Extempore Case Study - Columbia Heights Public Schools

Columbia Heights Public Schools

The Columbia Heights Public School District serves the communities of Columbia Heights, South Fridley and Hilltop, Minnesota. It is located directly north of Minneapolis, also neighboring the communities of Fridley, St. Anthony and New Brighton. Columbia Heights is a small diverse District, with five schools and approximately 3,100 K-12 learners.

Columbia Heights High School

Columbia Heights High School is a comprehensive, public, four-year high school. Current enrollment is approximately 950. In addition to being a culturally diverse school represented by multiple ethnicities, it also serves a high LEP (Limited English Proficient) population.

In 2016, Columbia Heights High School earned a spot on the College Board's AP Honor Roll and the District was named the "AP Small District of the Year." In 2017, Columbia Heights High School earned a Silver Medal and ranked 55 out of 769 high schools in Minnesota by the U.S. News and World Report's Best High School Rankings.

Extempore is used in AP Spanish and Spanish 2 at Columbia Heights High School, as well as in Spanish 1 at Columbia Academy by Juan Gonzalez Diaz.

IELP teachers also use Extempore for summative assessment – the traditional idea of checking whether a student has achieved the learning objectives after the completion of a lesson or unit. For pronunciation courses, summative activities might include reading individual word lists, reading sentences, and using appropriate intonation and rhythm for longer recordings. For speaking courses, the students may be asked to talk about the topic for a limited amount of time. Using Extempore for summative assessment has allowed instructors to get more talk time from each student for all assignments, leading to more data to more accurately represent a students’ abilities and growth.

Mr. Gonzalez’s Extempore Classes

AP Spanish 4: AP Spanish at CHHS is the highest level Spanish class in the district. The instructional focus is placed on Interpersonal, Interpretive, and Presentational modes of communication to enhance Spanish language proficiency. Columbia Heights HS offers students (grades 9 -11) the opportunity to utilize Google Chromebooks to complete homework assignments and projects in class and to take home. When using Extempore, students are given the option to complete the speaking prompts through their own tech devices or a Chromebook. Class size: 16

Spanish 2: Spanish 2 at CHHS is an intermediate Spanish class. Introductory Spanish 1 is a prerequisite to enroll in this class. The instructional objective is to reinforce background knowledge of the Spanish language through meaningful writing and speaking tasks. Columbia Heights HS offers students (grades 9 -11) the opportunity to utilize Google Chromebooks to complete homework assignments and projects in class and to take home. When using Extempore, students are given the option to complete the speaking prompts through their own tech devices or a Chromebook. Class size: 33

Spanish 1: Spanish 1 at Columbia Academy is an introductory level Spanish class. Introduction to the Spanish language and Latin American culture is the objective of this course. Thus, the different grammatical and regional aspects of the Spanish language are addressed. Columbia Academy offers 8th grade students the opportunity to utilize Samsung tablets to complete homework assignments and projects in class and to take home. When using Extempore, students are given the option to complete the speaking prompts through their own tech devices or the tablet. Class size: 30

Mr. Gonzalez’s Use of Extempore

Weekly prompts:

  • Using spanish grammar: Students apply a grammatical aspect that we have been working with in class into extempore.

  • Picture description: Students interpret an image that I post weekly using specific vocabulary.

  • Spanish conversational topic: Students respond to a prompt regarding a world topic or issue that is relevant in contemporary society.

Student Perspective

Parent teacher conference on 3/8/18 student feedback:

  • Spanish 2 student: “I like it because it makes me speak Spanish and not just learn grammar.”

  • AP Spanish student: “This application requires me to read and speak Spanish, but I would also like the assignments to be due immediately after you announce it so that we can practice speaking right away.”