Achieving Learning Standards

The videos, articles, assignments, and activities that comprise CultureTalks provide an effective and interesting way for teachers to address the Advanced Placement course objectives; the International Baccalaureate Language Acquisition Curriculum; the ACTFL Standards for Language Learners; and the Common Core Standards of Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening. How CultureTalks helps teachers and students meet these learning objectives is outlined in detail below.

Advanced Placement and AP are registered trademarks of the College Board and were not involved in the production of nor endorse this product.

According to the 2012 College Board, the Advanced Placement Spanish Course objectives are to help you:

1) “understand Spanish spoken by native speakers at a natural pace, with a variety of regional pronunciations, in both informal (interpersonal) and formal (presentational) contexts”

How CultureTalks addresses this objective:
A great advantage to using CultureTalks is the exposure it provides to different regional and national accents since the videos are filmed on-location in different cities, regions, and countries around the world. Also, since the videos are not scripted, each one features native speakers speaking at their natural pace and using typical expressions, vocabulary, and grammatical structures. Through repeated exposure to a variety of accents, inflections, and regional vocabularies and grammatical structures, students develop an ear for understanding native speech. A key advantage to the on-line format is that students can listen to the videos as many times as they want or need to.

2) “develop an active vocabulary sufficient for reading newspaper and magazine articles, contemporary literature, and other non-technical writings (websites, letters and emails, advertisements, signs and instructions) in Spanish without dependence on a dictionary”

How CultureTalks addresses this objective:
In the videos and accompanying articles students are exposed to a wide range of vocabularies that are reinforced through specific word-choice exercises. Each video and article has a corresponding list of essential vocabulary words. The video vocabulary lists feature key words and expressions including regionalisms that students will need to understand the videos. The article vocabulary lists feature thematic vocabulary useful for further discussion. Assignments and in-class activities then reinforce word meaning and usage by requiring students to perform specific vocabulary related tasks. Pre-viewing and post-viewing activities also provide opportunities for students to use the vocabulary in meaningful discussions with their classmates.

3) “express yourself by describing, narrating, inquiring, and developing arguments in Spanish, both orally and in writing, with reasonable fluency, using different strategies for different audiences and communicative contexts”

How CultureTalks addresses this objective:
There is a grammar exercise, a writing assignment, and an oral activity for each video, and they come in a variety of formats. For example, the grammar activities focus on specific grammatical constructs used in the videos/articles and the formats varies (multiple choice, fill-in-the-blank, etc.). Likewise, the writing activities focus on creative, explanatory, or persuasive writing (“Actividad de Escritura” sections). The oral activities also come in a variety of formats that include partner and small group creative role-plays and topics for in-class discussion (“Temas de Conversación” section), and instructions for further research and oral presentations (“Más allá del video” assignments).

4) “In this course, special emphasis is placed on the use of authentic source materials and the integration of language skills. Therefore, you should receive extensive training in combining listening, reading, and speaking (or listening, reading, and writing) skills in order to demonstrate understanding of authentic Spanish-language source materials.”

How CultureTalks addresses this objective:
Every video provides students with access to authentic source material. By listening to the interviews and conversations on the videos (with the option to also read subtitles in the target language), answering comprehension questions out-loud or in writing (“Preguntas de Comprensión section), discussing socio-cultural topics related to the videos in writing or orally in pairs, small groups, or with the whole class (“Temas de conversación” section), and completing writing assignments (“Actividad de Escritura” section), students are given multiple and varied opportunities to show their understanding of the source material. Since the assignments and in-class activities are directly connected to the content of the video, teachers also have a variety of opportunities to teach and assess the effective integration of listening, reading, speaking, and writing skills.


While all areas of the Common Core Language Standards are addressed to varying degrees with CultureTalks, particular attention is paid to developing proficiency in the standards mentioned below. The articles and accompanying activities for each video address the following reading standards:

R3: Analyze culture through history, media, and culturally informative texts. (artistic pieces, historical pieces, articles, economics, climate, conservation, etc.)

CultureTalks Sample Activity: The girl in the carnival group called “The Black Show-offs” (Los negros comparones) spoke about the Dominican Republic’s colonial past and later independence. What do you think of what she said? Did anything surprise you?

R4: Interpret words in a culturally authentic document to determine type of text or resource, through tone, technical and figurative language. (Is this a reliable source, opinion piece, art, article and how do you know?

CultureTalks Sample Activity: In one video filmed in Madrid, students listen to a tour guide on a free city tour talk about the historical significance of sites like the Plaza Mayor and the Puerta del Sol. In the next video they hear Spaniards in butcher shops and restaurants talk about their love of ham. These contrasting videos allow students to determine variations in tone and perspective.

R7: Combine and evaluate information from different sources, including media. Use media in various forms to enhance comprehension.

CultureTalks Sample Activity: After watching an interview with a flamenco singer in Granada Spain and hearing him perform, students can also then read an article on the history of flamenco and its connection to gypsy culture in Spain. One assignment then asks them to produce a short creative-writing piece where they describe a day in the life of the flamenco singer.

R9: Use two or more texts or cross-media materials to compare and contrast or build knowledge.

Culture Talks Sample Activity: After watching a video featuring interviews with people enjoying a Saturday afternoon in Retiro Park in Madrid, in one activity then are then asked to compare how different people responded. They are also asked to compare and contrast what the Spaniards said to what people in the U.S. would say and do.

SL2: Evaluate and use information from diverse media to understand and communicate.

Culture Talks Sample Activities: All of the videos on our site offer students the opportunity to reinforce understanding using media.

SL3: Evaluate a speaker’s perspective, purpose and audience by the use of rhetoric, tone, and non-verbal cues.

CultureTalks Sample Activity: Students watch a video on the Cathedral in Seville, Spain allowing them to critically consider the narrator’s perspective on the Cathedral’s importance.

W2: Write a sequential, organized text to inform.

CultureTalks Sample Assignment: Based on what you learned about this person in the video, write a brief text that explains what instrument Dani Morales plays, how old he was when he started playing, and what making music means to him.

W3: Write a sequential, organized narrative.

CultureTalks Sample Assignment: Based on what you learned about this person in the video, use your imagination to write a creative (and coherent) narrative about a day in the life of flamenco singer Cristóbal Osorio.

ACHIEVING THE ACTFL STANDARDS FOR LANGUAGE LEARNERS(Communication Standards – interpersonal, interpretive, and presentational).

CultureTalks is designed to develop proficiency across the three modes of communication (interpersonal, interpretive, and presentational) as well as the five goal areas (communication, cultures, connections, comparisons, and communities).

Speaking and Listening Activities:
There is a variety of registers – informal and formal (in videos), journalistic/essayistic (in articles), and many idiomatic expressions (in videos)

Reading Activities:
All of the articles that accompany each video give students the opportunity to interpret words and phrases for their meaning, including connotative and figurative meanings. The vocabulary lists and comprehension activities also prompt students to how word choice shapes meaning and tone.

Writing Activities:
There is a variety of activities designed to provide opportunities to work on writing to explain, persuade, and to convey experience.


Through unscripted dialogue, students are exposed to a wide variety of accents, language usage, and linguistic registers as well as to authentic cultural contexts. Because the dialogue is unscripted, students are also exposed to different points of view, inflections, and gestures. By watching the videos, they naturally hone their listening comprehension skills as well as their analytical skills in figuring out subjective versus objective thoughts and opinions.

The supplemental materials reinforce IB standards through a variety of activities, including compare and contrast assignments, identifying words or ideas they don’t understand, and asking them to analyze a speaker’s thoughts as well as give their own take on the material.

Short articles accompany each video as well as comprehension, analytical, and creative activities designed specifically for each video. With these articles, assignments, and activities students have a wide variety of written materials to use in order to reinforce reading comprehension and analytical reading skills.