What to put in a Spanish syllabus?
When most secondary Spanish teachers are creating a syllabus, it is a little different from what you would put in a Spanish syllabus for college. Most middle and high school Spanish teachers I know include some of the following in their syllabus
- Contact information
- Grading – standards-based grading or weighted categories
- What you need for class – supplies needed
- An overview of the curriculum
- Goals of class – for a language class that often means learning targets & proficiency level
- Basic expectations
Syllabus vs. Curriculum
At the high school or middle school level, a syllabus often includes the items listed above. A syllabus is a basic outline that is shared with students and parents of what you need, what to expect, and what is expected of you during the course
While, the curriculum usually refers to the texts, books, materials, etc that will be covered during the course, as well as an overview of each lesson that will be taught in the course. In most cases, it is not necessary to share an in-depth curriculum at the high school level in a syllabus. This post will focus on syllabus not curriculum, but if you want to learn more about curriculum planning, check out these blog posts.
- Create a CI Curriculum for Spanish 1-4
- Mis Clases Locas Curriculum for Spanish 1-4
- French Comprehensible Input Curriculum
Syllabus vs. Course Outline
At the college level, a college Spanish syllabus was actually more of what I would call a course outline. The first part included the syllabus with contact information, expectations, and grading. Then the next couple of pages were actually a course outline.
The course outline for class in college typically included the topic for every single in-person class. The outline detailed what was to be read in advance, the topic of the class, if there was an exam, and what was to be completed after the class.
Why a 1 Page Syllabus for Spanish Class?
Over my career, depending on the year, I have taught grades Spanish grades 7-12. I hate to break it to you, but (most) middle and high school students do not care at all about your syllabus. If it is more than one page, they will for sure not read it all. They want to be able to skim for what is important to them. This means the very few who do care, only really want to know the following:
- How will I be graded? (grading info)
- What is expected of me? (expectations)
- What do I need for class? (supplies)
- What are we doing in this class? (curriculum)
So since I originally posted this blog post in 2015, I have used variations of my 1-page syllabus. Instead of just a boring block of text on a page, this kind of syllabus is more visually appealing and allows you to skim for what you care about.
That year everyone was making fancy infographic syllabi and sharing them on social media. I even started one on Pictochart. My little guy (who was 1 at the time!) woke up interrupting my train of thought. Then, I decided for a variety of reasons that instead I wanted to make one that I could edit, adapt and reuse. Here was my original syllabus for the first year at a new school that was created in Pages. (I actually hate red, but it was the school color).
Syllabus for Spanish 1
Language proficiency is such a new and novel idea for level 1 Spanish students. I think it is important that any Spanish 1 syllabus, for sure includes the proficiency levels, modes of communication, as well as learning targets. I also always start with Proficiency Puzzle during my 1st Week of Spanish Class Unit 1. This makes sure that students have a solid foundation of what proficiency is. Use this ready-to-go Proficiency Puzzle resource to better explain as a part of week 1 stations.
Also, for the last many years, I taught at a school that used Standard Based Grading, so this was important to include on the syllabus as well. Also, supplies, expectations, absent procedures, contact information, and a basic curriculum overview are all helpful to include. I do also send home the same Parent Newsletter to all of my students that give more information about myself, a video permission form, language acquisition, and a contract for students and parents to sign. That signature does require that they have read the class syllabus as well.
Syllabus Spanish 2, 3, 4
Then for each other syllabus in Spanish 2-4, I change the curriculum, proficiency goal, and learning targets for reading, listening, speaking, and writing. Most of the other information is the same for each of my levels for me. You can always edit everything to meet your specific classes.
Over the years, the Pages document got harder for others to edit. I did make it prettier and not red and moved the template to Google Slides a few years ago. But, I know there was frustration that it was not 100% editable. Above is the blue and green pages version many of you have used over the last five years. I did still include that blue/green version in the update if you prefer the classic. 🙂
ALL NEW Editable Syllabus Template for Spanish 1-4
So, this year I decided to start from scratch and make a 100% editable syllabus in Google Slides. This way you make a copy of the slides and can edit and customize ANYTHING you want. You can delete sections, make others bigger, or even copy and expand to two pages if that works better for you. It includes everything you loved from older versions, but now you can customize 100%
I know that the intense color from the older versions caused some trouble printing, especially for those of us who had to print in black and white. So this new version still has fun color, but there is less of it. This means if you are able to print in color it will not zap so much of it. Also, if you print in black and white it will be easy to read. See below for an example. Or if you have access to colored paper, you could print in black and white on color, which was always my go-to for important papers like this.
I did make each level of the syllabus in a different Google Slides document, so it would be easy to save as a PDF and share with students and parents. I do highly suggest you save it as a PDF before sharing. That way no one can edit your expectation and claim it was from the teacher 🙂 Then you can go paperless and share the PDF Spanish syllabus on Google Classroom, Teams, via email to parents, on your class website, etc.
- list of back to school posts
- 1st Day of Spanish 1 – Name Game Speedball
- 1st Day of Spanish 2, 3, 4 Plans
- High-Frequency Verb Unit to Start Spanish 1
- 1st Week of Spanish Class Unit 1
- Editable Templates for Spanish Class Syllabus
- 1st Day of Spanish Class
Plus, do not miss out on FREE summer PD with Practical & Comprehensible. Learn more in this blog post.