Semester Exams 2015

I’m getting reviews ready for study night tomorrow night.  Our exams begin next Friday, the 18th, and end Tuesday, the 22nd.  We have a 90 minute exam block for each class and a 20 minute study period before each block.  It gives me lots of time to have a 4 part exam.

My plans at all levels are attached (although pretty specific to the content we have studied) and although they are different, the idea is pretty much the same… we are going to read, write, speak, and listen.

In all classes, listening will consist of a 3 minute audio clip from native speaker friends that accompany one of our topics from the semester and a commercial selected for their level.

In all classes writing will consist of a narrative and a letter.

In all classes cold reads will include an article and a text related to topics we have studied this semester and selected for student level.

And in both 3 and 4, students will be doing interpersonal conversation via little conversation cards.  Students already did a debrief on what we had learned in the unit (as a class) by creating 4 categories for the information and then identifying key facts that they remembered from the study.  This review should help them have longer, more detailed conversations during the study period.  At 20 minutes, my goal is to have them spend 3 minutes on each of 6 cards. Sample topics: What impact do humans have on the rainforest? (Spanish 3- their conversation with their tour guide was heavy on the negative impact facts) Water and power (Spanish 4- how does the person who controls the water have power?)  In Spanish 2 we are doing our interpersonal feature this week (we are doing presentational in 3 and 4) so they will focus on a more presentational type speaking for their exam.Exam Review 1 Spanish 2 2015Exam Review 1 Spanish 3 2015Exam Review 1 Spanish 4 2015

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

4 thoughts

  1. I’m curious to know how do you grade their speaking part of they are talking at the same time and what rubric do you use? Thank you

    1. If I feel like I can’t get around to hear all groups well, I have them record on an iphone at the table and share the sound file with me. Most of the time I have plenty of time to listen to all groups. They are graded based on what the ACTFL proficiency descriptors say they should be able to do at each level. I want 3s and 4s to be doing a MINIMUM of Novice High in their speaking so simple sentences sometimes supported by memorized language. This would really be more of a B- or maybe even C+ depending on the situation for those upper level kids. I’m really after the connected series of simple sentences at the Intermediate Low as a goal for EVERYONE… or the B-B+ range… add some unit specific vocab and connecting words and we get them at the Intermediate Mid which is as strong A and if they are using a really strong, broad vocabulary and are able to bounce comfortably between time frames, they’re A+ range at Intermediate High. I carry my gradebook and a sheet of paper so they know I am always listening and I make little notes to myself before I decide what my final eval is. Notes about what the ss say or what impressive vocab they used or even what they were lacking. After you have had them for a period of time you know where they are, what their goals are to move up to the next proficiency, and who you need to watch most! 🙂

  2. Love reading your blog. It inspires me and teaches me in one breath. Hope you can rest on your laurels soon as the finals are all over. Hope your kids recognize how much they can do, thanks to this final!

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