What are the ingredients to perfect lesson plans for Spanish class? Do you sometimes feel like your activities are boring, take too much time, or not enough time? Do you sometimes wander away from what your intent for the day was?
Creating great lesson plans for Spanish class takes some time and practice. But once you have a good pattern down, you will not only be a rock star profe, but you will spend a lot less time trying to figure out what to do!
Let’s assume that you begin each unit knowing what the end assessment will be. (That’s really important! What do you want your students to know and be able to do when they finish the unit? What skill(s) will you be assessing? How will students demonstrate what they can do with their Spanish?) If you know your end goal, follow this recipe for perfect lesson plans!
Step One To Perfect Lesson Plans
The first step to creating perfect lesson plans for Spanish class is to figure out what will be the ways you will assess your students as you work towards the end-of-unit assessment. How will you break your unit down?
I usually start with vocabulary acquisition. Without the right vocabulary, students can’t communicate at all about a subject. So that becomes the first thing. I decide how I will check in with them to make sure they are acquiring key vocabulary.
Then I figure out what other ways I can break their learning down. Each school and department is different. Some may require that you assess all 4 skills during a unit (reading, writing, speaking and listening). There are schools that require a minimum number of assessments- though it may not matter what skill they test. Others may not have any kind of requirements. Pick yours based on what is required of you, and what your students need.
Step Two For Perfect Lesson Plans
In the units that I am required to teach at my school we have a theme. So that means there is vocabulary and usually 2 related grammar concepts that we teach within each unit. To keep this post a little more brief, I will focus on how I make perfect lesson plans when my focus is on vocabulary acquisition. (Send me an email if you want the recipe for grammar lessons!)
First, you need a “hook activity” when you start a new unit. There are so many ways to pique student interest in a new theme! Read this post if you’re curious about some ways to grab students’ attention when starting a new unit!
One idea is to start with a game of some sort to introduce new vocab. Trust me- I’ve tried it all. Slideshows with pictures, repeating the words, using quizlet… none of those are all that engaging to students when the words are BRAND NEW. They find it boring or frustrating. So- the solution is… a game! Let them work together and/or compete against each other when working with the words. Everyone is engaged! And the vocab introduces itself!
Now you want to break your vocab list into smaller parts that are easier for students to work with. Do we really think students will retain new words when they’re working with 50 of them at once? Qué va! They spend all their time searching their vocab list!
Instead, break the list up into logical 12 word chunks. Now, create activities that are focused primarily on those words. Think about it…. if you create a reading and a listening activity with those 12 words, you have a class! The next day, do an activity with speaking and reading with those same 12 words. Of course, let the students know which 12 words you’re working with so they don’t have to search their list constantly!
Repetition of words (hearing them, seeing them, writing them, and saying them) is what is most helpful for students in terms of retaining them in long-term memory! And I also find that having several short activities makes it easier for students to remain focused, especially when words are new. Having long activities may feel overwhelming and too difficult for them, and then you get students checking out!
Step 4 For Creating Perfect Lesson Plans
Remind students regularly about what they are working up to be able to do! Throw in some exit tickets, a homework, etc. to keep reinforcing and to let students check in with themselves before they will be graded. Give at LEAST 2 days notice of any graded assessment. Provide a study guide- just post it in Google Classroom! (Doesn’t every class have a student whose IEP requires a study guide? Why not post it for everyone since you have to make one!) Let them know when, what the assessment will look like and where it will go in the gradebook!
Those are the very basics to creating great lesson plans.
-They are focused on a particular goal!
-They are student-focused!
-They break things down into manageable chunks for students!
-They contain practice for all 4 skills!
-It’s not the same thing every day, though there is a pattern, which helps you plan and helps students know what to expect!
If anyone is interested in the finer details of lesson planning for Spanish class, or what my pattern for grammar lessons looks like, send me a note @ contactspecialtyspanish.com. I’m curious to know what everyone is interested in and what help you may need!