Animal Migration Unit
Learner Range
The Monarch Unit
Learner Range
Learner Range
Learner Range

    The World Languages Framework Learning Scenarios Project consists of learning scenarios (thematic units) containing lessons and activities that reflect the revised 2004 world languages standards. The online scenarios differ from the learning scenarios found in the 1999 world languages framework because they are aligned to the 2004 standards that are organized according to the modes of communication and proficiency levels found in the ACTFL Performance Guidelines for K-12 Learners. The online scenarios address all benchmark grade levels from the Novice through Pre- Advanced levels and are designed according to the Backward Design Model for curriculum and assessment (Wiggins & McTighe, 1998). Simply defined, the Backward Design Model first identifies a final performance task for students to accomplish and then determines what kinds of lessons and activities are needed for students to successfully perform the final task.

    The goal and contextual framework of the project is to increase language proficiency and international knowledge and skills by studying global issues and using instructional and assessment activities that foster critical thinking and problem solving. The essential understandings that recur throughout the project are:

    • The earth is interconnected-all peoples are interconnected economically, socially and environmentally and have a shared future.
    • Using another language and knowing its culture, empower an individual's participation in that future.

    The 2006 phase of the project focuses on the global issue of population. Subsequent projects will focus on other socioeconomic global issues such as poverty, consumption, conflict and the environment. In this phase of this project, instructional assessments and activities are designed to facilitate student understanding of the relationship between the movement of people and social and economic conditions. All assessments/activities are intrinsically interesting, cognitively engaging and connected to the target culture(s). Teacher resources are provided for lesson activities that include strong connections to other content area standards. The primary linguistic outcome is that students will be able to demonstrate what they can do with language using meaningful and relevant topics derived from the study of this world issue.

Learning Scenarios

    Learning scenarios are designed to be multistage projects worked on by students during extended blocks of time. However, teachers may choose to use only part of a given scenario, or maybe just extract on particular idea from it. They may also choose to modify the scenario to fit a particular need. This decision will be dependent on the time and frequency of language instruction allocated in the district program. The scenarios provided in this project are geared for French and Spanish students, but, they may be adapted for other languages as well. Resources are provided for adaptation to other languages. Scenario activities should be conducted in the target languages unless otherwise stated.

    Learning scenarios or thematic units are terms currently used to describe extended units of study organized around a particular theme. In addition to incorporating content from other disciplines, extended thematic units:

    • Incorporate the New Jersey Core Curriculum Content Standards for World Languages (2004) by allowing students to: develop the interpersonal, interpretive and presentational modes of communication; compare and contrast other languages and cultures with their own; gather and share information from the point of view of both the native and target cultures; and connect learners to a language community in a real or virtual manner;
    • Are of high interest, age-and level-appropriate;
    • Incorporate authentic target language materials and the use of technology;
    • Promote the development of critical thinking skills ;
    • Involve learners in the development of a final product of their choice that involves using the target language to conduct research and gain new knowledge about their own and other cultures; and
    • Allow students to begin to see the purpose of language study as something with real world-value and life-long advantages.

    Thematic teaching captures students' imaginations, is perceived as important to teachers and learners, legitimizes the disciplinary content that is integrated into instruction, accommodates a variety of learning approaches and has the added value of increased student motivation and improved attitude towards learning (Jensen & Sandrock, 2005).

Description of the Scenario Format Template

    Unit Theme: A unit theme is selected based on its representation of a "big idea" having value beyond the classroom and potential for engaging students.

    How Global Are We? Global Issue: Population/Migration and Changing Needs
    Essential Unit Question: An essential question raises other important questions, is recurring throughout the unit and has no "right answer". It is purposely designed to stimulate and sustain student interest.

    How will knowledge of other languages and cultures enable us to collaborate in seeking solutions to global issues in an interdependent world?
    Targeted Question: A targeted question provides students and teacher with a clear instructional focus and makes lesson activities more meaningful and connected.
    Learning Scenario: The learning scenario description provides the conceptual background of the scenario and key student outcomes.
    Proficiency levels provide descriptors of language use at the various stages of learning and development as found in the ACTFL Performance Guidelines for K-12 Learners and New Jersey standards. They range from the Novice-Mid through Pre-Advanced levels in the scenarios.
    Grades: Grade levels are indicated for which a particular scenario is age and developmentally appropriate.
    Length of Unit: The length of the unit is dependent on minutes and frequency of instruction in the program.
    Interdisciplinary Connections: World Languages and the primary content area connection are indicated.
    Final Student Performance: The final performance reflects what is important for students to know, understand and be able to do, and is applicable to new situations.
    Unit Overview: The unit overview is a chart identifying content knowledge, language skills and performance tasks throughout the unit that provide evidence of student learning.
    Learning Activities: Learning activities prepare students for the final performance and are organized in three phases: Phase I provides activities that stimulate student interest and raise important questions; Phase II focuses on content and language functions to assist students to meet performance outcomes; and Phase III involves students in performance tasks that address the three modes of communication.
    Extension Activities: Extension activities offer several optional activities for expanding the scenario.
    Rubrics: Rubrics are provided for each scenario. Some are specific to a scenario, others are generic rubrics for interpretive, interpersonal and presentational tasks.
    Activity Templates: Activity templates include materials such as visuals, worksheets, charts, songs, poems, and graphic organizers necessary for unit activities.
    Teacher Resources: This section provides a list of print and online resources and other materials that assist with implementing the scenarios.

    Note that a teacher author profile is provided on each scenario Welcome Page along with an email address should teachers have questions regarding any aspect of implementation.