Typically, our first week back consists of 1 teacher work day and 3 days with students. I happen to think this is the perfect amount of time to get started on the objectives listed above and then be ready to be in full-on Spanish mode at the beginning of the first full week. So, here is what I plan to do with those 3 very important days:
1. Teacher Introduction - this year I will have the fortune of having some students that already know me from last year. Still, I will introduce myself briefly with a quick picture Power Point. This is important to me as I want students to see that I am open and that I have a sense of humor.
2. Course Syllabus - My class tends to be a bit of a departure from the Spanish classes that these students sat in last year. I want to let them know right away what types of things they can expect to be doing in my class. I also want them to see that I am organized and well-planned. I am particularly proud of the syllabus that I created for this year because it is not just a list of rules. My intention was to introduce students to the Two Week Model that I use, some of the educational jargon they will hear me using, what materials they will need, and some of the important policies they need to know about.
DOWNLOAD A COPY OF MY 2014-2015 SYLLABUS HERE
- I am a Sophomore.
- I am a Junior.
- I am a Senior.
- I had Mrs. X for Spanish last year.
- I had Mr. X for Spanish last year.
- I didn't learn anything last year. (makes it easy to identify "that" kid)
- I have heard or said good things about this teacher.
- I have heard or said bad things about this teacher.
- I have no idea who this teacher is.
- I live in _______. (Our district encompasses 3 different cities)
- I play a sport.
- I am in the marching band.
- I have a job outside of school.
- I have a cat, dog, etc.
- I have a brother.
- I have a sister.
- I have a twin.
- I am an only child.
- I wish I was an only child.
- I like Mexican food.
- I think Taco Bell is Mexican food.
- I have been to a Spanish-speaking country.
- Someone in my family speaks Spanish.
- One of my friends speaks Spanish.
- I went to Kalahari this summer (a local indoor water park).
- I went to Cedar Point this summer.
- I went out of state this summer.
- I went out of the country this summer.
- I had a stay-cation this summer.
- I am tired of standing up and sitting down.
4. Participation Cards - Students will complete their participation cards with their name, Spanish name, and a doodle
You can see my blog post on Participation Cards, what they are, and how I use them HERE
5. Practice Names - I collect all the participation cards and try to pass them out to the correct students to demonstrate that I have started to learn their names. I study my class lists before the first day and I am pretty quick with names. I always promise them that I will be able to get all of them right by Friday. So far I have always been able to do it!
1. Practice Names - attempt to pass out the participation cards again.
2. Get to Know You & Learning Inventory Sheets - Now that I have set the stage on Day One as being a person who is open and accepting, I need to dig a little deeper. I have an interest and learning style inventory that I give students. I originally did this as a way to gather data for our teacher evaluations, but ended up getting a lot more out of it than that. You would be very surprised at the depth of the responses that I get as students are asked to complete some sentences about themselves and their life.
DOWNLOAD A COPY OF MY "GET TO KNOW YOU" WRITING ACTIVITY HERE
3. Post-it Icebreaker - As students hand in their "Para Conocerte" papers to me, I find 5 kids who are willing to volunteer to help with the next activity and the rest I ask to take a post-it note from the desk. The students who take a post-it are asked to write down a word for any "thing" and keep the paper private. I collect all the post-its and choose 5 to place on the heads of my volunteers who are standing in the front of the room. I pull participation cards (another chance for me to see names with faces) and my volunteers ask those students yes or no questions trying to guess the word on their forehead. This is usually quite funny and easy to adjust for time.
4. Assign Homework - since we essentially build our own textbook for the class (as I discuss on Day One as part of my syllabus), I will assign the students to come to class the next day ready to propose a name for our textbook. I will also make the optional assignment of designing a cover (which the artsy kids usually jump all over). I will choose 3-4 of my favorites from the entries and we will vote on both the titles and covers the following Monday. That way, when we set up our notebooks on Tuesday, I can have the cover with the title photocopied for all the kids so that it can go directly on the front of their binders.
1. Practice Names - attempt to pass out the participation cards again
2. Collect Homework (entries for the textbook title/cover)
3. Assess Prior Knowledge - Since I plan to start with a review of introductions, I will assess my students prior knowledge by using a couple of the activities I created for my Spanish Proficiency and Placement test. This will allow me to see just where I need to begin and also help me to identify some people that can serve as leaders, examples, or help me assist other students.
You can learn more about my Spanish Proficiency and Placement Test HERE
4. Practice Names - attempt to pass out the participation cards again. Anyone who I can't get right gets candy!
What are your favorite back to school activities? Leave me a comment below!