The First Week

As I ended the school year, I outlined some ideas for plans for week 1 of the new year, with plans to come back to them later this summer and revise and finalize. Of course, now that I know I’ll be at a new school, I figured I’d have to some pretty heavy revising, especially in my plans for Spanish 2 and 3 (my new school isn’t offering Spanish 4 this year). Well, today was supposed to be that day. First, I got some inspiration from Allison about first week activities, and then revisited some good advice from the wonderful ladies at Creative Language Class about explaining proficiency levels and a few other first day activities. It got me pumped to plan, but apparently the first week outline that I made at the end of the year didn’t make it home with me this summer (although I am sure I brought it with me. Then again, it was the end of the year). So I was starting from scratch.

One of the cool but difficult things about my new district is “Transition Day,” in which all the freshmen come to school, but no one else. It’s kind of awesome, it means that my first “real” day will only consist of 3 classes instead of 6, it gives me a chance to learn the building and the schedule without quite as much pressure, and it lets the freshmen have run of the building for a day to get used to it. I’m sure the English and Social Studies teachers will be jumping right in that day. I don’t know about you, but I have never yet had a section of Spanish 1 with only freshmen. I’m not willing to let the freshmen have a free period on the first day, but I also don’t want the others to miss out on important first day things.

So I decided to go with stations on transition day and the next day (day 1 for everyone else), and then some whole-class things later in the week. In a perfect world, I think I would reverse that, but I’m hoping it will work out. Transition day is on a Wednesday, so I sort of planned for three “intro” days for Spanish 1, but there is every possibility that all these things will take more time than I anticipate, and I’m fine with that. Since I don’t think that the upper levels had a proficiency-based setting last year (I could be wrong, but the info I got from the previous teacher tells what they did in the textbook and doesn’t mention proficiency at all, so I’m assuming), and these plans also introduce a lot of my expectations and procedures for the year, I’m planning on simply modifying (ie, speaking more Spanish!) to the same basic plans for my 2s and 3s.

So, here we go:

Day 1: Wednesday (Transition Day)
Song playing as class starts: Bailando by Enrique (so this isn’t a song that I would normally do as my song of the week because it could be understood as a little suggestive, and it specifically mentions tequila and cerveza. But I’m cheating and including it on day one because we won’t be talking about what the song means, and I really like this song. Plus, it’s one the kids probably know from English and I’m hoping that will pique their interest).
Attendance: Just a quick intro to the idea of “Aquí” to make sure everyone’s accounted for.
Intro: I’ll probably do a little talking in Spanish, but not much here. I will briefly describe the stations and show the kids where to go and let them go.
Stations:
Names: My plan is to have a list of traditional Hispanic names for kids to choose from. They can pick one they like and claim it by putting their English name next to it. Since we’re 1:1, I’ll also offer the option that if they don’t see something they like on the list, they can search on the web to see if they can find something better (or if they already have something in mind) and then check with me. I also plan to have them make (and decorate!) name cards at this station.
List of names to choose from
Syllabus: Again, since we’re 1:1, and my syllabus is digital, I’ll probably print a QR code that links to my syllabus (I’ll have to find out of their Chromebooks have QR readers on them, or if not – can the kids download one in class?) or email them all the link. Since we’re not talking about proficiency levels before this, and they are referenced in the syllabus, I’m sure there will be questions. I’ll encourage them to write any questions they do have down for later.
I left a space in this one for a QR code, since I can’t finalize my syllabus until I have a little more info (like my classroom extension).
Info forms: Once again stealing from Creative Language Class, I plan to find out a little about my students. I’ll use Google Forms to do it in order to save on paper and sanity.
Instructions for Spanish 1
Spanish 1 survey
Instructions for Spanish 2/3
Spanish 2/3 survey
Spanish Twitter Account: This is another idea from Mis Clases Locas, and I think it’s a good one! Having the kids create Twitter accounts for use specifically in Spanish class is excellent – it makes me excited just thinking about the possibilities! I (will) have a teacher account for them to follow, and I’ll encourage them to follow famous actors, musicians, etc. that they learn about in class. Not to mention all the great activities that we can do with them!
Weekly Homework: Like so many others, I have stolen Sara-Elizabeth’s ideas for weekly student blogging and weekly homework choices (here‘s my current list of options, in case you’re curious). I plan to have a station where students can learn a little about these two assignments, explore what they’ll have to do, and, again, jot down questions they have.
Spanish 1 Blog Post
Spanish 2 Blog Post
Spanish 3 Blog Post
Aventuras

I don’t expect every kid to finish every station on day one of course, but there they are. I’ll share the specific instructions when I have them ready to go.

Day 2: Thursday (day 1 10-12)
Song playing as class starts: Ave María by David Bisbal (because somehow I managed not to use this awesome song last year and I will not let that happen again this year!)
Before we go right into the stations, I’m planning to get through a few things that I will probably do on day 1 with Spanish 2 and 3.
Introduce myself: Another idea from Creative Language Class (surprise, surprise!). Here‘s the Prezi I’m planning to use.
Proficiency levels: My plan is to use the Creative Language Class plans and to do this as a whole class. I considered making it a station, but I really want kids to get the idea, so I think it’s worth losing a little station time.
Watch advice video: In my last post, I shared the video that last year’s students made. I hope to have a brief discussion time afterwards to help students recognize and (maybe) take to heart the best advice.
Stations: My plan is to add a few extras for those who finish early, since I’m sure most of the freshmen will be done long before the others.
More Twitter: Follow classmates, me, famous Hispanics and Spanish-speakers!
Music: Explore YouTube (if we can) or other websites to discover a little Spanish-language music (of any genre) and make a list of songs you like or that you think would be good for us to use in class!
Read: Check out my (admittedly small) library of Spanish children’s books, or visit a Spanish-language magazine or newspaper site online and see what you can figure out!
If (and it’s a big if!) we get through all of the main stations today, I’m also planning to:
Learn names: Learn to introduce ourselves and see if anyone can list all the Spanish names in the classroom!
Exit tickets: I will invite students to write down any and all questions they still have about things in my class and give them to me or leave them by the door as they leave.

Day 3: Friday
Baile viernes: I so want to try this! And now that I’m moving to a new school and starting a new year, it seems like the perfect time to implement this new procedure!
Finish stations: We’ll probably need some time for this
Discuss questions: I want to take some time as a group to address the concerns and questions the kids leave for me and make sure that everyone’s on the same page. I also hope to use this time to discuss what they really want out of the class, why they’re here (and if their parents are forcing them, then maybe I can convince them that they may as well get what they can out of it!), and brainstorm some thoughts about how they can help themselves. I’m hoping that if they come up with some ideas on their own, then those suggestions and rules we language teachers always make (especially the “Don’t speak English!” one) will feel less arbitrary and forced and more like purposeful, helpful, language-learning tools.
Look at ACTFL’s proficiency guidelines and samples Now that the kids will (hopefully) have some idea of what proficiency means, I want to give them some official examples. My plan is to look at the English samples (focusing on the Novice and Intermediate levels) with all my classes and, if there’s time, peek at the Spanish examples with my 2s and 3s and maybe discuss where they think they might be on the continuum.

There you have it! Now that I’ve got them all listed like that, I’m pretty sure there’s no way we’ll get through all of that in three days, but I’m flexible! Have you started thinking about first week plans, yet?

UPDATE: I added links to the instructions for all my Day 1 stations. Click the name of the station to see what I’m going to have my students doing. Some stations also have other forms or sheets that will go with them, and they are linked at the end of each description.

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