7 tips to keep to start your school year off right!
Set the tone on the first day by speaking only in Spanish. Even in Spanish I! My lesson for the first day of Spanish I is ¿Cómo te llamas?/Me llamo... and I give students Spanish names or let them choose their names.
2. Make name tags. Yes, even in high school.It's the fastest way for me and my students to learn each others' names. Take a piece of paper and fold it into thirds. Students write their Spanish names on one of the sides. Set the name tags on the desk in a triangle with the name facing out. Have the students bring the name tags to class for the first week or two, until everyone knows each others' Spanish names.
3. Keep the class interactive. I like to use an ice breaker Busca a alguien que... for Spanish II and above. It helps students get to know each other better and gets them up and moving. It's great when you see that the students needs a change of pace (especially for longer 80 minute classes!)
4.Give students a "Coping Card." To play: in partners, Help your students communicate in Spanish by giving them a paper to use in class with the most common classroom phrases. I allow them to use it at all times (except testing.) Eventually, they won't need to look at the paper at all.
5. Explain why the class is taught mainly in Spanish. On the first day of school, as the students walk through the door, I give them a paper written in English that welcomes them to class and explains why I am going to speak mostly in Spanish during the class. It helps them to know what to expect and not freak out once class starts in Spanish.
6. Use a variety of activities. Songs, commercials, communicative activities, games, Mix it up and give the students a variety to keep their interest and get them excited about coming to class.
7. End the week on a high note with a fun game! I make sure that I save 10 minutes at the end of the class on Friday for a game. I teach them the counting game of ¡Caramba! For Spanish classes that don't know the numbers yet, I play Cognate Challenge: a game where students must guess the English word (teléfono, telephone.) They hear the word in Spanish and must guess the English word. If the student is incorrect, they are out. They may join in again if they guess another word correctly that another students has answered incorrectly. I also play Ensalada rusa, a team word game.