To plan instruction for 1st grade, relevant content standards and curriculum framework should be reviewed to address scope and sequence, as well as subject integration. With science as a target subject for instruction in Mandarin, alignment of curriculum and instruction within and across the grade level to the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) is essential. Below, content standards of three subjects are highlighted for illustration:
With the highlighted content standards in place, teachers need to find appropriate text or children’s literature by taking students’ language proficiency level and characteristics into consideration for content and language development. A picture book, 小马过河 (“Little Horse Crossing the River”) is selected to introduce the concept of a parent’s helping the offspring survive through a genre familiar to the students. The fantasy story contains rich pictures that can be used to create a meaningful context in planning activities for student learning in each aspect of Communication. Although the story is not informational, it can serve as a warm-up and preparation for studying informational text on animals through discussing the experience of Little Horse.
Based on the highlighted content standards, content of the story, and text difficulty, learning goals of science and Chinese in alignment with ELA may include the following:
- Students can explain the relationship between Little Horse and Mother Horse, citing pictures and text evidence.
- Students can write simple sentences (who, when, where, how, and why) to retell the story in sequence.
- Students can use “比”(compare) to write and present differences between Little Horse, Squirrel, and Cow related to the river depth.
Then, the planning emphasis can be shifted to analyzing the text in more detail about language features including key vocabulary and sentence structure, which are basic blocks for students to learn and demonstrate learning outcomes. What key vocabulary and sentence structure would you like to select to help 1st grade students reach each of the learning goals? Why?