If you’re going to be teaching AP Spanish, there is a good chance you’re excited about the class, but also apprehensive. Although it is a rewarding course to teach, there is no doubt it is rigorous and time-consuming. The good news is the new digital AP Spanish curriculum Nuestra historia: Aprender y preparar gives you exactly what you need to make this challenging course an exceptional learning experience.
As you’re probably aware, the Advanced Placement Spanish exam was updated several years ago. Rather than the earlier grammar focus, the course now emphasizes communication in real life situations. Global themes with recommended contexts and an emphasis on authentic resources create a rich learning opportunity for students.
The Challenge of Teaching AP Spanish
The College Board provides a framework with a detailed description of the AP Spanish course requirements. The course framework also has suggested resources and sample exam questions. However, it is essential to have a wealth of content with scaffolding and support to develop student skills.
Compiling resources related to the themes is a huge amount of work. The challenge for teachers becomes finding enough quality, up-to-date content and providing scaffolding, as well as structuring practice for the exam. And, of course, doing it without investing an unreasonable amount of prep time.
This summer, I’ve been looking at the new AP Spanish curriculum Nuestra historia: Aprender y preparar. For many teachers, this rich digital AP curriculum is going to make class, and life, much better.
Nuestra historia: Aprender y preparar is a complete AP Spanish curriculum. Everything you need to teach the course is online, and it’s an impressive amount of content! I’m going to point to some highlights, but I encourage you to check it out for yourself.
Go to the AP Spanish curriculum Nuestra historia: Aprender y preparar and sign-up for a free trial. You can even schedule a guided tour to walk through the content and tools.
Nuestra Historia AP Spanish Curriculum
This AP Spanish curriculum provides a coherent, engaging body of material to develop each of the global themes. In addition, the course is scaffolded to move students along as their skills develop so they will be ready for the AP Spanish exam.
One of the keys to teaching a successful AP Spanish class is providing sufficient reading related to each theme with effective scaffolding so students learn without being overwhelmed.
In Nuestra historia: Aprender y preparar, each unit begins with a culturally-rich story, followed by interpretive readings and listening. The stories are compelling, focusing on individuals to present the complex realities of different countries and cultures.
For example, Ladrillo por ladrillo is a touching story set in rural Colombia, while Quizá mañana portrays the harsh reality of Venezuela. ¿Con que soñaste, abuelita? is the story of a Cuban family in the United States and Un hijo hecho a medida is set in the future in Guatemala, but based on present-day cultural realities.
The stories are thought-provoking and provide excellent topics for discussion and writing. Students will remember these stories because of the compelling content, and that creates powerful learning.
AP Spanish Curriculum Authentic Resources
One of the things that impressed me most about this AP Spanish curriculum was the quality and variety of authentic resources related to the themes. Students need the opportunity to work with authentic resources in different formats on a regular basis. Accordingly, Nuestra historia: Aprender y preparar incorporates authentic resources into interpretive, interpersonal and presentational tasks for each unit.
Of course, scaffolding is essential to develop skills. There is excellent support in the sections Antes de leer/ Antes de escuchar/ Antes de leer y escuchar and Palabras claves. The scaffolding sets up students to comprehend and learn.
I have to mention that I love that the sources in this AP Spanish curriculum are up-to-date and interesting. They include commercials, articles, news reports, interviews, instructional videos, infographics and more.
Integrated AP Exam Preparation
An important part of teaching AP Spanish is familiarizing students with the format of the exam. The test sections align with real-life skills that students develop during the course, but students need to practice for the test. The structure of the exam can be intimidating if students are not prepared.
Test preparation is integral to the content of this AP Spanish curriculum. The test-preparation sections have the exam format and relate to the theme of each unit. In addition, there are separate practice tests.
The sections are called Nuestro ejercicio and include interpretive, interpersonal and presentational tasks as they appear on the AP exam.
The Nuestro ejercicio sections for interpersonal speaking are especially helpful for practicing skills in the format of the exam. On the exam, students take part in a simulated conversation.
Creating preparation exercises for simulated conversations is time-consuming because it requires content in a specific structure, high quality audio and student recording. At the same time, it is one of the most important parts of the exam to practice because it is unfamiliar.
Nuestra historia: Aprender y preparar has simulated conversations with native speaker audio and online recording, just as it appears on the AP exam.
I’m happy to see this format included throughout the course. Once students are familiar with the format and audio prompts, it is a great, low-pressure way to build conversation skills.
The course also includes interpersonal writing tasks in the form of email replies, structured like the AP exam.
With this AP Spanish curriculum, students build interpretive skills and prepare for the exam using authentic audio and print sources. Like the test, students draw on print texts, print and audio texts combined, and audio texts to answer multiple-choice questions.
Like the AP exam, the Nuestro ejercicio presentational speaking (cultural comparison) and presentational writing (argumentative essay) sections draw on authentic cultural resources. In addition to the sources, the prompts have support materials and key vocabulary.
AP Spanish Curriculum Games Center
This is an AP Spanish curriculum, but even serious students need to play. There are four customizable games with modes for one or two players.
One of the games I particularly like is Voces Story Shuffle. It’s a story writing game that gives players a word or phrase to begin a story and write until they have used that prompt. Then, they (or the next player) get the next prompt and continue the story until they have used that prompt.
This is a streamlined, digital version of a chain story game, but having prompts to use makes it more fun and better learning. You can customize the prompts or use the default set.
I also like Voces Round-up. This is an ongoing challenge where students collect vocabulary. The task is to identify words and phrases, either written or audio, like the flashcard game. However, the structure encourages students to continually add to their vocabulary collection. They earn points, and can compare their scores to classmates or all students if you choose to set it up that way.
Tools and Support
This digital AP Spanish curriculum is user-friendly and easy to navigate. Also, I was happy to find strong support available by live chat or email. They are fast and very helpful!
In addition, I really appreciate the Teacher to Teachers communication tool. You can reach out with questions, and also see emails and replies from other teachers.
Nuestra historia: Aprender y preparar is a complete AP Spanish curriculum, so clearly there is more material than I can present here. However, I want to leave you with these observations.
- Nuestra historia: Aprender y preparar has a wealth of compelling, up-to-date authentic resources.
- This AP Spanish textbook provides rich, engaging content with the support students need to develop their skills. Students will learn and be prepared for the exam.
- Digital makes perfect sense. Audio and video are essential learning tools in AP Spanish, and audio is an important part of the exam. This digital, integrated resource is a fabulous way to teach this course.
- Nuestra historia: Aprender y preparar is a godsend for teachers. Having the material you need lets you put your time and energy into connecting with your students.
Nuestra historia: Aprender y preparar is published by Teacher’s Discovery. Sign up for your free trial of Nuestra historia AP Spanish curriculum today and explore this complete digital resource.