Back to school with compelling CI

My first days of the new school year are this upcoming week!  I have blogged about what I do for the first days of school already, but here is an updated post.  I teach Spanish 2, 3, and 4 and here is what I will do in each class.  Back to school with compelling CI.firstdays2016

Our first school day is every period for 30 minutes each.  The second day and beyond is block scheduling, 80 minutes of class.


I will be standing at the door as they enter.  NO student will enter my classroom without a greeting from me and a question in Spanish.  It might be as simple as “Hola, ¿cómo estás?/¿cómo te llamas?” or a little more complex like “Hola, ¿qué tal?/¿cómo te sientes?/¿Pasaste un buen verano?”  They don’t have to answer but I will make eye contact with every single student that enters my classroom.  My goals are to set the tone, to begin connecting to each new student or to reconnect with my former students, and to secretly see who might need a little more discipline love.

Spanish 2:

The 30 minute first day class: I give this sheet to my Spanish 2 class immediately but I tell them to wait to fill it out.  I introduce myself (all I say is that my name is Señor Williamson) and tell them that this is Spanish 2 class.  I then circle those statements and start to teach them how to play the game of TPRS and CI.  This is all done in the target language.  Then, I do some TPR words like stop, stand up, sit down, look/watch, listen, write.  If there is time, I teach them the structure “se resbaló” (s/he tripped).   I then ask them (in the TL) to complete the sheet.

The first 80-minute class:  I begin class (and every class) by checking in and see how everyone is doing.  I review some of the TPR words from the previous class and start talking about their drawings.  This is how I start the past tense acquisition and to get them ready for upcoming novels during the year.  I circle the statements, ask for details, check for comprehension, ask follow-up questions, and add rejoinders.    When there is a pause in energy and/or decreasing interest, I move on to someone else.  Also, at some point, I stop and talk about the “star of the day” interviews.  They fill out a version of this sheet and if I have a volunteer, we begin the interviews.  I also pass out the class info sheet.  I continue “se resbaló.”

The third class, and beyond:  I start talking about classroom jobs and begin to assign jobs to each student.  We continue the drawings, continue the interviews, and start the Billy y las Botas song by Señor Wooly with a MovieTalk.  Spanish 2 1st semester plans

Spanish 3:

The 30-minute first day class:  I give this sheet to my Spanish 3 class immediately but they do not fill it out yet.  I teach/review some TPR words like in Spanish 2.  I start class by telling them what I did over the summer (went to Spain!!) and circle/talk about some of the information.  Then I ask the class some of these questions in Spanish: ¿Quién fue a la playa, a un restaurante, a otro estado, a México, a Canada, etc…?  ¿Quién jugó a baloncesto, field hockey, fútbol, etc….?  ¿Quién quería ir a… pero no podía?   For the next class, I ask them to bring in something that is important to them ( or a photo of it).  If there is time, I teach the structure “parecía a” (looked like).

The first 80-minute class:  After checking in with the class, we talk about their drawings and/or their important object.  I circle the statements, add rejoinders, do many comprehension checks, speak slowly, and ask follow-up questions.  At some point, we talk about the star of the day interviews (most are familiar with it from last year) and they fill out this sheet.  I also pass out the class info sheet.

Third class and beyond:  We continue the drawings, star of the day interviews, classroom jobsclassroom jobs, start the Parecidos MovieTalk, and do the song Sofía by Alvaro Soler.   I will also do this getting to know you activity related to pets and personality from Kristy Placido.  Spanish 3 1st semester plans

Spanish 4:

The 30-minute first day class: I give them this sheet but they do not fill it out yet.  I do what I do in Spanish 3 and talk about the summer and ask the class some questions like “¿Quién ha ido a… este verano?  ¿Quién ha jugado a ….. este verano?  I start doing classroom management with TPR and try to get them back into the Spanish mode.  At some point, they fill out the sheet.   I teach the structure “dio un paso (para atrás)” (took a step (back)).

The first 80-minute class: Exactly the same as Spanish 3 (except I don’t do the interviews but  I do talk to the students and ask questions like in the interview): we talk about their drawings.  I pass out the class info sheet.  We start the Atrévete MovieTalk and talk about what you are afraid of.  We will play ‘would you rather?’ with movement and talk about the answers.  I add questions like “would you go out with someone who never washes their hair or never washes their hands?”  By using comprehensible input, I see how far I can further the conversation.

Third class and beyond:  Continue the drawings conversations, classroom jobs, and do the song Duele el corazón by Enrique Iglesias with PhotoTalk.  We will start reading an easy novel of their choice in groups and review what we have watched so far in El Internado.  I have always wanted to try the going back to school in a crime from Martina Bex.  Perhaps this is the year I will do it!  Spanish 4 1st semester plans

My main goal for the first days of class is to teach the classroom procedures, to set the tone, begin connecting to the students, and classroom management.  I do that while teaching language and having fun.




One comment

  1. Hola Dustin, muchas gracias por explicar y compartir cual es tu estructura de re-entrada del año académico. Todo el proceso me parece muy interesante, creo que voy a tomar la idea de la escena del crimen y usarla con mi año 11, y utilizar como víctima a Sally, que era su profe el año anterior…

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