1. Course Description
This AP Spanish Language course is conducted primarily in Spanish and is meant to be the equivalent of a third year college language course. The students are expected to express themselves completely in Spanish, and a participation grade is earned through the students’ continued use of the language. Throughout the course, students will experience a variety of speaking, reading, writing and listening activities that will help to prepare them for the AP Spanish Language Examination in May.
2. Instructional Philosophy
The learning strategies in an AP Spanish Language class have been designed around the four language skills. The four language skills (reading, writing, speaking and listening) are required elements that are essential to the successful usage of Spanish. Typically, students must be deliberately taught to integrate these skills. For this reason, students will complete a variety of activities designed to integrate the four language skills.
A large amount of time will be dedicated to reading and integrating reading with the other three language skills. Students will explore websites for Spanish-speakers, articles about cultural topics and lyrics to music in addition to the traditional textbooks, literature and poetry. Students will gather their own articles to create thematic portfolios to improve their reading skills.
Many students struggle with their writing. Native speakers struggle with spelling and accents while nonnative speakers struggle with the grammar along with the spelling and accents. In order to address the needs of the students, a variety of activities will be utilized to improve the students’ abilities: formal writing prompts from Abriendo Paso, AP Spanish: Preparing for the Language Examination and Triángulo; informal writing prompts; written responses to authentic documents such as news articles and podcasts; biweekly journal entries that reflect the students’ opinions and commentaries on multiple topics. Students will write formal compositions of 3-5 paragraphs and 200-300 words in Spanish.
Students will improve their speaking skills through a variety of activities: a game that practices circumlocution by describing a vocabulary word or concept without using the actual word or concept; activities in which the students describe a picture or item to a partner who then draws a picture according to the description; debates on topics that range from academia to politics to popular films, art and music; recorded informal commentary on a variety of topics; simulated conversations in which the students must respond in a specific amount of time to a series of prompts; and formal oral presentations on a variety of topics. While the majority of these activities will occur during class time, the students will be required to complete or prepare speaking activities as homework.
Students will improve their listening skills throughout the course through exposure to a variety of listening activities in a variety of accents. Listening activities come from a number of sources, including Abriendo Paso, AP Spanish: Preparing for the Language Examination, Triángulo, podcasts, music and websites that include music as part of language study.
3. Course Goals/Power Standards
By the AP exam in May, an AP Spanish Language student should be able to:
· Comprehend formal and informal spoken Spanish;
· Speak Spanish proficiently with an accurate accent;
· Read, understand and discuss a variety of texts;
· Write both formally and informally in Spanish; and
· Gain a greater understanding of, and appreciation of, the culture of the Spanish-speaking world.
Students must be proficient in the three communicative modes (Interpersonal [interactive communication], Interpretive [receptive communication], and Presentational [productive communication]), and the five areas of the State Standards and Common Core State Standards (Communication, Cultures, Connections, Comparisons, and Communities).