Spanish 4’s Celebración de conocimiento: Episodio 1

Good morning!

I wrote about Spanish 1’s first Celebration of Knowledge aka Test last week and there were questions about how the same format  looks for upper levels.

We’ll I just happened to give my Spanish 4s their first Celebración de conocimiento a few weeks ago. In Spanish 4 we’re watching, discussing and loving the telenovela Gran Hotel  and so their first test, err… Celebration of knowledge measured their reading, listening, writing and speaking skills while redishing the drama of Episode 1.

The Great State of Nevada decided that by the end of Spanish 4, students should reach Intermediate Mid on the ACTFL proficiency scale, so as a department, we decided that students who meet that goal should earn a B, students who exceed the goal should earn an A and students who are approaching the goal should earn a C, and those who are far below should earn a D…SO, their test is written with that in mind. Each task has a rubric with ACTFL’s proficiency levels and the letter grades align with our department grading philosophy.

For this test I decided each section would be worth 25 points, and each rubric has the points next to the letter grade to make it easier to score- just circle the number that corresponds with their level. Next to the A is 25-22.5 which indicates that 25 is A+ and 22.5 is A-…it just saves me time not to get out my calculator to figure out the percentages. Because this Spanish teacher is no good at mental maths!


 I don’t make my Spanish 1 darlings sit down with me for speaking exams because that is just tooo stressful! But by the time they’re in Spanish 4, they’ve had 2 or 3 years of CI teaching and it’s time. I prefer to do the speaking test in small groups rather than individually. Because 1. it’s less stressful for them 2. feels more natural, like a real conversation, they can respond to me or each other and 3. and most importantly it makes grading go faster…and if there’s one thing you should know about me it’s that I HATE grading and am always looking for ways to make it less painful.

Here’s my level 4 speaking rubric. I pass it out to everyone, have them write their names on it, then collect them all back.  While everyone else is working on the rest of their test, I select a kiddo and hand him the stack of rubrics with names on it and ask him to pick 2 or 3 friends.  We sit in a little circle at the back of the room and chat. They don’t know what specifically I’ll ask, but they know we’ll be talking about Episode 1 of Gran Hotel.  I try to ask everyone a question in the present tense ¿Quién es tu personaje favorito de Gran Hotel? ¿Por qué?  a question in the past tense ¿Qué pasó cuando Cristina se escapó del hotel? and a prediction question in the future tense Julio le rogó a Alicia que le diera un mes para encontrar a su hermana….¿Qué crees? ¿Cómo responderá Alicia?  It’s not very formal- I just ask questions as they come to me, based on their responses and they can all respond to the same questions…I love when they include the expressions we’ve been using in class to respond to someone else’s response like de acuerdo or ¡Espero que no! While they’re in front of me, I give them my full attention, I don’t mark on their rubric until they go back to their seat.


Here’s my level 4 writing rubric, heavily inspired by the Ohio Dept of Education’s ACTFL rubrics.   They write their  paragraph on the back of the rubric.   I projected this slideshow with their writing prompt. The directions are to choose 1 scene (from 2 screen shots) to describe and to impress me.   Since my students are able to retake any test  if they feel their grade doesn’t reflect their proficiency level, as I create the test, I think about the alternate test. So in that slideshow above, the 1st slide shows the instructions, the 2nd slide shows the screen shots to choose from, the 3rd slide has the instructions for the alternate test, and the 4th slide shows 2 different screen shots for any students wishing to retest.


I wanted them to listen to a conversation from Episode 1 and demonstrate how much they can understand without any visuals or subtitles. I chose a conversation that was relatively slow and before the test I used my phone to make a Voice Memo recording while I played the conversation. I uploaded the conversation to google drive and it worked great…the recording quality was better than I expected. (For those of you watching GH, I used the scene when Doña Teresa calls Cristina into her room and asks her to return something to her). Students filled out my Spanish 4 Listening Rubric and they listened to the conversation 3-4 times. For more details on the listening rubric and levels 1-4 listening and reading rubrics, here you go!


 I taught specific vocabulary to discuss Episode 1, and I wanted to include that in their test, without having a typical vocabulary test. So, basically they’re reading scene summaries and choosing the vocab word for the blanks in each paragraph. This one I did as a scantron test because, easy grading! Like in the writing test above, there are 2 versions. Students took Version A, and anyone who wishes to retest can take version B.

Here’s the Episode 1 Reading Test

Students earned 4 grades for their Episode 1 test, one for each skill, and my fabulous TA stapled together all the components and filed them into their portfolios so they can reflect on their process as the year (and the drama of Gran Hotel!) unfolds. But the portfolio post is another post for another day. ¡Hasta entonces, amigos!


  1. Thank you so much for sharing this information! I am adapting your Celebration for my Heritage speakers, who actually tend to range from Novice High to Intermediate High. ¡Mil gracias!


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