First Days

I enjoy reading about what teachers do during the first days of school.  Here is what I plan to do this year:

All classes:  I stand at the door when the bell rings and greet every single student as they come in.  Nobody gets by without me greeting them.   Here is my conversation with each student:  Me: “¡Hola!  Me llamo Señor Williamson.  ¿Cómo te llamas?”  (If I already had them last year, I skip this part and say their name.)  Student: “Me llamo…”  Me: “Mucho gusto (or encantado).  ¿Cómo estás?”  Student answers.  It is super quick but I want them to know that they are entering the No English zone.  I also want them to know that I am in charge as soon as they walk through my door.

I have assigned seats for them.  The students find their name on the chair/desk and sit down.  On every chair/desk is this sheet.  On the sheet has a small sticker with their name on it.  They write their name REALLY BIG on the sheet.   There is another blank piece of paper for the activities below.

Then each class does this:

Spanish 2:

UPDATE: I am giving this sheet to my Spanish 2 classes on the first day.

On the board or on the projector is the following: “Dibuja una actividad que hiciste durante el verano”  I also have it in English right below “Draw one activity that you did during the summer.”  It is important to put the English since I do not want them to panic.  They need to understand everything during the first days in order to establish a positive atmosphere.

I give the 10 minutes to draw.  As they draw, I circulate around the room.  I look at which drawing will be interesting to talk about.  I also look and see who will be my troublemakers (I can already tell when I greet them at the door).  These are the students that I will talk about first.  After 10 minutes, I choose a student and say what they did over the summer.  I write on the board translations and circle the phrase.  I get more details from the student like where, with whom, and when.  I continue until the mojo is gone and choose another student.

This is very similar to Circling with Balls from Ben Slavic.

We have 80 minute periods.  I do at most 4 students per class.  I usually do not get to everyone.   I add in the class procedures, a song, and the first chapters of Cuéntame mucho.

Spanish 3:

UPDATE: I am giving this sheet to my Spanish 3 classes on the first day.

On the board or on the projector is the following: “¿Qué harás este año escolar?  Dibuja una actividad.  What will you do this school year.  Draw one activity.”  After 10 minutes, I begin the CI and we talk about their drawings.  My goal is to work the future tense.   I also throw in the present perfect (have you already played basketball?) and the past tense (did you play basketball last summer?).

We do a song, talk about the class procedures, and do chapters from Cuéntame aún más.

Spanish 4:

I have giving my Spanish 4 class this sheet on the first day to start the comprehensible input.

On the board or on the projector is the following: “¿Qué harías si tuvieras un millión de dólares?  Dibuja.”  “What would you do if you had a million dollars?  Draw.”  After 10 minutes, I begin the CI and we talk about their drawings.  My goal is to work in the si clauses, the conditional, and the past subjunctive.   We also do a song, talk about the class procedures, and for the first few weeks we do some chapters from ¡Cuánto me cuentas!

In all of my classes, I don’t pass out the syllabus until the 2nd or 3rd class.  I model every procedure as it happens and praise the students when it is done correctly.   In every class I spend the majority of time in the target language.  This sets the tone that we will speak Spanish and that English will not be allowed.

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8 comments

  1. Muchas gracias – or since you teach French, merci! I’m just starting out and I really appreciate these high school plans! I’m new to my school so I don’t know the capabilities of my students… I’m going to think it over, but I may use the level 2 plan in all levels since I don’t know if my Spanish 3 & 4 students have had much experience with the future and conditional tenses. I think it might help me to do one lesson since it will be my first time using the circling technique. The repetition most likely would help me and take some pressure off on day 1. Any thoughts on that? I will be reading more!

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