With their conversational skills at the ready, Spanish students have a linguistic passport to explore almost two dozen countries and territories that conduct life in Spanish. All Spanish classes incorporate activities that draw on this wealth of cultural and linguistic variety. Spanish is learned via immersion through conversing, problem solving, debating, speech making, acting, and composing. After completing the third year of Spanish, students are ready to take AP seminars.
Spanish l, II, and III
In Spanish I and II, students are encouraged to communicate orally and, from the beginning, are required to use the language in class. The primary textbooks, Diverso I, II, and B offer an innovative, student-centered approach that develops language skills and emphasizes cultural competency. Communication skills, grammar, and vocabulary are integrated into a variety of activities that include small-group projects, skits, presentations, videos, songs, and conversations. The text is supplemented with music, film, and internet clips. The theme of Spanish III is “creativity and imagination.” Activities include writing poems and stories, and reading, writing, and presenting a short play about La Casa de Mango Street. Students develop and deliver presentations modeled on TED talks. Course topics include professions, relationships, food, science, technology, the environment, and human rights. Beyond the textbook, the course materials include films, articles, music, podcasts, and local cultural events.
AP Spanish IV-V Seminar: A Study of Place—Culture, History and Life in the Hispanic World
In this AP seminar we will study a variety of topics using a wide range of materials and a geographical place in the Hispanic world as a starting point. Why has Machu Picchu become a symbol for the Americas? How does a city built on top of the city of their ancestors—Tenochtitlán—affect the identity of Mexicans and their relation to history? What does it mean for Cubans to live on an island, surrounded by sea and close to the United States? How is all this, together with a constant redefinition of their identities, reflected and expressed through their art, their music, their celebrations? These are some of the questions we will ask ourselves during the course of this seminar. The first semester will focus on countries with big indigenous populations that shape their societies today, while the second semester will focus on the Caribbean and Spain. Movies are chosen to enrich the knowledge and understanding of the countries covered in the course. Students will improve their communication skills while deepening their understanding of the Spanish-speaking world. Discussions, research, and oral presentations will be based on readings, research, films, YouTube clips, literature, visual art, and music. Group work will be central to this seminar. Attendance at cultural events outside of class is always encouraged. Additionally, we will have periodic grammar reviews, and students who plan to take the Advanced Placement examination will have assigned time to prepare for it and to become familiar with each section of the exam. Class is conducted entirely in Spanish.
AP Spanish Seminar
Identity in Latin American and US Latino Culture
This seminar explores Latin-American and US Latinx identity through the ages, beginning with the creation story of the Maya people. Topics include indigenous deities and cultural icons such as La Virgen de Guadalupe, tracing their evolution and symbolism in contemporary Chicano art and murals in San Francisco’s Mission District. Excerpts from the one Latin-American slave narrative in print help students learn how Afro-Latino identity has been shaped by the legacy of enslavement and abolition. US Chicano and Latinx identity are explored: the many terms used to describe a diverse collective and how these have evolved, the relationship to Latin American identity and people of color in the US, and how “estadounidenses” articulate their experiences. Class discussions, papers, and oral presentations are based on readings, films, video clips, news articles, visual art, and music. This class prepares students for the AP Spanish Language and Culture Exam.