AP Spanish class works around lack of materials

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By Alexus Plascencia, A. A. Stagg HS, Stockton, Calif.

A long, three-year process. Through organizing, recruiting and training, Spanish teacher Raquel Chavez-Avina has finally gotten what she longed for — the Advanced Placement Spanish class. But before every rainbow, there’s rain.

Because of funding, Chavez-Avina’s class has no district-adopted materials to teach from other than what she can photocopy. “Having to plan and research is more difficult,” she said. Chavez-Avina uses the Internet and work she has accumulated over the years to teach her students. Although the time spent on having to come up with her own lesson plans is time-consuming, she sees AP Spanish as an opportunity for the students to improve their Spanish skills.

Learning from the materials only gets you so far. Learning from the culture gets you more in depth.”

— Giacomo Abdallah

With limited materials to learn from, fluent Spanish speaker Giacomo Abdallah sees the aspect of being able to learn further into the culture. “Learning from the materials only gets you so far,” the junior said. “Learning from the culture gets you more in depth.” Adballah is comfortable with learning directly from Chavez-Avina. Without books there’s no worry about “catching up.” It’s being taken at one’s own pace. When Adballah heard about AP Spanish, he wanted to continue on to expand his knowledge from what he learned in Fluent Spanish 3-4.

Money is an issue. The class isn’t. With cooperative students, and Chavez-Avina carefully planning out what needs to be taught, both students and teacher expect the class to run smoothly.

Chavez-Avina sees the AP course as being taught freely as long as the six subjects on the AP test are covered. Although having materials to work with would be less stressful, Chavez-Avina is moving forward using her training and expertise. “I have wonderful friends throughout California to help,” she said.

Transferring in from Brookside Christian, junior Destynee McCullum took the class in hopes of becoming more fluent and working on her speaking and understanding skills. “There’s a lot more leniency with teaching without a book,” she said. And although McCullum isn’t complaining, thinking about the AP test makes her nervous because with books she’s able to study and take them with her. “It’s a little more pressure because I’m used to having a book.”

“Last year while we tried getting the class started, I was a part of helping out to get more people to join,” junior Ferdie Montoya said. Despite the fact that Montoya is a fluent Spanish speaker, he took the class with hopes of having a challenge. “Even though we’re fluent we don’t know everything about the language,” he said. “There’s always something to learn.”

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