Jacob’s Reflection: “I’ve grown far beyond what I ever thought I would.”

Here is an essay by Jacob, a first year Spanish student who (because of scheduling at our school) was with a class full of third year Spanish students. He write “Novice-Mid” below, but much of his evidence supports a proficiency level closer to Novice-High. 

I’ve been in Spanish for less than a year now, but I’ve grown far beyond what I ever thought I would. I’ve been in Spanish since the start of the year. I’ve had no previous Spanish experience before this. I think I’ve picked up a good amount of the language, especially considering I have no background in the language. I’ve felt welcomed in Spanish class, and have very rarely been uncomfortable with the environment. I’ve felt welcomed by everyone and am now able to speak at a level I assumed I wouldn’t be able to speak at. I didn’t think I was going to be able to put together full sentences by the end of the year but here I am. Due to my ability to mix complete and incomplete sentences, answer questions appropriately, give information about myself, ask simple questions, and describe familiar topics I think I have met the proficiency level of Novice-Mid.

I have met a text type of Novice-High due to my ability to mix complete and incomplete sentences. In my Spanish video F, I speak in a mixture of complete and incomplete sentences in order to respond to prompts correctly. For example, I often say incomplete things like “es bien” to convey meaning. I also spoke in complete sentences in order to describe my thoughts on moving to high school, summer vacation “No tengo mucho planes; yo voy a Vermont por quatro dias.” Also, in my quarter 4 self-assessment, I wrote many complete sentences as a response to prompts in order to create a lengthy response to the prompt. For example, I wrote over a page with two prompts about my time at IACS and whether or not I’m going to another high school. When I began Spanish, I was unable to speak in sentence fragments, let alone full sentences. Now, I’m able to speak in not only fragments of sentences but occasional strings of multiple sentences. I’ve been able to form sentences relating to topics, but I can respond to prompts just as well, if not better.

I personally believe one of my strongest abilities is my ability to answer prompts. This is probably because of my tendency to demonstrate more of my Spanish knowledge when I’m writing, rather than speaking on the spot. It gives me more time to think about my responses and how to get them across. I believe my quarter 3 writing prompts are possibly my best, considering they demonstrate some of my best writing. Throughout the prompt I wrote in not only entire sentences, but coherent strings of sentences that form well-constructed paragraphs. For example, in my first prompt, where I was allowed to write about anything we’d discussed in Spanish throughout the year, and I chose to talk about politics (we did discuss it for a class.) I wrote 18 full sentences connected into one paragraph, and even asked questions, such as “Es solo un opinión en el mundo, que es la punto?” I also wrote sentences with multiple commas and topics. In my quarter 4 Writing prompts I described my time at IACS and any concerns or hopes I had for high school. This demonstrates my ability to describe myself and retell any experiences I”ve had in the past. I wrote complete sentences, such as “mucho de mi problemos no es con escuela; es con la otra personas en la escuela.” “Solo es dramatico personas en grado ocho.” When I started Spanish, I had no idea how to ask questions, combine words I already knew into different sentences, or give any information about myself or anything else. Now, I’m able to do all those things and more. I can give information about myself and topics we’ve discussed in Spanish, but I can also talk about a variety of other topics

My ability to speak and write about a variety of different topics has improved drastically from the start of the year. My quarter 3 writing prompts showcases my ability to talk about a variety of different topics. In my first prompt, I talked about politics because it’s something that interests me and something we talked about in class for a day. I understood a good amount of vocabulary from the time we learned about it in class and I was able to demonstrate that knowledge by writing about a page about the topic that touched on a variety of different things. In this self-assessment I also talked about my life as a whole, and I also touched on a variety of topics, like my home, family, interests, and hobbies. There is a lot of repetition and you can tell that there are a few areas where I wasn’t entirely sure of what to say, but you can definitely still understand the meaning. In my Spanish Q4 interview I talk about a variety of different topics in detail. These topics include my time at IACS, politics, my after-school activities, and my teacher for the day project. For my teacher for the day project, I was able to talk about the topic, how the project was in general, and whether or not I enjoyed it. I was able to talk about it for about a minute. Throughout the year, I’ve picked up vocabulary relating to more and more topics. Not only can I describe things like myself, my life, and my family, but I can now speak about a variety of my own personal interests.

Due to my ability to mix complete and incomplete sentences, answer questions appropriately, give information about myself, ask simple questions, and describe familiar topics I think I have met the proficiency level of Novice-Mid. Throughout the entire year, I’ve strived to reach a higher level of Spanish proficiency by constantly thinking about how I can understand meaning in class and work to speak more clearly and with more meaning. Even in my own home, I’ve thought about how I can work to understand and infer meaning and apply it to Spanish class. My next steps for Spanish proficiency are to obviously, move on to high school and take a class that’ll challenge me and allow me to reach the highest level of Spanish proficiency that I can reach. Until then, I’m going to continue to challenge myself and try and translate my regular day-to-day speech into Spanish in order to understand all that I can.

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