This class is designed to:

  • provide an in-depth overview of Spanish grammar, especially of its more difficult aspects such as the use of ser/estar, the past tenses, the subjunctive, usage of different kinds of pronouns and complex sentence structures.
  • develop greater accuracy, improve style and acquire fluency in structured written expression.
  • expand Spanish vocabulary, especially in its more specialized and formal registers.
  • explore chosen aspects of Hispanic culture through exercises and writing activities which will contain specific culture-oriented content.



  • Textbook: Bleichmar, Guillermo and Paula Cañón. Taller de escritores. Vista Higher Learning, 2012.
  • Dictionary: A large or mid-size Spanish-English dictionary (Harper Collins, Vox, Oxford, or Larousse) or Spanish-Spanish dictionary (Larousse or Real Academia) is required. Electronic formats of these dictionaries are acceptable. If you have doubts, ask the professor.

Note: electronic or web-based translators are not acceptable.



  • 501 Spanish Verbs or Bescherelle: el arte de conjugar en español or any other verb conjugation manual.


A major portion of each class period will be based on discussion and analysis of grammatical items from the textbook. Grammar, style and vocabulary will be examined and clarified while going over the assigned homework exercises from the textbook. Practice activities in pairs or groups, as well as whole class discussions will be carried out on a regular basis. Most activities will lead to the writing of compositions in class as well as at home. There will be several writing workshops and guided writing exercises carried out in the classroom. They will be designed so as to apply the discussed ideas, vocabulary and grammatical structures in creative compositions.


  1. Be well prepared for each class period and test – spend an average of two hours outside of class for every hour in class to do homework and study).
  2. Participate fully and actively in all classroom activities.
  3. Dedicate plenty of time to write and review compositions.




Textitos (ANGEL)                                                                 15%

Compositions (3 )                                                               30%

Quizzes (3)                                                                          10%

Tests   (4)                                                                         35%

Participation & Attendance                                           10%





Label Minimum Percent
A 95
A- 90
B+ 87.9
B 83.3
B- 80
C+ 75
C 70
D 60
F 0






  1. A) Textitos (15%) These are short writings to be graded in class following the model of a writer’s workshop. During this activity, we going to be seated forming a circle and we all are supposed to make comments about the analyzed text. Each participant has to bring copies to share whit his classmates and me. There will be a dropbox in ANGEL where the “texitos” has to be uploaded by 9 AM of the due date.



  1. B) Compositions (30%): After the first diagnostic composition on the first day of class. There will be 3 compositions (11% ea.) averaging 250-350 words, two written at home and one in class. Guided writing practice will be done in class as preparation for the compositions which will be finished at home. The dates for turning in the compositions are marked in boldface in the Schedule of Activities. All must be typed, numbered and triple spaced, with the number of words written at the end.


The correction of the compositions will comprise of two steps:

1) the first draft will be marked by the professor (using a correction code), commented on and graded.

2) the student will need to correct the first draft according to the professor’s indications, and turn in the second-final version along with the first draft and the grade sheet on the date specified in the Schedule as Revisión de composición. Depending on their quality, your revisions can raise or lower your grade of the first draft by up to one letter grade (max. 10 points). To receive full credit for a composición, you must write the first draft and revise it for a second draft. If you write only one draft (first or final), your composición will be graded and then that grade will be reduced by two letter grades (20 points).


  1. C) Quizzes (10%). There will be three pop quizzes during the semester. The topic in these quizzes has to do with the material revised during that particular week.
  2. D) Tests (35%)Progress in class is measured through 4 written tests (10% ea.) on grammar and vocabulary. All tests are announced in the Schedule as These 3 tests will be in class and will be approx. 50 minutes long.




* Late Work: all written work (including daily homework) must be turned in or shown on the day specified in the Schedule. Any late work will not be accepted for credit. If you are too ill to come to class and you must hand in a hard copy of an assignment, have a classmate hand in the work for you. If you have an excused absence for any reason, you may turn in your work early or late, or leave it in the in-box on the professor’s office door. Make-up exams or quizzes are only given to students who miss them due to justified circumstances (e.g. illness, a PSU-sponsored event), but the student must submit official written documentation to the professor (if from a doctor or another PSU office, it must be on letterhead with dates and with statement of when and for what reason the student could not attend class).


E). Participation and attendance (10%):

  • Attendance and class participation are essential to success in this course since optimum performance in language learning requires constant exposure and practice. It is very important that you attend every class session because the course is designed as a workshop, and because of the sequential nature of the material. Active participation in class is essential to demonstrate your daily preparation, initiative, and acquired skills. Being prepared for class will enhance the effectiveness of in-class communicative situations and of your lexical and grammatical accuracy.
  • Although there is no specific penalty for absences, you must be in class in order to earn participation and homework credit. There is no make-up of in-class activities or participation points. Therefore, absences will directly or indirectly affect your grade.
  • In case of a medical situation resulting in a prolonged absence, you should contact the professor and be prepared to provide official written documentation from the physician (on letterhead with tel. number).
  • You are responsible for missed assignments, coming prepared for the following class, and for turning in collected assignments on time, whether you attend class or not. You should get the name, e-mail and phone number of at least a couple of your classmates so they can inform you of any additional assignments or turn them in for you.
  • Athletes and band members or any other participants in PSU-sponsored events are required to make arrangements with the professor at the beginning of the semester if they anticipate leaves during the semester. Documentation from the appropriate office is required.
  • Arriving late to class or leaving early without an apparent or documented reason will affect your participation grade.



  1. Accommodations statement: “PSU provides students with disabilities reasonable accommodations to participate in educational programs, activities, or services. Students with disabilities requiring accommodation to participate in class activities or to meet the course requirements should first register with the office of Student Disability Services .


  1. Academic Honesty:

All work submitted for a grade must be the product of the student’s own efforts. Academic dishonesty in any form (e.g. cheating on tests, copying another person’s assignment, plagiarism, which includes quoting from a text without giving credit to the author and copying from internet sources; using an electronic text translator, using unauthorized outside help, or providing forged documentation of any type – eg. for excuse of absence) will result in a minimum penalty of no credit for the work submitted and may result not only in a failing grade for the course but in the student being reported to the Office of Student Life for prosecution.

I encourage working together with other students; however, work merely copied from another person or revised by another person is a form of cheating.


  1. Classroom Civility:

Each PSU student is encouraged to help create an environment during class that promotes learning, dignity and mutual respect for everyone. Students who speak at inappropriate times, sleep in class, display inattention, take frequent breaks, interrupt the class by coming late or leaving early, engage in loud or distracting behaviors, use cell phones or pagers in class, use inappropriate language, are verbally abusive, display defiance or disrespect to others, or behave aggressively could be asked to leave the class.


  1. Mobile Phones, PDAs, and Portable Computers: The use of mobile phones and PDAs or texting during class is prohibited unless an activity which calls for such use is carried out. Upon coming to class, students are required to silence their mobile phones and PDAs. Students may use a laptop computer to take notes or access homework during class. Students who are observed using a laptop computer for purposes not related to taking notes will be required to turn off their computers and will be prohibited from using a laptop during class for the remainder of the semester. No one may use any electronic devices during exams. Failure to follow this policy will result in a failing grade on the exam.


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