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1st Week Flops, Tweaks & Hits

I am now more than half way through my first week at the new school. Overall things are going great, but I though I would share some flops, tweaks, and hits from my 1st Week of Spanish Class - Daily PlansUnit 1 & 1st Week Logistics

Cute 1st day gift from the PTO (inside is a can of pop & chocolate:)

If you are told the morning of the 1st day of school that you need to facilitate one of your classes getting logged into a difficult system with a 20 digit individual code (*cough Infinite Campus), just say no. The biggest flop of the week was trying to throw kids into something with tech that I knew nothing about. My unpreparedness threw the class into unorganized chaos and kind of spoiled the 1st day of school magic for all of us. If it is not absolutely required and necessary, stay away from boring, confusing tech log ins on day one. 
Lesson Learned: avoid tech log ins day 1

The Instagram Photo Booth was kind of a flop day 1. No one wanted to be the one to start to use it! Granted I did not know these kids and they did not know me, so they may have been nervous and just wanted to go to their seats and feel safe and comfortable. I could tell there were many who wanted to use it, but wanted a friend to use it with them, so they were not putting themselves out there alone. Over the next 2 days it has gotten a lot more use and I think it will be a fun prop that will stay out most of the year. 
Lesson Learned: save the Photo Booth until later in the week. 

If I were to do the week over, I would have had Musicuentos Talk Talk (or sent it home to read with the Parent NewsletterSyllabus) about proficiency before setting the kids loose on the Proficiency Puzzle learning to distinguish proficiency levels. I had no idea coming in what the upper level student's exposure had been to the ideas of proficiency and performance, and did not realize we would all be starting from the ground up. Those who were more self motivated did great in pairs, but the ones who need more hand holding struggled and wanted to give up during the stations. Based on Rachel's great suggestion, I think later this week I will print out one per student, for them to then process on their own, and glue to keep in their binders as a resource. 
Lesson Learned: Give students more background on the terms before setting them loose on the Proficiency Puzzle.

I tried to do a version of Ben Slavic's circling with balls and it just did not work as well as I had hoped. In the future I would have students move their chairs in a circle so there are less distractions being at grouped tables facing each other. With kids not used to circling, I should have set more expectations before beginning and created an environment better conducive to conversation. 
Lesson Learned: I need to set more expectations and the environment for successful personalized questions and circling. 

As always Name Game Speedball was a major hit with the freshman. They love having the chance to move around and compete with the other classes day 1. I also sneakily get to hear all names many times in a row as they try to beat their own or another classes' record. This is the reason for a Spanish 1 student leaving my class PUMPED and loving Spanish class. 
Lesson Learned: Name Game Speedball is a keeper & I need to continue to provide movement breaks for active classes. 

We had a student birthday on day 2 in level one, that I knew about because I had looked up and added all class birthdays for the month to the calendar. Seeing a student beam as they got serenaded with the newly learned happy birthday song in Spanish, just warmed my heart. It was also a great chance to build class community and learn a new song the first week. 
Lesson Learned: Never let a student birthday go by unnoticed. 

What were your flops, tweaks & hits as you started school?

1 comment

  1. I love this approach (hits, tweaks, flops) and might share mine soon! Thanks for being reflective and inspiring as always, Allison!


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