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Archived Information

Foreign Language Curriculum Frameworks

Connections Strand

Language is the vehicle by which we acquire and share information and ideas. In order to help students make linguistic and conceptual connections, teachers of modern and classical languages use three important approaches to curriculum development.

  • Teachers of modern languages become knowledgeable about the content of other subject areas, examine the kinds of vocabulary and language functions required to teach and learn this content, and shape their language teaching accordingly.
  • Teachers of modern and classical languages collaborate with teachers of other subjects in the design and teaching of units in which knowledge of language and culture plays a key role.
  • Teachers of modern and classical languages help students and other teachers locate and use foreign language resources for cultural knowledge and information not readily available in English.

The teaching of second language skills can take place through the interweaving of discipline-specific content into the modern languages curriculum. In this way, students not only gain knowledge of the target language but further their content knowledge as well. For example, the classic Kindergarten-First Grade science experiment, "does it float, or does it sink?" is easily discussed in another language, since it is based upon observation. Learning how to describe objects as "light, lighter, heavy, or heavier," and "large, larger, small, or smaller" in a foreign language helps students acquire and remember vocabulary while reinforcing science concepts.

Similarly, specific language structures and vocabulary are required of middle or high school students when they predict what will happen next in stories, analyze aspects of the European medieval feudal system in history class, or follow instructions about how to chest-pass a basketball in physical education class. The teacher of modern languages can help students converse, interpret, write about, or make oral presentations on all these subjects in a language other than English.

Some projects are designed from the outset to integrate content from a number of disciplines. For example, during September's monarch butterfly migration from the United States to Mexico, elementary school students could begin a study of the life cycle of butterflies in science, discussing the concepts in English and Spanish. They could map the routes followed by the butterflies (geography); track and graph monarch butterfly sightings, and calculate the distance of their flights (mathematics); study and draw the symmetry of their body and wing patterns (math and art); and write short notes in Spanish (foreign languages and language arts) about the monarchs to be sent to Mexican students who are their "learning partners" in the project.

At the middle and high school levels, teachers of modern and classical languages could collaborate with teachers of history, English, and the arts to explore thematic units such as the immigrant experience, ancient and modern models of democracy, or classical and world mythology and theatre. High school electives such as the Model Organization of American States or Model United Nations also help students use their language skills in the context of history and social science.

Knowledge of a foreign language, literature, and culture can give students insights they could have in no other way. The student of classical languages who has read the myth of Pyramus and Thisbe and who later studies Shakespeare's plays will have a greater appreciation of how Shakespeare used the myth in both Midsummer Night's Dream and Romeo and Juliet and may even recognize a survival of the ancient lovers' tale when watching a performance of Leonard Bernstein's West Side Story. Students of civics and government who have also studied Latin will have a deeper understanding of concepts such as habeas corpus, ex post facto, and de jure. A student of a modern language will observe in mathematics the differences in the use of periods and commas in numbers in the English and metric systems, and will also notice that rules of spelling, order, and capitalization for days, weeks, and months differ from one language system to another.

Finally, despite the widespread use of English as an international language, there are still connections to knowledge of the past and present that are only available to the person who can read, interpret, and understand another language. That student has direct access to historical primary source documents, contemporary fiction and nonfiction, magazine articles, television broadcasts, and multimedia materials from other cultures and countries.

Making Connections with Learning Standards from
Other Curriculum Frameworks

Because this Strand is about learning the subject matter of other disciplines through the use of modern and classical languages, there is only one learning standard component, and it does not vary throughout the grades:

"To obtain information and knowledge related to other disciplines from sources in the target language."

For example, an elementary school French teacher with students working at a Stage 1 level might align some of the vocabulary she teaches with the PreK-4 learning standards for mathematics. In a beginning middle school Latin class (also Stage 1), the teacher might make connections to the grades 5-8 learning standards and appropriate Core Knowledge topics for history and social science. High school students in a Stage 2 level Spanish class might be expected to meet the grades 9-10 English language arts learning standards for analyzing elements of fiction, nonfiction, or poetry.

Learning Standard 7

Students of modern and classical languages will use the target language to reinforce and expand their knowledge of other disciplines and to acquire new information and knowledge. In classical language study, discussion and presentations will be in English.

Proficiency Level

Learning Standard Components
*applies to classical language learning

Stage 1:

at the end of

  • grade 4 in a PreK-4 sequence
  • grade 8 in a 6-8 sequence
  • grade 10 in a 8-10 sequence

Using selected words, phrases, and expressions with no major repeated patterns of error, students will

  1. Obtain information and knowledge related to other disciplines from sources in the target language*

Examples of this include:
  • obtaining geographical information from printed maps and travel guides or Internet resources in the target language and using this information to achieve the learning standards from the Geography Strand of the History and Social Science Framework
  • reading age-appropriate authentic fiction and nonfiction from the target culture and analyzing it using the learning standards from the Literature Strand of the English Language Arts Framework
  • collecting data and graphing results in the target language in order to achieve the learning standards of the Patterns, Functions, and Relations Strand of the Mathematics Framework

Stage 2:

at the end of

  • grade 8 in a PreK-8 sequence
  • grade 10 in a 6-10 sequence

Using sentences and strings of sentences, and recombinations of learned words, phrases, and expressions, with frequency of errors proportionate to the complexity of the communicative task, students will

  1. A. Obtain information and knowledge related to other disciplines from sources in the target language*

Examples of this include:

  • obtaining political and economic information from newspapers, other print sources, and interactive CD roms in the target language and using this information to achieve the learning standards of the Civics and Government and Economics Strands of the History and Social Science Framework
  • gathering demographic information from the target culture and applying the learning standards from the Statistics and Probability Strand of the Mathematics Framework to its analysis
  • learning song lyrics written in the target language and applying the learning standards of the Music Strand of the Arts Framework when singing and the Language Strand of the English Language Arts Framework when discussing the meaning of the lyrics

Stage 3:

at the end of

  • grade 10 in a PreK-10 sequence
  • grade 12 in a 6- 12 sequence

Using sentences and strings of sentences, fluid sentence-length and paragraph-length messages, in the target language, with frequency of errors proportionate to the complexity of the communicative task, students will

  1. Obtain information and knowledge related to other disciplines from sources in the target language*

Examples of this include:

  • collaborating by e-mail with students in the target culture to collect data on ecosystems, and using this knowledge in achieving the learning standards of the Domains of Science: Life Sciences Strand of the Science and Technology Framework
  • comparing examples of literary criticism in the target language and English and applying the learning standards of the Literature Strand of the English Language Arts Framework
  • studying videotapes of contemporary and folk dance choreography from the target culture and analyzing them using the learning standards of the Dance Strand of the Arts Framework and the Personal and Physical Health Strand of the Health Curriculum Framework

Stage 4:

at the end of

  • grade 12 in a PreK- 12 sequence

Using sentences and strings of sentences, fluid sentence-length and paragraph-length messages, with frequency of errors proportionate to the complexity of the communicative task, students will

  1. Obtain information and knowledge related to other disciplines from sources in the target language*

Examples of this include:

  • analyzing depictions of mythology by applying the learning standards of the History Strand of the History and Social Science Framework and the Literature Strand of the English Language Arts Framework
  • learning technical vocabulary in the target language to explain a design project when applying the learning standards of the Technology Strand of the Science and Technology Framework
  • researching examples of cultural encounters in history by reading primary source documents from the target culture and analyzing them by using the learning standards of the History Strand of the History and Social Science Framework


Connections: Sample Stage 1 Learning Scenario

Nutrition in Japan

Strand/Standard: Connections, Learning Standard 7
Grade Level: PreK-4, Japanese
Assessment Criteria:

Use Stage 1 Proficiency to:

  • Obtain information and knowledge related to other disciplines from sources in the target language
Activity summary: Using a variety of materials, such as textbook presentations, information from the Internet, cultural materials, or books such as El Primer Halloween de Clifford, and El Espiritu de Tío Fernando, students learn the vocabulary pertinent to the American holiday of Halloween and the Hispanic celebration of el Día de los Muertos. Students then compare and contrast the two celebrations and explain the meanings and origins of words, phrases, images, and practices.
Materials needed: Resources on the Day of the Dead: books, articles, web sites, dictionaries, documentary films, etc.
How students work: In pairs or small groups of up to four students


Connections: Sample Stage 4 Learning Scenario

Nutrition in Japan

Strand/Standard: Connections, Learning Standard 7
Grade Level: Grades 11 - 12, French
Assessment Criteria:

Use Stage 4 Proficiency to

  • Obtain information and knowledge related to other disciplines from sources in the target language
Activity summary: Students read Balzac's EugÉnie Grandet or Le Père Goriot and compare these to works in English such as Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol, or George Eliot's Silas Marner. Students discuss the plots, the main characters, settings, and themes. Finally, each group presents its findings to the class by first outlining the stories and then analyzing the similarities and differences in the authors' use of archetypes.
Materials needed: Texts
How students work: In groups




Last Updated: January 1, 1999
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