I'm designing and writing a set of lesson plan books that can be used for Spanish 4 and AP as separate preps that potentially follow one another (as in my situation--some students in my program will take Spanish 4 as juniors and then AP Spanish Language and Culture as seniors,) OR can be used for a combined Spanish 4/AP prep, OR for just Spanish 4, OR for just AP. I don't know why it took me so long to figure out that this is how to do it, but at least now I know what I'm writing exactly.
Both levels are centered around the AP themes, so that if I have juniors in Spanish 4 that take AP their senior year, they are spending their Spanish 4 time wisely. I can't do those themes exactly the same way in both levels though (or else those students will have repeat lessons,) so I'm writing different materials to go with the themes at each level. Also, my draft version of Spanish 4 stuff will only cover 2 themes per semester (4 total) while AP needs to cover 3 themes per semester in order to touch on all 6.
My draft Spanish 4 materials-in-progress also have a "focus country" for each of the 4 themes. (I might try to imbed a focus country into the AP themes this summer as well, but right now they aren't country-specific.) In Spanish 4 I still plan to tell stories that will teach AP vocab, but only every other block, with the next block reserved for AP-style all-Spanish discussion topics pertaining to culture, current events, authentic resource readings, videos, writing, etc. That is my plan right now. You of course will be able to use any and or all of what is in the lesson plan books for whichever level(s) you teach, be they 4, AP, or a combo--stories, culture topics, discussion, whatever you want. I'll put it in the books in the order and format I am using it for my two separate preps, but you can feel free to improvise as desired.
I am writing my lesson materials as I teach this semester with an eye to exactly what activities work best for me and my students in terms of increasing proficiency and keeping the class in Spanish as much as humanly possible, and I mean not just me doing all the talking, but getting them to speak Spanish as much as possible on a wide variety of topics and in spontaneous-ish conversation. I am weeding out things that don't work for me, like assigning vocab lists to memorize and then doing vocab quizzes in AP, and replacing it with what does work. (With vocab, if I don't teach it in some sort of usable context like a story or a guided conversation, we are just wasting class time even taking the quiz. I finally admitted this to myself last week, tossed out the quizzes, and started writing guided conversation questions to teach and practice AP vocab. More work for me up front, but once they are all written, I know my students will know and be able to use "a menos que" in speaking and writing rather than having memorized it for a quiz and then totally forgotten it.)
Spanish 4 and AP speaking all Spanish, talking about culture, and steadily increasing their proficiency--that's my dream, anyway, and I think I see it on the horizon. My plan is to have something for 4/AP ready to go and up for sale around the first week of July. (I know I've said this before and it means end of July. But my intention is to NOT have to spend my entire summer on the project, so we shall see if I meet my goal.)
And then...there are no more levels of Spanish for me to write. They will all be written, they flow perfectly one to the next, build proficiency over time, and hopefully earn good AP scores. That would be my teaching, planning, writing, and publishing Nirvana. I can start using my summers to relax. <smile>