• Course Number/Title: Advanced Placement Spanish Language and Culture

    Credit: 1                           

    Department: World Languages

    Teacher: Natasha Causton            

    Prerequisites: Spanish 400 with a minimum grade of B- on the final exam or Spanish 300 or 400 with a recommendation by the teacher


    Course Description: The AP Spanish Language and Culture course concludes the five-year sequence of courses offered at the high school. The course is a year-long course, conducted every other day in 80 minute classes.  It is assumed that students have previously been exposed to advanced language structures leading up to the AP Spanish Language and Culture course; however a review of key structures and mechanics is done within the contextual framework of each unit as needed. This course focuses on the integration of authentic resources including online, print, audio and audiovisual resources as well as traditional print resources that include literature, essays, and magazine and newspaper articles. The goal is to provide the students with a rich and varied learning experience that will provoke deep analysis and questioning. Students will also do practice activities with the AP test format so that they are prepared when taking the AP exam.  These students study throughout the school year and are expected to take the AP College Board Spanish Language and Culture exam in May.  

    This course emphasizes the use of language for active communication. This class will be conducted entirely in Spanish, offering students the opportunity to demonstrate their proficiency across the modes of communication in the Intermediate to Pre-Advanced ranges (see language pledge below). Students develop a strong command of the the Spanish Language by integrating all 3 modes of communication: Interpersonal, Presentational and Interpretive. All students will broaden their knowledge of the various cultures that comprise the Spanish-speaking world through the thematic approach of the AP Spanish Language and Culture course. The exam will be Tuesday May 12, 2020.


    The course is divided into thematic units which are further based on recommended contexts and guided by essential questions. The composition of the units, topics, and materials chosen varies according to the interests of the teacher, the availability of opportunities for excursions to support curricular choices, current international events, and particular students’ interests.   All materials used in this course are authentic. All vocabulary and grammar are reviewed and practiced in these authentic contexts as they emerge.  

    Therefore the AP course is a class designed to hone speaking ability, improve listening capacity, expand vocabulary and cultural insights mainly through the study of literature, improve writing skills, and practice the specific AP exam format.  There is a significant amount of writing in this class; students learn to brainstorm, synthesize, peer edit, pre-write, etc. Students complete formal writing assignments as well as journal entries, summaries, book/movie reviews, invitations, letters, etc.


    Target Language Use

    Throughout the course, students have various opportunities to use Spanish outside of the class. We will try to expand these opportunities. Traditionally, at MUHS, every year there is at least one excursion.  For example, last year the class traveled to New York to see the play La casa de Bernarda Alba at the Spanish Repertory Theatre.  The trip provides excellent total language immersion and cultural exposure, both at the play and throughout the trip as the language pledge is observed.  We also visited Museo del Barrio (a museum in Spanish Harlem) or the Met to see contemporary Hispanic artwork.

    This year, when possible, I will organize opportunities for my students to go to the nearby elementary schools to teach mini-lessons to the students and to volunteer as tutors in our school. We are currently building an elementary school program and it would be invaluable for the students to develop relationships with our neighboring schools. Students can also use technology to blog about their experiences and to journal their progression with other students. 

    Students will sign a language pledge, promising to use Spanish throughout class time.

    Language Pledge

    Because practice is required to attain an AP passing grade, I need to make as much progress as possible during class. Thus, I pledge:

    • To only use Spanish when I speak to the teacher;
    • To only use Spanish when I speak to my classmates;
    • To use Spanish exclusively from the time I enter the classroom until I leave it.


    I understand that the following exceptions are allowed.

    • When I do not know a word in Spanish, I may use the following phrase:                                      "¿Cómo se dice ________" and use an English word in the blank.
    • The teacher may give limited grammar explanations or examples in English when concepts are especially complex.


    Furthermore, I understand that I may speak to the teacher in English before or after school when I have questions or doubts that I am unable to express in Spanish.


    I understand that I will receive a warning the first few times I break the pledge. A repeated violations of the pledge will result in a conference with the teacher, parents or guardians and a lowered participation grade. Most importantly, no activities to make up missing participation points will be provided. 





    “The level of language fluency a student will gain is directly related to the amount of time students spend learning the language and on the intensity of that language experience” 

                                                                                                 ~ Curtain/Pesola




    Yo __________________________________________(nombre del estudiante) doy mi palabra


    de honor que usaré español exclusivamente con mis compañeros, maestra y clase de AP Español


    Lengua y Cultura.




    __________________________________________                    ______________________

    Firma                                                                                           Fecha



    AP Exam Structure

    The AP Spanish Language and Culture Course and Exam Description

    Section I: Multiple Choice | 65 Questions | ~ 95 Minutes | 50% of Exam Score

    •   Part A: 30 questions; ~40 minutes 

    o   Interpretive Communication: Print Texts

    •   Part B: 35 Questions; ~55 minutes
      • Interpretive Communication: Print and Audio Texts
      • Interpretive Communication: Audio Texts

    Section II: Free Response | 4 Tasks | ~ 85 Minutes | 50% of Exam Score

    •   Interpersonal Writing: Email Reply (1 prompt; 15 minutes, 12.5%)
    •   Presentational Writing: Persuasive Essay (1 prompt; ~55 minutes total: 15 minutes to review materials plus 40 minutes to write, 12.5%)
    •   Interpersonal Speaking: Conversation (5 prompts; 20 seconds for each response, 12.5%)
    •   Presentational Speaking: Cultural Comparison (1 prompt; 6 minutes, 12.5%)



    The categories for each quarter are formative and summative

    For now, all courses in grades 11 and 12 will use a 100 point grading scale, along with the AP rubrics (scale of 1-5).


    Language learning is a very cumulative endeavor. Each new skill builds on previous skills. It is in the best interest of the student to strive to stay current with the sequence of assignments. 


    All homework will have a due-date—assumed to be the next day unless otherwise stated. Since we often review homework as a class activity it is important to complete your homework each night. 


    Formative work will be accepted for feedback for up to 3 days  after the deadline (typically the deadline for formative work is the next day). If a student does not hand a formative assessment in it will be reported out as “M” for missing, and given a score of a 50.  


    Summative tasks: students 

    • have two weeks from the original date to complete out-of-class assessments. 
    • (if you miss the original day of an in-class assessment) have one week to complete the assessment. Until the assessment is made up, I will comment of “M” for missing in the gradebook, along with a zero. After the two-week time period, if the work has still not been completed, the “M” and the score of a zero will be permanent. The student should now focus on the current learning and demonstrating the current proficiencies.  



    In general, reassessment is not allowed as a AP school rule. From time to time, I will allow reassessment under certain extenuating circumstances. 


    Additionally, no late assignments will be accepted after the end of a marking period.


    *For more information please see the MUHS Teaching and Learning Handbook 2019.


    Habits of Work:

    The MUHS Habits of Work are a combination of skills identified by IB in the two Approaches to Learning (ATL) categories called Social Skills and Self-Management Skills, as well as other skills from our research. At the end of each quarter I will report out on habits of work.  This is a subjective score, based on weeks of interaction with the student and observations made by me.



    If you know you are going to be missing class, you should get handouts and homework ahead of time. I also expect you can look on the class google docs page with the agenda and find out what you missed prior to the next class. 


    Academic Honesty

    I expect you to take responsibility for your own work. Cheating is a serious offense. This includes copying work, letting someone copy your work, talking about the content of an assessment before others have taken it, AND online translators (ie. Google Translate). You may NOT use translators to assist with the writing process. You MAY use bilingual dictionaries, pocket translators, or online dictionaries (my preference is wordreference.com) to translate isolated words for use in writing, but text must be composed directly in Spanish by the individual. If I suspect that a student is using a translator he/she will need to complete writing assignments in a supervised environment such as detention. If there is proof of a translator, the students will receive a 0% for the assignment.


    Midterm practice Exam

    At the mid-year, we will conduct a full length practice exam of the AP exam.  It will include all sections of the AP exam and allow students to get feedback on which areas they may need more practice with before May. This exam will count as one of their summative assessments, similar to another test or summative task. 



    The use of video is a key element in our curriculum, as it is useful for practicing listening comprehension and exploring cultural themes. On occasion these videos may contain material that some parents and students may find objectionable. The teacher will endeavor to advise parents of upcoming movie titles and ratings so that they may inform themselves of content or preview them. Parents—if you have concerns in this regard please contact me.



    Students will have homework assignments that require them to have access to the internet. These include doing listening activities, conducting authentic research, following the news on Spanish speaking websites, or following a celebrity on twitter. If you do not have access to the internet, please brainstorm ways you/your student can still complete the assignments. The learning center at MUHS is open before and after school for student use. Public libraries also offer internet access so please check their hours. If access becomes a problem, please let me know right away.


    Cell Phone Use

    While cell phones are wonders of innovation and can be immensely helpful tools when used appropriately, they have also unfortunately proven to be a routine distraction from learning when abused. To protect our classroom learning environments and our students’ well-being, the Language Acquisition Department has adopted the following approach to cell phones: 


    Unless otherwise directed for the purposes of a specific lesson, or granted an exception due to extenuating circumstances, students will be required to silence and store their cell phones, rear-facing, in a phone organizer upon entering the classroom. There the phones will remain until the end of class, when students will retrieve them. A student who is found to be using a phone they retained, or who retrieves a stored phone during class without permission, will receive a warning and have the phone confiscated (and stored) for the duration of the class period. A student who refuses to turn over a phone upon the teacher’s request, or chronically requires warnings, will be given a disciplinary referral in accordance with the MUHS Student Handbook’s cell phone policy.


    To respect the privacy of students and teachers, recording  and photos are prohibited in the classroom.


    I am available for extra help after school in my room (H306). I strongly encourage any students who feel lost or confused to seek help IMMEDIATELY!  Be a proactive and assertive learner. On the flip side, as AP students, please consider tutoring other students, sign up in the Learning Lab as it is a great way to strengthen your own language skills and there are not many available tutors. Please sign up for extra help during Flex Time.


    AP Spanish Language & Culture Curriculum 2019-20

    The course is divided into thematic units which are further based on recommended contexts and guided by essential questions. The composition of the units, topics, and materials chosen varies according to the interests of the teacher, the availability of opportunities for excursions to support curricular choices, current international events, and particular students’ interests.   All materials used in this course are authentic. All vocabulary and grammar are reviewed and practiced in these authentic contexts as they emerge.  


    Unit 1: ¿Quién soy  en el mundo? 

    Students will explore topics of cultural identity and indigenous peoples’ rights, inspired by the summer reading book La ciudad de las bestias by Isabel Allende. 

    Theme: Las identidades personales y públicas

    Additional Themes: Los desafíos mundiales; La ciencia y la tecnología

    Contexts: La enajenación y la asimilación/ Las creencias personales/ La conciencia social/ El cuidado de la salud y la medicina/ La ciencia y la ética


    Essential Questions:

    • ¿Cómo se desarrolla la identidad de una persona a lo largo del tiempo? ¿Cómo se expresan los distintos aspectos de la personalidad en diferentes situaciones? 
    • ¿Cómo navegamos las fluctuaciones entre la asimilación y la enajenación? ¿Cómo influyen la cultura y la lengua a la identidad de una persona? 
    • ¿Cuáles son los derechos de los indígenas frente a la modernización? ¿Cómo protegemos nuestra cultura y nuestra lengua frente a influencias externas a nuestra sociedad?

    Summative Assessments:

    Spoken Presentational Communication:Students will present their own self-portraits (either in the form of a painting or a poem) which reflect their own dualities. 

    Written Interpersonal Communication: Students write an email in response to the work of their peers. 

    Written Presentational Communication: As a final assessment, students write an essay in which they analyze the cultural identity of an individual person while citing evidence from the unit, both from research as well as from the class readings. 

    Debate: No hay lugar para culturas y gente nativa mientras que el mundo moderno siga progresando.

    World-Readiness Standards: 1.1, 1.2, 1.3; 2.1, 2.2; 3.1, 3.2; 4.1, 4.2; 5.2

    Transferable Skills: all


    Unit 2:  El acceso a la educación

    Students will explore look at how poverty affects the choices that we have especially concerning education and access to technology. We will look at our own situation in Vermont and compare that to  different contexts where children struggle for an education. 

    Theme: Los desafíos mundiales

    Additional Themes: La educación

    Contexts: El bienestar social/ Los temas económicos (la pobreza, las oportunidades)/ El acceso a la educación, El acceso a la tecnología/ El género y la igualdad/ La ciencia y la tecnología


    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? 
    • ¿Cómo la pobreza y el acceso a la educación afectan nuestra opciones en el mundo? ¿Cuáles son algunas posibles soluciones a esos desafíos? ¿Cómo la educación cambia los obstáculos de la pobreza?
    • ¿La tecnología puede ayudar a eliminar los obstáculos de la pobreza en cuanto a la educación?


    Summative Assessments:

    Written & Speaking Presentational Communication: Students will write their own essays “En esto creo”  about the connection between education and poverty and will distill their own thoughts and values regarding education. Students can use Voicethread or WeVideo to record these thoughts.

    Integrated Performance Assessment: Students will collaborate to create a model for an ideal school, which lines up with their values about education. They will research and describe a real global context for their school and then create an ideal school for that particular context. The will also interview educators in the community to learn what makes a school work. Following the presentation of this model school, students will reflect on what they learned in this process.

    World-Readiness Standards: 1.1, 1.2, 1.3; 2.1, 2.2; 3.1, 3.2; 4.1, 4.2; 5.2

    Transferable Skills: all


    Unit 3: la Guerra Civil (España)

    Students will study the events of the Spanish Civil War and look at the artwork that came out of this time period.

    Theme: Las familias y las comunidades

    Additional Themes: Los desafíos mundiales; 

    Contexts: Las tradiciones y los valores/ La estructura de la familia / La memoria


    Essential Questions: 

    • ¿Cuáles son las diferencias en los papeles que asumen las comunidades y las familias en las diferentes situaciones en el mundo? 
    • ¿Cómo afecta una guerra civil a la estructura de la familia? ¿Cómo se define la familia en época de conflicto? ¿ Cómo resiste y sobrevive la familia en época de guerra? 
    • ¿Qué perspectivas ofrece el arte (el cuadro Guernica) en esta situación de conflicto? ¿Cómo forma e influye la memoria y la perspectiva cultural de este momento histórico?
    • ¿Cómo eran los productos, las prácticas y las perspectivas en España durante la Guerra Civil, y cómo han cambiado durante la era posguerra?


    Summative Assessments:

    Written Interpersonal Communication: Students write an email to the Museo Reina Sofia inquiring about the position of tour guide for the latest exposition Piedad y Terror en Picasso: el camino a Guernica currently on exhibit at the museum. Students can interview the staff about the effects of the war and Franco’s dictatorship on the post war era.

    Spoken Presentational Communication: Students present background information about key moments and important figures in the  Spanish Civil War to be able to provide a clear historical context to understand the issues during this time period.

    Written Presentational Communication: Students will write a personal testimony of life during the Spanish Civil War. Escribir un testimonio como si estuvieras en Guernica durante el bombardeo.

    World-Readiness Standards: 1.1, 1.2, 1.3; 2.1, 2.2; 3.1, 3.2; 4.1, 4.2; 5.2

    Transferable Skills: all


    Unit 4: Las mujeres y el poder, la conciencia de una familia

    Students will explore how women are the conscience of a family or a nation in works of fiction and in historical reality (Mother of the Plaza de Mayo in Argentina). We will look at how they became activists by standing up for the rights of their family and their country. 

    Themes: La vida contemporánea 

    Additional Themes: Los desafíos mundiales; Las familias y las comunidades

    Contexts: La conciencia social/ La tradiciones y los valores sociales/ La ciudadanía global / La igualdad de género


    Essential Questions: 

    • ¿Cuales son los desafíos de la mujer en la vida contemporánea? ¿Cómo cuestiones de género afectan las oportunidades profesionales, personales y públicas de la mujer? ¿Qué retos enfrentan las mujeres que tienen cargos públicos? 
    • ¿Cuáles son los valores sociales dentro de la familia? ¿Cómo la tradición limita los opciones para la mujer? ¿Qué oportunidades ofrecen las tradiciones para la mujer?
    • ¿Quién representa y lucha por La conciencia social dentro de una familia o de una nación? 

    Summative Assessments:

    Spoken Presentational Communication: Students will memorize and act out a scene of the play  La casa de Bernarda Alba by Lorca. Memoriza y actúa un pasaje de La casa de Bernarda Alba (con compañero)—video. Al final de la escena, explica lo que está pasando y discute los símbolos.

    Spoken Interpersonal Communication: Students will interview a female leader in their community using the essential questions as a basis for their conversation.  They will share and discuss what they learned about these interviews with a partner.

    Interpretive and Presentational  communication: Students will read various essays by women describing their moments of awakening. They will use this as a basis for their own writings.

    World-Readiness Standards: 1.1, 1.2, 1.3; 2.1, 2.2; 3.1, 3.2; 4.1, 4.2; 5.2

    Transferable Skills: all


    Unit 5: ¿El sueño o la realidad? 

    Students will explore fiction and reality. We will read several stories by great authors of Latin American literature and consider how fiction provides an escape from reality and how Magic Realism became that escape.

    Theme: La belleza y la estética

    Additional Themes: Las identidades personales y públicas


    Contexts: Definiciones de la belleza/ Definiciones de la creatividad/ El lenguaje y la literatura/ Las artes visuales escénicas

    Essential Questions:

    • ¿Cómo se establecen las percepciones de la belleza y de la estética? ¿Cómo influyen los ideales de la belleza en la vida y la estética en la vida cotidiana?
    • ¿Cómo el arte, y la literatura en particular, provee un escape de la realidad en que nos encontramos? ¿Cómo influyen la lengua y la cultura la identidad?
    • ¿Cómo las artes desafían y reflejan las perspectivas culturales?

    Summative Assessments:

    Written Interpersonal Communication: Students write a journal entry about a dream they’ve had, which they they share with a classmate who then interviews them and  asks clarifying questions then interprets the dream and provides feedback in his or her journal. 

    Spoken Presentational Communication: Students give a presentation about the meaning of dreams, citing information from authentic texts (a new story) and classroom discussion.

    Written Presentational Communication: As a final assessment, students complete a written assessment  (AP style persuasive essay) in which they compare dreams and magical realism, while citing evidence from the unit, both from researching magic realism as well as from the readings. 

    World-Readiness Standards: 1.1, 1.2, 1.3; 2.1, 2.2; 3.1, 3.2; 4.1, 4.2; 5.2

    Transferable Skills: all


    Unit 6: Los héroes de Cuba

    Students will learn about great political and artistic figures in Cuban history and how they demonstrated their patriotism and their love of country.

    Theme: La ciencia y la tecnología/ Las identidades personales y públicas

    Additional Themes: 

    Contexts: Las creencias personales, la identidad nacional y la identidad étnica, los héroes y los personajes históricos

    Essential Questions:

    • ¿Cuáles factores impulsaron la Revolución Cubana? ¿Cuáles son los orígenes de la Revolución Cubana?
    • ¿Qué es un héroe? ¿Cuáles son sus valores o creencias personales? ¿Cómo los héroes definen el patriotismo? ¿Cómo se desarrolla la mitología acerca de un héroe? 
    • ¿En qué manera se manifiesta el patriotismo? ¿Cuáles son los símbolos de este patriotismo en una nación? ¿Cómo se define el patriotism dentro de la Revolución Cubana? 
    •  ¿Cómo la vida artística de Celia Cruz refleja el alma de su país? ¿Cómo las artes desafían y reflejan la vida cubana dentro y fuera de Cuba? 

    Summative Assessments:

    Written and Print Interpretive communication: Students will read a blog La muerte de Fidel by Yoani Sánchez and consider the essential question ¿Cómo se desarrolla la mitología acerca del héroe? ¿Cómo el héroe define el patriotismo?  They will compare and contrast reactions (text and images) to Castro’s death in La Habana, Cuba and Miami. 

    Spoken Presentational Communication: Students present a cultural comparison based on the songs/poems of Martí/Estefan/Cruz and a “patriotic” American singer (Born in the USA by Bruce Springsteen, folksingers This land is my land by Woodie Guthrie, poet Walt Whitman). 

    World-Readiness Standards: 1.1, 1.2, 1.3; 2.1, 2.2; 3.1, 3.2; 4.1, 4.2; 5.2

    Transferable Skills: all


    Unit 7: The AP Exam

    This will be a review unit in preparation for the AP exam. 

    Theme: La ciencia y la tecnología

    Additional Themes: 

    Contexts: El acceso a la tecnología/ las innovaciones tecnológicas

    Essential Questions:

    • ¿Cómo podemos prepararnos para  el examen AP? ¿Cuáles expresiones idiomáticas pueden ayudarnos a hablar español con fluidez. 

    • ¿Cómo la tecnología nos ayuda a prepararnos para el examen?

    Summative Assessments:

    Written Presentational Communication: Presentational writing samples and practice from College Board website

    Spoken/Listening Communication: Interpersonal listening samples from AP College Board website

    World-Readiness Standards: 1.1, 1.2, 1.3; 2.1, 2.2; 3.1, 3.2; 4.1, 4.2; 5.2

    Transferable Skills: all