Curriculum – 6

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68 thoughts on “Curriculum – 6”

      1. Claire, are you questioning the use of high-frequency vocabulary, or questioning writing it into a curriculum document? How do you feel about those “Super 7” concepts?

        I think it’s a non-negotiable for almost every teacher here at a public school to have, at LEAST, concrete examples of what will be “learned” (edubabble, not SLA term). The S&S you have should accompany whatever that other document is. Would most schools accept the S&S by itself?

        1. Here is what you said:

          …I think it’s a non-negotiable for almost every teacher here at a public school to have, at LEAST, concrete examples of what will be “learned” (edubabble, not SLA term). The S&S you have should accompany whatever that other document is. Would most schools accept the S&S by itself?….

          Here is what I am saying:

          …HFW or targets are just a tool to get at communication through stories. We can’t tie ourselves down to HFWs. We need to work on communication. Targetless instruction is ideal. We can do it. On this topic we are like the elephant so long tied to the stake (HFW) that his tamer after awhile doesn’t even have to tie the elephant to the stake – he won’t move.

          Now I know that is not a popular position. Good. One of my biggest mentors Diana Noonan will come after me with a fly swatter for saying the above. I don’t care. It’s where I am going.

          Targetless instruction. Targetless assessments. Targetless curriculum.

          We need to move this discussion over to the Forum. I’ll set that up. Even if Claire and I are the only two people on the planet thinking this way, it won’t change my mind. In my years I see very deeply now into schools and the deeper I see the scarier and more dangerous it gets. A horrible dark matrix that destroys kids’ hope in themselves. Why? Because we can’t embrace targetless instruction. What?

          1. Steven Ordiano

            Really? People are afraid of going targetless? Huh?

            Concretely, it can be skills. Non verbal Turn-taking skills of communication, Responding to comprehension checks both whole class and individual etc… I feel that a curriculum are the skills we teach not necessarily the “WHAT”. The sky’s the limit.

            Not all the students know “how” to participate in communication. Of course, it needs to be age-appropriate but there are major foundations that need to be taught.

          2. (without targets)” The sky’s the limit.”

            Steven, will you be my best friend forever?

          3. Thanks, Ben. I hear a lot of people on the blog are ready to go in this direction: Cherie, jen, Alisa, Steven, we are fearless right now!

            My document has been acceptable to my administrators, even though my program is much more highly scrutinized (with high-stakes testing, my boss knows he has to have a killer ESL program or he risks his job). If I can get my boss on board, anyone can.

            I think it is even MORE powerful because it does not have any targets, wordlists, or grammar to cover. If administrators want to know “what” were going to study next, I chose to point to the ideas in Ben’s Conversation with a Principal post. We don’t know what they are going to learn next, but we hold them to a higher standard: real communication. Incidental vocabulary acquisition is MORE powerful than memorizing wordlists.

            My curriculum documents intentionally do not include wordlists of ANY kind because that’s what research tells us is the best, most Natural Approach. A wordlist-less curriculum supports me because it aligns and helps back up my instruction and assessment.

            Choosing not to use discrete points of language in my curriculum helps when I explain the following to administrators about my instruction:

            1. I chose not to teach discrete points of language so I don’t use a textbook. I have taught for 9 years, my whole career, without a textbook and my kids are doing fine. …oh and here are my portfolios to prove it.

            2. I chose not to teach discrete points of language so I can create compelling stories through acting, drawing, or one word responses is MORE directly related to the communicative-competencies that we should be teaching.

            And the following about assessment…
            3. I chose not to test discrete points of language because my kids don’t “learn” but rather acquire language subconsciously and though I use words I know will be helpful, I don’t penalize them on tests if they haven’t memorized MY wordlist.

            4. I chose not to test discrete points of language and I chose to use rubrics that notice how kids respond to language (even if it’s hard to see like just sitting up straight and paying attention) because these are MORE authentic assessments. Quizzes over wordlists are not a functional measure of COMMUNICATION.

            That’s how curriculuar alignment happens: I use my communicative curriculum (no wordlists, only measures of communication) to align my communicative instruction and communicative assessment.

            Communication is featured in every portion of my S&S which sends the message that the old way of “learning” wordlists or grammar or learning about language is dead.

            Lance asked “Would most schools accept the S&S by itself?” I ask: what school would not listen to me? I am smart, well-informed and consistent, and if my principal ignores me, I keep emailing them the research and data until they stop ignoring me and accept me for the expert I am. I’m documenting, being honest, not playing games, pandering, or presenting faux-curriculum.

            I also ask: what if I don’t even try? What if I cop out and play along and nothing changes and TPRS stays forever on the fringes of foreign language, never mainstream?

            Attuning and responding to communicative language (both verbally and nonverbally) is all that I chose to including in my Scope and Sequence. I’m hardcore. I don’t apologize for it because there are too many kids at stake.

            People here seem to be responding to this message because they are tired of apologizing for being BETTER informed and using BETTER researched methods with BETTER results. We are tired of being marginalized and want to take what is ours. If we don’t have more TPRS Teachers of the Year next year, I will be shocked. We are chosing to use a curriculum document that states HONESTLY—not faux curriculum or wordlists or any such nonsense—but an HONEST document that shows how communicative our classrooms really are.

            We are hot, get out of our way. We don’t want your number–or wordlist.

          4. “oh and here are my portfolios to prove it.”

            OK I am also beginning to see that portfolios do not have to be very time-consuming at all. In fact, it could just be a folder or a digital portfolio (I am really interested in the Snapfolio app – with no other work involved until we need to pull a few representative kids’ work and assess it to show the results of our teaching. Claire is that valid?
            Like I said I turn slowly. I am so very committed to no planning and lots of free time for teachers to charge their emotional batteries that it took me a while to come around to the idea of portfolio = container. And maybe we assess as needed, and spot check from time to time?
            This is new for me so I reserve the right to change my mind LOL. 😉

          5. Steven Ordiano

            Tina, that app seems cool. As long as it is customizable. I’m not old school paper and pencil guy but the main reason i like tech is to reduce all that paper. I am so disorganized with paper. I looked at the video and it can organize everything. It can be used to show progress periodically.

            When I think summative assessment, I think of looking back on the semester or year.

            So, what is the ideal “summative” assessment? I am in my last days of the school year and I have not designed my “final.”

          6. I am having the kids make videos of the stories we created with the Invisibles. They are using an animation program and narrating. The last week of school we will have a film festival.

          7. Which program did you choose? Although I’m sure I’ll lose this post in the lineup by the time you answer!!

          8. It is customizable. I think…the “Confer” app from the same guy is. I bought my first iPad just to use Confer! And I am not a techy person in the classroom either. I am just not organized enough on the fly, to keep all those papers.

          9. Steven Ordiano

            You’re on fire Claire. I’ve heard of an ESL teacher who refused to have his (or her) students take a high-stakes test saying that it would damage them because they are not ready.

            What happened? The teacher got fired. Then was asked to come back because he was right all along.

          10. We think we are off-the-charts just because we are not following a grammar-based syllabus. But then we tie ourselves to a word-based syllabus! We need to tie ourselves to a heart-based, student-based, communication-based, creativity-based syllabus. We teach language. It is all communication, all connecting. That is what language does. Math, it counts. Science, it explores. Language, it connects people.

  1. Here is another thing:

    …a S & S with clear descriptions of communicative behaviors or performances can be completely acceptable to administrators, IF w are able to realize that we are not tied to the stake….

    1. There ARE NOT ANY WORDS LISTED in ACTFL Standards. Just saying, even the most curmudgeonly admin who takes standards documents to read in bed each night before turning out the light would be hard-pressed to find any need for wordlists in ATLFL’s materials.

      I am little bit fried these days and doing a lotta lotta thinking and learning and growing, but all I know right now is that teaching is HARD work and anything to help us lighten our loads is welcomed by me. And getting rid of the target words is a way to lighten our loads.

      It took me a long time to see this! It was hard work to come to realize that we could untarget from the first weeks of school. I even posted all about HF words here. At LENGTH. But I have seen the lightness and freedom, the creativity and humor and warmth and joy that can be more easily accessed with an untargeted approach.

      Hey, I do NOT mean to suggest that targets do not lead to fun or good or enjoyable or effective stories. I know they can, because I worked with them for years and lots of laughs were had. Lots of language was acquired too. But I have 20 more years at least before I retire, and I want to be in it for the long haul. ANYTHING that makes that haul easier for me and the students. And this is a big thing, getting off that tether. NO ONE is keeping us there, but US.

      A funny think happened on the way to the Forum. A Taurus came to see something differently.

      1. Thanks, Tina. Yeah, when even ACTFL acknowledges that you have to have measurable performances that show how kids can communicate, not mere wordlists… when even those dummies get that, it’s pretty obvious, right?

        1. We only think we need those lists. WE CANNOT TALK WITHOUT THOSE WORDS. They are high frequency for a reason. We only think that we need to think about the words we use, because we have seen, experienced, and many of us have also practiced the other way of teaching.

          We have a deep-seated conception of what our jobs are, on an unconscious level, based on years of exposure to grammar-based and vocabulary-based classes. It is like racism. It is part of the fabric of our unconscious minds, even if we actively try to fight it, it is there. It colors our every thought, and we do not even know it is there. It harms us all, it ties us to wrong thinking. But still it is there and it is HARD and UNCOMFORTABLE work to confront it and admit it is there.

          Well, even within the most die-hard CI teacher there is a grammarian jumping up and down like the Grinch. We have to UNLEARN our racist conditioning (If you do not think it is within you, you have not taken the first step. It is THERE.) and we need to UNLEARN our teacher conditioning. It is not always happy work or easy work in either case. But both are a step in bringing a better world to fruition for the future.

          I believe that each decade and century takes a while to find itself. Like 1990, 1991, it was still totally 80s. I think that NOW, in 2016, right here, the 21st century of language education is taking shape. Maybe that sounds like hubris to you. That is OK. Revolutions must have hubris, chutzpah, spine.

          Write it in your memory books, because this is a time right here. We are watching the profession turn over a new century. Centuries turn slowly.

          1. Steven Ordiano

            I’m feelin’ those good vibes, Tina. I feel like I’m in college again planning the take over of the ivory tower, the admin building MRAK at UCD in an attempt to unionize the food service workers there.

            I was featured twice on the front page of the newspaper. I had to pay the paper for a printed photo but they never sent me one. I wanted it framed.

          2. My mom lives very near Cesar Chavez’ boyhood home in San Jose. I am so proud of you for your strength and courage. Unionize the workers. And bring that energy to this work. Si se puede.

      2. Steven Ordiano

        My first year = no curriculum

        Then came the targets. Then came the targetless. I big win for me and my students.

        The thing is I don’t even know my HFW consciously. I say them unconsciously.

          1. Steven Ordiano

            Thanks you two. I’m just trying to see where this work can take me. I also teach in a very good environment with support from admin and parents.

        1. Steven is expressing something here that is very important and aligned with Claire’s position, which I fully support:

          My first year = no curriculum

          Then came the targets. Then came the targetless. [A] big win for me and my students.

          The thing is I don’t even know my HFW consciously. I say them unconsciously.

        1. Well then you talk, and when you talk, what words come out the most? High-frequency words. You think I am advocating for us to converse like this:

          Esteemed learners, cherished pupils, the juncture at which we find ourselves at this momentous moment in time necessitates that we deploy a challenge, an obstacle, a conflict, a problem. Racking the depths of your intellects, please inform me through an oration, whatever could that obstacle be?


          Prolly more likely we would say: Class, he has a secret problem. What is his secret?


          You know what I am saying…we need to make sure the kids are with us, for sure! And we will do that through HF language. But tethering our minds to a word list is just too much for us to do and still have creativity to tell an interesting tale and the emotional energy to connect with the kids. I seriously think it can be done.

          1. Tina, you are right. HFW are more frequent so they come up more, and no one is advocating talking like that, but if I didn’t know you, that post would have seemed super condescending. HFW are more frequent, but if WE don’t focus on them they might not come up, just ask anyone who has taught the parts of a car or talking about spraining your ankle in the TL from the textbook. ???? I don’t think we can afford to not focus on the most frequent words especially verbs. Especially in Foreign language, in second language students will get a ton more exposure to input in the TL because they live in a country that speaks that language. My kids really only get exposure to Spanish during my class time. I have to really make sure I optimize that precious time with them. Maybe I don’t do it in stories, maybe I do it in verb slam, or in TPR, or something else maybe it’s in my readings, but I believe (and research that I have read supports this) I have to ensure my students can cope in any TL situation. And to me that means really nailing down those HFWs. Just my opinion.
            P.S. I am glad I know you and know that you were just being facetious. ???? But I would like to take a moment to say how ironic it is that we advocate for human interaction/connection but do our communicating via tech.

          2. Steven Ordiano

            Russ part of this work is letting go. If we become conscious of hfw while storytelling or storyasking, we can possibly limit our potential, personalization and power to reach students. I have a sheet of 200 HFW words by my desk. Sometimes, I stop and look and check off what I believe that I have used immensely. And some get circled with a pen because I know that I would like to use them but in the end its about was matters in the present like when my super star is eating snap peas and sharing them. Do I choose “give” or do I use “share”? Im not going to over think it or even check my list and loose flow. In the moment im choosing “share” because it is powerful and personal. They can get “give” in a reading. My list probably does not include “peas” or expressions of joy or drama. Meaningful messages over lists. My two cents.

          3. Steven Ordiano

            Unintentionally, HFWs are getting checked off with my targetless instruction this includes MT, story asking, and PQA.

          4. Russ said:

            …I don’t think we can afford to not focus on the most frequent words especially verbs….

            I happen to know the history with Tina on this. She used to think that way but no longer does.

            This is great, Russ. This is very good stuff. We all decide in the end what we do. When I visit you guys in Portland this summer, I will show you both targeted and untargeted. Both have their advantages. We can do both in our classrooms. I do. We can do one, and then the other. Or not. Our kids are the beneficiaries. It’s all good. It is the nature of public discourse that a statement like Tina’s might sound condescending, but I feel it is not. This is exciting. We get to differ and still like each other and not feel pressured to do any one thing. That right there is a victory of sorts.

          5. I agree and I know she didn’t mean it that way but it’s easy to take things the wrong way when, to quote Claire, we use decontextualized language.

          6. I wish I could take credit for that fancy-pants word, but “decontextualized language ” was me quoting a huge bilingual education researcher, Jim Cummins.

            Wasn’t that chart awesome, though. I’m going to start planting links all over the place to it. It’s that cool.

            Research that you didn’t know exists supports what Ben’s been saying for years: no problem-solving, wrong/right. Only creative, compelling storytelling.

          7. …targeted and untargeted. Both have their advantages. We can do both in our classrooms. I do. We can do one, and then the other. Or not. Our kids are the beneficiaries. It’s all good.

            This is exciting to me! Especially since I wasn’t getting that feeling from the exchanges on here. I am still on the fence about all this for my kids in my classes. My first and third periods practically don’t need me at all they guide the instruction. My fifth and seventh periods can literally PQA ask day every day. But fourth and sixth right now they need a script and a guiding hand. I was worried that I move to non-targets those kids would not benefit because we would almost never do a story. Always bailing out. So this is all great news to me!

          8. Russ so glad to get that clear. When we say that one thing is great, in old school parlance that meant that something else thus had to be not great. It’s an old way of thinking. People here still want to argue the merits of one over another but all that is is intellectual gymnastics to show off how smart one is. Now, in TPRS, we keep thinking up new things but they don’t discredit something else. It seems like CI is such a giving tree that most everything we try works! I used story scripts for 15 years before happening on the Invisibles’s serendipitous combination of things. I will continue to use scripts especially because Anne is coming out with Vol 3 this summer and I know that Jim is working on am updated second edition of his scripts. I’m not crazy! This summer Tina and I will tell you what we went through on this, the testing the new idea went through in Rita Barrett’s and other Portlandia CI teachers.

          9. Steven Ordiano

            ” It seems like CI is such a giving tree that most everything we try works!”

            THis reminds me when my wife and I were in Mexico. Our daughter was 1 at the the time. Her first fruit (and food) were guavas. All from the same tree, we would pick greener ones for my wife, almost ripe for me and ripe for our daughter. All from the same tree.

          10. Russ I am glad to know you too! If you could have seen the smile on my face as I pondered speaking to my cherished pupils like that, you would have known that it was all about me being a weirdo. But wait, you know me, you know I am weird. So all good.

          11. Yeah totally all good no worries it just struck me that we focus so much on communication and I feel like we are missing something on the threads sometimes.

          12. “But tethering our minds to a word list is just too much for us to do and still have creativity to tell an interesting tale and the emotional energy to connect with the kids. I seriously think it can be done.”

            Unless you aren’t highly proficient in the language you’re teaching.

            The only languages I’ve taught are ones I don’t know well enough to just talk (without guidance from a list of words I could choose to use and talk about things the kids like). Actually, that is the case for 99% of the Latin teachers teaching communicatively.

            Is the PLC opposed to this, or are they opposed to writing lists into curricula?

            If the PLC is opposed to teaching with that reference, are my students’ experiences invalid? Was the writing and understanding ability of those kids learning Spanish with me not good enough? These are big ideas and thoughts.

          13. …these are big ideas and thoughts….

            I want to keep guiding this discussion into what we can do to make kids feel better about their language learning experiences, Lance. If we can keep the discussion always there, I would appreciate it. If you pull the discussion back into the mind and continued obfuscation, I will oppose that. There is much more at stake in this discussion than who may be right or wrong about some oft-bandied about point about assessment, etc. What is at stake is the confidence of children in our classrooms. I’m going keep pulling this discussion to the kids. Count on it.

          14. …unless you aren’t highly proficient in the language you’re teaching….

            Except in certain cases, why would a person be doing this?

          15. Because it’s better for the kids than what we were doing before.

            A low-proficient speaker with good pedagogy will be more effective than a high-proficient speaker with bad pedagogy. The difference is that the former needs support.

            I don’t know if you realize that one of those “certain cases” represents the entire group of Latin teachers here in the PLC as well as others who surprised all at NTPRS as the fastest growing language to embrace CI! I just want to be clear, like what Alisa mentioned, on what the purpose and audience is, to know what ideas are welcome here, now.

          16. “to know what ideas are welcome here, now.”

            Ben seems to welcome any ideas that encourage good mental health for teachers and children.

          17. I also would like to know. I have been following but haven’t read the entire assessment thread, so if there is a single primer or two I should read before commenting I would like to know what it is. When I’m learning I tend to ask questions based on my own experience and what I don’t understand, and I don’t want to upset the goal here by doing so. It’s not clear to me what is overly “intellectual” for this discussion and what is “best for kids”.

          18. Jim, I agree, thinks can get confusing. We’re covering the basics of assessment and curriculum in just a few weeks. Please don’t worry that you will “upset the goal” by asking questions. Saying valid ideas just wouldn’t fly or trying to be subversive to the discussion is never something people want to see, but honest questioning of our practices is always welcome.

            I think Ben’s vision as he’s expressed here is to simplify. Not give in to the demand for targets, themes, grammar, or even high-frequency wordlists. Not without a proper fight.

            He’s spoken out against over-intellectualized debates because that’s how abusive curriculum starts. Each teacher wants to outshine the next and look better than the next with a more detailed curriculum than the person sitting next to them. In the meantime, kids get left behind. Curriculum should be built around what we determine is best for kids.

            We need a healthy, respectful discussion about what curriculum should look like. However, we can’t cast a shadow of a doubt on the pivotal role curriculum and authentic assessment play in protecting our kids. In my experience, their mental health is a prerequisite to my own. We can’t watch children suffer through misaligned, antiquated curriculum and abusive tests any more. We have different capacities and limitations to how much we can do in our buildings, but we must all chip in ideas on how to make things better and get a real revolution started because it’s desperately needed.

            So I say, let’s trust Ben’s judgement on this. He’s fought through rough patches and misunderstandings before, but he keeps the discussion focused because BEN LOVES KIDS. People who don’t agree leave and people who love his vision come to stay. I’m here to stay… and so are child-focused curriculum and authentic assessment.

          19. …tethering our minds to a word list is just too much for us to do and still have creativity to tell an interesting tale and the emotional energy to connect with the kids….

            Most readers will not resonate with this. Many will feel uncomfortable and wish to reject the statement. But they cannot reject it without looking at it first, looking at this targeted vs. untargeted thing with educated, not opiniated eyes. Both work.

            There is no down side to this discussion. No person can assert their intellectual will on another person here and tell them how to do it. It is a win-win. We discuss and we learn and our kids are the real winners.

            As professionals, our responsibility is to know what options are out there for us and our kids. We can then each make our own decisions about how we want to interpret what we learn about teaching. It’s the ignorance that hurts our kids, the lack of choices, the continued belief that there is only one way to do things.

            Indeed, there is no right way to do this work. But there is a right way to change things. That is by making challenging statements like Tina’s above. Each of us gets to make our own decision about what we want to do.

            When we don’t look thoroughly at all the options, then we are not doing our jobs properly, which is to protect and help children as the grow up in a world that is at the current time using a kind of tunnel vision labeling, branding, distancing, marginalizing and excluding of most language kids from a potentially much better language learning experience.

  2. Let me know when this moves to the Forum.

    Has anyone considered how NEASC (or other accrediting organizations) would view a targetless curriculum document? I was on the Assessment Committee (not the Curriculum Committee) when one of my school’s went through the reaccreditation process, but I did have to rewrite the curricula using a specific template. I can say with certainty that a targetless format would not fly in place of what schools must have on file.

    I don’t consider organizing a curriculum around high frequency words the same as targeting a specific structure (phrase) for students to learn. “Use these 5 verbs in anyway necessary for genuine communication” is different from “teach the following 5 phrases (I am, says to her, likes to walk, goes out, wants coffee, etc.).”

    Is what DPS has now, or what I wrote really antithetical to going targetless within a school system? If there is a range to how extreme curricula are, the DPS world list is pretty far out there vs. what schools have now. The S&S without a list of words is beyond that.

    Help me understand this, please?

    1. “I can say with certainty that a targetless format would not fly in place of what schools must have on file.”

      With “certainty?” Can you be certain though? You said the document you presented was “hot off the press” and untested. You haven’t presented your curriculum to administration; I have. I appreciate that you are cautious, but may of us are ready to move away from wordlists. Why discourage us from trying?

      “The S&S without a list of words is beyond that.”
      Yes, it is intentionally for all the reasons I list above. Lance, it sounds like you just don’t like what I have to say, and that’s fine. If you have more specific questions besides “it’s just not going to fly” please ask and I’ll be glad to “help you understand.” Otherwise, we may just have to disagree on this. I will not be adding wordlists to my curriculum, which has already been implemented in my building.

      1. OK, fair enough. My terms are getting mixed up. Listless, not targetless (I don’t consider lists targeting in the sense we’ve been using the word “targeting.” Has that changed?). I should amend my comment to be that the listless format would not fly in “some to many schools,” or at least just “the schools I’ve worked in so far.”

        My curriculum document is untested, true, but I’ve checked the boxes that have had to be checked in my experience with what I’ve had to create. All I can say, is Kudos! because your S&S would not satisfy at least NEASC at at least my school, and Jen’s (per comment below). Maybe mine wouldn’t work for Jen, either. I just think the message that “this works for Claire so we should all adopt it without discussion” is unwise. I wouldn’t take anything too personal, here. Next point…

        “Lance, it sounds like you just don’t like what I have to say”

        I’m peering quizzically into the screen right now. I’ve been having trouble communicating with people here lately. I’m not sure why, although it could have something to do with the breakneck speed of things moving along, and missed definitions/discussions. Maybe I’ve been left in the dust, so my ideas are dismissed as old news.

        Practical questions, in light of knowing you’ve been using the S&S in school for some time, would be…

        … how did you get your building to OK your S&S?
        …has your accrediting organization (not NEASC, right?) come through since then
        …do other curricula share a format, or is each department free to do as they wish?

        A follow up:

        Have we moved beyond the “shelter vocabulary, unshelter grammar” mantra? If not, how does one shelter vocabulary without a list of words to focus on? Is it that once class begins and you’ve used 3 new phrases you stop then and there? That is the sheltering but we use any words we need?

        1. NEASC is not a thing here. Here in Tennessee, teachers in all subjects design curriculum, and it is our responsibility to inform ourselves and build the most best curriculum possible. I’m sorry that at your school you did not have the freedom to design appropriate curriculum. Perhaps the discussion here will help set a precedent for educators like you and jen in this unfortunate situation.

          “I just think the message that “this works for Claire so we should all adopt it without discussion” is unwise. I wouldn’t take anything too personal, here. Next point…”

          That’s unfair. I’m just trying to help. At least you acknowledge this could be taken personally. I’ll try not to though, Lance.

    2. Maybe it would help to look at these WIDA standards. You have to scroll way down to get to the actual standards. There are no language targets here, just language use. I have not had any time to really look through these but I think that you could use these to get your head around how an admin-approved and standards-based curriculum document might begin. Also ACTFL standards have no wordlists.

      “Can Do Statements” for 6-8

      Standards 6-12

      Also I am curious to see that specific template if you have it. I went to the New England accreditation folks and did not see it. Thanks!

  3. Thank you for bringing this up Lance. NEASC is making us use the same templates. It’s very hard core. At the beginning of the year when we were meeting initially to discuss templates and get everyone on board, I was bold enough to ask “Can I find another template that is more relevant to language acquisition?” and was instantly shot down with a big ole “NO. They have to be all the same templates.”

    Back then I did not think to ask “Can you show me the research behind that?”

  4. Alisa Shapiro

    Middle daughter peacemaker disclaimer:

    There’s nothing wrong with utilizing HFW lists in our instruction. Experienced colleagues may not need such a list anymore to inform their instruction, as their repeated experience has taught them that over time, these HFWs pop up on their own, so they have confidence in their own practice.
    However, some of our folks are forced to list the HFWs in their documentation because their robotic bureaucrats are addicted to such details – and earn/prove their keep in these infinitesimal details. We try to impress upon them how this is practice is ill-fitting for our domain, but sometimes their Excel-columned brain just can’t absorb that reality.
    I make mention of some of the HFVerbs in my “report card” in order to educate the parents – all our documentation IMO is an opportunity to educate stakeholders and not just a perfunctory chunk of text.
    I guess we need to be absolutely clear about the purpose of and audience for our S & S & curriculum docs. And our non-negotiable constraints. If your district allows or can be convinced of ‘no target’s’ in their docs, great. This enlightened policy reinforces our message of communication and meaning over slicing/ dicing & fragmenting language, and unshackles us from teaching ‘structures’ in any particular order (true to Natural Order Hypothesis).
    If not, while unfortunate, we list the HFWs or embed a link to a Davies list, and mention how we employ the highest frequency words in multiple contexts for greatest coverage (link to Paul Nation study).

    1. Blessed are the peacemakers, Alisa.

      Unshackling was my intention, and I’m glad you see it that way. I agree, do what you have to do to stay in your classroom using TPRS, even if it means turning in curriculum maps. Alisa, your curriculum documents that you were kind enough to share can be a great tool for people who must have curriculum written out in this way. Or lesson plans-some people have to turn those in. Tina’s are a great get around for lesson plans are that are actually communicative.

    2. And Alisa speaking for myself I completely agree but would like to see more of us go in and demand that admins change their thought patterns so that we can finally do what we do openly and freely and with full support in our buildings.

      There are two aspects of this HFW discussion, the one you raise above, where it is about listing the HFW because we have to but we don’t really think we need to. And the other one is where we list them because we think that really need them to be effective CI teachers.

      My guess is that that ratio even in our blog community is about 10:90. I’m fine with that. We all have our own opinions. I’ve never been in the majority on anything, except wanting Kevin Durant to win his first NBA ring.

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