Designed for a Digital Classroom
In Plain Spanish was created for a digital classroom. Most any resource can be uploaded into a digital format, but there is a difference between an activity being accessible in digital format and a resource that was designed to be completed within a digital learning management application. The small details make a huge difference. When a student writes, there is a clear difference between the type fonts of a worksheet and their handwriting. We have modeled the same result by embedding formatting within student input field so you know exactly what text was student input. Additionally, all resources are created in the Google Apps for Education product suite: Google Doc, Slide, Sheets, Drawings, Jamboard, My Maps, Form, etc. You won’t have to worry about students messing up formatting. We have built-in directions that model how to interact with each resource and step-by-step instructions for instructors to master each product before they begin! Many of our complex resources have separate training resources for teachers. Sometimes, we will even link video tutorials to make sure you have all the support you need. And finally, we are here for questions. Drop us a line and we will respond as quickly as possible.
Aligned to ACTFL Standards
The American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages, better know as ACTFL, has been helping to standardize teaching practices for 40+ years. ACTFL has done more than any other organization to make curriculum accessible to teachers and provide a common-sense framework for students to understand their language-learning goals. Most recently, these goals have taken the form of ACTFL’s popular “can do” or “I can…” statements. By providing students with simply language that targets specific abilities, students better manage their language goals. The “I can…” statements give students a clear finish line to guide in their studies. You will find the tasks contained in our curriculum to be annotated with an ACTFL-inspired “I can…” statement. Additionally, you will find the common links between these statement and the North Carolina Essential Standards for World Language. Lastly, our curriculum includes several options for ACTFL’s Integrated Proficiency Assessment (IPA). You will find various IPAs in their intended format as well as IPA style questioning that are paired with other comprehension tasks.
Includes Digital Portfolio Options
One of the most exciting pushes in recent educational trends is the idea of digital portfolios. Most students, while very capable of consuming social media, have very limited exposure to creating original works with their devices. As it would turn out, many publications have dubbed the upcoming generation the unfortunate name of “The Endless Scroll Generation.” Often times educators make assumptions that students instinctively know how to produce assignments using digital platforms. However, most of your students have yet to deploy their skills in creating a product they would proudly flaunt on the internet. In practice, while students are certainly more comfortable with navigating apps and learning new software quickly, they need scaffolding guidance in how to take their ideas and choose the best platform to bring their creativity to fruition. We here at In Plain Spanish thrive on providing opportunities for creating original works. Our curriculum is packed with student-driven products that are coupled with step-by-step instructions that will have your students creating confidently in a matter a days!
Authentic Audio Records & Writings
A common verbiage spout out by most anyone that enrolled in a foreign language course in school was that shortly after they completed the course, they forgot how to use their language. Most of this is due largely from the lack of continued practice after graduation. However, the best way to inspire students to continue in their language practice is to help them gain the confidence to speak with natives outside the classroom. In other words, people are more frequently to practice language through spoken form and if they are terrified to speak aloud, it’s only a matter of time before all their studies dissolve. The natural order of language acquisition is an endless stream of auditory input followed by short verbal output. Reading and writing are secondary studies to language. Therefore, for students to be most successful with speaking, they must hear the target language continuously. We have a team of diverse voice actors from around the Spanish-speaking world constantly contributing to our audio library. We scaffold our listening activities so student can focus on single words, phrases and sentences that are rich in high-frequency vocabulary. These audio activities allow student to listen carefully at natural intonations present in the various spoken forms of the language. Once student build up their confidence in listening, they will be prepared to engage in conversation and try speaking!
Inquiry-Based Problem Solving within Project-Based Framework
There is no better motivation for learning than a curriculum that allows students to explore their own interests. Inquiry-based exploration gives students the steering wheel to discover the target culture and compare its similarities and differences to their own community. The challenge is providing structures that support each student’s individual journey, but while maintaining a meaningful and rigorous language study. Each unit within our curriculum is provided with a project-based framework that gives students these liberties while maintaining commonality in content. While each student may learn slightly different vocabulary, they will all be able to achieve the same task as supported by the ACTFL “I can…” statements and the IB Statements of Inquiry. All PBL units contain a global context and allow for options, but highly recommended IB Approaches to Learning lessons that teach students real-world skills they can deploy in their future careers.
The “I can…” statements contained in our curriculum were created with the consideration of ACTFL standards, but should not not approved by ACTFL. For more information, please visit ACTFL’s website and purchase their book Performance Descriptors for Language Learners.
Global Contexts and Real-world Skills within Based on IB Philosophy
While most schools around the world do not hold International Baccalaureate certifications, we could not ignore the apparent parallels between our curriculum and the IB’s philosophy.
It is worth mentioning that In Plain Spanish has no affiliation to the IB nor do they endorse our curriculum. However, if you happen to teach in a Middle Year’s Programme (MYP) school, we have included possible statements of inquiry, global contexts, and Approaches to Learning (ATL) skills lessons. Moreover, we offer some possible factual, conceptual and debatable questions to guide your coursework.
If you do not teach at a MYP school, we highly recommend considering the ATL skills in your lessons as they are often intertwined and will serve students well in their future endeavors.