Week 4: The regions of Italy


For this lesson, I decided to weave California’s World Language Content Standards with the Partnership for 21st Century Learning’s Framework for 21st Century Learning.  Since I teach Italian in California, my reason for incorporating the California world language standards is fairly obvious.  This unit is about learning more about the twenty different regions of Italy and how, much like the states here, all these pieces come together as a unified, diverse nation, with a rich history and culture.  Because of this, I decided to focus on the cultural standards.  I am focusing specifically on the following standards:

2.1Demonstrate understanding of the roles that products, practices, and perspectives play in the culture

3.1Use products, practices, and perspectives in culturally appropriate ways.

3.2 Describe similarities and differences in the target cultures and between students’ own cultures.

I decided to weave these together with P21’s framework, because that one is one of the few that I have found that actually mentions world languages.  They explain on their website, “Mastery of fundamental subjects and 21st century themes is essential for students in the 21st century. Disciplines include…World Languages [bold in original text].”  This was so refreshing to me, as world languages are typically largely forgotten in the United States.  For example, world languages are not part of the Common Core Standards.

In any case, I found the framework helpful for looking at how students and their education environment come together.  In the following figure, the rainbow identifies desired student outcomes while the “pools” at the bottom identify the factors that support and make these outcomes achievable.  However, I would like to push P21 a bit further.  P21 explains that “global awareness” is one of their 21st century themes, but I do not think that awareness is enough.  Students must engage with the products, practices, and perspectives of other cultures.  If we stop at awareness, we might wind up with a president that tries to discriminate against an entire religious group.


At this point in the unit, students will have already completed their research and will be working on their presentations.

Materials — Paper, drawing template, 3D pen, plastic filaments, pens/pencils, laptop cart, headphones

Plan –[Directions:  10-15 minutes]

“Today you will begin building your representations of your regions.  As discussed at the outset of this project, you must use the 3D pen to create a visual representation of their region that will be placed in the library for a week before being returned to you.  My intent is to do a bit of bragging about you and all that you have learned.  So remember, plan carefully and put your best foot forward by not giving up when you hit some snares!

First, you will get a laptop and watch at least two the following videos:

What Can the 3Doodler Do? // 3D Printing Pen Review

Scribbling with the Scribbler 3D Printing Pen // Product Review

3Doodler Create Your Own Fun & Easy DIY 3D Art with a 3D Printing Pen! 3D Art with a 3D Printing Pen!

Feel free to explore other RELEVANT videos if something catches your eye, and you want to explore it further.  These videos will give you tips and some out-of-the-box ideas that will really prove helpful.  Remember, that plastic filaments do not grow on trees here in Pittsburg, so be frugal in your use of them.  These videos will help you plan so that your vision comes to fruition.  The Doodlers in these videos work very similarly to ours, and I am here to help you if you have trouble!  Don’t hesitate to ask me questions! Check out my post from last week as well, as you can see my process even though, it turned out looking a bit pitiful.  🙂

[At this point, I would draw their attention to the afore mentioned standards written on the board. ]

Someone read to me the standards we are focusing on today.  [Pause while student/s read them]  Do we understand each of these?  Questions?  [Pause for questions] Now, as you’re working today, keep looking back at these. Is your presentation and representation of your region going to address these standards? I would also answer the following questions to ensure that you are meeting project expectations:

  • What are you going to make to represent your region?
  • Why did you select that?
  • What does it say about the culture of the region you were assigned or Italy as a whole?
  • What about your own culture, does this provide any insight into your own?


  1. You will each get a laptop and headphones on which to watch the videos.  (Remember, I will be circulating, students misusing this opportunity will have their computer taken. (approx. 15-20 minutes).
  2. Once your are done viewing and your computer is returned in good condition, I will give you a 3D pen, and you will be allowed to begin your build. (45-60 min).
  3. You will have the remainder of the period to work on this and a good chunk of tomorrow.
  4. By the end of today, you should be able to answer the aforementioned questions:
  • What are you going to make to represent your region?
  • Why did you select that?
  • What does it say about the culture of the region you were assigned or Italy as a whole?
  • What about your own culture, does this provide any insight into your own?

WARNING:  Students misusing the pens will hand them over, and you will be given an alternative assignment for the rest of the class.

Assessment — One of the typical ways that I assess my students is by circulating and asking probing questions.  For instance for this lesson, I would circulate to the various groups and ask them the questions that I have already posed.  I find that this helps drive home what they need to be doing and what they should be getting out of the assignment.  In addition, I will also be viewing and grading their presentations and builds once they are completed.

Rationale:  In addition to the explanations that I have given up to this point, I believe that this also addresses Wiggins and McTighe’s (2005) model “Understanding by Design,” both the students and I know what goal we are striving for… a deeper understanding of and appreciation for Italy and the rich cultures that call it home as well as what insights we can gain into our own cultures.  As Wiggins and McTighe question, “How, in other words, will students be helped to see by design the purpose of the activity or resource and its helpfulness in meeting specific performance goals?” (17).


California State Board of Education. (2009, January). World Language Content Standards for California Public Schools: Kindergarten through grade twelve. Retrieved February 1, 2017, from http://www.cde.ca.gov/be/st/ss/documents/worldlanguage2009.pdf
Partnership for 21st Century Learning. (n.d.). Framework for 21st Century Learning – P21. Retrieved February 05, 2017, from http://www.p21.org/our-work/p21-framework
Spackman, I. (2009, January 2). File:Regions of Italy with en-wiki names.png. Retrieved February 4, 2017, from https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Regions_of_Italy_with_en-wiki_names.png

Wiggins, G. and McTighe, J. (2005). Understanding by Design, Expanded 2nd Edition.  Prentice Hall.  pg 13-33.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s