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Language Expectations

Expectations for Language:

The expectations for students learning Spanish as a second language who complete the K-6 sequence are to attain the Novice-Mid to Novice-High level as described in the Proficiency Guidelines of the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL).  At a Novice-Mid to Novice-High level, the students are able to engage in simple conversations, speak and write short sentences, and read and understand brief text. 

Language Expectations from a 4th Grade student in a FLES (Foreign Language in Elementary School) program:
I am in the Novice range. I understand much more than I can say. I understand almost everything my teacher says during class, and I understand my classmates. I can understand short sentences with words that I have seen many times, but I need for the teacher to repeat often and use lots of pictures.  If you ask me questions, I might pause to think of words to say. I might answer you in a sentence, but more likely it will be a few words or a list that I have memorized. Sometimes I can add a word or phrase to memorized sentences, but I am not very accurate when I try to express my own meaning. If you ask me unfamiliar questions, I will probably not say anything or I will speak to you in English. I can retell a simple story that uses vocabulary that I have practiced many times. ((Description based on ACTFL Performance Guidelines for K-12 Learners, 2012)      

I will be able to:

  • Ask a few memorized questions.
  • Follow routine classroom directions by my teacher.
  • Recognize familiar keywords or phrases when I listen to my teacher read short stories.
  • Recognize a few keywords or phrases in written passages with familiar vocabulary.
  • Read aloud simple words and sentences that use familiar vocabulary.
  • Retell a simple story.
  • Recite common sequences such as the alphabet, numbers, days of the weeks and months of the year.
  • Sing songs and recite rhymes with my classmates to learn and practice vocabulary.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of cultural traditions and geography of Spanish-speaking countries.                   

Passport to Spanish Curriculum:

Students will participate in an original FLES curriculum that supports the core content at each grade level and is aligned with Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills and National Foreign Language Standards. Instruction is proficiency-oriented with teachers placing greater emphasis on meaningful communication than grammatical structure. Teachers and students use the target language as much as possible - often 90 percent of the time - so that students will first understand and then produce in the language. The curriculum has a spiral design enabling greater detail, rigor and breadth to be added each subsequent school year.

Foreign Language Standards: 

All elementary Spanish classes are based upon the five C’s of language learning and the Modes of Communication. The five C’s are:

  • Communication
  • Cultures
  • Comparisons
  • Connections
  • Communities
The Modes of Communication are: 
  • Presentational
  • Interpretive
  • Interpersonal  
These goals were developed through the collaborative effort of the U.S. Department of Education and the American Council of the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL). Additionally, the State of Texas has adopted new Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) for Spanish that follows the Modes of Communication. There are no specific elementary Spanish TEKS, so Highland Park is aligning and adapting the elementary Spanish curricula to the TEKS established for high school.