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Language Learning

Conexiones Updated: Bridging Elementary and High School Language Programs

K-5 Spanish dual language programs have seen substantial growth across the country in the last two decades. With this rapid expansion, there is now an urgent need to bridge the gap between dual language at the elementary level and more advanced language courses at the high school level to support students’ progress in developing second language skills.

By combining our years of expertise in language learning, research on best practices, and regular evaluation of customer feedback, Participate Learning has developed a solution that bridges this gap: Conexiones. Conexiones is a program that ensures continued growth in Spanish language proficiency while cultivating global competencies in students at the secondary level. It consists of a comprehensive, interdisciplinary middle school curriculum, program assessment and evaluation services, and professional development support for teachers.

Read on to discover how we have updated Conexiones to best serve our partners and nurture student language development.

How We Updated Conexiones

We have centered the focus of the Conexiones curriculum and professional development to address three specific areas of need.

  1. Ensuring growth in language proficiency: Conexiones supports post-immersion and heritage language learners as they transition out of elementary school and prepare for the rigors of middle and high school. Language proficiency is developed through building connections to the AAPPL skills and is tracked through digital portfolios so teachers can assess student progress throughout middle school.
  2. Expanding heritage Spanish speakers’ language skills in a wide range of contexts: Conexiones strengthens the cultural and linguistic backgrounds of heritage speakers by providing them with opportunities to practice their language skills while exploring the cultures of Spanish-speaking communities from around the world as well as their own.
  3. Preparing students to lead and thrive in our world: By working with their local communities and connecting with classrooms abroad, students are cultivating global competencies, learning about different cultures, and gaining the necessary skills to become bilingual global leaders. 

Empowering Students through Project-Based Learning

The Conexiones curriculum is project-based and empowers students to use their language skills to complete projects grounded in the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The curricular activities help prepare students to become active contributors to society, working together to create a peaceful and connected world while developing Spanish language proficiency. 

The activities are centered around four main themes delivered through twelve units of study during the school year. Students complete research and action projects around the Sustainable Development Goals and find ways to engage with and make an impact in their local communities.

Strengthening Professional Development through Meaningful Connections

Over the last few years, we have witnessed firsthand the power of peer-to-peer professional development. We believe that teacher-to-teacher collaboration and knowledge sharing is an essential cornerstone in supporting teachers as they take their secondary dual language classroom to the next level. As a result, we’ve strengthened our online Community of Practice for Conexiones teachers. 

The Conexiones Community of Practice now connects all of our educators in a space of continuous professional learning that encourages information and knowledge sharing. This community allows for instant feedback and collaboration via guided or self-guided learning experiences. Beyond gaining access to a dynamic collection of materials, instructional tools, and lesson plans, we host monthly virtual calls where we tackle important topics such as encouraging oral production of language, student-centered instruction, and teaching grammar through context.  

Participate Learning is a force for good that connects teachers and students through comprehensive programs to foster human understanding and create peace around the world. To learn more about the middle school Spanish dual language program and how to prepare students to lead and thrive in the global marketplace, visit our Conexiones webpage.

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