Saturday, October 1, 2016

Spanish Community Service Learning Course: Here Is Everything You Need

by Ann Abbott

Starting a Spanish community service learning course is challenging but very doable.

This semester I have talked to two faculty members who are either starting or planning to start a Spanish CSL course, and I have shared everything I have with them.

So I thought I'd share it with all of you, too. You might think of this post as "Spanish CSL in a box."
  1. Course description for "Spanish in the Community." (Scroll down to SPAN 232.)
  2. TextbookComunidades: Más allá del aula. (I am not trying to hawk my book--I barely make any money on it anyway. Ask your Pearson sales rep for a review copy.)
  3. Syllabus
  4. Course calendar. This calendar for Fall 2016 includes a visit to our Krannert Art Museum to visit a pertinent exhibit, so you would simply change the dates around a bit. In previous semesters, I will use that week to schedule a documentary, film or piece of fiction that is appropriate to the course, such as Quién es Dayani Cristal?
  5. Comunidades Companion Website. You can find the audios and videos mentioned in the textbook here. I think the videos are especially valuable. The site isn't very intuitive, so do the following: Go to "Select chapter" --> Select any chapter --> Click the "Go" button --> Navigate using the categories on the left (Audio, Video, etc.). 
  6. Instructor's resource manual. I think you'll find the instructions for setting up a community partnership and a course very helpful, and it's at the very beginning of the document. I also use this document to read the scripts for the listening comprehension activities that I do in class.
  7. Topics for ensayos de reflexión. This is an updated list of the topics and instructions that I give to students for their reflective writing.
  8. Readings that I use with students: 1) "Sociolinguistic Dimensions of Immigration to the United States" by Kim Potowski; 2) "Introduction: Heartland North, Heartland South" by Allegro and Grant Wood; 3) "Civic Engagement and Community Service Learning" by Ann Abbott (this is an abridged version of a chapter that is forthcoming).  
  9. Course wiki, where students sign up for the place where they will work and log their work hours weekly (here's an example). If I had to do it all over again, I would use Google docs. But back many years ago when I set this up, Google docs had a limit of 200 people, and that caused problems for me.
  10. Course director task list. There are lots of little tasks involved in getting ready for each semester, and this checklist lays it all out in minute detail. Your systems might be slightly different, but you can take this document and personalize it to your needs.
I hope this helps you! Of course, I'm always available to talk by email (, and my office phone number is 217-333-6714.

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