The first days and weeks of school play an important role in how the school year might go. In this post I have shared a series of  practices and strategies I use in my classes.

Find a Signal To Get Your Student’s Attention

I’m a fan of having chimes in different places in my room. I also have them in my bag when I travel from classroom to classroom. Watch the video to see how I use a three-tone chime in my classes. I would love to say that I came up with this idea, but I learned it from an awesome colleague and translated it into Spanish.


Use Call and Response Chants

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. Find some that you like and work for your class!


Use Songs As Quiet Reminders and Transitions

Songs are great a way to remind your students what they need to be doing at the moment, especially younger students. You can use songs to remind students to line up, clean up, and so on!


Set Classroom Norms and Expectations

Some teachers like to set their norms prior to the first class, other teachers create them with their students and others piggyback on the norms students created with their homeroom teachers.No matter what you decide, make them simple, talk about your norms and expectation, model them, practice them and also make them part of your everyday routine. If possible place posters in the front of the class to keep them as reminders!


Greet Every Student

If you have a classroom, waiting for your students and greeting them at the door is one of the best ways to set the tone for your class. If you don’t have a classroom, you can still make sure to greet every student in your class. Remember that saying their names when you greet them is important for your students, and also a way for you to remember all their names.

What else would you add to this list? Write them in the comments!

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Closing routines are as important as opening routines in any class. In fact, they’re not just relevant to how they end the class with you, but they also set the tone for whatever comes next in the schedule. Even if you are the last class your students have in the day, you really want to make sure they know what to expect and how to close out each day with you.

Depending on the grade or level you teach, closing a class might be a good place to check for understanding and to help you decide what to focus on / how to adapt plans for your next class session with a group of students – teaching adaptively! It can also be a place to review some vocabulary or structures. I do have to be honest, I’m still learning how to work closing routines into my class. Sometimes I run over time and send my students straight to line up, and then I come back to my room and it’s a whole mess because I didn’t take the time to close my class correctly and the feeling is not good. But sometimes I totally nail it!

Some Ideas to Close Your Class

Putting materials away if needed.

Exit ticket: This may be done orally or written. Just asking a simple question related to your lesson. Visit this link to learn more about it!

Sending students to line up by colors they are wearing, age or favorite food or animal.

Closing as a whole group with a quick calendar talk about when you will see them again. A great opportunity to practice “hasta mañana” or “hasta el lunes.”

Singing a goodbye song: Here is a list of possible songs to close your class with younger students. I haven’t found one yet for older grades, so if you know one please feel free to share it in the comments.

Have fun!

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