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!
Tongue twisters are a fun way to help your students get better with their pronunciation in Spanish. It’s also a good way to help them understand that it’s okay to make mistakes. To bring this into class you could do a monthly or weekly trabalenguas challenge using the cards below. This can become part of your routine to use as a warmup or as a way to wrap up your classes. You can group the cards by difficulty level. An alternative to a teacher-led activity is to establish a center in your classroom. Download the free cards, print them and laminate them for durability!
I teach at a school with strong SEL and Responsive Classroom programs, so many of the teachers already have as part of their routine the practice of greeting their students at the door. I have seen how positive the children enter the classrooms after greeting their teacher.
Last year I started using “La frase de la semana”as part of my classroom routine and a way to teach new phrases to my 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade students. I normally great my K-2 students with a simple “buenos días” or “buenas tardes.” Inspired by all the videos of teachers using different greetings with their students at the door, I created this set of signs. I made different types of greetings that I rotate weekly. The poster only has room for three greetings. I feel that adding all the greetings will make it hard for my students to choose one, so I keep it simple.
Watch the videos below to get inspired!
You can even make it a classroom job!
Are you ready to bring this idea to your classroom? After downloading the pages, I recommend laminating then trimming down each sign and adding velcro on the back so you can change the greetings easily. As I mentioned above, it’s better to keep it simple for the little ones, so I don’t recommend adding more than three greetings to the poster at a time. Here is an example:
Click here to download all the signs to make your poster!
“La frase de la semana” or phrase of the week is a great opportunity to teach useful language. I try to use phrases that I know we can incorporate into our classes. I teach grades K-5, but I only use it with my students in grades 3-5.
We make it part of our routine. I keep a poster with the phrase of the week taped on the door. I sometimes teach classes back to back, and having this routine can buy me an extra minute while I am getting everything ready for the next class. My students wait for me in a line outside my class.
La frase de la semana serves as their password to enter the classroom. It takes about two minutes on average, so children know that they need to find their place quietly in the room and read the “Plan de la clase” to find out what we will be doing (although there are days when this goes more smoothly than other days). I don’t have a variety of classroom jobs because I find the logistics hard for me, but I do have a “secretario” and “secretaria” who help by passing out materials when needed, sharpen pencils, turns lights on and off, and so on. After children have practiced with it and have the routine down pat, I sometimes ask the secretarios to help me by staying by the door and listening to their classmates say la frase de la semana. I love when they start using those sentences in natural ways and in the context of the class. It’s magical when I start to hear spontaneous remarks like “¡Qué chévere!” or “¿Qué tal Sra. Gómez?” when students see me during recess or in the hallway.
Here are some of the phrases I have used:
¡A mí también!
You can also find more phrases on “Mis cositas.” Lori Langer de Rámirez is so generous and shares tons of resources on her blog. Make sure to stop by her blog and download “Passwords perfectos.”
Ben Slavic also has a wonderful site with tons of CI/TPRS resources. He shares a list of great rejoinders that can also be used with la frase de la semana.
Feeling ready to start with la frase de la semana? Download this free resource that will help you get ready!
¡Hola! I am Carolina, a Colombian elementary Spanish teacher based in Boston, MA. 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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