|Screenshot take from WORLD-READINESS STANDARDSFOR LEARNING LANGUAGE
|Screenshot from College Board AP Central
This section is challenging for a variety of reasons:
- It is odd to interact interpersonally without seeing the person... our students are not having a lot of phone conversations!
- Students have to try to fill up 20 seconds of time five or six times.
- It is very possible that a students says something and then the next questions asks about that very thing. That can freeze up many students!
- Students have to put themselves in the shoes of someone else.
- Students have to think on their feet and be creative.
- Students have to understand the prompt and pay attention to how to respond. For instance, these are things they might have to do: salúdala, explica, sugiere, invítala, comenta, responde negativamente, despídete etc.
- Students also have to show off some advanced vocabulary and advanced grammatical structures.
So, what can we do in lower levels to get them ready for this? Or forgetting about the AP test, how can we get them ready for interpersonal communication in general in the real world? The answer is pretty simple: have them do conversaciones simuladas throughout all levels.
But... how do we do that?!?
In my Spanish 3 class, which started about a month ago, my students have done two conversaciones simuladas. One was related to the story/song "Bailo la pena"(TPT link) and the other was based on the (free) song/story "Sigo buscándote." My Spanish 2 class did one based on the (free) song/story #Idiota. And I plan on doing another one related to the book Berto y sus buenas ideas. Another (free) unit that has a conversación simulada is this unit called "Carlos explora Lima, Perú" (a student favorite!). And another unit is the 2018 lotería unit (TPT link).
Basically, students have the conversation as if they are a character in the story and/or as if they are talking to a character in the story.
However, there are a lot of differences from the AP Exam (obviously!):
- For the first couple of conversaciones simuladas, students do them at home (or in our TASC block) and they can listen to the prompt as many times as they want. Eventually, I will put them on a time limit and do it in class.
- We go over the situation together in English... trying to lower that affective filter.
- They have lots of time to look at how they have to respond.
- They can re-record as many times as they want. I do explain what interpersonal communication is though and I tell them that I want this to be rather quick with, ideally, one recording.
- They don't have to fill up 20 seconds! I do tell them that eventually, that is the goal, so some might try.
- It is actually kind of fun and easier because it is related to something (a story) that we have spent a lot of time on.
- The voice they are hearing is me, so it is also easier.
- The rubric is a bit simpler than the AP one.
I use the Voces Digital platform (much easier than Flipgrid!), which has its own curriculum, but you can add things to it that have nothing to do with what is in there! The student view looks like this:
As we move forward in the class, students will do more of these and they won't be hearing my voice. For example, we will a unit in Nuestra Historia 3 (Voces Digital) called "En los tiempos extremos". After reading (and doing lots of activities with) a story called "La esperanza entre los escombros", they will have to do this conversación simulada (which won't be my voice):