I’m in the computer lab proctoring day two of the AAPPL and I thought it might be a good time to spread the word about this test! It is available at in demo form for several languages. The demo is long! You really get a feel for what’s on the test!!

The test costs $20 for a full exam or in sections you can buy interpersonal speaking for 10, presentational writing for 5 and listening and reading for 5. Listening and reading results are available immediately and speaking/writing come back quickly (a day sometimes) during low season and in 2-3 weeks during the high season March-May! It’s an economical way to see how your students are performing!!!

How do I use the AAPPL? In IL we offer a seal of Biliteracy. To earn the seal, students have to reach intermediate high level proficiency in reading, writing, listening and speaking. We are not an AP school AND seniors taking AP don’t have the scores back in time to qualify for the seal!!! This test is a great and cheap solution! Intermediate high is a score of i4 or i5 on all sections of the exam.

Spanish club did a fundraiser and paid $5 to test all Spanish 4 students in reading and listening (great evidence of growth for my type 1 assessment) and those who wanted to pay $15 took the speaking and listening after school yesterday and today.

It’s long and they get tired and scores go down if you try to test all 4 sections in 1 day! Break it into two and collect their log in information so there’s no funny business!

Remember to look (with the kids) at ACTFLs proficiency levels! They need to KNOW what makes he difference between IL IM and IH!

On the listening section be sure they know that they CAN re-listen if they need to but they shouldn’t do it just to recheck their answers because replaying over and over is an indicator that they don’t understand!

Make sure they understand that NATIONALLY about 90% of students who study 4 years of language fall in the NH/IL category so IM scores are amazing!!! Now these statistics are changing… Thomas Sauer said that with better focus on using language in the classroom, scores are coming up!! Keep that CI flowing and we can create a generation of language learners who don’t say he dreaded “I took four years of….” You know what I mean! 🙂

Reply with any questions you have about the test!!


Teaching with the novel Vida y Muerte en la Mara Salvatrucha Chapter 11, 12, 13

Chapter 11 was such a shocker! *Spoiler Alert* Take a moment to stop reading if you’re still in the “thinking about adopting” phase.

Analia tries to keep the narrator from getting revenge on the man who killed his brother and is killed as they try to escape. It was such a powerful scene that my class was anxious to work on their twitter wall. (See my first post )

It was a great way to introduce the Spanish phrase que en paz descanse. They used the hashtag #QEPD and recognized it when we looked at some tweets about the death of Amparo Baro, the actress that played Jacinta on El Internado Laguna Negra.

We read chapters 12 and 13 as a jigsaw reading. I have 4 groups in both of my Spanish 3 classes and the chapters broke up almost perfectly into 3 paragraph sections. Group one read the first three paragraphs of chapter 12, group two the next three, group 3 the first three chapters of chapter 13 and group 4 the last 4 chapters (they’re shorter so it isn’t more material… easier too!)

Each group was responsible for summarizing their section with 2 sentences per paragraph (a total of 6 except for group 4 who did 8… my group 4s were both strong students so it might be advantageous to choose a strong group for this section). They shared their summaries with the whole class after 20 minutes of reading time. To keep everyone accountable for listening to the whole two chapter summary, I told them we’d be having a short true or false quiz at the end. The quiz was easy and proved to be a great review of everything we had learned in the two chapters.

We are getting so close to the end!!! Tomorrow we are going to tackle 14 and 15!

Teaching the novel Vida y Muerte en la Mara Salvatrucha Chapter 10

As always, don’t overlook the amazing teacher’s resources here…

Chapter 10 finds the narrator sleeping when he hears some horrible news. His brother has been killed… What will he do? Leave the gang to be with his girlfried? Seek revenge? It’s a great chapter, leading into an even better one!!

After we finished reading, I wanted them to take a moment to reflect on the relationship the narrator has with his girlfriend. He knows she wants him to walk away from the gang and it looks like he is being pulled right back in. Do they know of any other famous relationships (film, television, literature) that are comparable?

The ability to compare AND contrast is a great skill to develop as our students in the upper level classes are becoming more and more able to output. I got some very interesting comparisons… none more interesting than Anakin Skywalker and Padme! 🙂