Ohio’s K-4 Content-Enriched Mandarin Chinese Curriculum and Professional Development Modules

Ohio’s K-4 Content-Enriched Mandarin Chinese Curriculum and Professional Development Modules

Welcome to Ohio’s K-4 Content-Related Mandarin Curriculum. We are pleased that you, too, have an interest in starting Chinese language instruction early and hope that our work enables you to put a great program in place in your own school.

This project was funded through a U.S. Department of Education Foreign Language Assistance Program (FLAP) grant with matching funds from the Ohio Department of Education (ODE). 

Project Goals

The goals for our K-4 Content-Enriched Mandarin Curriculum Project were to:

  1. Develop an age-appropriate Chinese language program that reinforces content and skills from the regular curriculum and spirals vocabulary, sentence patterns and cultural content so that all children can be successful learning Chinese;
  2. Build the capacity of teachers to use the curriculum and to adapt it for their particular teaching settings through Web-based professional development modules;
  3. Pilot the curriculum in 10 Ohio sites to garner feedback to revise the curriculum for wider distribution; and
  4. Establish a network of elementary Chinese language teachers to support professional growth and the exchange of ideas during the pilot phase of the project.

Project Personnel

Pilot Sites

Professional Development Modules to Understand our Curriculum

These modules may be shown directly from the ODE website or downloaded for use as stand-alone slide shows. Presenters are encouraged to use the note pages provided with each PowerPoint presentation.

These PD Modules may be used by individual teachers or form the basis of group discussion around implementing high-quality elementary Chinese programs. 

To make the most of our K-4 Content-Enriched Mandarin Chinese Curriculum, it is helpful to understand the assumptions undergirding this project. These include:

  • The curriculum is based on 90 minutes of instruction per week in grades K-4;
  • All children can be successful learning a second language to the extent that they can learn their first language;
  • Explicit grammar instruction is not appropriate for young children;
  • This curriculum is designed for non-heritage speakers of Mandarin Chinese;
  • Content-enriched instruction reinforces concepts and skills across the curriculum while developing language proficiency;
  • Backward Design enables us to work towards specific performance outcomes;
  • While the focus in early grades is on oracy, it is important to develop literacy skills as well; and
  • The appropriate use of technology can enhance an elementary Mandarin Chinese program.

Each of our five PD modules provides further explanations about the assumptions upon which our curriculum is based. Completing the suggested activities and consulting the additional resources will enable you to understand these assumptions, advocate for your program with a variety of stakeholders, and create an enjoyable program of study for your learners.

Module One

Module Two

Module Three

Module Four

Module Five

Assessing Student Performance

As you learned in the Backward Design professional development module, all of our units “begin with the end in mind.” The unit assessments allow students to demonstrate what they know and can do in Chinese in relation to unit performance outcomes. Scoring guidelines accompany many of the tasks.

Teachers who understand standards-based instruction will comprehend the unit performance outcomes and assessments with ease. Elementary learners, however, need language more suited to their cognitive abilities. With your help in creating can-do statements tied to the formal unit outcomes, students will be able to maintain a yearly record of their accomplishments and identify areas for improvement.

For example, you might create a checklist for learners with the following child-friendly language:


I can do

I can do with help

This is a goal

  • I can say hello to a friend.
  • I can tell someone my name.
  • I can ask someone how she or he is feeling.
  • I can show how to use chopsticks.

Children demonstrate what they can do with language during units of instruction through a variety of activities and media. With your help, even primary children can participate in self-assessment activities to track their progress in Chinese. Please visit http://www.ncssfl.org/ for more information on how to use student self-assessment instruments, such as LinguaFolio. For LinguaFolio Junior versions, use your search engine.

In addition to unit performance assessments and periodic self-assessment, you may also choose to develop a program summative assessment to document student performance on a yearly basis and/or after five years of instruction. This assessment should be based on the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) Integrated Performance Assessment model. Learners complete interpretive, interpersonal and presentational tasks. First, they demonstrate comprehension by extracting key information from oral, written or visual texts. Next, they exchange information or express feelings and emotions based on the information. Finally, they present information in novel ways to an audience of listeners, readers or viewers.

While classroom assessment represents the main avenue through which to track student performance, it also is desirable to use nationally recognized valid and reliable instruments to assess student proficiency at key program intervals. There are three existing assessments for your consideration.

The Center for Applied Linguistics (CAL) developed the Early Language Listening and Oral Proficiency Assessment (ELLOPA) for use with PreK-2 students and the Student Oral Proficiency Assessment (SOPA) for use with K-8 students. Both assessments allow learners to demonstrate their highest level of performance in oral fluency, grammar, vocabulary and listening comprehension. Two trained test administrators engage pairs of students in interactive listening and speaking assessments conducted in the target language.

The Center for Applied Second Language Study (CASLS) at the University of Oregon developed the National Online Early Language Learning Assessment (NOELLA) in partnership with CAL and language teachers from a six-state consortium (Georgia, Kentucky, New Jersey, South Carolina, Virginia and Wyoming). The computer-based assessment targets the interpretive (reading and listening) and presentational (speaking and writing) modes of communication.

Used together, the NOELLA and the SOPA or ELLOPA provide a complete picture of proficiency across all three modes of communication. To learn more about these assessments, visit http://www.cal.org/. Visit the journal of the National Network for Early Language Learning (NNELL) at  http://www.nnell.org/.

Our K-4 Content-Related Curriculum

Once you have completed the five professional development modules, you are ready to access the K-4 units and adapt them to your teaching situation. Each unit may be downloaded as a Word or PDF document. The Word version will allow you to make and save changes for use in your classroom.

It is recommended that you use the units in each grade level in the order that they are posted. This will enable you and your learners to take advantage of the purposeful spiraling and recycling of vocabulary and sentence patterns across our units.

If your program starts in second grade, you may be able to start with the second grade units if you look at the performance outcomes from earlier grades and modify the units slightly to ensure that learners have the requisite background knowledge to be successful at grade level. This will ensure the age-appropriateness of the curriculum for your learners.

As mentioned in the Overview professional development module, this curriculum is based on the assumption that classes meet for 30 minutes, three times a week. If your time allocation is different, you will need to do fewer or more of the daily activities during each class session. You may wish to delete, shorten or extend activities or recombine tasks as you modify each unit based on available time and your learners’ needs. Use your judgment to make adjustments.



Grade 1

Grade 2

Grade 3

Grade 4

Greetings! Things in my Backpack Movements and Directions Getting to Know You Making Friends and Sharing Likes and Dislikes
Classroom and Courtesy Expressions Things in My Classroom More Numbers and Calendar Shopping for School Supplies Folktale for Autumn Festival
Numbers 1-10 Meet My Grandparents

Mid-Autumn Festival

My School Schedule Expressing Time
Calendar What I Like to Eat and Drink Rooms In My School Dining Out for Grandma's Birthday Household Chores
My Family Chinese New Year Snack Foods Transportation I Don't Feel Well!
Pets and Animals Chinese Zodiac Animals Pastimes and Hobbies New Year Daily Routine
Colors and Fruits Describing Family and Friends Expressing My Emotions Welcome to My Home Eating Healthy Lunches
Weather and Seasons Shapes and Sizes More Pets and Animals Weather and Activities Getting
Our Bodies My Room Clothing My Friend Let's Go Shopping! 
  More Weather and Seasons My House Places in My Neighborhood An Original Play
  Pastimes and Sports Chinese World Mother's Day (Filial Piety)  
    Dragon Boat Festival What I See in Nature


Last Modified: 3/26/2019 11:58:41 AM

Contact Information

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For all other world language questions, please contact:

Ryan T. Wertz, M.Ed.

World Language Consultant

Kathy Shelton, M.A.

World Language Consultant