Western Michigan University, Summer I, 2008
Spanish 1000 (Basic Spanish I, four hours)

Section 20331 meets 5-6:40 (M, T, W, R) in Brown Hall 3010

Professor: Dr. Robert E. Vann

Office Hours: TR 3:30-4:30 p.m. in 515 Sprau Tower
phone: 387-3042,
email: robert.vann@wmich.edu


Course Objectives

This course aims to help students develop communicative competence in Spanish through a multifaceted approach focusing on the four essential skills of listening, speaking, reading, and writing in the Spanish language. Thus, very little English will be used in the classroom. This course is intended for students who have not taken Spanish at the high school or college level.  Students who have had prior experience with the language must take the free, online place­ment exam in order to ascertain the level at which they should begin their Spanish studies.  Refer to http://www.wmich.edu/spanish/undergraduate/onlineplace.htm and/or see the departmental staff in 420 Sprau Tower for further in­for­mation regarding this exam.



Teaching Philosophy

None of us is as smart as all of us. This course will employ techniques of cooperative learning as part of its communicative approach. In other words, you will learn how to work well in pairs and groups by contributing your own ideas, encouraging others to participate, expressing support for others, coordinating the efforts of group members, and summarizing group activities. We will cover grammar, vocabulary, and cultural points where necessary, but much of your time in this class will be spent actually using the language to achieve some communicative goal, such as solving a problem, requesting assistance, discussing a point of view, etc.


Course Materials

There are three required books for this class (¡Arriba! Fifth Edition text, Student Activities Manual, Bilingual Dictionary). The course generally follows the main text, which you must bring to class every day along with the Bilingual Dictionary. We will cover Chapters 1-4 of ¡Arriba! during the semester. Activities from the Student Activities Manual will be done as homework. There is no need to bring the Student Activities Manual to class daily. Additional materials packaged with the required books include the access code to MySpanishLab online activities and the Quick Guide to Spanish Grammar. Entering MySpanishLab with the access code will be necessary for some homework assignments (cf. description of homework below), and students will find many additional practice activities at this site as well. Students should save their MySpanishLab access codes after the course is over as they are valid for future Spanish courses where MySpanishLab may be required.



Class Policies

In general, late homework assignments will not be accepted (a zero will be given). The exception is when you are absent from class the day the assignment is due. In this case, assignments will be accepted without penalty the next class day that you are present (It's never worth missing class to turn in an assignment late, and absences are also penalized, after a point). For all other course requirements (exams and orals), make-ups must be arranged by prior agreement with me. There will be no unscheduled make-ups, excepting extreme extenuating circumstances (e.g., medical emergency).



Course Grade and Requirements


Explanation of requirements



Four quizzes will be given throughout the semester. Each will cover one chapter in Arriba (1-4).


Final Exam

The final exam will be completely cumulative (Chapters 1-4) and will include listening, reading, and writing components.



- Reading Current Events (5%)

This homework will be graded on completion of assignment only. Students must find short articles (one or two paragraphs) from Hispanic newspapers or magazines to use for reading current events. For each assignment, you must (a) turn in a photocopy or printout of the article (you can find Spanish/Hispanic magazines in Waldo or on the Web), (b) list and translate five words you did not know before reading the article and (c) write (in Spanish) five multiple-choice style reading comprehension questions about the article. This homework will serve as a resource for classroom reading activities.

- Open Writing (10%)

This homework will be graded on completion of assignment only. Open Writing assignments must be one 8.5" x 11" page in length (every other line) and can be diary-style, letter-style, creative writing, poetry, essays, etc.

- Student Activities Manual (20%)

Homework sets from the Student Activities Manual, to be graded on completion of assignment only. The audio recordings necessary to complete the lab manual assignments are available via the Companion Website (5th ed.) for the class at http://www.prenhall.com/arriba. The video files necessary to complete the lab manual assignments are available at http://www.myspanishlab.com/. NB: access codes are necessary to enter this site.


Oral Five minute paired conversation. Each student will get an individual grade during the conversation. Grading criteria will include pronunciation, fluency, grammar, vocabulary, and comprehension.



Grading Scale

94-100 A superior
89-93  BA excelente
83-88 B muy bien
78-82 CB bien
71-77 C regular
66-70 DC pobre
60-65 D muy pobre
0-59 E suspenso


A Note on Attendance

Communicative competence and knowledge of grammar and vocabulary are cumulative and so, everything we do and learn in the beginning of the semester will be important all throughout the course. Therefore, daily attendance is compulsory and expected. Attendance will be taken and each student will be allowed three personal days, no questions asked. From the fourth absence on, each absence will result in one percentage point off the final semester grade, i.e., if a student had a 94 average with four absences, the semester grade would end up a 93, which would result in a BA instead of an A. NO EXCEPTIONS WILL BE MADE TO THIS RULE UNLESS EXTREME EXTENUATING CIRCUMSTANCES APPLY. The stated attendance policy is meant to allow for each student to miss a day here or there for a long weekend, a sporting event, a medical appointment, a religious observance, a sick day, etc. So if you already have any such plans, be aware of how many personal days you have left. There will be no "excused" absences. That's what your personal days are for. Expect the unexpected and budget your days wisely!



A Note on Participation

As with attendance, daily participation is required and expected. You will be expected to enter into class activities with enthusiasm, put in your "two cents," and respect the views of others. No formal grade will be given for participation because different personalities react differently to a group dynamic, and some people are more or less outgoing than others by nature. Nevertheless, it will be to your overwhelming advantage to participate energetically on a constant basis, because there is no better way to acquire a foreign language than just throwing yourself into it as much as possible. We will all get to know each other VERY well this semester. This is the kind of class where you can quite easily begin lasting friendships. The more you put into it, the more you'll get out of it!



A Note on Office Hours

These hours are intended to benefit you on a more personal level than can be achieved in class. You are encouraged to stop in during office hours, where we can discuss any problems or concerns you may have with the class or class material. Informal meetings in office hours often benefit us both, and they allow us to get to know each other a little better. Please drop by! If you are unable to come see me, remember that you can call my office or write me e-mail anytime. Please do not call me at home.


Important Dates for Spanish 1000, Summer I, 2008

Vacation Days: Memorial Day (Monday, May 26)
Quizzes: May 15, May 28, June 9, June 18
Paired Conversations: Thursday, June 19
Final Exam: Given in class on Wednesday, June 25


Schedule of Classes

Most days, we will start class with a short presentation of vocabulary or grammar and spend the remaining class time in groups or pairs working on communicative activities. One day every two weeks will be reserved for quizzes and Q&A in English regarding grammar, vocabulary, homework, etc.




Tentative Daily Schedule (This schedule may be altered frequently throughout the semester, as conditions dictate.)  

Always consult the daily schedule ahead of time. On average, you will be expected to work two hours outside of the classroom for every hour in the classroom. You are expected to read through the chapter before coming to class each day. Remember, the class period will generally be devoted to speaking the language rather than speaking about the language. WHEN YOU SEE "READING CURRENT EVENTS," "OPEN WRITING," OR "STUDENT ACTIVITIES MANUAL" ON THE SCHEDULE FOR A GIVEN DAY, THAT IS THE DAY THESE ASSIGNMENTS ARE DUE. You must complete these assignments before class that day, as they will be collected at the beginning of class. Though these assignments are graded upon completion only, it is to your overwhelming benefit to complete them conscientiously and to the best of your ability. They provide you with a chance to practice reading, writing, listening, and grammar study, as well as an opportunity to come up with questions and doubts that you can then raise to me for the benefit of the whole class.


Week#1 (May 5-8)

M Introductions, Overview, Start Chapter 1

T Communicative activities in current chapter

W Communicative activities in current chapter

R Communicative activities in current chapter


Week#2 (May 12-15)

M Communicative activities in current chapter

T Q&A, Reading Current Events 1 due

W Student Activities Manual due for Chapter 1, Start Chapter 2

R Q&A, Quiz 1 (on Chapter 1), Open Writing 1 due

Week#3 (May 19-22)

M Communicative activities in current chapter

T Communicative activities in current chapter

W Communicative activities in current chapter

R Communicative activities in current chapter


Week#4 (May 26-29)

M Memorial Day -- No class

T Student Activities Manual due for Chapter 2, Start Chapter 3

W Q&A, Quiz 2 (on Chapter 2), Open Writing 2 due

R Communicative activities in current chapter


Week#5 (June 2-5)

M Communicative activities in current chapter

T Communicative activities in current chapter

W Communicative activities in current chapter

R Student Activities Manual due for Chapter 3, Start Chapter 4

Week#6 (June 9-12)  

M Q&A, Quiz 3 (on Chapter 3), Open Writing 3 due

T Communicative activities in current chapter

W Communicative activities in current chapter

R Communicative activities in current chapter


Week#7 (June 16-19)

M Communicative activities in current chapter

T Student Activities Manual due for Chapter 4, Review for paired conversations

W Q&A, Quiz 4 (on Chapter 4), Open Writing 4 due

R Paired conversations


Week#8 (June 23-25)

M Reading Current Events 2 due, Review for Final exam

T Review for Final exam

W Final exam; session ends


Last revised April 24, 2008