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, speech making, acting, and composing. After completing the third year of Spanish, students are ready to take AP seminars.
Spanish l, II, and III
In Spanish I and II, students are encouraged to communicate orally and, from the beginning, 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. Communication skills, 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 music, film, and internet clips. The theme of Spanish III is “creativity and imagination.” Activities include writing poems and stories, and reading, writing, and presenting a short play about La Casa de Mango Street. Students develop and deliver presentations modeled on TED talks. Course topics include professions, relationships, food, science, technology, the environment, and human rights. Beyond the textbook, the course materials include films, articles, music, podcasts, and local cultural events.
AP Spanish Seminar
A Study of Place: Culture, History, and Life in the Hispanic World
How does the interplay between geography and humans shape a place’s culture and language? This seminar focuses on the history, society, and traditions of places in the Hispanic world, such as Machu Picchu, México-Tenochtitlán, and Havana’s seafront. 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, and attendance at cultural events outside of class is encouraged. This class prepares students for the AP Spanish Language and Culture Exam.
AP Spanish Seminar
Identity in Latin American and US Latino Culture
This seminar explores Latin-American and US Latinx identity through the ages, beginning with the creation story of the Maya people. The course explores indigenous deities and cultural icons such as La Virgen de Guadalupe, tracing their evolution and symbolism in contemporary Chicano art and murals in San Francisco’s Mission District. Excerpts from the one Latin-American slave narrative in print help students learn how Afro-Latino identity has been shaped by the legacy of enslavement and abolition. US Chicano and Latinx identity are explored: the many terms used to describe a diverse collective and how these have evolved, the relationship to Latin American identity and people of color in the US, and how “estadounidenses” articulate their experiences. Class discussions, papers, and oral presentations are based on readings, films, video clips, news articles, visual art, and music. This class prepares students for the AP Spanish Language and Culture Exam.