Intermediate Spanish I

  • SPAN 1003, 5 credits
  • Faculty Coordinator: Sara Mack
  • Sponsoring U of M Department: Spanish and Portuguese
  • Fulfills U of M Requirement(s): Meets U of M degree credit requirements, such as departmental major, minor, or elective requirements
  • Teacher Applications: Check the Applicant Handbook for details. 

U of M Catalog Description

Speaking/comprehension. Developing reading/writing skills based on materials from Spain/Spanish America. Grammar review. Compositions, oral presentations.

Sample Syllabus

Other Considerations

High school students taking SPAN 1003 and 1004 can immediately start advanced course work in Spanish if they begin their college careers at the U of M (and at many other colleges and universities, as well). Taking the LPE is an added bonus and a good indicator of a student’s future success in upper-division Spanish courses (whether at the U of M or elsewhere). Obviously, it is a very special experience to take a 3000-level course as a freshman, especially since 3000-level courses are often quite small. To get a major in Spanish, a student only needs 11 more courses in Spanish after SPAN 1003.

Class size limit: 25

Student Qualifications

Students enrolling in SPAN 1003 should be juniors or seniors in high school. Generally, students will have successfully completed four years of high school Spanish with an average GPA of 3.00 or better (in prior Spanish classes) before enrolling. Qualified- ninth or tenth-grade students may apply if they have instructor approval.

Instructor Qualifications

Instructors apply and are selected by faculty in accordance with the U of M policy governing Academic Appointments with Teaching Functions. Once approved, an instructor is appointed as a Teaching Specialist 9754 (University Job Title and Code) in the College of Continuing and Professional Studies. Instructor qualifications are determined by the sponsoring University department.

View the Instructor Applicant Handbook for course-specific qualifications and application steps. 


  1. Conexiones: Comunicación y cultura, 5th Edition [abbreviated CT (Conexiones Textbook)]. By Eduardo Zayas-Bazán, Susan M. Bacon and Dulce García. New Jersey: Prentice Hall. Available at Coffman Bookstore.
  2. MySpanishLab Online Student Activities Manual/Workbook (abbreviated MSL). By Manuel Martinez and Mónica Ayala. The online workbook is packaged with the textbook if you buy the textbook in Coffman Union Bookstore. You can also buy access to MSL separately at Coffman Bookstore or online through the Pearson website. Note: Your instructor will provide you with a course ID for MySpanishLab on the first day of class or via the Moodle course site.

Spanish 1003/1004 Textbook Cycle

  • 2017−18: CIS 5th edition
  • 2019−20: Tentative switch to 6th edition

Please note: CIS partners offering Spanish 1003 and/or 1004 plan on a four-year textbook rotation. U of M CIS textbook support for each edition will be sustained for at least four years. Tentative plan for the next edition cycle in 2019.

If you have questions about textbook use, please contact Jan Erickson at

Frequently Asked Questions

Are the texts and readings specified or mandated by the University of Minnesota? If not, what are some of the choices?
Students in CIS sections of the course use the same textbooks and materials as those in the on-campus sections of the course. In some cases, high schools may be using a different edition of the texts. (Starting in 2014, the third edition may no longer be used.)

Do teachers have a choice in assignments? Are there required assignments?
CIS teachers work from a common syllabus developed by the U of M second-year language coordinators; therefore all assignments should be the same for CIS teachers as for instructors at the University. In some cases, we approve modified versions of the U of M syllabus. For example, some high school teachers have a longer semester than the one at the University, and so some plan courses at a slower pace. All CIS teachers work with the following types of assignments: reading, listening, writing, culture, and grammar activities from the textbook and the workbook and class projects according to level.

It is desirable that the additional classroom activities included at the University like listening to CDs, watching videos and films, and working in computer labs (Internet activities, CD-ROM activities, and activities set up by Language Center) be done at each high school. However, we realize that each school has different facilities, and some of these activities are optional for CIS Spanish classes and vary among the teachers. The 1003 syllabus includes three "mesa redonda" projects with their corresponding compositions, an oral interview, an oral presentation, three unit exams, and a final. The 1004 syllabus includes two mesa redonda projects and a debate with their corresponding compositions, a written proficiency exam, the listening and reading parts of the LPE as a final exam, and an optional oral interview to complete the entire Language Proficiency Test, if the student so desires.

It should be noted that all the rules for the course should be in English on the syllabus.

Who creates the exams?
The University Spanish language coordinators work with on-campus teaching specialists to create all exams that are used in all sections of SPAN 1003 and 1004. We ask that the CIS teachers use the same exams that are used on campus. Exams are rewritten every year but all have the same components: listening comprehension, grammar and vocabulary, reading comprehension, culture, and composition.

Is there a training and mentoring system for new CIS Spanish teachers?
The SPAN 1003 and 1004 coordinators, Joanne Peltonen, an assistant to the faculty coordinator, and the faculty coordinator serve as mentors to the CIS Spanish teachers. We have also established a listserv to help all teachers mentor each other. In addition, new teachers benefit from workshops that focus on both course content and University processes, as well as an orientation to College in the Schools that will familiarize them with the support available through CIS and prepare them for administrative tasks such as registering students and posting grades.

All CIS teachers have access to an online archive of activities that have been created by University instructors of SPAN 1003 and 1004, as well as participant instructors in the CIS program. It is hoped that all CIS instructors continuously contribute activities to this valuable resource.

High school class schedules vary: can a teacher in the block system teach U of M Spanish?
All courses offered through CIS have the same minimum number of contact hours as the on-campus sections. Teachers wishing to teach a U of M Spanish course on the block schedule should consult with the faculty coordinator (contact information above) to make sure this arrangement will work.

What happens at typical teacher workshops?
Typical activities at CIS workshops include meeting University faculty and hearing about their recent research in the discipline; reviewing and/or developing student assessment tools; sharing instructional materials; discussing particular content, pedagogy, or assessment of the University course; and receiving updates on CIS program policies and practices.

In addition to activities focused directly on the CIS course, teacher workshops will include presentations intended to further the teachers’ own learning and professional development. These are offered by the program faculty or guest speakers and may relate to Spanish language, Spanish cultures, or second language acquisition and pedagogy.

What happens at typical student field days?
Student field days provide an opportunity for CIS students to meet their peers, practice skills they have learned in class, and explore the Twin Cities campus. Past field days have included activities such as

  • a campus-wide scavenger hunt conducted in Spanish
  • visits to select Spanish classes
  • interactive demonstrations, including music and dance
  • talks by U of M professors or graduate students from the Spanish Department
  • a visit to the Weisman Art Museum
  • mixers with other CIS students
  • panel discussions with current U of M Spanish students

High Schools Offering This Course

Apple Valley High School
Buffalo High School
Burnsville High School
Delano High School
Eagan High School
East Ridge High School
Eastview High School
Eden Prairie High School
Hopkins High School
Mahtomedi High School
Monticello High School
Mora High School
Mound-Westonka High School
New Prague High School
North Branch Area High School
North High School (North St. Paul/Maplewood/Oakdale District)
Red Wing High School
Richfield High School
Rosemount High School
Roseville Area High School
Rushford-Peterson High School
Shakopee High School
St. Anthony Village High School
Tartan High School
Waconia High School
Waseca High School
White Bear Lake Area High School
Woodbury High School