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Analysis of Curriculum Document

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Part I: Description of Curriculum to Be Analyzed
What is the title of the document being analyzed? For what grade level was the material intended?
The title of the document is Spanish Level II.

Who developed the curriculum? Were teachers and parents involved? This curriculum was developed for Public Schools by teachers and content supervisors.

Part II: Organization and Content of the Curriculum Document
Organization of the Document The guide is organized with a foreword by our superintendent, that states that the purpose of the guide, strategies for success in using the guide, and the overall goals for the document. Also included is a graphic organizer that serves as a key of how to decipher what certain notations found throughout the document mean. Along in the front of the guide is a detailed outline of the relationships of Learning goals, expectations, indicators, objectives and assessment limits that are present throughout the guide.
The thematic units are as follows: Bridge and Unit 1: Let’s Have Fun and Family members and Friends Unit 2: Villages and Cities Unit 3: Your Body and Staying in Shape Unit 4: Memories Unit 5: Enjoy Your Meal Unit 6: The Environment

Each unit is divided into a unit overview, a scope and sequence, teacher resource pages, student resource pages, audio labs, sample lessons, activities to be used and unit assessments.
The detail and organization in which this document is laid out makes it very easy to use. Each lesson plan is numbered and includes the objective, alignment to the VSC, materials, motivation, transition to the procedures and personal connection, technology resources, assessment, follow-up activities, cross curricular connections, multiple intelligences and textbook and ancillary resources.

Based upon your review of the document does it appear to reflect a perennialist, essentialist, progressive, or reconstructionist perspective, or a combination of one or more of these perspectives? This curriculum reflects a blend of perennialism and essentialism. Due to the nature of this guide focusing on vocabulary development, grammar concepts and cultural traditions that have been present for centuries, it develops a perennialistic flavor. However there is a strong stress for high standards, focus on essential skills and definitely a promotion of reaching standards.

Specific Knowledge, Skills, and Understandings Included in the introduction of the guide is a list of Maryland Voluntary State Curriculum Standards and the American Council for Teaching Foreign Language (ACTFL) standards. There is also a very detailed list of BCPS goals, expectations, indicators, assessment limits and objectives that each unit encompasses.

Curriculum Design Dimensions In regards to scope, the authors felt that the most important information to include into the document were the topics and content that would add to what the students had previously learned in Spanish I, all while helping students develop their vocabulary and grammar in order to be able to listen, speak, read and write in the target language. The purpose of the concepts of the Spanish II curriculum is to have students develop adequate second language acquisition skills in the four ability areas and prepare them to take the more advanced third level of Spanish the following year and beyond thereafter. The belief of these particular curriculum writers is that curriculum should guide students in mastering key information, ideas, and fundamental skills to aid their trek throughout their study of Spanish. The content that the authors seemed to think was of most worth was the basic to slightly more advanced skills needed for communicating in Spanish. There is vocabulary and grammar that is built into this curriculum that adds to what was learned in Spanish I in order to develop their communication skills in all modes. Also, the focus on useful, daily life vocabulary is seen consistently throughout the pages of this curriculum guide which makes it more likely that students will be able to use it in real life situations. The grammar included in this guide reviews the present tense and teaches them to express themselves in the past as well as the future. The office of World Languages was very careful to incorporate relevant culture items throughout the units. The textbook that is used to accompany the level one curriculum focuses on different Spanish speaking countries and the Spanish II textbook that accompanies the level two curriculum focuses on Spanish speaking cities which many of the culture items on the unit assessments and final exam are based on. In each of the six units, teachers are provided with unit overviews and lesson seeds which include ideas for creating interactive cultural activities, vocabulary lessons and grammar lessons. Also, there is a sample lesson plan for each unit that includes all resource sheets for the lesson activities, and vocabulary clip art worksheets. The sequence of this curriculum seems to be chronological and builds on prior knowledge from level one. The curriculum starts with a bridge which reviews the previous year’s vocabulary, grammar and communication skills and moves forward to topics that will build on these concepts. This type of sequencing works really well for teaching and learning a second language. Students are constantly being asked to recall prior knowledge in order to build on new learning, which makes the concepts easier to understand. The vertical articulation design concepts that are produced in this curriculum guide are apparent as there is a definite relationship of what is presented prior to this course and to what is presented later in this course, as well as subsequent courses. Included in the guide, is the vocabulary and grammar that was covered in the previous level of Spanish so that teachers can anticipate what their students should have learned. Reappearance or revisiting important content and skills is necessary in any foreign language; there is a constant need to spiral prior knowledge in with new learning. According our course notebook, this is aligned with Bruner’s “spiral curriculum” concept, which is the application of the dimension of continuity. The horizontal articulation is present every unit and the cross curricular connections are very specific by subject area and topic based on what is covered in the unit. For example, in the first unit, the key concepts that students will be covering are: • Holidays • Vacation vocabulary • Family vocabulary • Likes and dislikes • House vocabulary • Plans and places • Nouns, adjectives, and gustar • Present tense of the regular and stem-changing verbs • Reflexive pronouns • Idioms with tener • Uses of ser and estar • Verbs followed by infinitive • Present progressive tense

The guide provides the following cross curricular connections for the first unit based on the key concepts listed above.

Math • Construct an Aztec Calendar.
Social Studies • Create a lesson involving map skills and geography of Mexico. • Research the relationship between Moctezuma II and Hernán Cortés.
• Research Mexican muralists and have students create a mural demonstrating their interests. • Create a calendar of a favorite month, using the culturally-correct order for the days of the week and visuals of appropriate holidays.
• Compare mariachi music to American bluegrass or old-time country music.

Each unit in the guide has these suggested connections and in a variety of subject areas.

Models It is evident that many of the development models were used in the creation of this Spanish II curriculum guide. It is clear that Hilda Taba’s model is present in the guide. Once the student’s needs and shortfalls in performance in the Spanish I and Spanish 3 curriculum were examined, appropriate objectives, content and activities were developed. Having worked as a member of the curriculum writing committee mostly made up of classroom teachers for the past 5 years, it is clear that our committee predominately uses Taba’s model to create this curricula. The guide also includes course objectives, rationale, characteristics of an intended audience, materials, schedule, rubrics and sequencing principles that are evident in Posner's Twelve Planning Elements in the course notebook. However, it is the Wiggins and McTighe model that is the most prevalent in the Spanish II curriculum guide. In this guide, desired results are identified through the use of considering content standards and the identified objectives. A range of assessments as well as scoring tools are used in this guide. Each lesson plan includes the design elements of where, hook, explore, rethink and evaluate.
The office of World Languages tells its teachers to “begin with the end in mind” when planning a lesson and a unit plan. Wiggins and McTighe believe that the most effective curriculum designs are done backwards. The three stages that they use in their Backward Design Process are the same ones that we use when writing curriculum in Baltimore County. In the course notebook, the WHERE process to plan learning experiences and instruction recommended by Wiggins and McTighe when planning lessons is very similar to what the office of World Languages asks it’s teachers to use. The terminology is slightly different but it all essentially means the same. For example, hook is what we refer to as our motivation or warm up, rethink is what we call individual practice where students apply what they have learned and of course there are always evaluative components throughout each lesson and unit. This method works for lessons and developing curriculum. Although a combination of models seems to have been used the Wiggins and McTighe model is the dominant model seen in the production of the lessons.

Major Learning Theories The application of all three major learning theories is evident in this curriculum guide. The Behaviorist learning theory is applied in this guide through practice and reinforcement, from simple concepts to complex, and all learning is measurable using the rubrics. The Cognitive learning theory is evident throughout the sample lessons, where learning involves new learning with prior learning and is achieved through active participation. Also, there are several components in each sample lesson that address multiple forms of intelligence, whole to part learning and shared learning among students which is also part of the Cognitive learning theory. This guide is designed to set forth clear goals, show models, and demonstrate how student performance needs to meet standards. The differentiated activities also show how the different learning styles are addressed. The Humanistic learning theory has only aspect covered in this guide and that is the one that states that students share ideas and work together and assist one another. While independent work and application is also valued in the language classroom, this approach is consistently used in daily lessons.

Differentiating Instruction Accommodations for students with specific special needs and ESOL students are not included in this guide. However, there is a reference and contact information for assistance for making specific Special Education accommodations pointed toward the Special Education office and the office of World Languages. There are no specific accommodations listed, but assistance is offered.

Multicultural or Diverse School Community Throughout the guide, there is discussion and timelines that show the history of Hispanic and Spanish culture in countries and cities and the history of important events. Because the Spanish language is spoken is 19 different countries, and even in a few cities in the United States, this guide can’t help but be appropriate for a multicultural and diverse school community. The ethnic backgrounds of Spanish speaking people is so diverse and the Hispanic population is rapidly growing in Maryland, therefore, the guide also address elements of Spanish in the “city” and in our own “backyard” This enable every student to be able to make a personal connection with their learning.

Learning Activities
There are learning activities suggested for students' learning in each unit of this guide. The lessons provided in each unit vary from vocabulary lessons, to grammar lessons and even reading lessons. The following is an example of a 90 minute vocabulary and grammar lesson that introduces professions and the regular future tense in Spanish.

See attached

These learning activities are appropriate for the students who will be learning from this curriculum and they will promote the learning outcomes desired for these students. Activities like this provide engagement and activities that will enable these students to be able to grasp the concepts presented. Many of the activities reflect the research provided by Robert Marzano referred to in our course afternoon. Throughout the guide students and teachers are involved in the activities of analyzing, concluding, comparing, homework and guided practice and cooperative learning.

Student Success with this Curriculum Student success is not defined specifically in this curriculum. I believe there are many ways to determine whether a student has met success in the acquisition of a second language. However, he only measurable success measure included in the curriculum guide are the county created unit assessments for each unit that include a 50 question selected response assessment that tests listening, vocabulary, grammar and culture. In addition, each unit also includes a speaking and a writing assessment. The speaking and writing unit assessments are carefully modeled after the speaking and writing tasks that they will be asked to perform on the College Board’ AP Spanish Language Exam and the SATs. While all students will not reach an AP level of Spanish, the World Languages Office along with its teachers has significantly increased the number of students enrolled in AP Language. As for the SATs, the majority of high school students take the SATs at least once before graduating from high school so modeling questions after this particular assessment seems to be helpful to the students. For each one of these assessments, there are detailed rubrics that are given to guide in the evaluation of student work.

Part III: Implementation of the Curriculum
Any teacher who is teaching the Spanish II curriculum will be extremely prepared and set up for success to teach these six units of study. Baltimore County bought a required text for each student along with all teacher ancillaries that accompany the text. They include a one stop planner, DVD tutor, audio program and a puzzle program to create puzzles with unit content. Also, teachers and students have access to the online website which includes an online textbook and all kinds of interactive activities. Since our county made such a large purchase, the publishing company of the accompanying text, threw an LCD projector for each middle and high school World Languages Department in BCPS that offers Spanish II at no charge. Because there are huge disparities between the technologies schools across the county have in their building, the World Languages office does what they can to help purchase technology that is going to enhance learning for schools that don’t have access to it at their expense.

Staff Development The Spanish II curriculum guide is so inclusive, following the format and guide should not be a problem for new teachers. Every year, new teachers are provided with a week of professional development that includes how to use the curriculum guide and how to implement it. During the August professional development day for all World Languages teachers, one of the sessions always models a lesson in the guide. Other ways to support new teachers is to provide them with additional professional development throughout the school year and also allow them to observe an experienced teacher deliver a sample lesson in their own building or in one close by. It is always beneficial to get an idea of the pace and flow of a particular concept and to get ideas from colleagues.

Concerns within the School or the Community This curriculum guide was just implemented last year and one of the biggest concerns we have heard is that the new curriculum is that teachers feel that it is too advanced and the concepts being taught are too difficult for level two. Any teacher who taught Spanish II with the previous curriculum guide knows that this new one is more rigorous and they have had to make personal adjustments to teach this content successfully. Challenging our students to do higher level thinking can only benefit them in the long run.

Consistency with Vision/Mission Statement This curriculum is mostly consistent with the vision and mission of Baltimore County Public Schools. The vision of the school system states that students will develop the knowledge, skills and attitudes to reach their potential as responsible, productive citizens in a global and multicultural society. The mission of Baltimore County Public Schools highlights the quality education that students will receive in order to develop their content knowledge, skills and attitudes. It also states that these skills will allow students to reach their maximum potential as life-long learners and productive citizens. With the use of this curriculum the students are developing their content knowledge, skills and attitudes towards different cultures and customs. Hopefully students will be engaged in the learning from this curriculum and their love of the Spanish language and culture will help them become life-long learners, open minded, productive citizens and perhaps even bilingual.

Part IV: Evaluation of the Curriculum Document
Teacher Input to the Document There are evaluation sheets at the end of each unit that is to be turned into the curricular office along with assessment data collection that include item analysis for each unit assessment. This is a direct line to let teachers express their thoughts, both good and bad, be voiced to those that were partly responsible for the document. Additionally, the office of World Languages takes this feedback to make revisions as needed over the summer.

Strengths and Weaknesses I believe that the document is outstanding. It is very well organized, very inclusive, very user friendly and provides suggestions for further exploration throughout the guide. The best part is that it is given to teachers on a CD so that they do not have to cart around a bulky 3 inch binder. Teachers can print out pages as needed and copy it onto their school computer as well as home computer in order to have access to it at all times.

Results of Prior Implementation Since this curriculum was just implemented during the 2009-2010 school year the only feedback was from six different schools whose teachers piloted the curriculum the previous school year and gave feedback to the office of World Language and the curriculum writers who were able to make revisions prior to fully implementing the guide. Teachers submit evaluation forms for each unit with feedback and unit assessment as well as final exam scores and item analysis. While there is no documentation in the guide itself, data is being collected and used to make revisions to the course.

Part V: Future Use of this Curriculum Analysis Process
Curriculum Analysis Process The curriculum analysis process was helpful in learning the Spanish II guide’s organization, lesson organization, unit outline, and technology connections. The ability to align the High School Goals and indicators appropriately to know which indicators they will be covering at each point of their units was also very helpful. This guide was written in the summer of 2008 and revised in 2009 before being implemented during the 2009-2010 school year. It is very well written and incorporates higher level thinking components throughout the units. As a Department Chair, this guide not only has helped me to improve instruction but also to focus on the taught curriculum within my department. This guide is extremely user friendly, so an AP can use this process to explore shortcomings in student and teacher achievement.

Simplifying the Curriculum Analysis Process This particular process is quite lengthy and would be cumbersome for many teachers to complete. Perhaps a guide sheet, checklist or an outline of valuable components would serve as a better tool for teachers. These would allow them to still take a look at the valuable parts of a total analysis and streamline it to meet their individual needs. Included in this form could also be a section to provided the writers with feedback on the curriculum, its concept delivery, assessments, etc that would encourage the continued evolution of guide development


Analysis of a Curriculum Document


July 13, 2010

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