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Teaching Foreign Languages K-12: A Library of Classroom Practices

Spanish: Fruits of the Americas Class Context

I try to create activities that allow students to express likes and dislikes. This is most important in a second language; you have the real situation where you have to use the language. When they taste the fruit, it’s natural for them to express if they like it or don’t like it.

– Carina Rodriguez




Review Third-Grade Content and Topics

Numbers 1-10,000 and Ordinal Numbers



Nature Terms

Modes of Transportation

Biomes and Environment

Animals, Plants, and People

Animals of Each Biome

Clothing and Fabrics

Fruits and Vegetables

How fruits grow

Fruits From South America and Europe

Food, Recipes, and Cooking Terms


Months, Birthdays, Seasons, and Weather

Daily Routines

Musical Instruments

Argentina Connection Project

The following topics are incorporated into multiple units:

Spanish-speaking countries: Peru, Bolivia, Mexico, and Puerto Rico

Geographic terms

Map skills; Identifying Spanish-speaking countries on a world map
Math-related content (e.g., graphs, Venn diagrams)

School Profile

Carina Rodriguez teaches Spanish in grades preK, 3, and 4 at The Columbus Academy in Gahanna, Ohio. The Columbus Academy, an independent, coeducational, college-preparatory day school, has 936 students in grades preK-12. Students come from both rural and urban communities across the greater Columbus (central Ohio) region, with the majority of students coming from suburban areas. All students study Spanish from prekindergarten through sixth grade. In seventh grade, students can choose to either continue Spanish or begin another language (Chinese, French, or Latin). Beginning in ninth grade, students can elect to study either language or both.

Lesson Design

When designing her lessons, Ms. Rodriguez refers to the Standards and the Ohio Academic Content Standards (see Resources). She creates lessons that connect with the general curriculum at The Columbus Academy and incorporate reading, writing, listening, and speaking activities. She also includes activities that address different learning styles and involve a lot of physical movement to engage her young students.

To assess her students’ progress, Ms. Rodriguez takes notes during oral presentations and at the end of class. She looks for evidence that students are using new vocabulary to make sentences and using familiar vocabulary in new situations. Ms. Rodriguez also collects all writing samples to see how students are processing the language and what kinds of activities are needed in future lessons. She grades some of the written assignments and uses them as formal assessments.

The Lesson

In this lesson, students expressed their like or dislike for the taste of certain Latin American-grown fruits. The lesson began with students using reading and listening skills to understand new fruit vocabulary introduced in iMovie and PowerPoint presentations. Students then used their writing skills in several activities. The final emphasis was on oral communication as students recounted the creation of the fruit salad and said whether they liked each ingredient.

Key Teaching Strategies

  • Creating Cultural Experiences: The teacher designs activities in which students can see, hear, or touch a cultural artifact, create their own cultural artifact, and/or observe or engage in cultural practices in or beyond the classroom. These direct or simulated experiences lead students to discover the perspectives of the culture being studied.
  • Preparing for Communication: The teacher provides opportunities for students to express their ideas or feelings in the context of the language structure and/or content being learned.

Series Directory

Teaching Foreign Languages K-12: A Library of Classroom Practices


Produced by WGBH Educational Foundation with the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages. 2003. 2016.
  • Closed Captioning
  • ISBN: 1-57680-731-2