The simulated conversation is one of the open-ended tasks required on the AP Spanish Language and Culture Exam. In the past, my students only practiced this activity during their AP Spanish class, but I’ve since evolved, and realized that students can and should be practicing conversations from the very beginning!
What IS a Simulated Conversation?
A simulated conversation is a cool way to practice real conversations and to measure both listening comprehension and speaking skills.
Students listen to a short recording of one part of a conversation. In that one little part, the students are asked for information. The student records their response to that request for information. This process usually repeats for a total of 5 times, but of course, the teacher can decide how many exchanges to create for their students!
On the AP Test, students are given a grid. In the grid, they are given very generic information about:
-who is participating in the conversation
-the purpose of the conversation
-vague information about what the recorded speaker will say
-guidance as to what the students should say in reply
Why Practice the Simulated Conversation?
If we start with the end-goal in mind, we practice because we want our students to be able to converse with others in Spanish. And we want them to do well on their AP Exam!
We practice in the years leading up to AP Spanish so that the task is not new or unfamiliar.
And of course, we WANT our students to be good at exchanging information in the target language! Conversing is usually very difficult for students because A) it involves more than one language skill and B) the conversation may veer off what a student expects to hear, or into vocabulary territory that is unfamiliar. Students need to practice the skills that allow them to navigate when the topic is unfamiliar.
How Do I Create My Own Simulated Conversations?
- Decide on the purpose of your conversation.
- Decide on the level of difficulty based on your class, year of study, etc.
- Open a Google Doc and create a grid. (CLICK HERE for a FREE copy of a grid that you can copy and edit!)
- In a separate Doc, write out the parts that YOU will say as the recorded speaker.
- Go back to your grid Doc, and add in the generic information about what the student will hear you talk about.
- Now add in the requirements you would like the students to say in their recorded responses.
Your finished grid will look something like this:
How To Record Your Part Of The Conversation
To record what you want your students to hear, follow these steps:
- Open your favorite recording software. (I use SpeakPipe)
- Have a timer set for 20 seconds. (I use my phone and choose a tone that I like when the timer goes off.)
- Record part one of the conversation.
- Start your 20 second timer.
- When the timer goes off, read your second part.
- Repeat this process until you have recorded all parts, including the last 20 second timer for your students.
- Obtain the link from your recording and paste it into the student document.
How To Have Your Students Record Their Simulated Conversation
- In an ideal world, your school has a language lab with the software that is perfect for recording student samples!
- My school no longer has a language lab. Therefore, I have students use a different method.
- The easiest and free way to do this is to use SpeakPipe or another free recording software.
- I usually assign this task in google classroom. This way, each student has their own copy and can play the links for themselves. (They will need headphones of some sort.)
- Students will start the Speakpipe recording either at the beginning of the activity, while they’re listening to your first link, or when it’s their turn to talk. They should record the entire conversation in 1 recording.
- Students can turn in their work in a variety of ways. a) create an assignment in Google Classroom b) create a Google Doc where students can link in their recording c) they can email you the link to their recording
**Another way to do this is for the teacher to play the recording over a speaker for the entire class. This way, you have more control over when students begin and finish the activity. But it’s personal preference!
If Creating Your Own Feels Too Overwhelming…
I got you! Here are some that I have made for my students!
Spanish Seal of Biliteracy AAPPL Test Interpersonal Speaking
Spanish Seal of Biliteracy Test Prep Bundle
Simulated Conversations: Version 2 (5 more simulated conversations similar to the first link above!)
Other Posts That May Interest You
The AP Spanish Simulated Conversation