Today was my first full day with my Spanish students and it went really well!! Here’s what I did:
Level 2 Spanish:
- started with seating charts as they walked in
- handed back name cards to students who attended freshman orientation yesterday to get to practice names; asked upperclassmen to make name cards
- Wrote inquiry question on board: “What is normal?” / invited students to consider what they thought and then handed out slips of paper to each students & played United Nations Cocktail Party – a great way to start a language class!!
- debriefed UN cocktail party in small groups; then as a classs – discussed what it felt like to have to do something that may not feel “normal” to them & what it felt like to be on the receiving end of seemingly abnormal actions; how they coped; the relevance of the activity for a language class.
- handed out syllabus & parent letter and told them a few details but mostly just directed them to take it home, look it over & get a parent signature on the letter to bring back tomorrow. I will give a formative quiz over the syllabus on Friday which students self-assess; this will give me an opportunity to go over the specifics with them in more detail without just talking at them.
- Played 2 truths & a lie – I modeled with a presentation about myself first in Spanish and students then played in small groups of 3-4. Today I let them choose to use English or Spanish and all went for English but I was ok with that, because my goal this week is mostly just to get comfortable with each other & learn who is in the class.
- That was it!
- made name cards
- played BARNGA; similar in end goals and discussion to UN cocktail party above but extremely different in that students play the game silently and it is much more involved because it involves a card game with quite a few rules. It also takes significantly longer to play (20-30 minutes versus 3-4 for UN cocktail party).
- debriefed BARNGA; discussed the relevance of the activity for a language class
- began to have students read an article sharing benefits to studying a second language – very long article so it was a jigsaw where they were going to become experts on one category of reasons (e.g. studying a second language can help develop cultural awareness & sensitivity; studying a language can lead to a wider variety of career opportunities, etc.) and then re-form different groups with 1 individual from each of the previous group’s categories to share what they learned — BARNGA took longer than expected, however, so I will have to push this to tomorrow.
- My homework for Level 3 was going to be to register for moodle & complete a student info form (email addresses, contact info, interests, etc) but the bell rang and I forgot to announce it, so that too will wait.
Things that I liked about how I started this year included:
- it was engaging & student-centered
- students were more active than me (I was facilitating; they were doing)
- i kept administrative hoo-ha to a minimum
- the activities encouraged reflection from the start and emphasized that they will work together daily and communicate often
Things I can improve upon include:
- time management – try to come to a close the first day and give the planned assignment so that they do not have 2 tasks on subsequent evenings
- my questions during debriefing of activities
- allowing sufficient wait time before I answer questions for students – getting more comfortable with silence.
- starting a little less awkwardly – there wasn’t a real “we’re beginning” moment to cue students to start; however I am trying to be a little less structured in this way this year since I have been known to go overboard with bell work activities.