Think Thematic: Designing Meaningful Language Lessons for 21st Century Second Language Learners

Presented by:

Cherice Montgomery, Ph.D., Brigham Young University

May 22-25, 2012 from 8:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. at Dimond High School
Anchorage, Alaska


In this course, participants will examine the essential components of an effective L2 lesson plan that is standards-based, culturally-infused and thematically planned. Demonstrations will provide hands-on examples of comprehensible input, scaffolding and contextualizing language. Participants will design language specific lessons with proficiency-based objectives to cognitively engage students and enhance L2 learning. The application of technology tools will guide participants in the process of designing performance-based assessments and use of culturally authentic materials. This course is task-oriented and provides an opportunity for collaboration within language specific groups.


The world is changing rapidly, and in order to keep up with it, students need to develop skills that will enable them to adapt quickly, flexibly, and creatively. This workshop introduces teachers to ACTFL's 21st Century Skills Map and engages them in exploring research-based pedagogical strategies and activities designed to simultaneously develop language proficiency and 21st Century skills in their students.


  • Participants will contextualize grammar and vocabulary practice using culture, social issues, and content from the core curriculum

  • Participants will engage students in meaningful communication across all three modes using interactive activities, 21st Century skills, and technology-infused tasks

  • Participants will progressively scaffold students’ success using a variety of research-based techniques.

Essential Question:

How can teachers use the National Standards, ACTFL's 21st Century Skills Map, and principles of thematic planning to transform traditional grammar and vocabulary lessons into engaging learning experiences that build students’ communicative proficiency?

Self-assessment (Can Dos):

  • I can transform a topic into a theme.
  • I can design culturally rich, student-centered, transformative learning experiences.
  • I can engage students cognitively, emotionally, and socially as "doers," "collaborators," and "creators."
  • I can scaffold the development of communicative proficiency using effective pedagogical strategies and technologies.

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