Closing The Language Gap

Teacher(s):  Amy Raczynski and Andrea VanDyke
Main Contact: Both Email:,
Date: November 16, 2011 Building: Kelloggsville High School Grade Level: 11-12
First Trimester: __________ Second Trimester: __________ Third Trimester: __________
First Semester: ___________ Second Semester: __X__

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Project Overview

Give a brief overview of the project you are planning.

Native Spanish speakers will be taught basic teaching skills in order to introduce Spanish to elementary students in the Kelloggsville district.


Effective Practice: MEANINGFUL SERVICE

Service learning actively engages participants in meaningful and personally relevant service activities.

What community need will you address and how did you determine the need?

The Kelloggsville youth have no foreign language opportunities at the elementary level. Our project would fill this need.

What service will you provide to address the need?

My students will learn teaching skills and present Spanish lessons to Kelloggsville elementary schools.


Effective Practice: LINK TO CURRICULUM

Service learning is intentionally used as an instructional strategy to meet learning goals and/or content standards.

How is this project related to your curriculum?

This project is directly related to our curriculum as it focuses on reading, informative writing, and communication. Also, there is a focus on research and digital presentations.

How is your project related to the common core?

According to the common core, the standards are designed to be relevant to the real world, and reflect knowledge and skills that our students will need for success in college and careers. With our students prepared for the future, our communities will be best positioned to compete successfully in the global economy. Our project fits in this whole picture perfectly.

What are the educational goals?

Character education – students will teach the younger community to have a background in Spanish language and culture.

Career preparation – students will improve their communication skills, teaching skills, presentation skill and their knowledge of technology.


Curriculum Crafter Connections

Strand: 11-12 ELA (Writing)
TLW: Demonstrate the production and distribution of writing.

Strand: 11-12 ELA (Writing)
TLW: Participate in shared research to build and present knowledge

Strand: 11-12 ELA (Speaking & Listening)
TLW: Add a visual or auditory presentation to enhance or to help clarify the knowledge and ideas.

Strand: 11-12 ELA (Language)
TLW: Deliver a presentation that describes or demonstrates the steps of a complex task and incorporates visuals.

Additional State Standards and Benchmarks

List standards and benchmarks met by this project.

Existing ELA

Language –
CE 4.1.4 : Control standard English structures in a variety of contexts (e.g., formal speaking, academic prose, business, and public writing) using language carefully and precisely

Writing, Speaking, Expressing –
CE 1.2.2: Write, speak, and visually represent to develop self-awareness and insight (e.g., diary, journal writing, portfolio self assessment).
CE 1.3.6 : Use speaking, writing, and visual presentations to appeal to audiences to different social, economic, and cultural backgrounds and experiences (e.g., include explanations and definitions according to the audience’s background, age, or knowledge of the topic; adjust formality of style; consider interests of potential readers).
CE 1.5.1: Use writing, speaking, and visual expression to develop powerful, creative and critical messages.
CE 1.5.4: Use technology tools (e.g., word processing, presentation and multimedia software) to produce polished written and multimedia work (e.g., literary and expository works, proposals, business presentations, advertisements).

Common Core

Speaking and Listening-
SL.9-10.04: Present information, findings, and supporting evidence clearly, concisely, and logically such that listeners can follow the line of reasoning and the organization, development, substance, and style are appropriate to purpose, audience, and task.

W.9-10.02a: Write informative/explanatory texts to examine and convey complex ideas, concepts, and information clearly and accurately through the effective selection, organization, and analysis of content. Introduce a topic; organize complex ideas, concepts, and information to make important connections and distinctions; include formatting (e.g., headings), graphics (e.g., figures, tables), and multimedia when useful to aiding comprehension.
W.9-10.04: Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.

Technology (Creativity & Innovation)
9-12.CI. Creativity and Innovation—9-12.CI.3. use a variety of media and formats to design, develop, publish, and present projects (e.g., newsletters, websites, presentations, photo galleries)

Technology (Communication & Collaboration)
9-12.CC. Communication and Collaboration—9-12.CC.3. Collaborate in content-related projects that integrate a variety of media (e.g., print, audio, video, graphic, simulations, and models)


Effective Practice: REFLECTION

Service learning incorporates multiple challenging reflection activities that are ongoing and that prompt deep thinking and analysis about oneself and one’s relationship to society.

• Pre and post assessments (Students will actually take a test on the curriculum)
• Introducing elementary Students to different cultures and language
• Native Spanish speakers will use Ipads in order to research and develop lesson plans in order to educate younger students
• The student “teachers” will learn how to use technology to enhance lesson plans
• The student “teachers” will analyze their experiences and produce a reflective report using the Ipad
• Using Ipads, the students will digitally demonstrate their learning experiences and newly acquired knowledge and skills

What form(s) of reflection will you use with the students to help them identify what they have learned and accomplished?

With completion of the digital demonstrations and the analysis of experience students will have a clear picture of what they have learned and accomplished.


Effective Practice: DIVERSITY

Service learning promotes understanding of diversity and mutual respect among all participants.

What types of diverse perspectives and experiences will be explored as part of your project?

(i.e.: cultural, generational, abilities/disabilities, learning styles, etc)

As a part of our project, cultural experiences as well as different learning styles will be explored. For example, our native Spanish speakers will share information about their language, customs, and holidays that are particular to their heritage. Also, different learning styles will be addressed and used to accommodate the variety of learners they will interact with.


Effective Practice: YOUTH VOICE

Service learning provides youth with a strong voice in planning, implementing, and evaluating service learning experiences with guidance from adults.

How will students gain ownership of the project?

Students will gain ownership of this project by leading it, teaching it and designing each lesson. They will be responsible for choosing topics and the pace of the progression. For example, a group may choose to start with colors, decide how to teach this and then determine when the elementary students are ready to progress to a new unit. In addition, they will create lesson plans, supporting visuals and projects to support what they are teaching. They will need to plan ahead in order to know what materials are needed for their daily lesson. For example, they may need poster board and markers for a particular lesson or printed handouts for the students. In order to be successful in their teaching, they will need to be responsible for and directly involved in their project.



Service learning partnerships are collaborative, mutually beneficial, and address community needs.

Who will you partner with for this project?

Kelloggsville Elementary Schools

How will students benefit from this partnership?

Our high school students will see the gap in foreign language at the elementary level and benefit from being a part of potentially transforming the curriculum at the elementary level. Just being able to see young children learn would be a great benefit and perhaps spark an interest in higher education and teaching.

How will the partner benefit from this collaboration?

Obviously, the elementary students will greatly benefit by being exposed to the Spanish language and culture. Studies have shown that there is a critical period (or optimal age) for second language acquisition and once students pass this optimal age, language acquisition becomes incrementally more difficult with each passing year. “Knowing other languages and understanding other cultures is a 21st Century skill set for American students as they prepare to live and work in a global society. No matter what career students enter, they will be interacting with others around the world on a routine basis and doing business locally with those whose native language is not English.

Beginning foreign language instruction early sets the stage for students to develop advanced levels of proficiencies in one or more languages. In addition, younger learners still possess the capacity to develop near native-like pronunciation and intonation in a new language. Finally, young learners have a natural curiosity about learning which is evident when they engage in learning a new language. They also are open and accepting of people who speak other languages and come from other cultures.”




Service learning engages participants in an ongoing process to assess the quality of implementation and progress toward meeting specified goals, and uses results for improvement and sustainability.

How will you assess the student learning goals?

Learning goals will be assessed by analyzing their digital reflections and by observing their video creations. The teachers of the elementary students will factor into this as they will critique the lessons taught and the quality of the differentiated teaching methods.

How will you assess your service goals?

Our service goals will be assessed through a pre and a post test given to the elementary students. We will also create a questionnaire for elementary students, classroom teachers and the high school native Spanish speakers. This questionnaire will show us where improvement is needed and what worked well.



Service learning has sufficient duration and intensity to address community needs and meet specified outcomes.

How will you prepare students for this experience?

We will need to model teaching practices, do simulated practice lessons on high school students who do not speak Spanish. In doing the simulations, we can prepare out student teachers for their actual teaching experience at the elementary school. We will also need to provide them with basic teaching skills, guidelines for lesson plans and classroom management.

What are some sample possible activities students might do as part of this project?

As part of this project, the main activities will be teaching, filming and creating conversational vignettes. For example, one lesson may include the elementary students drawing a house and labeling each component in Spanish.



The three arms of sustainability are environmental stewardship, economic growth, and social progress. Think planet, profit, and people.

Describe how your project addresses the issue of sustainability?

Our hope is that the students at both elementary and high school levels will find this experience extremely beneficial and fun, thereby creating a need and filling the language gap. This project has great potential to grow and become part of all kelloggsvillle elementary buildings as well as providing a much needed knowledge base to increase their knowledge of a foreign language throughout their learning years. As of 2012, each student must have two foreign language credits to graduate; the growth of this project could potentially provide these credits at the elementary level.