Spanish 130: advanced Spanish spring 2012

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Spanish 130- Amherst College- Spring 2012 Próspero García

Spanish 130: advanced Spanish

Lecturer: Próspero García


Telephone: (413) 542-5398

Office: Grosvenor House 24

Office Hours: Mon/Wed from 12:00pm

to 1:00pm or by appointment.

Course Description1
SPAN 320 is a continuation of SPAN 120. Students can also enroll in this course through the Spanish Placement Test. While expanding on the grammar essentials covered in Spanish 120, this course helps the student further develop listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills in Spanish.  It is directed toward students who already have a good linguistic-communicative competency, broadening their contact with different kinds of texts, deepening their grammatical understanding, and enabling them to communicate through a variety of forms and registers.  Upon completing the course, students should be able to communicate with accuracy and fluency and participate easily in a wide range of formal and informal communicative situations.  An array of literary texts and readings, not ordinarily considered literature and films, will be used.  Three hours a week in class plus one hour with a language assistant.  It´s conducted entirely in Spanish.  Span 130 prepares students for Spanish 199 and literature courses. This course counts for the major.
Entrance Requirement: Completion of SPAN 120, placement test or approbation for the Language Coordinator ( ).
Texts (mandatory):
1. Equipo prisma. Prisma B2: Avanza. Madrid, Editorial Edinumen, 2007. (Prisma del alumno, Prisma de Ejercicios and CDs)

2. Lindo, Elvira. Manolito Gafotas.

3. A good bilingual dictionary (recommended).
MANDATORY MATERIAL: Binder for Portfolio.



Participation and attendance.


Take homes and quizzes


Exams (Midterm & Final).


Writing Assignments.


Homework (Handouts and other).


T.A. Classes (included WB, audio quizzes, participation and assistance).


Final Project (Manolito Gafotas)


Oral final interview.


Grades are reported in the following categories (Amherst College): A+, A, A-, B+, B, B-, C+, C, C-, D, Pass, F

Grading scale






















Participating in class does not mean getting all the answers right or speaking proper Spanish, but rather TRYING to do so. A student who participates often and, say, gets “all answers wrong” will get exactly the same credit as a student who participates and gets all answers right (i.e. full participation credit). As a reminder, this grade is given at the end of the semester, and it really makes a difference in the final percentage.

Includes attendance to classes, preparation for and participation in class, and attendance at least three Spanish Tables and two departmental activities. Class participation is always expected and extremely welcome. Please notice that participating in class does not mean getting all the answers right or speaking proper Spanish, but rather trying to communicate in Spanish.

The Spanish Table is held every Friday at Valentine’s Mezzanine.  The purpose of this weekly gathering is to promote Spanish language practice and networking among students and faculty in an informal and fun environment.  Other activities offered by the Department of Spanish will be announced throughout the semester. These might include lectures, movies, field trips and pizza parties, among others. Failure to attend 5 activities will result in a 0 on your participation grade.

As a reminder, this grade is given only at the end of the semester, and it really makes a difference in the final percentage.

Student responsibilities in the course:

  1. Reading and preparing the work for class as indicated in the syllabus or in class.

  2. Actively participating in class activities, including discussion of the course topics, as well as group activities for practicing the language. These contributions are very important.

Take-Homes and Exams (Midterm and Final):
They are designed to test your grammatical and lexical knowledge. They should compel you to return and repeatedly engage (rather than forget) material studied earlier. There is a quiz after every chapter, a Midterm Exam and a Final Exam. Each Chapter Quiz and Exam will have one (1) question about the assigned reading or movie.
Writing Assignments:
SPAN 05 will also place a special focus on Writing Assignments. These are important to practice grammatical structures, spelling, and also as a means of organizing your thoughts and exposing your ideas in Spanish. Please check the Style Guidelines for Writing Assignments in this syllabus. For all Writing Assignments: 1st draft (40%) = 300 words. 2nd draft (60%) = 400 words (minimum). When handing in the 2nd draft, please attach (staple) the 1st, corrected, draft.

Compositions should be handed in hard copy; no emailed compositions will be accepted.

Final Project:
It will be explained during the semester.
T.A. Classes:
Students meet with a Teaching Assistant once a week (Thursday). Attendance is strictly enforced, and absences count as part of the total in the course. These classes are extremely important to meet the objectives of the course. Notice that the number of students is much lower than in the regular class. This means that a stronger focus will be placed on listening (understanding) and speaking (communicative activities) and vocabulary. The T.A. reports your attendance, participation, Workbook completion, and progress on a daily basis to me. At the end of the semester the T.A.s will assign you a grade (15% of the total). This grade is at the T.A.s’ discretion, although I reserve the right to alter the T.A.s’ grade if I consider it necessary.
The Portfolio is a mandatory assignment for the TA class. It will be checked and graded several times during the semester. The exercises from the WB or LE are part of this Portfolio. These exercises should be handed directly to your T.A. every week in class, who will then grade them, notify me, and return them to you with his / her comments. We expect you to do the assigned exercises every day, correct them and give them to your TA on time. This procedure is going to help you to consolidate the concepts learned in class every day.
Please note that the T.A. does not correct the Workbooks, but rather marks that you have done the exercises and then corrected them yourselves with a red pen. The solutions are in the answer key. You will find a copy of the answer key booklet in Barrett’s Library and Frost Library’s Reserve desk. The important thing here is not to get the exercises right the first time, but rather, to engage you in doing and correcting your own mistakes, so that you can evaluate yourself. Handing in work without any corrections (that is, flawless, error-free work) will not improve your grade; it’s actually the other way around.
Contact your TA if you have any questions regarding the Workbook exercises.
Attendance and Punctuality:
Attendance is compulsory. Only absences due to religious holidays, illnesses (documented) and emergencies (documented) will be excused. Athletes, musicians, and other students involved in school clubs / organizations that require travel, as well as seniors that are interviewing for jobs should consult with me at the beginning of the semester regarding their absences. Unexcused absences will result in a lower participation grade. In all cases, you are responsible for contacting a classmate to find out what you missed. You are also expected to arrive to class on time, as late arrivals disrupt both your instructor and fellow students. Note that tardiness will result in a lower participation grade.

Absent students are responsible for inquiring after any material and class discussion missed.
Academic Honesty:
I expect that you have read, understood, and are prepared to abide by Amherst College’s policies on academic honesty. You are expected to present only your own work in this class. Use of electronic / on-line translators (apart from being completely useless), copying from the Internet or other sources, as well as help from a Spanish-speaking person, are strictly prohibited. You are more than welcome to ask me, your T.A., a tutor or other classmate general questions, but you cannot have another person look over and correct your work. If you think you need extra help with some assignments, feel free to discuss it with me, and we will make arrangements.
Please Notice!
Do not have anybody but yourself go over your Writing Assignments, Final Project, etc… Help, if you need it, should always come from a T.A. or, better, myself. But even the T.A. cannot correct your writing; only point you in the right direction… The best way to go, if you think you need extra help with the assignments, is to contact me as early as possible in the semester.
A note on late assignments: Plan ahead! From experience I know (or I was made to believe) that printers on campus have a tendency to stop working exactly on the date the Assignment is due. If you have an absence due to an excused (i.e. documented) reason, religious holiday, etc. you might hand in a late assignment during the following class, with no penalty. If you miss a class for other reasons, you might still hand in your assignment, but a) no later than two class days, and b) it will be corrected on an 80 point value (instead of 100). If you can anticipate an absence, you are more than welcome to hand in your assignment before the deadline.
All writing assignments and compositions must be written in an acceptable way, and therefore must abide by the following style guidelines without exception. Please notice that I expect you to familiarize yourself with college / academe’s guidelines and abide by them. This will help you in the future if you need to write assignments, final papers, etc. for other, more advanced, Spanish classes (or any classes, actually).

  1. • All assignments must be typed and double-spaced (for corrections).

  1. • Font: Arial (12 pt.) recommended, but you may use similar ones.

  1. • Please write your complete name and date (in Spanish). The format for the date in Spanish is ALWAYS as follows:

                  1. 11 de junio de 2012

  1. • Include, at the top of the page, the word-count, with the actual number of words you have written (Microsoft Word does this automatically). Do not tell me how many words you should have written, but how many you actually have.

  1. • You may use both sides of the page to print your writing assignment (it saves paper and makes it easier to correct). If you choose not to do so, make sure both sheets are stapled. No loose sheets are EVER accepted.

  1. Orphan lines (i.e. last line/ two lines of a text hanging over a new page) should be avoided. Review your work and edit it! If your complete writing assignment consists of 80 lines, you may not have 79 on one page and 1 in the next one. Take something out, edit, or add some lines.

  1. Never use words in ENGLISH, not even in parentheses or as an explanation to the Spanish text, unless I advise you otherwise (some assignments may be written in English). This, of course, does not apply to English words used in Spanish (e.g. whiskey) or Proper Nouns (e.g. John Smith, Discovery Channel, For Whom the Bell Tolls, The Matrix…). In the case of Proper Nouns, please do not attempt to offer a Spanish translation; you will never get it right!

  1. • All assignments should be Spanish spell-checked.

  1. THE MOST IMPORTANT RULE: ALWAYS READ your assignment after you print it at least once (I would say twice). The computer will—for sure—change some of the things you have written in some of the assignments. I cannot hold your computer responsible, so please review. Also notice that if the computer changes a word and you do not correct it later, it gives a very poor impression of your work, and it automatically tells me you have not reviewed it!

Write a 1page essay using font “Times New Roman” size 12. Double space all the lines except the header. Margins should be 1 inch on each side. Write your name and last name, class title, professor name, date and whether this is the First or Second Draft. Skip one line and then write a title for your essay and center it. Follow the example below. Remember that in Spanish only the first letter of a sentence or of proper names is capitalized and titles do not require a period.

Nombre y Apellido Amherst College

Lecturer: ________ Spring 2012

Español 130 Borrador #

20 de marzo de 2012 Word Count:____

Las vacaciones de Pepito
The writing assignments should be double-spaced with one-inch margins on all sides. Use a 12-point Font in Times New Roman.
Follow standard rules for Spanish grammar.

First Draft / Primer borrador: Organize your ideas in a coherent essay form. Remember to use transitional words or phrases. Make sure that each paragraph has a concrete main idea and that the essay as a whole has an identifiable main point. Recheck vocabulary, verb conjugation and subject-verb-adjective agreement. You may refer to your grammar textbook if any questions arise. Also, make sure you spell-check using the Spanish dictionary option in your word processor of choice. Under no circumstance should a composition should be written first in English and then translated into Spanish. This is a horrible habit that limits your ability to think in Spanish and thus to improve. Beware of online English-Spanish translators. Since they translate in a vacuum (with no context) oftentimes they suggest the wrong word. Do not forget accents (stress marks). Please print on both sides of the sheet.
Second Draft / Segundo borrador: Correct your essay following your Instructor’s comments and suggestions. Make sure you correct all mistakes. Staple both versions together in order to hand them in together to the Instructor. Failure to do so will result in a penalty of 10 points off that composition’s grade.
Never use words in ENGLISH, not even in parentheses or as an explanation to the Spanish text, unless I advise you otherwise (some assignments may be written in English). This, of course, does not apply to English words used in Spanish (e.g. whiskey) or Proper Nouns (e.g. John Smith, Discovery Channel, For Whom the Bell Tolls, The Matrix…). In the case of Proper Nouns, please do not attempt to offer a Spanish translation; you will never get it right!

1 This syllabus, particularly the activities outlined in the calendar, is subject to change at any time to accommodate class activities. Please check often with your professor, your email, or the course website for changes in dates, activities and / or requirements.

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