To direct all of the content that I teach, I use the standards, student interests, and my personal passions. To direct my classroom activities, I use thematic unit planning à la Grant Wiggins. A backward design means that effective classroom activities are developed only after goals are established and assessments are designed. This allows students to ascertain true understanding, by completing an authentic performance task.
What this looks like in the practical sense:
The overarching theme is technology. The goal is to establish how technology has changed their lives. The assessment is to create a tutorial Youtube video in the target language to explain how to use a certain technology and explain the purpose. From there I set my smaller goals and generate smaller milestone assessments that will contribute to building toward the final goal. Students will need to see and use various tutorials and websites explaining the use and functioning of many different technologies to acquire vocabulary. In order to be a able to interpret the sites, I will have to teach certain basic vocabulary for the computer, internet and cellphone. All this is scaffolded in order to prepare them with all of the tools they will need to create their tutorial. Each daily activity builds upon the previous day working to continually increase proficiency.
By the time they reach the summative assessment, they have all the tools they need to succeed because their teacher has been gettin’ Wiggy with it.