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Instructional Resources

Series Info

Episodes: 30

Length: 30 & 60 min.

Grade Levels:
Adult Learning, Professional Development

Foreign Language

Video on Demand
Teacher's Guide
Web Resources


Teaching Foreign Languages K-12: A Library of Classroom Practices

Illustrates effective instruction and assessment strategies for teaching foreign languages. The language classrooms shown in this library include Spanish, French, German, Japanese, Italian, Latin, Russian, and Chinese. All classroom videos are subtitled in English and are appropriate for K-12 teachers of any foreign language. In the half-hour classroom programs, teachers from schools across the country model interpersonal, interpretive, and presentational modes of communication throughout a range of grade and competency levels. Concepts of culture, comparisons, connections to students’ lives, and the importance of community are also integrated into the lessons.

Episode Guide

1. Introduction to the Library This program provides an overview of the entire library, with suggestions for use in professional development settings.

2. Standards and the Five Cs An introduction to and illustration of the National Standards for Foreign Language Learning, this program shows how teachers can use the standards to help their students advance in foreign language proficiency. (60 minutes)

3. Assessment Strategies Offers a detailed look at efforts to improve assessment in the foreign language classroom. Three case studies feature foreign language teachers using innovative assessment methods such as the Integrated Performance Assessment (IPA) model, Performance Tasks, and Backward Design. Each of these case studies follows a teacher as she works through the process with her students, from setting guidelines and modeling to giving immediate and helpful feedback on performances. (60 minutes)

4. Chicken Pox French I, kindergarten: Jai Scott’s French immersion class uses the topic of chicken pox, from an Arthur book and a French song, and total physical response (TPR) movements to learn new vocabulary for the parts of the body.

5. Mapping Planet Earth French I, grade 2: Stephanie Appel connects her French lessons to content and teaching materials in the general classroom curriculum. She employs TPR and map activities to practice vocabulary for the planets, continents, and oceans.

6. Family and Home French I, grade 5: Debra Terry’s students integrate vocabulary about the family by creating an imaginary family tree. Then they develop more complex ideas by describing the location of family members in different rooms of the home.

7. Holidays and Seasons German I, grade 3: Margita Haberlen’s lesson combines the topics of seasons and German holidays to reinforce basic reading skills, build cultural knowledge, and introduce more abstract thinking.

8. Sports Stats German I, grade 5: In Amy Garcia’s German class, students write in journals, listen as classmates share their sports preferences, take a poll on sports likes and dislikes, and record the class results on a graph.

9. Daily Routines Japanese I, grade 5: This lesson focuses on the daily routines of individuals in Japan and the U.S. Margaret Dyer uses a variety of activities including TPR, modeling, paired practice, and student-led charades to introduce and review new vocabulary and concepts.

10. Fruits of the Americas Spanish I, grade 4: Teacher Carina Rodriguez combines visual media and multisensory activities in a vocabulary-building lesson about familiar and new fruit.

11. Communicating About Sports Chinese I, grade 6: In pairs and in small groups, Jie Gao’s students develop interpersonal communication skills as they state their sports likes and dislikes. They practice writing Chinese characters for an ongoing activity-a letter they are composing and sending to Chinese students.

12. A Cajun Folktale and Zydeco French I, grade 8: After preparing her students for new vocabulary, Paris Granville retells a Cajun folktale while students act out the story. Ms. Granville introduces zydeco music and the instruments typically used to create it, such as the washboard, accordion, and spoons.

13. Touring a French City French I, grade 8: Prior to this lesson, Robin Neuman’s students researched French architecture and constructed a model of a French city on the classroom floor.

14. Hearing Authentic Voices Spanish I, grade 8: Davita Alston’s class engages in mock phone conversations, brainstorms about how American teenagers occupy their time, and reviews a video of Spanish-speaking youths discussing their leisure activities.

15. Food Facts and Stories Spanish I, grade 8: Students use math and science skills as they interpret nutritional information in a Spanish-language McDonald’s menu.

16. Exploring New Directions Chinese II-IV, grades 9-12: In this lesson, Haiyan Fu’s multilevel class explores direction-both literally and metaphorically. While Chinese IV students practice reciting Chinese cultural poems, students in Chinese II and III work on mapping the locations of nearby restaurants and providing directions to them.

17. Comparing Communities French III, grades 9-12: Ghislaine Tulou’s students work in pairs to discuss aspects of their own community. They also discuss a Canadian community that they had read about and plan what they would do if they were to visit.

18. Interpreting La Belle et la Bete French IV, grade 11: Michel Pasquier focuses his class on interpreting and adapting film, literature, and music, using the classic tale Beauty and the Beast.

19. Performing With Confidence French IV-V, grades 10-12: This lesson focuses on advanced conversation proficiency with connections to social, political, and pop culture.

20. Sports in Action German I, grades 9-11: Denise Tanner guides her students through graduated activities including a TPR vocabulary review of the body, a grammar segment teaching the German structure gefallen, and a discussion of the German medals won at the 2002 Winter Olympics.

21. U.S. and Italian Homes Italian II, grade 9: Marylee DiGennaro’s students compare American homes with typical dwellings in Italy. The class learns new vocabulary words, then practices them during a line dance and a card game.

22. Happy New Year! Japanese II, grades 10-12: Students learn about some common products and practices of the Japanese New Year’s celebration. Leslie Birkland’s class splits into two groups: One sings New Year’s songs, writes cards, and plays cultural games, while the other discusses New Year’s food and decorations.

23. Promoting Attractions of Japan Japanese III?IV, grades 10-12: As part of a larger unit on the geography and culture of Japan, students learn the major regions and cities and discuss popular tourist destinations.

24. Music and Manuscripts Latin II?III, IV AP, grades 10-12: Lauri Dabbieri’s class explores how Latin manuscripts are interpreted, translated, and created. Latin IV students work independently to translate a passage from Vergil’s Aeneid, while students in Latin II and III are guided through activities in translation and interpretation.

25. Russian Cities, Russian Stories Russian I and IV, grades 9-12: In this unique mixed-level class, Jane Shuffelton’s students work on geography skills, story writing, and presentations. Russian IV students are paired with small groups of Russian I students to read a story, gather information, and write their own folktales.

26. Routes to Culture Spanish II, grades 9-10: This culturally rich lesson falls in the middle of a thematic unit about the African presence in Latin America. Pablo Muirhead’s students identify cultural aspects of stories about a fictitious African girl who is taken to Panama and enslaved.

27. Interpreting Picasso?s Guernica Spanish II, grade 10: In this lesson, students use their interpretive abilities to learn about culture and history through art. The students in Meghan Zingle’s class make initial observations about Picasso’s painting, and then work in pairs to write and present a mock radio announcement about it.

28. Creating Travel Advice Spanish III, grade 11: In this lesson, Fran Pettigrew gives her students a letter from a teacher in Chile who plans to bring students to visit the United States. Working with authentic tourist brochures in Spanish and their previous research, student groups plan itineraries for their Chilean counterparts.

29. Interpreting Literature Spanish III, grade 11: This lesson centers on the story Dos Caras by the New Mexican author Sabine Ulibarri. Barbara Pope Bennett guides students as they recount the details and discuss their interpretations of the story and its moral message.

30. Politics of Art Spanish V, grade 12: Lori Langer de Ramirez’s class stages a political debate based on Spain’s visa requirement for Central and South Americans who wish to enter that country. During the debate, students assume the role of Latin American artists whose work they had researched and weigh the pros and cons of boycotting an invitation to exhibit their work in Spain.

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