As the state of North Carolina looks toward implementation of the Common Core and the Essential Standards over the next few years, as a department we have been charged with making comparisons to the old and the new curriculum and reviewing our lessons, our materials, and our assessments.
I do wonder about all the hype sometimes. Honestly, it seems as though they just invent new ways of saying the same thing. No matter what we call it, we will still be teaching the students vocabulary, culture, structure, pronunciation, listening, etc. Still, I do like that there is a large component of the new standards that has to do with cross-curricular content. And I believe that foreign language teachers are in an especially good position to bring content from other disciplines into our lessons. After all, if it can be done, it can be done in Spanish too!
I intend to revisit this topic in the future as new ideas occur to me, but for now here are some preliminary thoughts on how to connect Spanish to other curricular content.
- English/Language Arts: grammar structures, literary analysis, poetry, the writing cycle, creative writing
- Science: famous scientists from the Spanish-speaking world, weather and climate in Spanish-speaking countries, flora and fauna in South America, ecotourism
- Health/PE: parts of the body vocabulary, health and wellness vocabulary, Latin dance
- History: Spanish colonization of the Americas, Native American culture/civilizations (Aztecs, Mayans, Incans, etc.), geography, cartography, international relations, current events in the Spanish-speaking world, traditional cultural celebrations
- Math: currency conversion, the Metric System, the Aztec calendar
- The Arts: Latin music and dance (salsa, merengue, cumbia . . .), famous artists (Picasso, Diego Rivera, Frida Kahlo, Salvador Dalí, Velazquez . . . ), traditional arts and crafts (textiles, paper mache, masks . . . ), plays and skits in Spanish
And that is a good start, I think. Really, there is little I can think of in the Spanish curriculum that does not cross over into other curricular areas - especially in to history and the arts. I will have to put a little more thought into math, science, and health. I welcome your ideas too. Feel free to leave a comment.