Final assessment for El Nuevo Houdini

In Spanish 1 we are just finishing the novel El nuevo Houdini. As a speaking assessment, I will have students call my google voice account and tell me about their favorite part of the novel. What part did they like best and why?? As a written assessment, I am asking them to analyze one of the novel’s characters.

Creating language and writing original sentences are intermediate low level skills! What I am asking them to do is high level for a novice. When they start to create with language, they will make more errors because they will be stepping away from their acquired chunks and into the world of real language! If I penalize them for grammar mistakes, I will discourage them from taking risks. In this assessment, I will be looking for textual evidence that shows that they understand the events and vocabulary structures in the novel. This is also the first time that I have asked them to create a question with no guidelines (ask what someone’s name is, etc). I am interested to see what they come up with!

We have been working on transition words like because, then, while, so, but, etc. this year so that we can write at the sentence/paragraph level. I will also be on the lookout for these words as they will probably be present in my fastest processors’ writing!
Final Assessment Character Analysis

Author: senoracmt

I began teaching Spanish in Illinois in 1994. I have taught levels 1-4 in a small rural high school, 8th grade introductory Spanish, Biology 1, and 101 and 102 at the community college level. My Spanish classes are partnered with the community college to offer students 8 semester hours of dual credit on completion of Spanish 4. In 2011 I met Carol Gaab and Kristy Placido and have since co-authored the book "La hija del sastre" with Carol Gaab and authored the novels "La Calaca Alegre", "Bianca Nieves y los 7 toritos." "Vector," "48 horas" and "Bananas" through Fluency Matters. In 2006 I became National Board certified and I have been serving as a mentor both for candidates seeking certification in world languages other than English and a virtual mentor for candidates in all certificate areas. I completed my Masters degree in Spanish education in 2011 and did my research on the use of Understanding by Design to create meaningful cultural units for the language classroom. I am a frequent presenter on this topic, please consider me if you are interested in a workshop on backward design. In 2013 I was named the ICTFL Foreign Language teacher of the year and in 2014 I was selected as CSCTFL's teacher of the year. In November of 2014 I was lucky enough to be one of the five finalists for the ACTFL National Teacher of the Year in San Antonio, TX. What a "Cinderella" experience! You can reach me via email at senoracmt at

3 thoughts

  1. I just saw you at the TPRS conference in St. Paul and am so thankful for sharing all your knowledge and resources. I just made a MYP unit planner and used this assessment for my summative. Thanks again!

  2. Hi Carrie! Do you allow students to use the novel to refer to when doing either the oral or written pieces of the assessment?

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