This isn't the Spanish class I took!
The language classroom in the U.S. has been transformed in the last 20 years to reflect an increasing emphasis on developing students’ communicative competence. Unlike the classroom of yesteryear (or even some classes that your students may have taken in the past five years) that required students to know a great deal of information about the language but did not have an expectation of language use, today’s classroom is about teaching languages so that students use them to communicate with native speakers of the language. This is what prepares them to use their language learning as a 21st Century Skill. The following is a chart comparing how language classrooms looked in the past compared to today.
Analyzing the chart above, I have come to the conclusion that students should not need to "study" the target language at home, and instead of having parents teach children grammar skills, students should be teaching parents core vocabulary and sharing stories told in the Spanish classroom.
The following poster shares why students have unannounced quizzes and tests:
As I tell students, grades are not everything, and the traditional grading system is going away quickly and being replaced with standards-based grading. In this class, assessments serve as a way for students to show what they know and have learned. Many times, there is not necessarily a "correct" or "incorrect" answer. If a student is engaged and present in the learning environment, there is no reason to fret over his or her grade. A poor grade is more often than not a result of not trying in class.
Below is a snippet of how grades work at the Spanish II level. It is important to note that some students may acquire a language more slowly than other students, and that is okay. The objective is to be on-target, which should result in a B for the course.