Anyone else using the AAPPL test to assess your students? All of the feeder schools in my area give the 8th grade Spanish students this assessment to determine who is going into Spanish 2 vs Spanish 3 in high school. Last year was our first year administering the test, and although it was a bit of a headache with our tech issues, the test provided us with useful information about our student's proficiency levels.
Although I don't want to 'teach to the test' I do want to make sure that my students are prepared for the types of tasks that they will be asked to complete during this assessment. When my colleague and I took the practice test we noticed that one of the main themes on form 'B' of the test was having the students compare/contrast their country with another and make recommendations for people visiting their town. I wanted to find a way to prepare my students for these types of tasks through a Comprehensible Input friendly approach that was in keeping with topics we were already studying this year.
I was thrilled when I found Carrie Toth's Si tú la ves + Free Unit of Study on Ecuador blog post. I just finished the María y los cuyes Movietalk I did last year to pre-teach vocabulary for Bianca nieves y los 7 toritos, and Carrie's unit was the perfect segue to continue learning about Ecuador and also focus on cultural comparisons for the AAPPL test.
After we finished the Movietalk about the cuyes in Ecuador, we watched Nicky Jam's video for the song Si tú la ves. Before watching the video the students studied the lyrics and read the following information based on an article in People en Español.
After watching the video I printed out the pictures and information in Carrie's lesson on all of the places they visit in the video (Quito, Baños, los Andes, las islas Galápagos y Guayaquil) and made stations with the information. Students had to work in small groups to read the slides and write down the following information in their notebook.
1. Nombre del lugar
2. Actividad turística
3. ¿Te gustaría visitar este lugar? ¿Por qué?
As soon as the students had visited each of the stations we had a classroom discussion about what was the most adventurous, beautiful, and crazy place they read about. We also discussed what place was the most similar/different to the city where they live. Overall, I was impressed by the cultural comparisons the students were able to make after watching the Nicky Jam video and reading Carrie's slides.
Next, played a game where I provided students with information about the activities that someone who is visiting Ecuador likes to do. Students worked in groups to write a recommendation for what activities that person should do on their trip to Ecuador and why. I gave each group a point if they came up with a recommendation that made sense based on the interest of the tourist, and I gave two points to the team with the most interesting/creative recommendation.
The students finished the unit by comparing/contrasting a place in Ecuador with the city in which they live. They also had to make recommendations to someone from Ecuador who is coming to visit their city. I felt like our study of Ecuador killed two birds with one stone: I pre-taught vocabulary needed for Bianca nieves y los 7 toritos AND the students got to practice making cultural comparisons for the AAPPL test. Oh, and we also got to learn about the people and practices of the beautiful country of Ecuador!
Do you give your students a standardized test in your target language? What do you do to prepare them for the test?
I'm excited to read Bianca nieves y los 7 toritos by Carrie Toth this year with my 8th graders! In my backwards planning I read through the novel and pulled out all of the structures/words that I need to pre-teach to my students. I found a great video about guinea pigs in Ecuador that I used with the following structures:
I showed the video using a MovieTalk format, pausing and asking the students a lot of questions while we were watching. The video sparked some great conversations in my class. Do these guinea pigs suffer? Does María (main woman in the video) actually care for the guinea pigs with love and affection? After watching the video I gave the students an infographic (inspired by this infographic, but modified with comprehensible language). Students worked in pairs to read the infographic and answer comprehension questions.
I'm still feeling inspired by Carol Gaab's workshop at Comprehensible Midwest about using higher level thinking skills in the classroom. I gave the students the following statements that they had to put them in a venn diagram, comparing and contrasting María with themselves. It was great to see the students realize how much they had in common with María.
Next, we played Possible or Probable? (posible o probable), also inspired by Carol Gaab. I projected the statements below one at a time and on their whiteboards the students had to ask wether each statement was possible or probable. I loved this activity because there wasn't a right or wrong answer. It created a platform in class for everyone to express their opinions, but they had to support their answers with information they saw in the video or read in the infographic. It was awesome to see students engage in debates in the target language!
What are some activities you use in class to engage students in higher level thinking?