Spanish 1

Documentos importantes (Important documents)

Sílabo (Syllabus)

Tareas y papeles de clase (Assignments and class handouts)


Spanish Department

 Year-Long Plan   


Course: Spanish I                                         Instructor: Señor Einsidler
Contact:                          Extra Help Hours: Tuesday 3:00-4:00
                                                    and by appointment.

“A teacher can but lead you to the door; learning is up to you.”- Chinese proverb

Philosophy and Overview

The High School Spanish program at IACS is grounded in two core beliefs about language education:
  1. Contact with authentic spoken and written language is essential: all assessments and class activities aim to put you in contact with Spanish as it is used in real life. This means that speaking activities are done "full speed" from day 1 and students are constantly put in contact with language features and vocabulary beyond their reach. Students are consistently stretched beyond their capacity so that they can learn strategies for coping with gaps in understanding that they will surely encounter in real-world situations. As such, the majority of each class will be conducted entirely in Spanish, though English will be used to clarify instructions and in other situations as needed.

  2. Learning language requires breaking down barriers: barriers of culture, of anxiety and of misunderstanding. The best way to break those barriers down is through humor, fun, and learning at a pace that accommodates every student.

To put students in contact with authentic language and to break down students’ resistance to speaking in Spanish, the Rassias Method (known in class as “prácticas”) is used regularly in class to provide students with an opportunity to practice listening and speaking Spanish correctly. The method uses theater and humor to help all students speak Spanish in a low-risk, supportive environment.

Course Summary
Spanish 1 is designed to be a basic introduction to the Spanish language. Students will be exposed to the language in a balanced and systematic fashion. We will focus on all aspects of language learning, namely, speaking, listening, reading, and writing. The course will progress from the simplest and most common vocabulary and grammatical structures and progress toward the slightly more complex. The goal of the course is to provide a foundation for future study in Spanish and to prove to students that even seemingly impossible tasks, such as learning a second language, are within their grasp when approached with the essential elements of perseverance, playfulness, and fearlessness. Some examples of units we will be covering in class include personal and biographical information, daily routines, leisure activities, clothing, weather and seasons, and holidays. All units will incorporate knowledge of cultural differences between the United States and the Spanish-speaking world.

Assessment Strands
Students will be assessed with regards to four different strands of abilities: conversation, interpretation, presentation, and work habits.

Conversation: Conversation assessments ask students to use Spanish to communicate as effectively and extensively as possible. In spoken and written conversation assessments, students are assessed on the length and complexity of what they communicate, not on the correctness of their Spanish. Spoken assessments will consist of students speaking with the teacher. Written conversation assessments will consist of a series of back and forth emails between teacher and student. Conversation assessments will be held throughout the semester. Conversation assessments could include:

  • Formal and informal discussions with teacher or peers

  • Focused “simulations” with peers in which students must complete a communicative task

  • Email correspondence in Spanish

Interpretation: Interpretation assessments ask students to understand authentic spoken and written Spanish. Unlike conversational assessments, which are in real time, interpretation assessments allow students time to re-read and re-listen. Interpretation assessments consist of readings or audio recordings, followed by a series of questions prompting student response. The majority of interpretation assessments will happen during class time in a “test-like” environment (listening or reading). Listening assessments could include:

  • Listening to a Spanish conversation and answering comprehension questions

  • Reading a short poem in Spanish and answering comprehension questions

  • Following printed or spoken directions to create a drawing or map

Presentation: Presentation assessments ask students to write and speak Spanish with a high degree of correctness. On these assessments, students have time to prepare and to revise in order to bring their Spanish to a high level of correctness. Students are also expected to be able to communicate at greater length and with greater complexity in presentation assessments than they could in spontaneous conversation. Presentation assessments can be written works, a class presentation, a visual or performing piece of art, or a combination thereof. The majority of presentation assessments are part of ongoing projects. Presentation assessments could include:

  • Writing and performing a skit

  • Memorizing and reciting a poem in Spanish

  • Writing and sharing longer compositions

Work Habits:  The work habits grade represents the habits and practices that make an effective Spanish student. These include:
  • Participation in prácticas and other class activities
  • Speaking in Spanish in class
  • Completion of homework
  • Studying vocabulary and grammar
  • Timely completion of all steps on major projects
  • Persistence and good humor in challenging situations (interpretation assessments, conversations, etc.)

Homework in Spanish will be assigned most nights and is expected to be completed regularly. If class time allows, homework can be started at the end of class in order to maximize comprehension using the help of the instructor. Homework will be reviewed in class and then turned in to the teacher on the day it is due. Students who have missed assignments or receive low marks have one week to make up or revise their homework; after that, homework cannot be made up or revised.

During the first semester of the course projects will be more simplistic due to the obvious shortcomings of the students’ Spanish language abilities. Students will begin to use Spanish in their schoolwork through several class projects. Examples of possible projects include:

• The creation of a family tree, or árbol genealógico, clearly laid out with all of one’s relatives, and their Spanish title. The árbol will contain one’s immediate family, as well as aunts, uncles, cousins, in-laws, grandparents, and more.
• An in-class fashion show which will reinforce colors and clothing-related vocabulary.
• A student-run market where students will buy and sell various home and food items.
• Students will memorize and perform a Spanish song for the class. They will be given written lyrics in Spanish, as well as a literal word for word English translation to help with comprehension. The focus of this song is to refine students’ pronunciation.
• The creation of a news-magazine, entirely in Spanish, which will focus on current events, weather, sports, and other items.

Some final thoughts
The process of beginning to learn a foreign language can be challenging, but it can also (hopefully) be FUN! It is my hope that, by the end of Spanish 1, students will feel comfortable expressing themselves in basic conversations using a wide range of vocabulary and grammar, in addition to gaining an appreciation for the Spanish-speaking world. The “a-ha!” moment when a student realizes that they can speak, read, write, and listen to a foreign language is truly rewarding, and often leads to further advanced study. Hopefully the process of beginning to learn Spanish will not only instill a passion for foreign languages and cultures, but also serve as an example of perseverance and accomplishment. I am always available to give help to students who need it, and know first-hand the process and challenges of learning a foreign language. I look forward to an exciting and rewarding year. ¡Adelante!

Saludos cordiales,
Sr. Einsidler