Yes, sometimes using our chime or clapping our hands doesn’t work! I have found that call-and-responses work magic to get my students’ attention while using the language. I am sharing some that I have learned from other colleagues, at conferences as well as some that have simply occurred to me. I like keeping a variety of them and start introducing them one by one so I can have a big repertoire. I use the short ones with my K-1 students and the longer ones with my 3-5 students. I put them on posters and am sharing them with you in this post. Click here to download them all. And if you have more call-and-response chants, please share them with me in the comments below. I would love to keep adding more to my repertoire!
I am always grateful for the teachers who come to this blog to read my posts. I share them with a lot of love and really hope I can save busy teachers out there just a little bit of time (time is such a precious commodity for teachers!). This blog was started as a way to connect with other teachers because for a while I was the only Spanish teacher in one of the schools where I taught. Having this blog made me feel connected and part of a larger community. Thank you for stopping by to read my blog!
Yes! I just started the new school year, and my classroom has been ready for a couple of weeks. After being a traveling teacher for a few years I truly understand the feeling one has when other teachers share pictures of their classroom, but I also remember that I didn’t really have to use any of my time before to set up space. I just had to make sure I had enough tote bags for my class. There are pros and cons to having or not having a classroom, but I consider that a topic for another post.
I am the kind of teacher who likes to make changes every year to my room. I also never finish the school year with the room looking the same because I like to move things around according to my students’ needs. This is how my room looks right now!
I have a deskless classroom. We do a lot of movement activities so this setting is perfect for our needs.
My kindergarteners and first graders sit on the rug. These carpet Spots Markers*** are great to help my little ones remember their places on the rug. I assign seats to make that transition to my class faster.
I have a closet where I keep many of the materials we use in class. I have a set of clipboards to use when we do writing activities.
I keep the notebooks for each grade in baskets. We only use notebooks in grades 3 to 5.
This year I decided to add these light filters*** to my room because the lights were very bright. I like the ambiance they give to my room.
This map by Spanish Cuentos is a “must-have” in a Spanish classroom. It’s also good to have on hand when we talk about different Spanish speaking countries.
I like keeping my classroom rules at the front so I can refer to them when I need them.
These signs with hand signals avoid a lot of interruptions in my class. Visit this post to read more about how I use them.
I really love this reading corner! The classroom cushions***are made of a fabric that is easy to clean. My students really like using them during our free reading time.
The books in the library are leveled by grade, but if a student feels that he or she can read beyond the suggested level, they will need to conference with me to make sure that the reading is not going to make them feel frustrated. Stop by my Facebook page to get the pictures of the posters I shared there.
These are some lovely friends that accompany my students when they have birthdays or need extra love during class.
I like decorating my room with authentic art and label them with their country of origin. Most of them are from Colombia (I wonder why…).
I use these signs to greet my kinder and first grade students.
This year I changed my sign from “La frase de la semana” to “La frase del ciclo” to “honor” the new 10-day cycle schedule that we have. I figured the frase will need to stay longer on my door for my students to remember it.
We have a new class pet this year. We are still deciding on a name for it. This pet is also a favorite during birthdays. It also has different outfits for special occasions during the school year. My students love it!
I am keeping my calendar area simple. I think I already have so many colors around the room, so it was fair to keep this area simple.
I can’t believe 2018 is almost over! Thank you for all the support I receive from you, my readers throughout the world. I truly enjoy receiving messages that share how my blog has inspired new ideas in other classrooms or helped other teachers, or that express a simple hola to connect with me. This year I gave a new look to my page in the hopes of making it an easier space for teachers to navigate. I truly hope it has been more intuitive and even fun to spend time on my page!
I started this blog about 8 years ago, when I was the only Spanish teacher in a school where I taught in Boston. I started it as a way to connect with other teachers. Soon after I started this blog, I was able to meet other teachers in the area and created a small group that met face to face once per month to exchange ideas.
Seeing that Facebook was also a place to reach more teachers, I opened a page for the blog, and recently, with all the changes with Facebook, two years ago a Facebook group called“Profes de ELE para niños”was born. I am telling you a little bit of the history of this blog to let you know that this blog wouldn’t exist without you! The awesome teachers who’ve inspired me every day!
Here are my posts that were most popular during 2018! Make sure to visit each post to download the resources that go along with them.
Classroom management is definitely a skill that you build with practice. And it’s something that is constantly changing and evolving according to the different personalities of your students and classroom chemistry. What works with one class might not work with another, or what worked one school year might not work the next. I find myself continuously changing and adapting my classroom management strategies.
Writing this post is a reflection exercise for me. In the past, I had assumed that because the homeroom teachers I worked with had been investing time (not spending, or as we might say in a literal translation of Spanish, “wasting”) in going over classroom rules, creating beautiful agreements, their students would automatically come to me ready to engage and learn! How wrong I was! If the homeroom teacher has been investing time in making it a safe learning environment for everyone, I also have to do my part. Children need to see that teachers are all working together, and that we all have the same high expectations for them. Quite often we “special teachers” don’t start teaching on the very first day. What a great opportunity to go into the classrooms and learn the language and procedures homeroom teachers are using with their students.
Let Your Students Know A Little Bit About You
I started day one in my classes with a “Get to know the teacher” activity. I have done it different ways in the past. I have created a picture book about me, PowerPoint presentations, and these last two years I have made videos using PowToon. This is a short version I created to share here. In the presentation I use with my students, I add pictures of my family too. They love it! After watching the short video, we played a simple “cierto” and “falso” game. I also use this as an opportunity to connect with other students by asking simple questions such as ¿quién tiene perros?, ¿a quién le gusta el brócoli? or ¿a quién no le gusta el brócoli?, ¿qué te gusta comer?, and the conversation gets long! Some of my classes have asked to watch it a few times!
By first sharing a little bit about me with my students, I find that it is easier to start working on creating a class with a safe learning environment. I also invest a lot of time in talking about these rules in English, although the signs are in Spanish. I have noticed that starting with English and making sure my students understand and practice the rules will save me from having to use a lot of English later. With elementary students it takes a lot of practice. You kind of have to use the pattern of modeling, talking, and practicing. It is a lot of time at the beginning of the school year, but having the routines and rules well established will allow me to stay in the target language for more time. So far my grades 1-2 students (I haven’t met kinder yet) enter the classroom by greeting me in Spanish, and the grades 3-5 students enter the classroom using “La frase de la semana.”
Keep Your Rules Simple
These are the rules that I have been using for the last couple of years. I wish I could say I came up with them, but they were shared by my two colleagues who have used them in the past. They are simple, concrete, and easy to TPR. We talk about how each of them looks, and we model, practice, and talk again!
Once in the room, we talk about how they transition to their places in class. I started by not assigning spots or chairs in the classroom, but quickly noticed some of my students were having a hard time finding a place, so I decided to assign places in class. I have seen my students about 7 times this school year, and so far we have started every class by pointing at the posters, practicing and reinforcing them. These are the rules that I currently use with my students.
Introduce Other Routines
I also introduce the children to respond to the sound of the chime and teach some of the call and response chants that we will be using through the school year. During the first week, students also get to know our classroom, and the different procedures to use the materials we have in it. My school has a strong Social Emotional Learning (SEL) program and uses a lot of Responsive Classroom techniques, so many classrooms have a “Take a break” space. I call it “El espacio de la reflexión.” Responsive Classroom has a great explanation of this strategy.
I’m a brain break lover, so I definitely make sure to start using them with my students from day one! Elementary students need to move a lot, so this is a “must do” in all my lessons. It’s extremely important to introduce all your routines during the first weeks. Depending on the level, I either end the class with a song, exit ticket, or a simple “chócala” to send my students to line up quietly.
So far everything has been going great! Fingers crossed that it will continue that way. How do you do classroom management in your Spanish class? Please feel free to share in the comments!
¡Hola! I am Carolina, a Colombian elementary Spanish teacher based in Austin, Texas. Fun for Spanish Teachers is the result of my passion for teaching Spanish to children and my desire to inspire collaboration and creativity in a vibrant teaching and learning community. It’s the perfect stop if you are looking for songs, games, teaching tips, stories, and fun for your classes.
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