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AP Resources for Language Learning

by Miguel Guhlin
3 students chatting around a table with open laptops

¡Bienvenidos a nuestro salón de clases, estudiantes! Translation services appear in web browsers. These services make it easy to understand what those words mean; gaining a deeper understanding that connects to cultural schema can be tougher. Let’s explore a variety of tools that make language learning easier. Additionally, you’ll get access to a member-created Wakelet collection. This ensures that you, as an AP teacher will have access to quality language teaching resources.

Teaching Advanced Placement (AP) Spanish

Concerned with teaching AP Spanish Language and Culture? You will find a wealth of tips online. Here are a few tips that jump out:

  • Immerse yourself in the target language (e.g. Spanish, French)
  • Incorporate audio (e.g. music, books) into your work with students
  • Speak in the target language
  • Read and study vocabulary
  • Study and teach verb conjugation

As someone who has studied Spanish from a young age as a native speaker, there are many language rules to learn. The same is true for other languages. As a teacher, take advantage of language-focused, high-effect size instructional strategies. If you’re not sure which those are, let’s take a quick look.

Literacy-Focused Instructional Strategies

Read my favorite book by John Hattie, Dr. Douglas Fisher, and Dr. Nancy Frey. That book is “Visible Learning for Literacy.” The book provides a primer on when to use what strategy. That is, distinguishing between strategies that fall into one of these buckets:

  • Prior learning
  • Surface learning
  • Deep learning
  • Transfer learning

If you’re familiar with the differences, you may want to read some of these blog entries. Needless to say, many strategies focus on prior learning and surface learning.

Did You Know?

Get a guided introduction to Hattie’s work via the TCEA Strategies That Work courses. Get powerful videos, a free TCEA membership (valued at $49), and CPE hours for the same or less than buying a book. You have fifteen courses to choose from, including the latest Evidence-Based Teaching course.

Now let’s explore several incredible resources you can use to support AP foreign language learning and culture.

Resource #1: Hablame

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Need a quick way for students to audio record themselves and then submit to their teacher? Hablame takes four areas of interest and makes that possible. The four areas include:

  • Interpersonal Speaking. This offers a recorded three-minute conversation modeled after the Interpersonal Speaking part of the AP Exam for students to answer. Students can then save the audio recording as an MP3.
  • Presentational Speaking. Modeled after the similarly named section of the AP exam, students record and save.
  • Reading Practice. This allows you to convert any Spanish article into an assignment. Then, that assignment includes components that address vocabulary building, comprehension, and discussion. This will require signing up for TextAssign which allows you to add reading comprehension questions, class discussions, and more.
  • Pronunciation Practice. In this, students read words from curated sets aloud. Hablame assesses pronunciation via machine learning algorithms.

You can watch an overview of Hablame online:

The TextAssign tool, for which you will need to create a free account, makes it difficult to add content. I tried multiple sources online, as well as a Google Doc, to no avail.

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Resource #2: Drops

Want to learn a language? Drops may be something to consider. Not only will you have to fill out a short questionnaire, but you’ll answer more questions. Questions concern themselves with your familiarity with other languages. For example, “How many languages do you already know?” You will also indicate how much time you can spend learning the target language. Options include five, ten, or fifteen minutes per day.

One of the questions Drops asks you to respond to:

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When you’re done answering questions, you’ll be prompted to set up your account. Drops presents a timeline.

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Unfortunately, you will have to enter payment information before getting access to content. To learn Spanish, I had to commit to payment information for the period ending two weeks after the trial ($18.99). At that point, I ended my exploration of Drops.

Here’s a video overview of Drops. You can check out their YouTube channel for specific language examples:

Resource #3: Lingro

If you need a multi-language dictionary, Lingro is the tool for you. This free tool makes it easy to look up words and see the definitions. You can look up words in your first language, then see them in your target language.

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This simple, straightforward tool makes learning vocabulary easier for some. As you can see in the image below, you can add definitions as pop-ups:

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The AP Resources Wakelet Collection

These are just three resources you can take advantage of. But you can find many more courtesy of Diana Fernández-Sullivan. Diana is Languages Other Than English (LOTE) Manager for Spring ISD and a TCEA member. Catch her on Twitter at @sullydatechie and @SISDWorldLang. Here’s a link to her Wakelet Collection, which she makes available for readers of TCEA TechNotes.

Access the Wakelet Collection, AP Resources

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Feature Image Source

Photo by Brooke Cagle on Unsplash

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