The Level I Curriculum can be taught over two years of middle school (7th and 8th grade) or during one full year of high school study. All languages, except for Latin, now follow the same units of study for Level I, except for slight variations due to cultural differences or language specifics.
Read more about how languages are taught and assessed here. The curriculum map for the units is listed to the right. A summary of each unit is listed below. Click here to download a document with more information about each unit.
Let’s Go!! Unit
During this unit, students will be exposed - many for the first time - to the geography and culture of this new language. They will view a variety of photos, videos, and realia to introduce the culture and country (ies) where the language is spoken. They will become familiar with the basics of initial social interactions and daily life, such as weather, seasons, and dates on the calendar. Students will learn how to operate in a classroom taught in the target language by understanding basic commands and necessary classroom supplies. A number of smaller assessments will help students to see their quick progress and reinforce the many new concepts learned in this initial unit. The assessments will revolve around four major areas: social interactions, calendar, weather, and culture/country(ies.)
My Friends and I Unit
In this unit, students will consider how their own likes/dislikes and personality/physical characteristics define them and their choice of friends. Students will begin to use likes and dislikes to express their opinions about a variety of activities and/or things. They will describe themselves and others using personality descriptors such as “friendly, kind, and athletic.” In their listening/reading assessments, students will encounter authentic interviews with native speakers and try to pick out specific information such as age and likes/dislikes. Their speaking skills will be assessed with a conversational activity in which they become imaginary characters and introduce themselves to everyone in the class while the teacher listens in and scores their skills. Students will use their real-world writing skills to create a “fakebook” page in which they describe themselves. In addition, they will create a comic-book representation of their “Ideal Friend” with a descriptive paragraph. These assessments were chosen for their real-world authenticity and appeal to this age group of students.
During this unit, students will take a global view of what it means to go to classes and participate in a school. The introductory lessons focus on looking at pictures of schools around the world and comparing their experiences and resources to ours. Students will look at objects and furniture in the classroom and think about what is really necessary for learning. They will then look at school times and subjects offered, comparing schools in the target culture to their own. This will be an opportunity to learn how to tell time and discuss time zones and military time, as well as the length of time that students are in school. They will review likes and dislikes to talk about school subjects, and even express their opinions about their favorite teachers. Language requirements are beginning to become more complex in this unit. Many more verbs are introduced and students are learning new and regularly reviewing previously learned vocabulary, The interpersonal assessment requires students to talk in the 3rd person, such as “what does he like?” and the presentational assessments includes use of a comparison matrix to guide a short-essay writing.
Food & Health Unit
In this unit, students learn how to talk about foods and order in a restaurant while taking healthy eating into consideration. This is a culture-rich unit, from discussion of popular dishes, to customs and manners around eating and celebrations that involve food and drink. It also reinforces students’ understanding of notions of “healthy eating” both in the U.S. and other countries, as well as using math skills for monetary conversions of food prices. Practice during the unit will include use of close-reading strategies for more difficult readings and word sorts as a way to process the wide variety of vocabulary in this unit. Assessments include basic comprehension of readings on healthy eating and videos about foods from the target culture. Students will create their own restaurant menus and act out a spontaneous skit at a target culture “restaurant,” practicing the real-world skills of ordering, paying, using utensils properly, and making small talk during a meal.
Home & Family Unit
During this unit, students will learn how to talk about the aspects of homes and families that are most relevant to their daily lives – who their family members are and what they do at home. This might include chores or leisure activities, such as eating, cleaning or watching T.V. Students will view photos and videos of homes and families in the target culture, considering various definitions of family and “home” in different cultures. If students wish, they will be able to create imaginary families or “dream” homes, or discuss their actual families. The assessments require students to use the language in authentic ways, such as how you would talk on the telephone about your family members, or how you might introduce your family and home in a pen pal letter. The unit itself begins with students working in groups to “get the gist” of a pen-pal letter from a peer in the target culture. Languages may differ slightly in their overall vocabulary and grammar addressed in this unit, but all students will complete the unit knowing how to read, write, and talk about the basics in the topic of “home and family.”
Community & Leisure Activities Unit
With this engaging topic, students will learn how to extend invitations to do various popular activities, such as going to the mall and playing various sports and games. They will learn about leisure activities in the target culture and the customs surrounding making invitations and expressing regrets. The assessments will stem from the very real-world context of cell phone texting, asking students to first comprehend a series of written texts and later, to create a “fake text” conversation themselves. Students will spontaneously participate in paired conversations around making invitations and learn some basic expressions of location, such as “next to” and “in front of” for describing where a community building might be. This unit also asks students to “call a friend” from home while an adult watches, thereby showing parents and guardians how well the student is progressing in the target language, firsthand.
This unit brings the very real-world skill of shopping to life in the classroom. The new vocabulary focuses on clothing and technology items, but this unit can include a review of much of the vocabulary from the year, from classroom items to foods, colors, and target culture money. During the unit, students will view and interpret commercials and flyers from the target culture and compare popular items across cultures. They will consider prices of various items and review target culture money and exchange rates. The unit culminates with a classroom “flea market” in which students decide what they will sell, establish prices and create advertisement flyers, buy and sell items from each other, and report about their experiences afterward. Let’s head to the stores!
With this unit, students will synthesize their learning from the year to practice a range of interpersonal and interpretive travel situations. They will investigate target culture landmarks and travel options and talk about where they want to go and why. Interpretive activities will include looking at real-world hotel information, train schedules, and restaurant reviews, as well as interpreting directions that are said to them. Interpersonal activities will include role-playing a hotel reservation and restaurant reservation and asking and understanding directions to various places. These allow for review of self-introductions, telephone numbers, emails (spelling), likes/dislikes, foods, and the range of adjectives learned throughout the year. An optional presentational task asks students to present their travel plans to the class with visuals, text, and speech.