

Concept-based learning is foundational to promoting cross-curricular connections in the world language classroom. As Wiggins and McTighe (1998) emphasize, concepts are beneficial to 1) underscoring the meaning, importance, and relevance of a subject matter and 2) connecting a given subject area to other fields of inquiry. Balance is a beneficial concept to consider when contemplating these cross-curricular connections. Learners balance equations in their mathematics classrooms, they examine balance within functioning ecosystems in their environmental sciences laboratories, they explicate relationships that are upset by changing balance in various pieces of literature, and they explore balance as revealed through power dynamics in world language courses via the consideration of the various registers of language.

Literature regarding multiliteracies indicates a synergistic connection between multimodal communication (supporting written text with spoken text, for example) and the inspection of concepts in the world language classroom. Pellet (2012) embodies this synergy by discussing learner teams collaborating in the L2 to make wikis in another content area. The wikis were found to bring authenticity through learning and helping learners to use computer-mediated communication (CMC) for “developing meaningful interaction skills beyond the sentence level” (p. 240). Furthermore, and perhaps most importantly when considering concepts as they relate to the world-language classroom, using the L2 to connect with a variety of content areas allowed learners to be integral cogs in the creation of knowledge rather than simple receivers of knowledge (as they would be in a top-down pedagogical approach). As such, a teacher-centered classroom does not adequately serve or fully benefi t from a cross-curricular, concept-based approach.

Undoubtedly, the situation may arise in which learners struggle to serve as creators of knowledge in the world language classroom when they are exploring a concept with which they struggle to make concrete personal and cross-curricular connections. If such a situation, one should help learners to experience said concepts through the exploration of media including data sets (see gapminder.org for a useful tool), infographics, literature, and particularly commercial video games. These games are wonderful because they allow learners from disparate backgrounds in the classroom to share an experience that frames a target concept. For example, playing Pokémon Go will allow learners to observe the systems (transportation, religious networks, parks and recreation) that exist within their communities. Follow-up classroom discussions can lead learners to consider how those systems contribute to or detour from the concept of development, and learners can express those reflecti ons through the composition of blog entries or video productions in the L2 that serve to highlight important community areas. This work may be supported by a scientific investigation in their biology classes in which learners explore sustainability issues associated with community development or historical investigations in which learners examine primary sources to understand what community characteristics (human rights, access to resources) people groups have identified as essential to development overtime. Essentially, by allowing for meaningful gameplay, teachers fertilize their classrooms for meaningful learner engagement and communication.

For more ideas regarding how games may be used in the world language classroom, please check out Games2Teach (https://casls.uoregon.edu/classroom-resources/games2teach/), the CASLS site devoted to applying game-informed learning in the world language context. There, you will find a blog about current issues related to games, education research about games, and classroom activities that exemplify how games might be used in the world language classroom.



Multiple Languages


CDC Hand Washing Posters in Arabic, Chinese, French, Russian, Spanish, etc.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has downloadable posters in multiple languages that are available for free. For example, hand washing posters are available for a variety of audiences in many languages. Go to http://www.cdc.gov/handwashing/posters.html to see what's available.

TED Talks in Lots of Languages

TEDx talks are given all over the world, in a wide variety of languages. Find excellent authentic content in your target language by browsing TED talks by language: __http://tedxtalks.ted.com/pages/languages__



Specific Languages