Need some ideas for starting Spanish class each day? Try one of these three routines that will help you use every precious minute of class time to get your students engaged and participating actively in their Spanish learning!
Having routines is important so that your students know what to expect and what they should be doing. But you can change your routines! For example, the main routine should be that there is a particular way you start Spanish classes. But you can change what the activity is every few weeks! Or every Monday, we do X activity, and every Friday, we do Y activity! The choices are endless, and below, there are just 3….. no one likes to feel overwhelmed!
1. Try Starting Spanish Class With Task Cards
Task cards can take many forms, but in general, each card asks a student to complete one task. Task cards can be very structured or very open-ended. They can focus on a vocabulary theme or a grammatical concept. They can be used in many ways, but in my classes, here are 2 ways I use them for my starting classes routine:
1. Display one task card digitally
If you have a projector, choose a task card. Ex: Talk about what you did over the weekend. Each student can either record or write the answer the that question. Set a timer for 3-5 minutes. If this is something you teach as a routine, your students can get right to work without instruction. While they’re working, you can do attendance, check homework or have those brief private conversations and check-ins that are always necessary!
If you don’t have a projector, you can post the day’s task card in Google Classroom (or other learning platform).
2. Pass out the printed task cards
I personally like to print the task cards and laminate them. This way, I can quickly pass them out. They are all different, so it doesn’t matter to me who gets which task card. I can do this every day, and if someone gets the same card twice, they can just switch with a neighbor. This activity can be done in the same way- either speaking or writing. You can also ask them to take turns answering the prompt with their next-door neighbor!
If your students are not ready for open-ended task cards, you may need to provide 3-5 prompts.
2. Try Starting Spanish Class With A Fun Fact
Many of us Spanish teachers struggle to infuse culture into our curriculum. One thing my students really love is to learn quick, fun facts about life in Spanish-speaking countries. These can be as simple as naming the capital of a country, to highlighting tourist attractions or natural wonders, traditions and celebrations, famous people from the countries, or even pictures of you traveling to Spanish-speaking countries!
Create a slide and display it for students to see. You can talk about it or have them copy down the information.
3. Try Starting Spanish Class with Free Choice Reading
Last year I began a classroom library. I noticed that my students LOVED the children’s books I read to my own kids as babies… the ones where you can touch and feel the different textures. Their faces became both peaceful and entranced, if that’s possible! Though these were board books for babies, my Spanish students read them over and over again, and learned new words from context. And they were so excited and proud when they saw words that they DID know!
So I asked my department chair for budget money for a bookcase and more books! Luckily our district is on a literacy kick at all levels, and I have a nice collection of books of all kinds for my students to read! It’s a happy way to start class each day!
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