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Best of 2014 - #3 1st Day of Spanish Class

My third most popular post this year was my original plan for the first day of school. You can see what actually happened in my reflection here. As with most best laid plans, there needs to be a back up, since we did not have our laptops day 1. Also, the stations take a couple days to complete. As for grading, I have to admit that I never actually went through to check that each student actually posted the Shelfies and songs. Instead, I have used their song suggestions throughout the year for Música miércoles , and they have had the opportunity to read their books of choice during free reading. I hope this can be of some use to those of you starting with new classes at semester!

Best of 2014#3 1st Day of Spanish Class

1st Day of Spanish Class - Mis Clases Locas


This year I have the great problem of way too many ideas of what to do on the first day of school. This multitude of ideas came from the amazing bloggers Martina BexCarrie TothLaura SextonBen SlavicCourtney Cochran & Sara-Elizabeth Cottrell. After 5 summers as a camp counselor, I also have a plethora of ice breakers, name games, and getting to know you activities in my mental bag of tricks. But when you teach at a school with a total population of around 140 students 9-12, the only students who I need to get to know and do not already all know each other are the freshman.  This year I have the special privilege of having the freshman in 1st and 2nd period Spanish I. This means that I will have the honor of being the first class of their high school career. Since I am reading Teach Like Pirate by Dave Burgess, this has only raised my sense of duty that this first day and impression blow them out of the water. For tke sake of learning and growing from the past here is what I have done the past two years. 

1st Year of Teaching
On my first day of school, my first year of teaching I tried to follow a lot of what is mentioned in this post by the Creative Language Class. I modified Megan's Prezi to tell them about me in Spanish, since I was the only new teacher in the district that year. At this point most of them freaked out since their previous teachers never talked to them in Spanish much. (It was also at this point I knew I had a hard uphill battle coming that first year.) I had everyone introduce themselves and we did some sort of name game, so I could start learning 100+ new names. I also had them fill out an information sheet so I could learn more about them as people. I then did the boring first day syllabus talk. I wish I had read how to survive your first day teaching before day one. 

2nd Year of Teaching
Last year the first days of school were a blur due to the fact that without an air conditioner my room was 90 degrees, with three noisy fans running, the lights off and I was just trying my best to not pass out while 20 weeks pregnant. I followed a lot of what I did year one, added Martina's first day seating, and instead of an introduction about myself, I talked in Spanish about pictures of my summer in the past tense ending with a picture of the baby's room and revealing to them I was pregnant. (Well after the first class the whole school knew because gossip spreads like wildfire when your school is just one hallway.)

Since we start school on a Thursday, most of the students (and teachers) treat the first two days more as just beginning of the year business days with syllabuses, checking out books, logging into online textbooks and learning names and procedures. The kids come to school not expecting to actually "learn anything" until Monday. I was guilty of this myself those first two years since there is always so much business that I want to just get done and checked off my to do list. I know that this year I want them to leave class having LEARNED something, but the issue is what!?!

I actually started this post last week, but then have been bombarded with even MORE awesome ideas from the blogosphere which makes my indecisiveness go crazy. So far my plan is as follows:

Spanish I

  • BEFORE CLASS - A Spanish Pandora Station will be playing and all desks will have these seating cards
  • GREET - Greet all students at the door in Spanish with a smile, handshake and a seating card. I will ask their name in Spanish, modeling "Me llamo Senora Wienhold" "¿Cómo te llamas?"
  • INTRO MYSELF - I will introduce myself using this Prezi in Spanish with a lot of actions, movement and enthusiasm. 
  • NAME GAME - We will play name games standing in a circle. I will once again model "Me llamo Senora Wienhold" "¿Cómo te llamas?" and then pass a ball to another student, the first time next to them. Once everyone has been introduced, then in the second round the ball will be tossed to another student across the way until everyone has gotten it, and they will need to remember the order. We will then add in "se llama" to tell the name of who the ball came from and where it is going. This can keep going as long as there is high interest. Some classes want to be timed play speed ball style and beat a score, others tire of it quickly. The key is to end on a high note and keep them wanting more. This activity can be built upon with many new get to know you phrases such as me gusta or soy de
  • STATIONS - Depending how long my introduction and name game takes will decide how much of the following stations we complete day one. Most likely I will introduce it, they will begin the activities and then finish day two. I was looking for a way to incorporate choice, fun, culture, our new 1:1 laptop initiative and learn about the students all on the first day. I decided to base it around the number one student obsession in my school, Twitter. I figured it would be easier for everyone if instead of using their personal accounts, they would create a new account just for our class, where I can follow them, they follow me for class reminders, they follow Spanish artists and will tweet for reflection throughout the year. During stations I will have a chance to informally walk around and chat, getting to know them as people. With the stations they (hopefully) will:
    • Practice introducing themselves
    • Follow Spanish speakers (exposing them to culture and language)
    • Find and post books from our library to read - (showing me their interests)
    • Find and post Spanish music (giving them a voice in Música miércoles)
    • Read & reflect on class syllabus (Not just boring me droning on, but they get the information, take it home to their parents to sign, and we will discuss it as a dialogue and question/answer the next day.)

This is what I am thinking so far for Spanish I. I would love comments, additions, revisions or ideas to make it better. As for Spanish II-IV, since I know all of them and had them last year, the music and seating will be the same, but instead of asking their name I will ask them about their summer. In place of the introduction Prezi, I think I will show a slideshow of pictures of my baby, while talking about what HE did this summer (possibly making it slightly ridiculous and over the top). 

Spanish II - IV

  • BEFORE CLASS - A Spanish Pandora Station will be playing and all desks will have these seating cards
  • GREET - Greet all students at the door in Spanish with a smile, handshake and a seating card. Since I know all of them and had them last year, instead of asking their name I will ask them about their summer.
  • TALK ABOUT SUMMER - In place of the introduction Prezi, I think I will show a slideshow of pictures of my baby, while talking about what HE did this summer (possibly making it slightly ridiculous and over the top). This will naturally lead into asking them about their summers and everyone sharing and practicing the past tense (III & IV). We may expand it into Carrie Toth's battle of the vacations
  • STATIONS - I have been debating whether I would like Spanish II-IV to do a variation on the stations above. I am torn between trying to provide more CI in Spanish day one, or letting them have the freedom to peruse authentic tweets and videos, while freeing me up to talk to them in Spanish more one on one. Here is what I would post for them so far, but I would love feedback!
Happy Planning!

1 comment

  1. Wow!! Your whole total population of your school is 140. I have 130 students alone M-F! Last year I had 160 students! Those aren't even 1/8 of our student body population at our public H.S.

    ReplyDelete

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