SP141 (2012-2013) Mr. John Fuja

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SP141 (2012-2013) - Mr. John Fuja

Course Overview

The Advanced Placement Spanish Language Class (SP141) is designed to challenge students to achieve their maximum potential in communicating in Spanish. It is understood that the course will be the equivalent — in terms of difficulty as well as breadth of material covered — of a third year college Spanish language course. Rather than focusing simply on comprehension and expression, students will be challenged to use higher levels of thinking and communication by interpreting and inferring based on topics presented. Class will be conducted almost exclusively in Spanish, giving the students as much contact as possible with the language. In addition, students will be expected to communicate with the instructor and their fellow students almost exclusively in Spanish in order to further their own oral communication skills.

The purpose of SP141 is not to prepare students to take an exam, rather to help students develop the skills necessary to communicate effectively in the Spanish Language. If students are able to communicate effectively and think at a higher level, this will consequently prepare them for the Advanced Placement Spanish Language Exam. With this goal in mind, students will extensively develop their communication skills in the interpersonal, interpretive as well as presentational modes. As mastering grammatical structures and their uses is a key part to being able to communicate effectively, intense grammar review will form a substantial part of the course. Nevertheless, grammar study will not be an isolated event as it will be practiced and integrated across the disciplines of listening, speaking, reading and writing. Integrated activities that incorporate two or more of these disciplines will form the basis of the work both inside and outside of the classroom.


A wide array of authentic sources will be played frequently in class in order to familiarize students with various regional and socio-economic accents as well as the use of Spanish in formal and informal, planned and impromptu scenarios. Furthermore, this extensive exposure will familiarize students with the cadence, intonation and pronunciation of the spoken language. At times, students will follow along a script — thus integrating reading skills in an attempt to enhance comprehension and increase the students' vocabulary— while many times, students will simply listen for comprehension. These listening exercises will often serve as a platform for other integrated writing or speaking activities involving description, analysis, comparison and contrast as well as inference. Many of these audio and video clips will come from the following sources:

  • BBC Mundo (www.bbc.co.uk/spanish)

  • Cadena Ser (www.cadenaser.com)

  • Clarin (www.clarin.com)

  • El Pais (www.elpais.com)

  • El Universal (www.el-universal.com.mx)

  • Observa (www.obsrva.com.uy)

  • Onda Cero (www.ondacero.com)

  • Telam: Agencia de noticias de la Republic Argentina (www.telam.com.ar)

At the beginning of most classes, students will watch a sixty second news clip from BBC Mundo that highlights a news story. Students will be expected to listen in an engaged manner, taking notes while listening to the report. Not only is this an effective way to increase students’ aural comprehension, it is also a way to keep them up to date on current events, cultures and the contemporary issues affecting many Spanish speaking countries.


Many opportunities will be provided the students to practice and improve their speaking abilities. The language lab will be used weekly as an opportunity to focus on the interpersonal mode of oral communication. In the lab, students will be given a prompt from which they will carry out an impromptu conversation with another classmate. Students have the opportunity to record themselves in the language lab to further analyze and critique their speaking.

Students will also be expected to give at least one oral presentation in front of the class per quarter. The topic will be assigned ahead of time and students will be expected to carry out basic research and prepare a discourse that exhibits both interpretive and presentational modes of communication.

In addition, students will be assigned authentic audio, video and print resources that serve as a base for further analysis and discussion. At times, the students will be expected to analyze the sources and synthesize a brief oral presentation that will be recorded in the language lab. Other times, these prompts will set the foundation for discussions or debates in small groups or the class as a whole.


Reading is essential to increasing students’ vocabulary as well as their understanding of grammatical structures and usage. Written texts give students examples of vocabulary and grammar in real life contexts which facilitates a clearer understanding of the usage as well as offering an example for them to imitate in their own writing.

An effort will be made to expose students to a wide array of authentic sources, ranging from literary texts to news articles, essays and opinion pieces. Students will read not only for comprehension, but they will also analyze the texts in regards to literary devices, tone, purpose and audience. Furthermore, students will make interpretations and inferences supported by the texts themselves as well as draw connections between the texts and their own lives.

The following are several of the literary sources we will use in the Advanced Placement Spanish Language Class (SP141):

  • Borges, Jorge Luis. “Borges y yo”.

  • Darío, Rubén. “El nacimiento de la col”.

  • López y Fuentes, Gregorio. “Una carta a Dios”.

  • Pardo Bazán, Emilia. “El décimo”.

  • Rulfo, Juan. “No oyes ladrar los perros”.

In addition to literary sources, many articles will be taken from the sources listed above under the Listening section.


Students will be given ample opportunity to develop their interpersonal, interpretive and presentational writing skills. In regards to interpersonal writing, students will be given a prompts to write a correspondence. They must pay attention to register, tone and purpose when writing these letters as topics could range from a letter to a friend telling him about plans to take a vacation to a letter soliciting a job at a business.

Interpretive and presentational writing will part from the base of authentic sources, both fictional and non-fictional. Students will analyze these sources and synthesize the information to generate a personal response. Students will either compare and contrast multiple articles and audio clips covering the same topic or they will have to write their personal reaction to a topic using the sources as references.


  • Díaz, José M, Maria Nadal and Stephen J. Collins. Abriendo paso gramática.

Boston: Prentice Hall, 2007.

This text offers an in depth grammar review of many advanced concepts, detailed explanations and exercises to help solidify these concepts. The book is broken down into six units dealing with the following themes:

  • Narration and description in the past (I)

  • The description of our surroundings

  • Narration and description in the present

  • How to express desires and obligations

  • Narration and description in the future: how to express emotion, doubt, negation, probability and conjecture

  • Narration and description in the past (II)

Each unit details the main grammar points behind each theme, gives specific grammar rules and structures, and provides the students with exercises to further review and practice the grammar points discussed. At the end of the book, there are ten pasos that provide detailed explanations and exercises about basic grammar concepts that are traditionally difficult for students of Spanish to master, but are essential to communicating with proper grammar. Throughout the year, we will alternate between the six main units and several of the pasos in order to get as thorough a grammar review as possible. All of these concepts will be put to use in the speaking and writing activities the students complete and they will be able to put in to context the usage of these grammar points in the listening and written activities.

In addition, the text provides students with audio and written exercises to help them practice their listening, reading and writing skills as well as to help them prepare for the Advanced Placement Spanish Language Exam. These activities include interpersonal writing prompts, simulated interpersonal speaking and formal presentational speaking.

  • Díaz, José M, Maria Nadal and Stephen J. Collins. Abriendo paso lectura.

Boston: Prentice Hall, 2007.

This book offers a wide range of short stories, poems and articles from both Latin American and Peninsular writers. This book will serve as the primary source for short story literature that will be read and discussed in class. Each literary piece begins with topics for discussion and a brief biography of each author. After each short narrative or article, the book offers numerous exercises and activities ranging from questions that measure comprehension to extra-textual comparisons and contrasts between the works being studies and the world of the students.

The book provides footnotes giving definitions of difficult words or phrases to help with the comprehension of the story or article. At the end of the book, there are several appendices that, among other topics, a dictionary to offer an additional resource to students that will aid in their comprehension of the texts.

Course Outline

First Semester

Chapter from Abriendo paso Grammar Short Stories and Articles

Unidad 1 Preterit, Imperfect, “El décimo” (Pardo Bazán), Present Perfect, Pluperfect “El nacimiento de la col” (Darío)*

Paso 3 Object Pronouns “Bernardino” (Matute)*
Unidad 4 Commands, Present “Rosa” (Balzarino);

Subjunctive, Present “Fernando Botero, El espejo

Perfect Subjunctive convexo” (Venti)
Unidad 5 Future, Future Perfect “La noche boca arriba” (Cortázar)*

Unidad 3 Present, Present Progressive “La sala de espera” (Anderson Imbert)*

Paso 8 Gustar and Verbs like Gustar “No oyes ladrar los perros” (Rulfo)

Paso 7 Indefinite and Negative Words “Cajas de cartón” (Jiménez)

Second Semester

Unidad 6 Imperfect Subjunctive, “La fiesta de San Pluperfect Subjunctive Fermín” (Roman); “Una carta a Dios”* (López y Fuentes), “El silencio de Dios” (Arreola)*

Paso 10 Por and Para “La santa” (García Márquez)*; “Continuidad de los parques” (Cortázar)

Unidad 2 Adjectives and “Un día de estos” (García Comparisons Márquez)*; “La viuda de Montiel” (García Márquez)

Paso 4 Relative Pronouns “Jaque mate en dos jugadas” (Aisemberg)

Paso 9 Adverbs “Cartas de amor traicionado” (Allende)

Paso 1 Articles “Emma Zunz” (Borges)

*Stories from a source other than Abriendo paso lectura.

Grading Policy

The Saint Viator grading scale will be followed in determining a student’s grade.

A student’s quarter grade will be based on the following categories:

Tests and Quizzes- 50%

Oral and Listening Skills- 30%

Homework and Written Work- 20%

A student’s semester grade will be determined by the following categories:

First/Third Semester- 40%

Second/Fourth Semester- 40%

Final Exam- 20%

Per department policy, no extra credit will be offered.

AP Exam Requirement

All students enrolled in the AP Spanish Language class are required to take the AP Spanish Language Exam in May. There is a fee associated with the exam and the student will be responsible for paying the fee.

Requirement to Receive AP Designation on Transcripts

In order to receive the AP designation on your transcript, you must complete both semesters of the AP Spanish Language Course. Students who drop the course at the semester will lose the AP designation on their transcripts for the semester they completed.

Office Hours and Contact Information

I am available in the Modern World Language Office on school days during the following times:

Before School 7:30am-8:00am

2nd Period (In the library) 9:10am-9:55am (First Semester)

6th Period 12:30pm-1:15pm

8th Period 2:10pm-2:55pm (First Semester in the Modern World Language Office, Second Semester in the Cafeteria)

Please feel free to contact me by email at jfuja@saintviator.com or to leave me a voicemail message at (847) 392-4050 x 326. I will respond to your email or to your message between the hours of 7:30am-3:30pm, Monday through Friday. In accordance with the communication policy of the school, all emails that you send me must be sent from your Saint Viator gmail account and you must carbon copy your parents’ email address. Likewise, I will also carbon copy your parents on any emails that I send to you.

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