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Monday: Spanish 101 Syllabus Day

Tuesday: Full Translation of Shakiras 9th


Studio Album
Wednesday: 92 Minute Oral Presentation
on the Battle of Guadalajara
Thursday: Forcible Spanish Citizenship
Friday: I think Ill stick with English
This timeline provides a weekly schedule of the average high-school Spanish
class in American public schools. As displayed by the chart, the assignments
of Spanish 101 get progressively more unreasonable within very short
periods of time, culminating with the students refusal to continue the
course. While the tasks displayed are obviously hyperbolized, the
assignments not only represent the excessive workload that the students
encounter within the average week, but the students perceptions of the
workload as way beyond their levels. Foreign language proficiency is a
difficult skill to master, and the majority of high school students are nonnative speakers, simply taking the course for a requirement. When teachers
move too quickly for such students to comprehend the material, students
become frustrated with themselves and with the subject itself, and,
discouraged, abandon their pursuits of acquiring a second language.

In Loving Memory
Lulus Dreams
July 10, 2000 - September 4, 2015
Lulus Dreams, which have been beautifully running rampant in
her mind for fifteen years, were tragically taken from us this
Friday, September the 4th. Equally heart-wrenching as it is
blindsiding, the world is now bereft of an amazing potential, and a
fifteen year old high school sophomore is stranded her mind an
empty shell of what it once was.
Despite the brevity of the lifespan, Lulus dreams lived a full life.
They thoroughly enjoyed drifting from place to place, and made
daring endeavors to seemingly untouchable places as if they
knew no limits. Favorite locations included a five story treehouse
shared with Ewoks on Star Wars Planet Endor, the Radio City New
York City stage (with her trusty ballet slippers, of course), and,
more recently, on a magic carpet above Santorini with Matt from
Spanish class.
But above these adventures, Lulus Dreams most frequent
drifting location was on her high schools dimly lit stage, shaking
the hand of her principal and clasping the passport to her future
her diploma. However, rather unfortunately, these dreams were
bluntly curtailed on the Friday of her first week of sophomore
year. In the third seat of the third row in Room 221, Senora
prompted a conversation with Lulu regarding her futuro, or, in
English, her future. Unready and unwilling to answer this prompt
verbally in front of the class, dark and bleak images of papers
marked with Fs rained from the ceiling. She looked into the
future, and realized that she was glued to her chair in Room 221

at age 85. Lulus mind went blank. And in that moment, so did her
dreams.
Lulus Dreams are survived by her amygdala, who cannot control
his emotions regarding this untimely loss, and her hippocampus,
who claims that he will never forget them.

Dear Diary,

September 4, 2015

I am not going back to school on Monday. I cant stomach it. I never will be able to
stomach it. And, that being said, I will definitely, without a doubt, NEVER be able to
estomago it.
The thought of stepping back into that awful chamber that some daring souls refer
to as a classroom makes me want to move to Australia. Why? Because in
Australia, they speak ENGLISH.
Spanish class today was mortifying! On top of the fact that I was wearing
sweatpants, today was oral communication day. What a horrible phrase, it sounds
like a torture device. Oral Communication. How robotic.
So, being the kind, cooperative soul I am, I sat in my seat and, without shooting
Senora a look, waited for her to tell me my prompt. As my turn became closer and
closer my hands started to shake and it was completely embarrassing because
everyone noticed, and everybody whos anybody knows that ANYONE who shakes at
the thought of merely speaking will totally end up on the streets. How horrible.

Senoras evil eyes locked in mine and I felt myself sink. She spat out her evil witchs
curse at me, disguised by a prompt in which she asked me to talk about my
futuro.
Clearly, Im going to be a Rockette-turned-lawyer, but obviously theres no Spanish
word for Rockette so where did she even want me to start? And how do I even put
this sentence together? Obviously if I had a pen and paper and a few tries I could
get somewhere close to correct! But all I had were my lips and brain, so you could
probably imagine how THAT turned out.
Even worse, everyone knows that most Spanish words end in o so, with that in
mind, I called a lawyer a lawyero, a word that was met with my classmates
bursting chuckles that no clueless student ever wants to hear. I could feel
everyones stares like lasers; they almost melted my bronzer off my face.
I usually would just let this roll right off my back because as the immortal Hannah
Montana says, Everybody makes mistakes. But Matt, my secret boyfriend who
doesnt know that were dating, sits one seat over and one seat down from me. And
when I messed up, he SMIRKED. How degrading! Now my six month plan to get
positive attention from him is all out of whack and Ill be dateless for prom and Ill
have to live the rest of my life in a tree house with the Ewoks from Star Wars
FORVER!
I just dont understand how teachers work. Yes, we all know that youre so skilled in
your content area. Congratulations! But heres a wakeup call, you have a Masters
degree and I am a lowly English-speaking high school sophomore who cannot jump
from beginner to fluent in the span of a week! Senora is the worst and needs a
bigger reality check than Kylie Jenners publicist.
All that to say, my rocket to planet Endor will be launching Sunday night, so if
anybody wants to say their last goodbyes before I spend an eternity with the Ewoks,
Ill be home eating pints of froyo and sobbing. Wait, Ewoks dont speak EnglishI
guess Australia will do
-Lulu
Dear Diary,

September 7, 2015

Im sorry you had to undergo my rambling last Friday, but on that fateful day, I felt
like Taylor Swift at a Harley Davidson convention out place and not at the correct
level. But by filling your pages with the zipping contents of my brain, I was able to
get my feelings out. In fact, I was really able to make more sense of my thoughts
through writing. Last July, when Taylor broke up with me over text (what a pathetic

shell of a human being), writing in your pages gave me the clarity that I needed,
and ever since then, Ive resorted to your pages to really organize my thoughts.
If only Spanish class worked like the process of journal writing. I come with a
problem, write it all out, and then everythings alleviated. Wait a second...come to
think of it, we rarely write in Spanish class. This is all Senoras fault! So far, the
majority of her daily 90 minute dictatorships have consisted of redundant
vocabulary, stale reading comprehension, a bit of nonsensical grammar, and
torturous oral communication. But rarely, if anything, has this woman given us a
second to breathe, open a book, and practice writing. This is all part of her plot to
fail me because shes jealous of my clear potential for superstardom. How criminal.
Once again, writing in this journal has given me an epiphany: writing needs to be
incorporated into Spanish class, and I will make it happen if it kills me. This class is
a requirement and if I dont pass, everyone, including Matt, will know that Im a
failure and that Im totally not wife-material and Ill end up on the streets of
Davenport, Florida tap dancing on the sidewalks for money with a scarcely-filled
bucket full of nickels tucked neatly away in my cardboard-box-house!
Tomorrow after class, I will use my charming persona to persuade Senora to let us
write a little more, because I really think it will help me to organize my Spanish
thinking. I figure, with enough practice, this could be a really amazing stepping
stone into fluency, or at least passing this class. Heres to hoping it works!
-Lulu

Senoras Miracle Concoction for


Language Acquisition: A Guide for
Success
STEP ONE: SET THE SCENE
-Gather 25 fervent high school sophomores (each with a mind teeming with dreams
of fluency)
-Assemble in a Spanish 101 classroom in 5 rows of 5
-Explain the syllabus, craftily ensuring that the semester will be as simple as
pouring cereal.
-Let students minds sit overnight, so their dreams grow to full capacity.
-After one day, hastily dampen their spirits as efficiently and heart-wrenchingly as
possible. Methods include, but are not limited to:
-Speaking in the thickest Spanish accent possible (a la Sofia Vergera) to
eliminate students comprehension of even the simplest words.
-Speak in Spanish and only Spanish. This is not Dora the Explorers School for
Amateurs, after all.
-In a rapid-fire matter, spit out, as quickly as possible, intricate and thought
provoking questions at the students. Similarly, expect a clear, conjugated, and
concise response.
-When this response, inevitably, does not occur, lower your eyelids and stare
at the incorrect student for no less than 7, yet no more than 16.5 seconds, to ensure
optimal discouragement.
-After about a week, wait for a tearful student to approach you. After lamenting
about her foreseen future as a tap dancer on the streets of Davenport, Florida, she
demands a change, a change that you NEED to deliver for the sake of your teacher
evaluations.
STEP TWO: BE PENSIVE
-Reflect upon the reasons why your students might not be succeeding. Upon
consideration of many factors, become enlightened: you are expecting these
students to jump into fluency too fast.
-Consider the key factors to language learning: Reading is definitely key, as is oral
communication. Listening is a must. But what is missing?
-After meditation, you have reached nirvana: WRITING IS MISSING!
PART THREE: TAKE ACTION
-Give students journal notebooks; they, preferably, should be blank, to resemble the
current state of their minds.
-Designate fifteen minutes at the beginning of each class for the students to write
well-thought out responses to your prompts in the aforementioned journals.
-Watch in awe as students abilities improve over the course of the month. Be
amazed as students are able to:
-Take their time to implement the grammar and sentence structure that they
have already learned.
-Have more opportunity to realize their mistakes, correct themselves, and
reform their sentences.

-Become more ready for real-life conversation, as they have been writing
about relatable and every day topics.
-Utilize what they have learned throughout the journal writing process in
every day conversation, and even in their writings.
-Become more confident in their speaking abilities.
PART FOUR: RESULTS
-Students will no longer shudder in fear at the thought of orally communicating.
-Students lexicon will dramatically increase.
-Students grammar and sentence structure will, additionally, increase.
-Students will be more eager to communicate orally, as they are now more prepared
to communicate orally.
-And of courseafter all of this effort, your teacher evaluations will be sure to
skyrocket, your department head will be so impressed and taken back by your work
that she will volunteer to step down, giving you her position plus the raise youve
always wanted, the classroom with the view of the ocean, and an extended summer
vacation!
-You you encounter a win win situation. Both you and your students gain a grand
amount of advantages from your implementation of journal writing. Thank you,
journals!

Dear Diary,

October 10, 2015

Im sorry Ive completely abandoned you for the past month! Its just that I have
other diaries to worry about! You heard me correctly! My talk with Senora worked
and now we practice journal writing in Spanish every single day! I may or may not
have broken into tears while talking to Senora (just thinking about my future as a
homeless tap dancer without a high school diploma is enough to make me cry a
waterfall), and it turns out that the woman has a little more compassion within her
than I thought. She told me that she would work something out, and she did!
Since that day, every Spanish class has consisted of this layout: When we walk into
class at 10:10am, Senora has a prompt written out on the board. It could be a
question, it could be a fill in the blank, but regardless of what format its in, the
prompt is meant to spark thought in us so that we can write about it for 15 minutes.
Theyre similar questions to the oral prompts that Senora gives us, like talking about
our futures or telling her about our families, except its even better because we
dont have to talk immediately!
Instead, by writing in my journal, Im able to take my time to really form the
sentences correctly. I take the grammar, vocab, and sentence structure that Senora
gives us in our lessons, contemplate them, and take my time to correctly format my
sentences! Its as stress-free as a spa-day in Maui. And the thing is the grammar,
vocab, and sentence structure really stick with me, especially after writing them out
so frequently!

For the rest of the class, Senora reinforces grammar, vocab, and sentence structure,
all which Im becoming more and more familiar with because of the process of
journal writing. Then every Friday, the once-dreaded oral communication day
arrives, which seems like a task as terrifying as going to school makeup-free for a
month, but, surprisingly, sharing my thoughts orally is so easy because it is helping
me organize thoughts and form sentences correctly. So now that I am more
educated, theres no need to be embarrassed to even attempt speaking in front of
the class. And even better, everyone knows that bilingual people are more likely to
have successful jobs so now Matt will totally think Im marriage-material. The sixmonth plan is totally working. Talk to you soon!
-Lulu

Works Cited
Alber, R. (2010, August 4). How Important is Teaching Literacy in All Content Areas?
Edutopia. Retrieved October 18, 2015.
from http://www.edutopia.org/blog/literacy-instruction-across-curriculum-importance
The portion of text I selected from this blog post serves as a profound example of why I
Believe that journal writing should be incorporated into foreign language classrooms. The
text emphasizes that language acquisition does not occur overnight. Throughout the
process of acquiring knowledge of a second language is one of immense difficulty, and it
is rare that one could be immediately ready for one on one, fast paced, daily conversation.
However, the path to achieving this fluency lies in other methods, a very efficient method

being writing. Through the process of writing in a second language, the text describes
that, through writing, we are able to not only practice utilizing words, phrases, and
grammar in a second language, but be able to do so at a pace where we can absorb our
own processes and correct ourselves when need be, truly providing an efficient way to
incorporate language practice in a students daily routine.
Bex, M. (2013, August 27). Ive Got a New Way to Write! The Comprehensible Classroom.
Retrieved October 18, 2015.
from http://martinabex.com/2013/08/26/ive-got-a-new-way-to-write/
The activity I selected, derived from Pinterest is a prime example of how writing can be
utilized in the foreign language classroom. I believe that one of the keys to retention of
any material is the acquisition of knowledge through activities that students perceive to
be enjoyable. This Pinterest post is a conglomeration of nine prompts, each of which
entices the student to not only partake in a writing exercise, but to do so in an enjoyable
manner that allows the student to be creative and think outside the box. These activities
not only encourage the student to write more, but assist in expanding their lexicon of a
foreign language and improving the ways in which they are able to communicate.
Cervantes, M., & Schevill, R. (1914). La Galatea. Madrid: Impr. de B. Rodrguez.
This quote, derived from the writings of one of the most renowned authors of all time,
Miguel de Cervantes, serves as an excellent framework for why writing is so integral in
the learning process. The pen is the tongue of the mind. Writing is a very powerful
action. It opens up so many doors that can transport the writer to many successes.
Specifically in the department of foreign language acquisition, I firmly believe that
writing is an imperative facet in achieving conversational abilities. Through writing in a

language that is not ones own, there is such a great opportunity for practice, application
of material learned in the classroom, and vast improvement in abilities, that I do not
believe would ever be possible without writing. Writing allows the mind to be very
powerful, for it to open up, and apply learned material with a pen and paper.
Myers, A. (2011, April 14). Five Reasons You Should Write as Part of Your Language Learning.
The Everyday Language Learner. Retrieved October 18, 2015.
from http://www.everydaylanguagelearner.com/2011/04/14/five-reasons-you-shouldwrite-as-part-of-your-language-learning/
This quote, derived from an article, serves as an excellent introduction to the amazing
powers that lie in the process of writing. You cant avoid thinking when you write. Of
course, it is impossible to spew out meaningless words onto a piece of paper with no
rhyme or reason. Everything we write has substance to it. This is especially true when
writing about material in which we have learned. When we are assigned to write about
material we have learned in class, the brain is in constant motion, enabling the student to
apply this material while being innovative and creating new ideas and thought processes.
In the department of foreign language acquisition, I believe that the mind is especially
active while writing. When a student seeking foreign language acquisition writes, their
minds are vigorously working, recalling and applying material, which enables the student
to further approve their conversational abilities.
Smith, J. (1998). Want to Speak a Foreign Language Better? Learn to Write First! Omniglot.
Retrieved October 18, 2015.
from http://www.omniglot.com/language/articles/writefirst.htm

The portion of text that I have selected from this blog post asserts that writing should be
an integral facet in the foreign language classroom due to the fact that writing is a stressfree stepping stone into conversational abilities. As students in the process of acquiring a
second language, most are hesitant when it comes to jumping into conversation,
especially when they have little experience utilizing the language that they learn in the
classroom. Through writing journal entries, students are able to practice the application of
the material used in class in a stress-free manner. There is no audience, and no mistake is
permanent, enabling the students to explore beyond what would be their comfort zone if
they were in face to face conversation.
Thoreson, Beth. (2015, February). El Fin Del Ano Escolar. [Pinterest post]. Retrieved October
18, 2015,
From https://pinterest.com/pin.59461657554917925/
This classroom activity that I have selected from Pinterest provides the student with a
vast multitude of prompts to write about. Each of these prompts, which students are able
to expand on, pertain to the individual. Prompts vary from allowing the student to write
about their favorite things, their families, their emotions, their future plans, and so much
more! I am a firm believer that retention in any subject matter is so easily acquired when
a student is able to relate the material to something especially if that something pertains
to themselves. Thus, through this activity, students are able to write, in their second
language, all about things that pertain to themselves topics that may actually be very
useful in face to face conversation!