Friday, August 30, 2013

Advice For Spanish 3 Class Taking the AP

A teacher emailed this week asking for advice on what to do in her Spanish 3 class that is taking the AP Spanish Language and Culture exam at the end of the year (an experimental idea at her school this year.)  I want to say that I still don't consider myself any form of expert on teaching AP yet, but this is what I told her:

...this week has been slammed (we had open house Wednesday night, so that 12-hour day always makes it hard to keep up with life in general) but here's the short answer about what I'd recommend for your level 3 class who's taking the AP.

1. Use my 3A&B lesson plans you just bought.  For me anyway, the "Preguntas del día" are good for getting the speaking levels you need, and the stories teach the types of vocab you need for AP (art, outdoors, news, weather, environment, etc.), and the writing.  The journal writing prompts in my level 3 stuff are challenging but doable for my students and feed right in to the types of writing and speaking they will have to do on the AP.

2.  Show a video news clip from BBCmundo.com every day and have the kids take notes on what they understood, then watch a second time and add to the notes.  On the AP this year they will be able to hear the audio selections twice and should be well-accustomed to taking notes.  If you want, and you remind me via email, I'll send you the links to the videos I am using in class.  I've already used 3 really good ones that I can recommend if you're interested.

3. Get a good AP test prep workbook that is aligned with the new test they are rolling out this year.  I'm using TEMAS from Vista Higher Learning this year, but there are other good ones as well.  Use it to practice the format of the exam.

Okay, that's the basics and all I have time to write right now!  Have to finish entering grades and then get to work.

Ideally of course, I would want to have my AP students at least one more year after level 3 before taking the exam if not two, but after using my own (new) level 3 lessons last year with the students I now have in my AP class, I can tell a major difference in their speaking, listening, and writing ability over last year's AP when I had kids who didn't have those level 3 lessons in full (I was writing them as I went that year, and didn't keep up very well at times.)  Not to brag too much, but the class I have now can be conducted completely in Spanish without complaint from them because they know what I'm saying at all times.

My MAIN FOCUS this year in AP is class discussion in Spanish, about culture.  More about how I'm doing that soon...

In the meantime, please chime in with any good ideas for AP that work well for you in your classes.