How to Raise Your Grade
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How To Get a Good Grade or Raise Your Grade In Mrs. Shirley’s Spanish Class:


Grading Overview

22% of grade = Quizzes (all spelling counts)                                      
22% of grade = Homework/Audio/Video (graded on completion)            
45% of grade = Exams (including a notebook each 6 week period)         
11% of grade = Final Exam     

Quizzes Spanish II and III:

There are two quizzes per chapter in my class. Both are vocabulary quizzes. The first quiz is basically a vocabulary "recognition" quiz that contains matching words to phrases or definitions and reading sentences and filling in the correct word from a word bank in which there is no spelling required. The second quiz is a spelling quiz. This quiz will have sentences or paragraphs containing blanks that require the proper word in the blank to make the sentence make sense. The words must be the correct words and they must be spelled correctly with the proper definite or indefinite articles and/or accents.

Memorization Technique – this works!

In order to prepare for spelling quizzes, you must memorize the Spanish word meanings and memorize also the spelling of the words. This is a time-consuming process, but not a difficult one. I suggest that you spend 20 to 25 minutes each night memorizing your spelling words.

This is the best process for spelling memorization: Take a sheet of ruled notebook paper and fold it in half vertically. Now there is a visible line down the middle of the paper separating each half. On one side of the folded line write the English words and on the other side of the folded line, write the Spanish equivalent translation. Spend about 5 minutes looking over the words and try to get a good hold of them in your mind. Then take your vertically folded list and fold the paper so that only the ENGLISH list is visible. Take out another blank sheet of paper to write on. Now, by looking at the ENGLISH list of words, begin to write their Spanish equivalent on your blank sheet of paper. Continue until you have finished the whole list. If you don’t know a word, then skip it and move on to the next one.

This process is testing both your recognition of the word (Spanish translation) while it is testing your spelling of the word at the same time! Believe me, it works!! Now, turn your folded English list to the Spanish side and check your answers. Study specifically the ones you spelled incorrectly. Then, turn your vertically folded paper back to the ENGLISH side and get a new sheet of paper to write on and start all over again. Repeat this process at least 4 times per night for at least 4 nights (up to the spelling quiz) and you will be surprised at how well you will do!!!

Homework / Audio / Video

Homework in my class is assigned pretty much every day and is usually not a long assignment. It is intended that when you practice in writing what we learned in class that day, it reinforces that concept in your mind. Homework is all graded on completion. That means if you do half of your work, you will receive half credit, etc. Even if you make mistakes and totally do an exercise wrong, I will give you full credit if you complete it and do the best you can. You should take advantage of this in my class!! You should have a perfect score on your homework average! Audio and video exercises are always done in class and are likewise graded on completion. We go over the answers after each exercise and you will be allowed to make corrections. If you do your work, you will receive credit for it!

Workbook Pages:

Each student will be given a workbook. We will do 9 workbook pages per chapter in class. The workbook pages are used as a "class practice." We will do the activities one at a time in class to practice the concept I have just taught. We go over the answers in class and you can correct them if you have made errors. The idea is that if you make mistakes, when we go over the answers you will learn from your mistakes. I count the workbook pages as a completion "homework" grade. We will tear them out at the END of the chapter and hand them in right before the test.

Spanish II:

At the end of each chapter (usually about 2 weeks), we spend two days reviewing for the exam. Every exam in my class is of the same design: 1/3 of the test contains multiple choice questions; the other 2/3 of the test consists of short answer fill-in-the-blank questions.

The short answer fill-in-the-blank section comes directly (word-for-word) from a review worksheet that we do in class two days before the test. We translate the worksheet and produce answers for each question. You should write down the answers on a separate sheet of paper. This way you can go home and use the review worksheet to practice "taking the test" over and over again on your own and check your answers with the answer sheet you have written. I suggest that you take advantage of that and memorize those answers from the review worksheet. Spelling will be counted on the short answer questions. You must spell your answers correctly on that section.

The idea is that if you do the best you can on the multiple choice section (which does not require spelling, etc.), and then make a perfect score on the short answer section (because you memorized the review worksheet answers), then you have a great chance of making at least a "C" or higher on every exam. There is no excuse for you to make less than a "C" on any test in my class because of this review process and the fact that you are basically given the answers to 2/3 of the test two days before the test!


Exams Spanish III:

There will be an exam at the end of every chapter. We will spend around 10 to 12 school days in each chapter. There will be an audio section where students will listen to an audio CD and mark answers on their answer sheet. There will be a reading section where students will read passages of Spanish and answer questions regarding those passages on their answer sheet. There will be a speaking section where students will prepare to answer a set of questions. This will be done the day before the test and students will have time in class and at least one night at home to prepare the answers for these questions. The main part of the test will be short answers written on an answer sheet regarding vocabulary and grammar from the chapter. Students will be allowed to prepare a 4 x 6 card containing whatever information they choose to write on it and they will be able to use that card on the take advantage of this opportunity!!!


There will be a "notebook grade" taken at the end of every 6-week period. The notebook grade will be counted as a test grade. It is designed to be a very easy grade to earn and therefore will help raise your grade considerably if you make a perfect score on it. It’s like earning a 100% on a test once every 6 weeks!

Here’s how we do the notebook in my class: I will hand out a printed sheet of the required contents at least 7 days prior to the due date. You will not put the contents into a folder or a binder. Basically you will use the list I hand out to you as a cover sheet and then put together the required assignments in order and staple it all together to hand in. Usually notebooks will contain only vocabulary lists, quizzes, and written homework assignments. Here’s the bottom line: Every vocabulary list and homework assignment in the notebook must be COMPLETE to earn full credit for each one. You will have 7 days to do this before the due date. So, if you have several incomplete papers or some that you didn’t do, you have time to complete them and/or do them for the first time and then receive credit for them in the notebook!

Extra Credit

Because a perfect score on a notebook is like making an "A" on a test, I don’t have any provision for extra credit in my class. The notebook grade IS basically extra credit if done correctly.

Extra Help From Me

I am here to help you! I can work with you before school for a few minutes or I can spend more time with you after school so that you can work on memorization techniques, or if you need some further instruction on some grammar concept. Just work out a time and day with me ahead of time and I am more than happy to work with you!!!


Mrs. Shirley’s Spanish Website

I have a website that is extremely helpful to you!! You can use the PowerPoint presentations on my site to study for ALL of your vocabulary quizzes and if you have grammar questions, ALL of the grammar presentations are on my site also for you to review. Take advantage of these!!! They are there to help you!

Avancemos Textbook Home Tutor: (

The Avancemos textbook has a "home tutor" website. It contains EXTENSIVE interactive activities for every vocabulary and grammar lesson, downloadable audio files from all text activities, vocabulary flashcards, animated grammar lessons, self-check quizzes, a verb conjugator, and all video excerpts used from the text! Great for continual review and practice. I suggest you use this website EVERY DAY to practice your vocabulary and grammar. You will be SURPRISED to realize how this helps you to learn Spanish. But YOU must make the time to practice on this site!! (Select "World Languages," then our state, "Oklahoma," then click "Go." Once on the page for your book, you can click on the "@HomeTutor" to practice vocabulary and grammar by chapter.

This Sums It Up

Mostly foreign language learning is just a bunch of memorization. If you can learn to memorize verb conjugations, practice your spelling words CONSISTENTLY, always do your homework to receive a perfect score, memorize your review worksheets before exams, and finally make "A’s" on every notebook, you will have a good handle on my class.

Parents, please feel free to call me at 259-4320 ext. 2143 or email me at if you have any questions or concerns and I will be happy to talk with you!


Suzanne Shirley


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