Teacher resources and professional development across the curriculum

Teacher professional development and classroom resources across the curriculum

Monthly Update sign up
Mailing List signup

Teaching Foreign Languages K–12

A Library of Classroom Practices

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

Standards and the Five Cs
An introduction to and illustration of the World-Readiness Standards for Learning Languages, this program shows how teachers can use the Standards to help their students advance in foreign language proficiency.

Assessment Strategies
This program offers a detailed look at 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.

Classroom Programs
These 34 programs include Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Latin, Russian, and Spanish language classrooms. All programs are subtitled in English and can provide insight into strategies and activities for K–12 teachers of any foreign language. The program descriptions below are organized by language. To view the programs by grade level, performance range, the Five Cs, or key teaching strategies, go to the Video Organizer Chart.

Comparing the Weather
Arabic, Grade 6: In this lesson, Wael Fawzy's students compare weather in the Arab world with weather in Chicago and elsewhere. The lesson combines written activities, which reinforce Modern Standard Arabic, and presentational ones, which can facilitate the use of dialects. Mr. Fawzy has students practice dialects to prepare them for real-life encounters in Arabic-speaking countries.
How We Spend Our Free Time
Arabic I, Grade 8: Katie Quackenbush begins class with a game of musical "hot potato." Students use the game to practice asking and answering questions using "you" and "I" before polling one another about what they like to do in their free time. Using the recorded data, students make bar graphs that will be used in the next class to compare their free-time activities with those of Saudi Arabian students.
Making Plans
Arabic V/VI, Grades 9–12: Belal Joundeya's multilevel class develops interpersonal communication skills as students make plans with one another. Through a series of paired and small-group activities, students discuss the possibility of meeting up for activities after school and on the weekend. Before class ends, students exchange emails with a native-speaking "friend" in Lebanon, who invites them to do something later in the day.
Making Sales Calls
Arabic I, Grades 9 and 11: In this lesson, Eric Bartolotti's students practice using basic greetings and expressing likes and dislikes in a role-playing activity. Students pair up and adopt the roles of telemarketer and customer. Through simulated phone conversations, Mr. Bartolotti can informally assess students' ability to express targeted functions and structures in spoken language.
People Who Help Us
Arabic, Grade 1: Khamael Alaloom's class of young, mostly heritage speakers learns about the people whose work helps the community at large. After showing students images of people and their professions, Mrs. Alaloom has students reinforce content learning and communication skills in a series of small- and large-group activities.
A Place I Call Home
Arabic II and III, Grades 9 and 10: Manar Mayalah takes her multilevel class on virtual tours of a traditional and a modern house in the Arab world. Students develop confidence with unit vocabulary through reading and writing activities. They then use what they've learned to describe their dream houses, first with a partner and then in front of the class.
Vegetables We Like
Arabic, Grade 2: After introducing vocabulary to her students, Rita Lahoud leads them through an art activity in which students draw pictures of vegetables they like and don't like. Students discuss their drawings in pairs, and then Miss Lahoud invites groups to present their work to the class.

Communicating About Sports
Mandarin Chinese, 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 students in China. At the end of the lesson, the students create skits to perform for their classmates.
Exploring New Directions
Mandarin Chinese II-IV, Grades 9-12: In this lesson, Haiyan Fu's multilevel class explores directions -- in both the literal and metaphorical sense of the word. While Chinese IV students practice reciting Chinese cultural poems, students in Chinese II and III work on mapping the location of nearby restaurants and providing directions to them.

A Cajun Folktale and Zydeco
French, Grade 8: After preparing her students for new vocabulary, Paris Granville retells a Cajun folktale while students act out the story. Students then create a story map to delve into the different story elements. Ms. Granville introduces zydeco music and the instruments typically used to play it, such as the washboard, accordion, and spoons.
Chicken Pox
French, 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. The class practices emerging literacy skills to match vocabulary labels to a drawing of a person.
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 there if they were to visit it. Through individual and group-centered activities, students learn to express conditional statements about personal preferences.
Family and Home
French, Grade 5: In this two-part lesson, 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 the family members in different rooms of the home. For homework, students write about activities that take place in each room.
Interpreting La Belle et la Bête
French IV, Grade 11: Michel Pasquier focuses his class on interpreting film, literature, and music, using the traditional tale Beauty and the Beast. The students work in groups to find moral meaning in the 1946 Jean Cocteau classic film, and compare the film to the original story and to a French rap song.
Mapping Planet Earth
French, 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.
Performing With Confidence
French IV-V AP, Grades 10-12: This lesson focuses on advanced conversational proficiency with connections to social, political, and pop culture. Yvette Heno's students play word games, discuss French politics, and stage a mock TV talk show with students portraying celebrities and journalists.
Touring a French City
French, 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. During the lesson, students take turns role-playing tourists asking for directions and tourist bureau agents giving directions and describing the buildings and the city.

Holidays and Seasons
German, 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. Using a Venn diagram, students compare aspects of Fasching and Halloween.
Sports in Action
German I, Grades 9-11: Denise Tanner guides her students through graduated activities including a TPR vocabulary review of the parts of the body, a grammar segment teaching the German structure gefallen, and a discussion of the German medals won at the 2002 Winter Olympics. As a culminating activity, students act out a TPR story in front of the class.
Sports Stats
German, 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. Using a chart showing the favorite sports of young Germans, Ms. Garcia makes connections to math by having students analyze statistical data in the chart.

U.S. and Italian Homes
Italian II, Grade 9: In this lesson, Marylee DiGennaro's students compare American homes with typical dwellings in Italy. The class learns new vocabulary, then practices them during a line dance and a card game. For homework, the students compose letters describing their homes, which they will email to students in Italy.

Daily Routines
Japanese, Grade 5: This lesson focuses on individuals' daily routines in Japan and in the U.S. Margaret Dyer uses a variety of activities, including TPR, modeling, pairs practice, and student-led charades, to introduce and review new vocabulary and concepts.
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 divides her class into two main groups: One sings New Year's songs, writes cards, and plays cultural games, while the other splits into smaller groups to discuss New Year's food and decorations. Then the two main groups switch activities. After the two groups have participated in both sets of activities, the class reconvenes to compare the Japanese New Year's celebration with those of other cultures.
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 about that country's major regions and cities and discuss some of its popular tourist destinations. Using timed activities, including a fast-paced Jeopardy-style quiz game, Yo Azama assesses students on recall and recognition. As a culminating project, students create a travel brochure and begin planning a promotional video to attract visitors to Japan.

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. Then the whole class works in pairs to create their own versions of illuminated Latin manuscripts.

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. Each group shares its tale while the remaining students use their interpretive skills to write down specific information. In a separate activity, Russian IV students debate the role of the leader in Russian history after reading an article about Russian president Vladimir Putin.

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 drawing on prior research, student groups plan itineraries for their Chilean counterparts. They prepare to send a follow-up letter to the Chilean teacher, sharing their suggestions.
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. John Pedini's lesson integrates authentic materials, makes connections to other academic areas, and develops interpretive and interpersonal communication skills.
Fruits of the Americas
Spanish, Grade 4: Teacher Carina Rodriguez combines visual media and multisensory activities in a vocabulary-building lesson about familiar and unfamiliar fruits. Students learn which country each fruit comes from, try to identify it solely through touch, and taste the fruit to categorize it as sweet or sour.
Hearing Authentic Voices
Spanish, Grade 8: Davita Alston's class engages in mock phone conversations, brainstorms about how American teenagers occupy their free time, and reviews a video of Spanish-speaking youth discussing their leisure activities. Later, two native Mexican students visit the class and answer questions about how they spend their free time in Mexico.
Interpreting Literature
Spanish III, Grade 11: This lesson centers on the story Dos caras by New Mexico author Sabine Ulibarri. Barbara Pope Bennett guides students as they recount the details and discuss their interpretations of the story and its moral message. Students act out segments of the story and then collaborate in groups to come up with alternate endings. The class also listens to a student's oral presentation about a local artist.
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. After reading about the painting's background, they discuss the history it represents.
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. After the debate, the class votes on whether to accept the Spanish invitation.
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. Then they work in small groups to incorporate these cultural aspects into skits to be performed by their classmates. The class also practices playing African/Latin American box drums called los cajones.

About the Library >
Introduction | Library Components | Using the Videos and Web Guide | Standards | Video Summaries

Foreign Languages Home | Video Organizer Chart
About the Library | General Resources | Glossary | Video Library Guide | Site Map


© Annenberg Foundation 2017. All rights reserved. Legal Policy