With their conversational skills at the ready, Spanish students have a linguistic passport to explore almost two dozen countries and territories that conduct life in Spanish. All Spanish classes incorporate activities that draw on this wealth of cultural and linguistic variety. Spanish is learned via immersion through conversing, problem solving, debating, giving speeches, acting, and composing. After completing the third year of Spanish, students are ready to take AP seminars.
Spanish I and II
In Spanish I and II, students are encouraged to communicate orally, and, from the beginning of the course, are required to use the language in class. The primary textbooks, Bitácora I and II offer an innovative student-centered approach that develops language skills and emphasizes cultural competency. This is a highly interactive and multicultural program in which communicating and learning grammar and vocabulary are integrated into a variety of activities that include small group projects, skits, presentations, videos, songs and conversations. The text is supplemented with materials including music, film, and internet clips. In Spanish I students read a short chapter book and in Spanish II they read three short books. Both courses introduce students to the varied Spanish-speaking world and acquaint them with different accents, customs, foods, and other cultural practices.
The theme of Spanish III is “Creativity and Imagination.” Students continue using the Bitácora program already familiar from levels I and II. Assignments include writing poems and prose pieces of varying lengths; planning, writing, and presenting a short play; developing and delivering presentations modeled on TED Talks; and partner presentations in which students research an aspect of the Spanish-speaking world and present their findings. The class dedicates considerable time to grammar and lexical components (compound tenses, idiomatic expressions, relevant vocabulary) and to topics such as professions, food, the environment, and human rights. Media resources include articles, music, videos, and films, all of which complement the main text. Required reading includes several short stories and poems and two books about young people in contemporary Spain and Mexico. Students are prepared for the SAT Subject Test in Spanish by the end of this course.
Advanced Conversation, Literature, and Creative Writing
Students in this AP seminar acquire, refine, and practice conversational skills at an advanced level. They deepen their knowledge of, and appreciation for, the diversity of the Spanish-speaking world through a variety of readings that range from pre-Colombian creation myths to more contemporary movements such as surrealism and magic realism, to current writings from Latin American and Spanish authors. Writing assignments are primarily creative. Students are encouraged to experiment with specific literary devices and their own imaginations to more fully understand the way literature conveys ideas. Classes include discussion and debate on current issues, oral presentations, role-playing, literary readings, creative writing exercises, grammar review, and films. The class occasionally works at a local public school with Spanish-speaking children. An independent project is required at the end of each semester.
Culture and Current Events in the Spanish-Speaking World
This AP seminar emphasizes the improvement of listening, speaking, writing, and reading comprehension skills in Spanish. Students explore, analyze, and discuss topics related to the Spanish-speaking world, its history, culture, and current events. Class discussions, papers, and oral presentations are based on films, Spanish and Latin American television and radio programs, YouTube clips, daily news, literary extracts, and music. An independent project is required at the end of each semester. Attendance at cultural events outside of class time is encouraged.