Advanced Placement Spanish Language & Culture Information

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Advanced Placement Spanish Language & Culture Information
Course Overview

This course follows the guidelines of the College Board® AP Spanish Language and Culture course and provides opportunities for students to demonstrate their proficiency in the modes of communication from the Intermediate to the Pre-Advanced range as defined in the learning objectives in the Curriculum Framework. The three modes of communication (Interpretive, Interpersonal, and Presentational) defined in the

Standards for Foreign Language Learning in the 21st Century are foundational to the AP® Spanish Language and Culture course. The AP Spanish Language and Culture course is conducted exclusively in Spanish and it is expected that students take an active role in using Spanish for communication in the AP Spanish Language and Culture classroom.
Daily/Weekly/Monthly Activities to Address Learning Objectives (subject to change)

  • La palabra del día—students explore a word a day, analyze its meaning, synonyms and antonyms, make linguistic comparisons and use the word in a real-life context

  • La noticia del día—once a week, students take turns giving a short presentation about a relevant news story, summarize it for the class, and ask questions to create opportunities for open-ended discussion

  • El diario de las noticias—students keep a journal of the daily news presented in class with new vocabulary and reactions

  • El diario de las preguntas – once a week, students will answer an open-ended question or prompt within a set amount of time

  • La discusión de la semana—at various times during the year, students are responsible for posting a link to a news article, video, or podcast to the class blog, and creating a discussion question for all in class to participate in an online discussion

  • La conversación de la semana – students are given a topic and will conduct a timed conversation with a partner based on the topic and relevant information

  • Writing journal entries, letters, e-mails, poems, abstract writing, creative writing, or writing reactions to articles and lectures through an interactive social network and/or blog on topics/themes

  • Writing: approximately every three weeks, a formal, well-organized, synthesized, analytical or persuasive essay on an appropriate topic in reaction to a text or Information is discussed or viewed in class. The essay is evaluated for its content, organization, cultural relevancy, range and appropriateness of vocabulary, and grammatical accuracy

  • La música – approximately every two weeks, students will listen to a song from a Spanish-speaking artist, interpret the lyrics and discuss the meaning/themes of the song and cultural connections

Unit Outline & Organization

The course (first and second semester) is divided into thematic units which are further based on recommended contexts and guided by essential questions. Each of the six units will be covered during first or second semester of the course. Corresponding cultural elements are integrated into the study of the units, and activities are directed with those cultural connections in mind. Discussion of the topics completely in Spanish is a requirement for this course. The following are the units to be covered throughout the year, along with sample activities.

Theme: Global Challenges / Los desafíos mundiales

Recommended Contexts: Economic Issues / Los temas económicos, Environmental Issues / Los temas del medio ambiente, Philosophical Thought and Religion / El pensamiento filosófico y la religión, Population and Demographics / La población y la demografía, Social Welfare / El bienestar social, Social Conscience / La conciencia social

Essential Questions:

  • What environmental, political, and social issues pose challenges to societies throughout the world?/ ¿Cuáles son los desafíos sociales, políticos y del medio ambiente que enfrentan las sociedades del mundo?

  • What are the origins of those issues? / ¿Cuáles son los orígenes de esos desafíos?

  • What are possible solutions to those challenges? / ¿Cuáles son algunas posibles soluciones a esos desafíos?

Sample Activity

Multimedia presentation

Students choose one global challenge that interests them and prepare a Prezi or other multimedia presentation in which they depict the problem from the perspective of at least one Spanish-speaking country. They must include the essential questions:

  • ¿Cuáles son los desafíos sociales, políticos y del medio ambiente que enfrentan las sociedades del mundo?

  • ¿Cuáles son los orígenes de esos desafíos?

  • ¿Cuáles son algunas posibles soluciones a esos desafíos?

Theme: Science and Technology / La ciencia y la tecnología

Recommended Contexts: Access to Technology / El acceso a la tecnología, Effects of Technology on Self and Society / Los efectos de la tecnología en el individuo y en la sociedad, Health Care and Medicine / El cuidado de la salud y la medicina, Innovations / Las innovaciones tecnológicas, Natural Phenomena / Los fenómenos naturales, Science and Ethics / La ciencia y la ética

Essential Questions:

  • How do developments in science and technology affect our lives? / ¿Qué impacto tiene el desarrollo científico y tecnológico en nuestras vidas?

  • What factors have driven innovation and discovery in the fields of science and technology? / ¿Qué factores han impulsado el desarrollo y la innovación en la ciencia y la tecnología?

  • What role does ethics play in scientific advancement? / ¿Qué papel cumple la ética en los avances científicos?

Sample Activities

#1 Thematic Vocabulary: In groups of three, students write thematic vocabulary associated with science and technology. Words that are unfamiliar are defined by other students in Spanish. The teacher selects one group to write the identified vocabulary on the white board. Each remaining group follows, only adding those not already listed. The teacher may also add additional vocabulary with which students may not already be familiar. After a discussion, the class decides on a final list.
#2 Students think about the following question and write personal responses in their journal: ¿Qué impacto tienen la tecnología y los avances científicos en mi vida personal? Then, through journal dialoguing, students engage in an exchange of ideas via a written format with another member of the class. This culminates in a full-class discussion on all of the individual perspectives of the students in the class.
Theme: Contemporary Life / La vida contemporánea

Recommended Contexts: Education and Careers / La educación y las carreras profesionales, Entertainment / El entretenimiento y la diversión, Travel and Leisure / Los viajes y el ocio, Lifestyles / Los estilos de vida, Relationships / Las relaciones personales, Social Customs and Values / Las tradiciones y los valores sociales, Volunteerism / El trabajo voluntario

Essential Questions:

  • How do societies and individuals define quality of life? / ¿Cómo definen los individuos y las sociedades su propia calidad de vida?

  • How is contemporary life influenced by cultural products, practices, and perspectives? / ¿Cómo influyen los productos culturales, las prácticas y las perspectivas de la gente en la vida contemporánea?

  • What are the challenges of contemporary life? / ¿Cuáles son los desafíos de la vida contemporánea?

Sample Activity

After Reading the article, “Los deafíos de la mujer actual: Conciliar trabajo y familia” (, students comment about the role of women in the community as described in the article by creating an entry on the class blog, focusing on the question: ¿Se parecen ambas situaciones, por qué sí o por qué no?
Theme: Personal and Public Identities / Las identidades personales y públicas

Recommended Contexts: Alienation and Assimilation / La enajenación y la asimilación, Heroes and Historical Figures / Los héroes y los personajes históricos, National and Ethnic Identities / La identidad nacional y la

identidad étnica, Personal Beliefs / Las creencias personales, Personal Interests / Los intereses personales, Self-Image / La autoestima
Essential Questions:

  • How are aspects of identity expressed in various situations? / ¿Cómo se expresan los distintos aspectos de la identidad en diversas situaciones?

  • How do language and culture influence identity? / ¿Cómo influyen la lengua y la cultura en la identidad de una persona?

  • How does one’s identity develop over time? / ¿Cómo se desarrolla la identidad de una persona a lo largo del tiempo?

Sample Activities

#1 Students listen to the song “Latinos en Estados Unidos” by Celia Cruz . With a partner, students discuss the content and share their opinions as to whether they agree or disagree with how Latinos in the United States are described in Cruz’s song Students view the video (1:11-2:14) “El reto de ser joven latino en Estados Unidos.” In a small group, students discuss the content of the video and ask questions that elicit opinions from others in the group. They then debate the following comment: “El tema de la identidad es esencial para el crecimiento.” An additional discussion question could be: Do young people in your community question their identity based on their experiences?
#2 Students are assigned the story by Francisco Jiménez: “Cajas de cartón,” focusing on the essential questions in the unit as a jumping off point for discussion. Students participate in a variety of activities and assessments, both formative and summative, related to Jimenez’s story and its connection to the theme. Examples of activities: directed comprehension questions, illustration of one of the chapters in the book, oral presentation-PPT highlighting one of the chapters.

Theme: Families and Communities / Las familias y las comunidades

Recommended Contexts: Customs and Values / Las tradiciones y los valores, Education Communities / Las comunidades educativas, Family Structure / La estructura de la familia, Global Citizenship / La ciudadanía global, Human Geography / La geografía humana, Social Networking / Las redes sociales

Essential Questions:

  • What constitutes a family in different societies? / ¿Cómo se define la familia en distintas sociedades?

  • How do individuals contribute to the well-being of communities? / ¿Cómo contribuyen los individuos al bienestar de las comunidades?

  • How do the roles that families and communities assume differ in societies around the world? / ¿Cuáles son las diferencias en los papeles que asumen las comunidades y las familias en las diferentes sociedades del mundo?

Sample Activity

#1 Whole class - Students think about the following questions and respond as fully as possible: ¿Cómo se define una familia? ¿Cómo adquiere una familia o una comunidad sus tradiciones y sus valores? ¿Qué quiere decir la expresión “ciudadanía global”? ¿Qué es una red social y para qué sirve?
#2 Cortometraje: La leyenda del espantapájaros

Before viewing, students define the word leyenda and share legends that they know. After, students discuss why it is important to be part of a community, to have a feeling of belonging, and to have friends. The students explore vocabulary (defined in Spanish) that they may not know while viewing, such as cobrar vida, malvado, and tiritear. They view the YouTube video: After, students follow up with Ricardo Arjona’s song, El espantapájaros, which deals with a similar theme.

Theme: Beauty and Aesthetics / La belleza y la estética

Recommended Contexts: Architecture / La arquitectura, Defining Beauty / Definiciones de la belleza, Defining Creativity / Definiciones de la creatividad, Fashion and Design / La moda y el diseñ, Language and Literature / El lenguaje y la literatura, Visual and Performing Arts / Las artes visuales y escénicas

Essential Questions:

  • How are perceptions of beauty and creativity established? / ¿Cómo se establecen las percepciones de la belleza y la creatividad?

  • How do ideals of beauty and aesthetics influence daily life? / ¿Cómo influyen los ideales de la belleza y la estética en la vida cotidiana?

  • How do the arts both challenge and reflect cultural perspectives? / ¿Cómo las artes desafían y reflejan las perspectivas culturales?

Sample Activities

#1 Teacher shows images of Fernando Botero’s works of art; paintings and sculptures. Using the vocabulary words that they have for this unit, students, in small groups, analyze the art. Together with the class, the teacher reviews the group work, ensuring that the students are using the vocabulary appropriately to describe and analyze the works of art and discuss how the images reflect practices of everyday life. Part of the discussion includes the products, practices, and perspectives that are addressed by Botero’s work.
#2 Students take a virtual trip to Museo Soumaya ( and describe in writing their favorite works of art and why.

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