Inside: How to create a CI curriculum. Curriculum planning for a year of comprehensible input Spanish 1, Spanish 2, Spanish 3 & Spanish 4, as well as weekly lesson plans.
Teaching Spanish with Comprehensible Input
How do I create a CI curriculum for all levels?
I have been working on my next year’s CI curriculum without a textbook and due to some requests, I thought I would do a pre-curriculum post explaining exactly how I planned it. As a disclaimer, remember I am the only World Language teacher in my entire district. A supportive administration trusts me as the Spanish expert and allows me complete freedom in my curriculum. I understand that this is rare, but hopefully, this will help you see some possibilities if you do get the chance to help create your own scope and sequence.
Also, please remember this has been a multi-year process and did not happen overnight. I just tried things out, failed on some attempts, had success with others. Then I tried again until I found what worked best for my students and me.
Here has been my curriculum journey.
year 1 – ancient textbook – I taught how I was taught
then year 2 – new textbook – I tried to spice it up with projects
Curriculum year 7, 8 & 9 – Refining curriculum with a few new novels. Back to Spanish 1-4
As a department of one, I also have to have a sustainable program for me to implement with four+ separate preps. For me personally, this means I can not do story units or special person interviews at all levels at the same time. It is too exhausting for me and I am prone to losing my voice.
Novels are my bread and butter because I have gotten them down. Since I have done all the prep work upfront, once we get rolling, I know I have a couple of weeks of a well-oiled comprehensible input novel machine. But, once again this is after four years of teaching with novels. I did the math and I have taught 53 full class novel units using 16 different novels. You can find all posts for these novels here or using the label novels. If you want to get started, check out Teaching a Novel 101 to help research, find funding, organize, plans teach, and assess your first novel.
Create a CI Curriculum – So where do you start if you are dabbling in comprehensible input and want to try something new?
Spanish 1 or 2 – create a CI curriculum
Super 7 Units – Depending on the previous knowledge of your students, I would start with a Super 7 Unit either present, either as a review or to introduce important words. You could even keep going with the Sweet 16 as well.
SOMOS 1/2 Units – Then I would do units from Martina Bex’s SOMOS curriculum. It was how I figured out skills like personalized questions, movie talk, story asking, and many other activities as well. She lays everything out great for a beginner.
Novels – If you are able to get funding for a class set of novels, I would start with El capibara con botas in Spanish 1. (after about unit 5 of SOMOS). If your Spanish 2 students have not yet read a novel, I would start with Brandon Brown quiere un perro or Tumba. If they have read a book, I would do Esperanza or Fiesta Fatal.
Sr. Wooly – These songs hook students in Spanish class and provide a nice break from always giving the input yourself.
Spanish 3 or 4 – create a CI curriculum
Super 7 Units – I would start the year with upper-level classes Super 7 Unit either imperfect or preterite, depending on your goals. It is a great class community builder and helps solidify important past tense words for future novels.
SOMOS 2 Units – If your upper level classes have not had much CI, I would do some of Martina Bex’s Somos 2 curriculum units. They will help build your skills and lay a foundation as well.
Novels – There is no such thing as too easy of a novel, especially if it is the first one a group has ever read. My goal is to build confidence and have students feel successful with their first novel. I read Robo en la noche with my level 4 class to start the year for their first novel ever. At my new school, we started with Esperanza and Felipe Alou in upper levels as their first novels. I like to pick ones with rich culture, but that is at a lower level to start. Also, I like to include a variety of countries of study during a year as well.
Sr. Wooly – Upper-level students still love the dark, goofy Wooly humor and the break it provides from the deeper books we read and the themes we explore.
Also, see this post for more information on Spanish 3/4 – Curriculum Planning for Upper Levels
So how do you put it together in a scope and sequence?
I start with the school calendar and make a Google Sheet with each week of the year. Add in breaks, conferences, and other pertinent information to see the year at a glance. I have all levels side by side, so I can see what everyone will be doing at the same time. This way I can spread out my own sanity savers like movie and Sr. Wooly units. It also makes sure I am not introducing a new unit in every class on the same day, as that is super draining.
I start with cultural holiday units.
These are some of my favorite things to teach and I have found that if I do not plan for them, I get caught up in other units and do not have time for them. I block out the week of The Day of the Dead. Alos, before and after winter break for a variety of holiday activities related to the Spanish Christmas lottery, 3 Reyes, etc. I also like to do Las Falls in Spanish 1 or 2 in March, as well as La Tomatina in Spanish 2 to start the year. We also learn about Mexican Independence Day in September and Cinco de mayo in May to make sure they know the difference!
Then I put in the big novel units.
I like to have about one novel unit per quarter. This does not mean that we read a book for one quarter, but we may do many activities and films related to the themes in the book.
For example here is a rough plan with the novel Esperanza:
- 1 week – Intro of Guatemala, with the song Ave que emigra and the film Living on $1
- a week – the film Which Way Home and immigration
- 1 week – Intro to the Guatemalan civil war and vocab in the book
- 2-3 weeks – Read the novel Esperanza
- 1 week – the film La Misma Luna
- 1 week – assessments putting everything together
I put all of this together in a monthly plan, that I share with students as well. That way we are all on the same page and can see the end goals.
I add in shorter units to round out the quarters and provide a break. These are usually about a week long. They might include more Super 7 Units, SOMOS storytelling units, Sr. Wooly, and film units.
I understand that this is a rough plan that is self-imposed on by myself and that things will change. Some things will go longer than expected. Some novels will bomb so we will power through to be done. Things will come up that change the whole schedule.
How do you plan for a week teaching spanish with comprehensible input?
I like to print out a weekly plan for each level to write out my thought for each level, each day. Then I type my plans into my digital weekly lesson plan. I print these out the week before and have them on a clipboard on my desk. Personally, I like to have each class vertical, so I can jot down notes for each section. I might write down what minute we leave off in El Internado, or which activities we ended up doing. Each week, I just make a digital copy of my plans and type my new lesson plans in a fresh document. It is also nice to be able to search past plans and maybe even reuse parts, such as with my past Exploratory class that repeated the next quarter.
I understand that some administrators require much more detailed plans, but mine is OK with my daily I can statement for each class. I have four separate preps, so I keep it simple. You can get my “I can statements poster” here for free as well.
If you are working on your plans, you can get my Google Drive templates for my yearly, monthly, and weekly plans here. & also here is my French 1-4 Curriculum if you are interested**
How to create CI Curriculum for Spanish 1-4 Originally posted 6.11.18 by Allison Wienhold – most recently updated 5.23.22