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PBL and the New AP Curricula

PBL and the New AP Curricula

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PBL and the New AP French and German Curriculum Have you seen the new curriculum guides for AP French and German? Even if you teach another language, you should download one of these two guides and take a close look at what is in store for you! AP Spanish Literature and Culture, and AP Latin are slated for revision next year, with other tested languages to follow in time, I suspect. And even if those exams look somewhat different, you might be able to help your colleagues in French and German by becoming knowledgeable about them. You might also be thinking about ways to incorporate similar curricular objectives in your own language classes. Why am I so excited about this new curriculum? Wow! Where do I begin? Let me share four reasons for now: a) Firstly, I am very pleased to see that the curriculum guidelines are aligned to the new ACTFL WL 21st Century Skills Map document and the ACTFL Standards, commonly known as the 5 C's. You can get copies of these great documents at the ACTFL.org website, or check out my wikispaces site noted below. I would encourage you to get this document, read it several times, and become very familiar with it. I will be posting some discussion points relevant to the document very soon! b) Secondly, the new curriculum guide is entirely theme-based, lending itself very well for the PBL model of learning. The six themes selected for the French and German curricula are: Global Challenges, Science and Technology, Contemporary Life, Personal and Public Identities, Families and Communities and Beauty and Aesthetics. Cool topics, right?! I think the chosen themes will be very engaging for students because they are based on current global trends that intersect very well with our students' everyday lives. c) Thirdly, this thematic approach provides students with the opportunity to learn all those important 21st Century skills (collaboration, critical thinking, global awareness, creativity, cross-cultural communicative proficiencies...) as they create projects in which they show the results of their inquiry. As they investigate the concepts, with accompanying driving questions, they will have the opportunity to make video documentaries, photo montages, comic books, short stories - the possibilities of products are numerous! d) Lastly, the projects provide our students numerous opportunities for language acquisition over against language learning. Of course, they will learn the structural components of our languages, but not a a set of rules and lists devoid of context, but rather by engaging with the language in the ways we really uses them - in authentic culturally relevant situations, through audio and visual text, practicing listening, speaking, reading and writing as they do research and produce products based on their inquiry. How about you? Would you like to do some PBL as well? If you teach French, like I do, I would like to invite you to collaborate with me in creating a wiki of our joint inquiry into ways we can implement the new AP French curriculum guidelines. If you teach another language, you could set up your own wiki and post it in the comment space below to invite others to join you in doing the same. Here is the info about my wikispaces: 1) My general wikispace where you will find the ACTFL standards documents I cited earlier is this one: http://monsieurdoehla.wikispaces.com/ACTFL+Standards b) My wikispace for the AP French curriculum is this one: http://apfrenchplanningdmd.wikispaces.com/ I welcome your collaboration! Let's create some fun, cool projects together and help our students acquire 21st Century skills while also acquiring proficiency in the language they are studying! Cheers, Don

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Kim Ibara's picture
Kim Ibara
High School World Language teacher, Michigan

Hello Don!
I love your idea to get together and see what we can create for the new AP French curriculum. I teach French and Spanish, and although our French program is small I am committed to providing an opportunity for our French students to succeed on the AP exam. A PBL curriculum is something I would love to explore!

Don Doehla, MA, NBCT's picture
Don Doehla, MA, NBCT
2015 California Language Teacher of the Year, Co-Director Berkeley WL Project at UC Berkeley Language Center

Hi Kim - well, if you want to join in, you are welcome! Click on my wikispaces link above and join the team!


Kim's picture

Hi Don!
I am going to be teaching Spanish 1-2 next year at a middle school. I love the idea of PBL; however, I am unsure of how to do this with beginner-level students. Do you have any suggestions? I think it will help greatly with their language development but I don't know where to start! Thank you!

Don Doehla, MA, NBCT's picture
Don Doehla, MA, NBCT
2015 California Language Teacher of the Year, Co-Director Berkeley WL Project at UC Berkeley Language Center

We have a good group of people, and you are welcome to join in! Request to join the wikispace, and I will respond with a few more details. Thanks for the post!


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