STARTALK Model Student Curricula

STARTALK Central has created model curricula to provide support for student programs in the curriculum development process. The models were created around two general themes—travel and identity—and provide sample templates which demonstrate how these themes might be implemented with different age groups and proficiency levels. Those involved in creating the models drew upon existing program curricula, and the models capture best practices observed in various STARTALK programs during site visits. The STARTALK model curricula are intended as examples only. Programs will still have to adjust what is provided to meet the specific needs of their students. The intention was to offer representative samples of learning experiences, with the understanding that teachers would adapt the sample experiences to meet the various linguistic and cultural requirements of their individual classrooms.

An overview chart, containing descriptions of the ten STARTALK model curricula, is available at this link: Model Curricula Overview Chart.

You can also navigate through the STARTALK model curricula overview chart, using the navigation links that list the titles of all ten STARTALK model curricula. Then click on the link for the curriculum title listed in the table below to download the curriculum as a PDF.

Title Oh, The Places You’ll Go!
Grade K–8
Proficiency Level Novice Mid
Targeted Performance Level Novice Mid/Novice High
Students will explore authentic practices and products that relate to traveling to a foreign country. They will make the trip with their family to get to know different regions and to investigate endangered animals in that part of the world. Before leaving on the trip, they will make preparations. They will learn about the region, its geographical features, climate, and the endangered animals found there. At home in the United States, they will practice greetings so that they can address people they meet using appropriate register, titles, courtesy expressions, and gestures. They will get their passport, and they will pack their suitcases. Once they arrive at their location, they will join an expedition to visit an area where endangered animals live. They will investigate the ecology, the animals’ habitats, and the issues that are affecting their existence. When they return to the United States, they will use their language skills to tell others about the animals, describing the animal, commenting on where it lives, and giving a simple reason about why the animal is endangered.
Title Oh, The Places We Will Visit! Travel Camp Abroad
Grade 6 – 12
Proficiency Level Novice High
Targeted Performance Level Novice High/Intermediate Low
Students will plan a trip abroad to attend a summer travel camp. They will explore various camp options and choose the one that appeals to them and register to attend. Before leaving on the trip, they will need to make preparations. Where will they go? What will they see? They will learn about the regions of the country they will visit, some of the landmarks, the geography, and climate. At home in the US, they will practice greeting others, courtesy expressions and culturally appropriate gestures, making introductions, talking about themselves and their preferences. They will make and taste some authentic foods. They will apply for necessary travel documents. They will be able to comment on why they are excited to travel the country with other pre-teens and teenagers who have similar interests.
Title: Oh, the Places We Will Visit! Tourist and Traveler
Grade: 6-12
Proficiency Level: Intermediate Low
Targeted Performance Level: Intermediate Low/Mid
A group of friends signed up for a trip to an area of the world where the target language is spoken. They found an exciting opportunity that they will pursue with their parents’ permissions, of course. This trip goes beyond the typical sightseeing expedition. Students first spend a week traveling to interesting cities and landmarks in the country. Next, they spend three days with a local family where they can practice their language skills and gain an understanding of family life. During the stay, they write daily blog posts describing the places they saw and comparing and contrasting the cities and customs in the host country to American cities and customs. The posts include photos that document the journey. The International Rotary Club in the country where they are visiting wants them to give a lunchtime speech about their experiences. They plan to bring artifacts and photos to supplement the presentation. Afterwards, they will interact with the members by answering questions and conversing about the trip. This presentation will be part of the final STARTALK program celebration for parents, friends, and community members.
Title: Oh! The Places We’ll Go! Tourist and Traveler
Grade: 9–12
Proficiency Level: Intermediate Mid
Targeted Performance Level: Intermediate Mid/High
Students plan a trip to an area in the world where the target language is spoken. Working in small interest groups, they select a destination, make preparations (securing travel documents, creating an itinerary, planning how to travel within the country/region), and choose one experience in which they will engage with local people to assist in solving an environmental problem in the community. Students begin by setting a date for the trip and planning a schedule that outlines tasks that need to be completed prior to the trip. They identify resources needed to complete a timeline and itinerary, and then agree on the person responsible for each task. Students then spend time researching various locations, visiting websites, watching videos from the region, and exploring volunteer opportunities. Once students have collected the information and completed each of the steps involved in planning the trip, they use this information to prepare a multimedia presentation that will convince others of the educational value of the trip, a trip that will build international understanding while increasing opportunities for cultural exchange. As part of the presentation they share personal stories about past travel experiences—where they went, what they did, and why it was a valuable experience. They should also discuss how those trips expanded their horizons.
Title: My World and the World of (Mulan) (Character from target culture story)
Grade: K-5
Proficiency Level: Novice Mid
Targeted Performance Level: Novice Mid/Novice High
Students will explore the world of a child through a well-known children’s story from the target culture. A story like Mulan (Chinese) will allow learners to make comparisons between their lives and the life of Mulan. Students will be able to act out the story and will be able to talk about themselves as they learn about another family and culture. They will be able to introduce themselves and their family and meet others while exchanging personal information such as their ages and birthdays. They will be able to name people, pets, and things that are important to them as well as things that they like and do not like. They will virtually visit a zoo in a country where the target language is spoken, identify animals, and locate where different animals live in nature on a world map. They will describe favorite animals in some detail as they pretend to be those animals. They will identify places where their new language is spoken.
Title: My World
Grade: K-8
Proficiency Level: Novice High
Targeted Performance Level: Novice High/Intermediate Low
Students will be able to introduce themselves and give basic biographical details about themselves, their families, and where they live. They will be able to talk about their interests and activities. They will consider the world as a global village of one hundred people and will be able to say and recognize some simple facts about that village: the number of people on each continent, the number of animals in a village, the number of computers, TVs, etc. They will consider representative images from Material World in order to talk about what people have and do not have. They will discuss items that all children need: food, water, clothing, and housing. They will take part in virtual field trips to various markets where they will comment on items, indicate likes and dislikes, and agree on whether particular items are things that they need or want. They will be able to comment on where items they own were made and locate those places on a world map. They will identify one or two items that are very important to them and give simple reasons stating why they are important.
Title: Life as an Exchange Student
Grade: 6-8
Proficiency Level: Novice Mid
Targeted Performance Level: Novice Mid/Novice High
Students will explore who they are, where they live, their nationalities, and their heritage as they prepare to participate in exchange programs and meet other exchange students. They will consider the advantages of knowing more than one language and identify places where their new language is spoken. They will be able to introduce themselves and meet others while exchanging personal information such as e-mail addresses and phone numbers. They will be able to state their ages and birthdays and will talk about their likes and dislikes with regard to daily activities, sports and regional foods. Finally, students will role play being an exchange student from another country where the target language is spoken and will engage in conversation to learn more about the identities of the other students. To prepare for their future experiences as exchange students, they will take a field trip to the local target language community where they will engage in conversation with others to create a guide to places in that community for those interested in learning more about the target language and culture in the local community.
Title: Our Identities, Our Heroes
Grade: 6 – 12
Proficiency Level: Novice High
Targeted Performance Level: Novice High/Intermediate Low
Students will work with appropriate texts that portray young teenagers who take on responsibilities while learning life lessons and/or with biographical texts about heroes or important people both at home and within the target culture. Students will explore who they are, where they live, their nationalities, and their heritages. Students will consider their increased independence as they interact with others and take on increased responsibilities at home and in their communities. Students will also be able to introduce themselves by giving biographical details and will be able to talk about their interests and activities before discussing the people, places, and things that really matter to them. They will comment on the actions of fictional and historical figures and will make simple comments about their personalities and characters. They will work together to tell the story of a modern-day hero from a community or region where the target language is spoken. They will take part in a field trip to meet individuals involved in the local community and identify how various individuals are working to create a better community.
Title In Search of My Future
Grade 9-12
Proficiency Level: Novice Mid
Targeted Performance Level Novice Mid/Novice High
Students will explore who they are, where they live, their nationalities, and their heritage. They will be able to introduce themselves and meet others while exchanging personal information, such as e-mail addresses and phone numbers. They will be able to state their ages and birthdays to new acquaintances. They will talk about their likes and dislikes with regard to activities and sports. They will consider the advantages of knowing more than one language and will create an identity where they are working and living in the target culture in the future. They will study the lives of individuals who are well known in the target culture for their contributions to various disciplines. They will name the skills they are going to need for their future lives and will explore how study-abroad options may be beneficial. Finally, students will role play their future identities and will learn more about the identities of the other students. To prepare for their future experiences abroad, students will take a field trip to the local (target language) community where they will engage in conversations with others to create a map of tourist-relevant places in the local community for persons interested in learning more about the local language and culture.
Title All About Me: Personal Identity
Grades: 9-12
Proficiency Level: Intermediate Mid
Targeted Performance Level: Intermediate Mid/High
Students explore influences on their personal identities by considering ways that family, culture, ethnicity, and the country where I live impact their beliefs and actions. In the process, students discuss and compare their family heritage, customs, and traditions with other camp participants and with teens in the target country. Throughout the program, they consider how a person’s personal identity affects his/her attitudes, decisions, and behaviors. As an ongoing task, they create a class definition for the concept of personal identity and refine the definition as they read, interpret, and discuss verbal and written texts. They consider how their identity has changed over time. They talk about their parents’ identities and explain the influence that their parents and other influential role models have had on their identity. They work together to define the term ethnicity. Then they consider the role of gender in their lives. Finally, they consider US culture. Is US culture one cohesive culture created from a mix of other cultures (a melting pot) or is US culture fragmented and made up of a variety of distinct cultures (a salad bowl)? As a final product, students create a visual personal identity maps.

The ten STARTALK model curricula are listed in a single document that can be downloaded in a PDF format from this link:
Model Curricula PDF

Hindi Model Curricula are available here: Hindi Model Curricula

Urdu Model Curricula are available here: Urdu Model Curricula

Instructional Resource(s): 

  • Student

Proficiency Level(s): 

  • Novice
  • Intermediate

Teaching Experience: 

  • Beginning
  • Experienced

Material Type(s): 

  • Curricula

Grade Level(s): 

  • K-2
  • 3-5
  • 6-8
  • 9-12

TELL Domain(s): 

  • Planning

STARTALK Principle(s): 

  • Standard-Based Curriculum
  • Integration of Culture, Content, Language