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2020 CAS - Family and Community Guide for Elementary School World Languages

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Working Together: To support families, communities, and teachers in realizing the goals of the Colorado Academic Standards (CAS), this guide provides an overview of the learning expectations for students studying world languages. This guide offers some learning experiences students may engage in at school that may also be supported at home.

Why Standards? Created by Coloradans for Colorado students, the Colorado Academic Standards provide a grade-by-grade road map to help ensure students are successful in college, careers, and life. The standards aim to improve what students learn and how they learn in 12 content areas while emphasizing critical thinking, creativity, problem solving, collaboration, and communication as essential skills for life in the 21st century.

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World Languages

The world languages standards in the elementary years create a roadmap to guide K-5 students in the process of learning a new language and understanding diverse cultural perspectives, as well as developing insights into their own language and culture at the appropriate developmental stage. The standards reflect a performance-based discipline which emphasizes communication skills (interpersonal speaking and writing; interpretive reading, listening, and viewing and presentational speaking and writing) in a new language to navigate real-life situations. Students use the newly acquired language while making connections with other academic disciplines, comparing both the nature of language and the nature of culture with their own language and the one being learned and with investigation and interaction of cultural practices and products in order to better understand multiple perspectives. These standards prepare students to participate more fully in the interconnected global community and the international marketplace.

Why are world language standards organized in language proficiency range levels? Language proficiency refers to the degree of skill with which a person can use a language to understand, speak, read, write, and listen in real-life situations. Colorado’s standards provide guidance for the introduction of a new language (novice-low) through the minimum proficiency range deemed postsecondary and workforce ready (advanced-low). Progression through levels of proficiency is influenced by program design such as grade levels, competency-based programs, time for language instruction, and immersion programs. Language programs in many schools districts have multiple entry points. Both the length and the type of program design impact both language acquisition and proficiency level for students.


Expectations for Novice-Proficiency Ranges for Elementary Students:

  • Communicate in spontaneous spoken, written, or signed conversations on both very familiar and everyday topics using a variety of practiced or memorized words, phrases, simple sentences, and questions in the Interpersonal Mode.
  • Identify the general topic and some basic information in both very familiar and everyday contexts by recognizing practiced or memorized words, phrases, and simple sentences in texts that are spoken, written, or signed in the Interpretive Mode.
  • Present information on both very familiar and everyday topics using a variety of practiced or memorized words, phrases, and simple sentences through spoken, written, or signed language in the Presentational Mode.

Throughout the Novice Proficiency Ranges You May Find Students:

  • Meeting, greeting, and introducing self to others in culturally appropriate ways.
  • Listening and viewing to interpret gestures, signs, intonation, and tone to comprehend simple verbal and nonverbal messages.
  • Giving and following instructions in order to participate in classroom and/or cultural activities.
  • Playing a game from another culture.
  • Doing simple math problems in the new language.
  • Singing or listening to a song in the target language from the new cultures.
  • Creating a presentation in the target language (oral, written, signed or multimedia) from units in the K-5 curriculum such as the life cycle of a butterfly, a famous person in history, or geography of the state.
  • Reading and comprehending simple cultural stories by using drawings, role-plays, storyboards, and simple conversations.


Expectations for Intermediate Proficiency Ranges Students:

  • Participating in spontaneous spoken, written, or signed conversations on familiar topics, creating sentences and series of sentences to ask and answer a variety of questions in the Interpersonal Mode.
  • Understanding the main idea and some pieces of information on familiar topics from sentences and a series of connected sentences within texts that are spoken, written, or signed in the Interpretive Mode.
  • Communicating information, making presentations, and expressing thoughts about familiar topics, using sentences and series of connected sentences through spoken, written, or signed language in the Presentational Mode.

Throughout the Intermediate Proficiency Ranges You May Find Students:

  • Meeting, greeting, and introducing themselves to others and asking personal questions to learn about others in culturally appropriate ways.
  • Identifying and describing the main idea and some of the details and events in a story, poem, fairy tale, or other form of literature from the target culture.
  • Asking and answering questions and carrying on discussions related to various subjects (history, math, science, art, business, language, or literature).
  • Conversing with peers from the target cultures in familiar situations at school, work, or play and showing interest in basic cultural similarities and differences when using the target language in the three modes.
  • Communicating information, making presentations, and expressing one’s own thoughts about familiar topics, spoken, written, or signed language.
  • Using math skills to make conversions (e.g., currency, weather, prices, weight, height).
  • Presenting on an internationally known person from history, science, or the arts using target language resources.
  • Singing or listening to a song in the target language from the target culture and comparing it to a song in their own culture.