This article is an overview of the Sophomore Spanish and AP Spanish Language and Culture classes. Below, Spanish teacher, Ms. Soto talks about what the two classes will cover and what to expect.
Who are you?
I am Ms. Soto. I have been teaching Spanish for 10 years. In my first 3 years, I taught in Washington State. I’ve been at WHSAD for 7 years, where I have been teaching the 2nd year Spanish class and the AP Spanish Language & Culture class. I was born in the Dominican Republic and came to NYC when I was 14 years old. I was raised in the Bronx, but I have lived in Queens for the last 5 years to be closer to our school. I received my Bachelor’s Degree in Spanish at Alfred University and got my Dual Master’s Degree in Teaching Spanish and Teaching English as a Second Language at New York University. I got married in 2019 to my wonderful husband. I have a daughter, a son, and a stepdaughter.
What’s the Curriculum like? (Pre-Quarantine and Post-Quarantine)
The 2nd year Spanish class focuses on the students expanding their vocabulary, improving their grammar skills, sharpening their listening skills, and getting more confident at speaking the language. This class is project-based, at the end of each unit students work on a real-life situation project with the vocabulary and grammar they learned. One of my favorite projects is the Trip Project, where students prepare a presentation for a vacation in a Spanish Speaking Country. They must include real boarding information, travelling, and activities with real prices.
The AP Spanish class is a college-level class. We follow the curriculum from the College Board where students learn about families in different societies, the influence of language and culture on identity, the influence of beauty and art, how science and technology affect our lives, factors that impact the quality of life, and environmental, political and societal challenges. The purpose of the class is for students to show that they can speak, read, listen and write Spanish about any topic at an advanced level. The culminating task is the AP Exam in May. Students get a score out of 5 where a score from 3 to 5 is passing and they get college credit in their high school transcript. These students also take the LOTE Regents exam in June. Passing the Spanish Regent is one part of the requirements for obtaining a high school Regent’s diploma at graduation.
What are students doing online and how does it differ from when we were in person?
Online students are doing modified work of what we used to do in person. We are doing Edpuzzles to go over grammar or cultural topics. I like the Edpuzzle tools because students can go at their own pace and even redo the assignment if they need to. We are using many different online tools to make the class interesting and fun. Some of these tools are Kahoot quizzes, Gimkit and Blooket games, modified projects, the online textbook which includes many audio and video activities, etc. For my AP class, they are working a lot with the College Board website.
What is the level of difficulty in the class?
I think this depends on the student. As a student if you put effort into learning the language and you are motivated to get a good grade, your time in class will be very productive. Learning a language can be difficult, but as a person who had to learn English at the age of 14, I understand the process and how disciplined you need to be to be able to immerse yourself in the language learning and the culture. The AP class is very challenging, we do many oral presentations and long writing assignments which include persuasive essays. Doing a persuasive essay is one of the tasks for the AP Exam. They have to use the three sources provided to back up their claims.