I have been mulling over this post all summer. Now that August hits, I finally kick into high gear (and hopefully this burst of energy will keep me going throughout the month). Luckily for me, we do not go back until after Labor Day. I wanted to share a few things that I have been getting together. While I will not start with the syllabus on the first day, I like to decide on that first before I make my first day plans (although these are coming together nicely as well recently.)
First, I have updated my syllabi. (This was my syllabus from last year inspired heavily by Wendy.) I have used Piktochart again because I liked it so much last year. Next year, I am teaching Spanish I, Spanish II and Spanish V. I updated a few things. First, I changed my grading policy. Last year, I felt too much pressure to turn certain parts of an IPA into a test to put it in that traditional category. It was also hard to always discern an area where a student was struggling due to having only categories like quiz and test. I decided to make three separate categories for interpersonal, interpretive and presentational. In addition this year, I minimized my homework and classwork percentage. I cannot completely distance myself from giving a portion of the grade for these assignments, but it was too big of a portion of their grade in previous years. For both Spanish I and Spanish II, I did:
- Homework and classwork 15%
- Exam 20% (department policy)
- Interpersonal 21%
- Presentational 22%
- Interpretive 22%
I believe that interpersonal is the hardest for novice students, so that is how I ended up with a slightly lower percentage. I dropped the homework and classwork percentage for Spanish V. The percentages will look like this:
- Homework and classwork 10%
- Exam 20%
- Interpretive 23%
- Presentational 23%
- Interpersonal 24%
Since they are older and many of them really want to work on their ability to speak spontaneously in Spanish, I upped the interpersonal category slightly. I am excited to see how it works out. I thought about lumping them all into one category, but I worry that that may be more intimidating. I know that it will force me to make sure that I balance out all modes when I am assessing. I also won’t have to grade as much at once when I had to give a “test.” This will allow me to give better feedback each time.
In addition to updating my grading policy, I provided a list of topics to cover since we will be textbookless. I think this will give them a better idea of what to expect and to see that we do have a plan and a guide that I plan on covering. I did leave it slightly open since that is the beauty of not having a textbook. We can afford the liberty of not having to make it to chapter 10 or the like. Here is my rough outline of topics for each class.
In Spanish I, my plan is:
- Sports and activities
- Piratas y el mapa secreto novel
- El ekeko un misterio boliviano novel
I am hoping to weave both weather and time in the beginning of class as well as school unit because the classes are all cognates. I figure that I can sprinkle the objects in the class throughout with a little TPR as well. My rough end of the year IPA idea is to have some sort of introduction to a family during a study abroad.
In Spanish II, my plan is:
- Netflix unit from last year (somewhat of a review)
- Daily routine
- Billy y las botas graphic novel
- Blanca Nieves
I am hoping to find some time to teach Señor Wooly’s newest graphic novel, too! The end of the year IPA will involve planning a trip as well. I also may put Blanca Nieves a bit earlier in the year if it ends up working that way.
Finally, my Spanish V is the most loose plan because I am going to go with some of the students’ ideas for topics. I do know that we will start with the novel Frida Kahlo by Kristy Placido and art then move from there. My tentative list is:
- Frida Kahlo and art
- Lucha libre
- La calaca alegre
Whew! I am exhausted and excited thinking about all of this planning for the upcoming year! I love any feedback that you have with your classes as well or any changes about your grading policy.