Curricula and Curriculum Frameworks

Ongoing Documentation From CELIN

Forbidden City, framed. (bluenowhere/Flickr)

Curriculum and related frameworks (conceptual underpinnings or guiding principles for curriculum design), as well as materials, instruction, and assessment aligned with strong curricula—are critical components of effective Chinese language education. CELIN staff have had conversations with leaders in the Chinese language field in the United States about this issue, and we have collected a strong set of available resources.

We first list needs in the field regarding curriculum and then provide a collection of curricula that are available. If you know of curricula and curriculum frameworks that would be of benefit to others, please send the title, link, and a brief description to

What are the needs in the field for curriculum?
This question was asked of 2015 National Chinese Language Conference (NCLC) participants in a curriculum meeting hosted by CELIN. Participants expressed that the following are needed:

  • The greatest need overall is to share curricula, curriculum frameworks, and resources in a publically accessible way, so that programs, schools, and districts can access what they need to use and adapt
  • A database that houses this information, with links to materials, and includes curriculum Briefs and other summaries describing the purposes and potential uses of the materials
  • Age- and grade-appropriate content standards for all subjects and materials for all subject-matter classes are needed
  • Teachers need professional development on teaching methods for Chinese classes, curriculum selection and use, and implementation of the Common Core State Standards and the Language Arts standards

What curricula and curriculum frameworks are currently available in the Chinese language field?
The following resources are available from national-, state-, and district- and school-level organizations.


CAL and NFLRC, Iowa State University: Early Elementary School Chinese Language Curriculum
With funding from the U.S. Department of Education, the Center for Applied Linguistics (CAL) and the National K–12 Foreign Language Resource Center (NFLRC) at Iowa State University collaborated to help improve and expand the teaching of Chinese in early elementary grades by establishing an articulated long-sequence language instruction model and conducting research on that model. Products of that work include:

  • A Chinese conceptual overview for grades K–5
  • A Chinese curriculum scope and sequence document for grades K–2
  • Proficiency-focused and standards-based sample Chinese curriculum units for grades K–2
  • Grade-level expectations for Chinese language learning in grades K–5, with expectations for Listening, Speaking, Reading, and Writing for each grade and related assessments

For more information, click here.

CARLA COBaLTT Project: Content-Based Language Teaching With Technology
CoBaLTT provides professional development and online resources that help foreign language and immersion teachers create content-based lessons/units using technology to enhance students' language proficiency and content or cultural knowledge. CoBaLTT online instructional modules were designed to support face-to-face guidance on content-based instruction and provide information and resources. Even teachers who are not implementing content-based instruction should find many of the resources useful.

For more information, click here.

Holy Cross/STARTALK - Read On: Training Modules for Literacy in Chinese
This STARTALK-sponsored project, for K–16 master teachers of Chinese, focuses on character and text literacy development for learners of Chinese as a foreign language and development of teaching modules that incorporate character instruction and practice. The following materials are available:

  • Sample Curriculum Units: Standards-Based Thematic Units (differentiated by grade level – K–5, 6–8, 9–12, and 13–16, following the National Standards for Foreign Language Education)
  • Curriculum Template Summaries: one-page overviews of the curriculum at each of the four grade levels
  • Complete Curriculum Templates: detailed descriptions of daily activities and the supporting material needed to implement each lesson

For more information, click here.

MERLOT: Multimedia Educational Resource for Learning and Online Teaching
MERLOT is a digital library of learning materials in whatever language you are studying, including Chinese. You will find drills, tutorials, texts, and multimedia modules in that language. The resources in MERLOT include links to thousands of learning materials and sample assignments, which show how materials can be used in the classroom. There are evaluations of the learning materials by individual users and panels of faculty. There are also links to people with common interests in a specific discipline and in teaching and learning in general.

For more information, click here.

STARTALK, University of Maryland
STARTALK is a federal project with the mission to increase the number of U.S. citizens learning, speaking, and teaching critical need foreign languages. STARTALK offers students (K-16) and teachers of these languages creative and engaging summer experiences that strive to exemplify best practices in language education and in language teacher development. STARTALK seeks continuous improvement in outcomes-driven program design, standards-based curriculum planning, learner-centered approaches, excellence in selection and development of materials, and meaningful assessment of outcomes.

For more information, click here.

Students, parents, teachers, program administrators, and researchers can also find information about Chinese student and teacher programs here.

UCLA Language Materials Project
The UCLA Language Materials Project (LMP) is an online bibliographic database of teaching and learning materials for over 150 Less Commonly Taught Languages (LCTLs). Funded by the U. S. Department of Education's International Education and Research program, the LMP was created in 1992. It is affiliated with the UCLA Center for World Languages. Both groups are members of the UCLA International Institute.

For more information, click here.


The two documents listed below were developed under a FLAP Grant Partnership with the UC Berkeley National Center for K-16 Chinese Language Pedagogy:

  • Mandarin Language Arts Standards and Mandarin Language Acquisition Standards (K-3 for Ohlone Elementary School in Palo Alto, California); (2008-2010); Palo Alto Unified School District

For more information, contact Claire Albert at

  • Tuidongli Alameda County Office of Education Mandarin Language Arts Standards & Performance Standards (K-G4); (2009-2012)

For more information, contact Julin Chen, Vice Principal of Stonebrae Elementary School, California at

As part of Maryland’s Race to the Top federal funding, the World Languages Pipelines project provides content-focused STEM curriculum modules for Grades K-5 in Chinese, Arabic, Spanish, and English as a Second Language. Maryland teachers and the Maryland State Department of Education developed these resources in collaboration with a group of national consultants. The modules provide a resource for language teachers that is infused with STEM content and designed and taught with an interdisciplinary and problem-solving approach. Click here to download a PDF on the modules and guiding principles for integrated STEM and world language instruction.

For more information, click here.

New Jersey
New Jersey's Department of Education offers a variety of helpful resources on Core Curriculum Content Standards for World Languages including the following:

  • A set of World Language Standard Learning Progressions
  • A World Languages Curriculum Framework
  • Resources for working with students at levels from Advanced Low to Intermediate High in Interpretive, Interpersonal, and Presentational modes

For more information, click here.

North Carolina
North Carolina's LEARN NC, a division of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s School of Education, developed a set of digital textbooks from federal grants to share the curriculum materials and resources of the North Carolina Virtual Public School’s Online Mandarin courses. These digital textbooks are designed to build proficiency in Chinese based on the North Carolina World Language Essential Standards, which are aligned to ACTFL’s national standards, or 'Five C's.

Digital textbooks are available for the following levels:

  • Mandarin Chinese I
  • Mandarin Chinese II
  • Mandarin Chinese III
  • Mandarin Chinese IV
  • Mandarin Chinese V or AP

For more information, click here.

Ohio Department of Education's K-4 Content-Enriched Mandarin Chinese Curriculum Project aims to:

  • 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
  • Build the capacity of teachers to use the curriculum and to adapt it for their particular teaching settings through Web-based professional development modules
  • Pilot the curriculum in 10 Ohio sites to garner feedback to revise the curriculum for wider distribution.
  • Establish a network of elementary Chinese language teachers to support professional growth and the exchange of ideas during the pilot phase of the project

For more information, click here.

A presentation entitled Planning and Implementing a Middle School Dual Immersion Curriculum, by Dr. Michele Anciaux Aoki, International Education Administrator of Seattle Public Schools (former Supervisor, OSPI World Languages and International Education Program, State of Washington), describes ways to plan and develop curriculum for middle school students based on social studies thematic units. These were developed for a Mandarin immersion and Spanish two-way dual language program.

For more information, click here.


Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools in Charlotte, North Carolina: The Immersion Curriculum Map: Grades K-5
The Immersion Curriculum Map is a universal planning and resource tool specifically designed for language immersion programs; created/compiled and shared by Bernd Nuss, Immersion Facilitator at E. E. Waddell Language Academy. It is used for language arts, math, science, and social studies for Mandarin Chinese, French, German, Japanese, and Spanish. All grade levels and subjects are aligned with the North Carolina Standard Course of Study, which is comprised of the Common Core State Standards and the North Carolina Essential Standards (including the World Language Essential Standards and proficiency-based outcomes for each grade span in a dual language/immersion program).

The Immersion Curriculum Map is shared via the North Carolina Dual Language/Immersion Programs wiki and is housed under the Resources tab. It includes maps for grades K-5. Each grade level’s map has its own space and is cross-referenced with the other languages in each subject area.

For more information, click here.

Minnetonka Public Schools, Minnetonka, Minnesota: Grades 1-12
The Minnetonka Public Schools curriculum framework gives background and rationale for the value of language immersion and maps out six pathways from elementary school to high school.

For more information, click here.

Montgomery County Public Schools: Grades 1-12
Montgomery County Public Schools have resources on Chinese immersion curriculum for elementary and middle school and Chinese course curriculum for high school, including vocabulary lists, and assessments.

For more information, click here.

Niles North and West High Schools (District 219), Skokie, IL
The schools' Chinese 3/3 Honors Curriculum provides students the opportunity to develop communicative competence in Mandarin Chinese in listening, speaking, reading, and writing. Students learn vocabulary and grammar structures for everyday situations. They also learn simplified Chinese characters and Pinyin and are exposed to traditional Chinese characters.  In this course, students learn to understand Chinese culture through class activities such as dialogues, partner work, listening and written exercises, teaching proficiency through reading and storytelling (TPRS). Cultural topics focus on the history of the Chinese language and culture, lifestyle in China, and current events. The course prepares students for Chinese 4, 4 Honors, and AP Chinese.

For more information, click here.

Portland State University and Portland Public Schools: K-16 Curriculum Frameworks
This group proposes to develop, pilot, and disseminate a comprehensive K-12 Russian Immersion Language Curriculum Framework building on work already begun by the partner institutions and heavily informed by PPS’s experience in developing language curriculum frameworks for its existing Chinese, Japanese, and Spanish immersion programs. The final product will be disseminated electronically and presented nationally at AATSEEL and ACTFL in 2015 for use in all Russian immersion programs nationwide.

For more information, click here.

Saint Francis: A Holy Cross High School
Saint Francis has curriculum guides for Years 1, 2, 3, and 4 and AP Language and Culture.

For more information, click here.

Mercer International Middle School, Seattle, Washington
Mercer International Middle School has developed curricula for students in 6th, 7th, and 8th grades who have come from the Beacon Hill International School Two-Way Dual Language Spanish and Mandarin Immersion programs.

For more information, click here.

Seattle, WA also provides guidelines and models for dual language immersion programs.

For more information, click here.


STARTALK Guide to Planning a Purposeful Field Trip

World language program administrators and teachers expect students to benefit from every aspect of their programs, including field trips, which are learning experiences organized for a group of students with a specific purpose outside the usual environment of a classroom. In response to this need, STARTALK Central at the National Foreign Language Center at the University of Maryland has developed a Field Trip Guide and Templates. Although study abroad programs are different from local or domestic field trips, they share many commonalities. You may find the Guide and Templates helpful in your design and implementation of a study abroad program.

For more information, click here.

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