These curricular units and lesson plans were developed with funding from the 2014 STARTALK Infrastructure Building Project.
This curriculum is designed for use with learners in second year high school Russian or for learners who have completed two years of middle school Russian. The target proficiency level is ACTFL Novice High. In the curriculum, the emphasis is on oral communication supported by authentic texts, audio and visual, and the creation of blog posts. The blog is meant to support oral language, as blogs are a more oral than literate form of communication, but there is still editing and feedback before posting the final post.This curriculum is designed for use with learners in second year high school Russian or for learners who have completed two years of middle school Russian. The target proficiency level is ACTFL Novice High. In the curriculum, the emphasis is on oral communication supported by authentic texts, audio and visual, and the creation of blog posts. The blog is meant to support oral language, as blogs are a more oral than literate form of communication, but there is still editing and feedback before posting the final post.
The ten units in the curriculum are divided into three segments. In the first segment, Units 1-4, the learners encounter scenarios concerned with the initial stages of life with a Russian host family. In the second segment, Units 5-8, the learners simulate excursions a secondary school-aged student might experience with the host family. The third segment, Units 9 and 10, is concerned with final impressions of the Russian homestay.
Each unit contains three lessons: two introductory lessons and a final lesson that asks the learners to create a blogpost about the unit theme. The gap between the first two and final lessons is intended to give teachers the ability to adapt the curriculum to their specific context. The units introduce and spiral language functions, as the learners would encounter them naturally in the ten scenarios of the homestay simulation. Throughout the scenarios the simulation also features seamless integration of culture. The blog serves as way to document the learners’ knowledge and understanding of Russian language and culture. The following functions are emphasized throughout the homestay simulation:
In each segment, the learners are presented blog tasks that help them progress toward the goal of writing in strings of sentences. In the first segment, learners write photo captions. In the second segment, learners use a photo presentation software program to simulate a vlog post. In the third segment, the learners write short paragraphs.
The philosophy of this level is to use the vocabulary actively. Vocabulary instruction is focused on what learners need to accomplish the task as well as give learners an opportunity to personalize as needed. What’s included in the lexis is priority vocabulary, understanding that learners will add to this priority vocabulary as needed in order to personalize the communication.
The simulation addresses all six cases in acknowledgement of the fact that many novice curricula are organized around the presentation of all cases. Again, the gap between the first two and final lessons allows teachers to adapt the curriculum to meet their and the learners’ needs and interests. In the extension sections of the lesson plans, it is noted how a teacher might further integrate case instruction into that unit.
In addition to notes on case instruction, the extensions provide additional practice, enhancements to the unit, and offer suggestions on how to recycle previously learned material. There are supplementary videos and suggestions for authentic texts that accompany each unit, but they don’t necessarily appear in the sample lesson plans.
All of these materials were written, piloted, produced, and refined over the summer, fall, and winter of 2014-15 under the direction of Lara Ravitch, dean of Lesnoe Ozero, the Russian Language Village, and Instructor in the American English Institute at the University of Oregon. The co-author with Ms. Ravitch was Sara Marruffo and the illustrator was Masha Bleeker. Videos were produced by Colin Kellogg. All three are staff members of Lesnoe Ozero.