This was actually one of my first blog posts, originally posted in August of 2014 when this was just a baby blog. Since then I have tons of newer back to school blog posts plus back to school resources that you might find more applicable. I am going to include the most popular ones here, to help you find exactly what you are looking for as you plan for the 1st day of Spanish class.
My now go-to 1st day activity with any new group of students.
Updated first day activities for Spanish 2, 3 & 4 including paper and digital options.
Learn many ways to use a Find Someone Who in this blog post.
Other older 1st weeks of school Blog Posts
Get a 1st week of school Bundle HERE!
original post from 2014!
This year I have the great problem of way too many ideas of what to do on the first day of school. This multitude of ideas came from the amazing bloggers Martina Bex, Laura Sexton, Ben Slavic, & Sara-Elizabeth Cottrell. After 5 summers as a camp counselor, I also have a plethora of ice breakers, name games, and getting to know you activities in my mental bag of tricks. But when you teach at a school with a total population of around 140 students 9-12, the only students who I need to get to know and do not already all know each other are the freshman. This year I have the special privilege of having the freshman in 1st and 2nd period Spanish I. This means that I will have the honor of being the first class of their high school career. For the sake of learning and growing from the past here is what I have done the past two years.
1st Year of Teaching
On my first day of school, my first year of teaching in 2012 I tried to follow a lot of what is mentioned by the Creative Language Class. I modified Megan’s Prezi to tell them about me in Spanish since I was the only new teacher in the district that year. At this point most of them freaked out since their previous teachers never talked to them in Spanish much. (It was also at this point I knew I had a hard uphill battle coming that first year.) I had everyone introduce themselves and we did some sort of name game, so I could start learning 100+ new names. I also had them fill out an information sheet so I could learn more about them as people. I then did the boring first day syllabus talk. (I wish I had read how to survive your first day teaching before day one).
2nd Year of Teaching
My second year the first days of school were a blur due to the fact that without an air conditioner my room was 90 degrees, with three noisy fans running, the lights off and I was just trying my best to not pass out while 20 weeks pregnant. I followed a lot of what I did year one, added Martina’s first day seating, and instead of an introduction about myself, I talked in Spanish about pictures of my summer in the past tense ending with a picture of the baby’s room and revealing to them I was pregnant. (Well after the first class the whole school knew because gossip spreads like wildfire when your school is just one hallway.)
Since we started school on a Thursday, most of the students (and teachers) treated the first two days more as just the beginning of the year business days with syllabuses, checking out books, logging into online textbooks, and learning names and procedures. The kids come to school not expecting to actually “learn anything” until Monday. I was guilty of this myself those first two years since there is always so much business that I want to just get done and checked off my to do list. I know that this year I want them to leave the class having LEARNED something, but the issue is what!?!
3rd year of Teaching – Spanish I 1st Day of Spanish class
- BEFORE CLASS – Spanish music playing and all desks have these seating cards.
- GREET – Greet all students at the door in Spanish with a smile, handshake and a seating card. I will ask their name in Spanish, modeling “Me llamo Sra. Wienhold” “¿Cómo te llamas?”
- INTRO MYSELF – Introduce myself using this Prezi in Spanish with a lot of actions, movement and enthusiasm.
- NAME GAME SPEEDBALL – We will play name games standing in a circle. I will once again model “Me llamo Sra, Wienhold” “¿Cómo te llamas?” and then pass a ball to another student, the first time next to them. Once everyone has been introduced, then in the second round the ball will be tossed to another student across the way until everyone has gotten it, and they will need to remember the order. We will then add in “se llama” to tell the name of who the ball came from and where it is going. This can keep going as long as there is high interest. Some classes want to be timed play speed ball style and beat a score, others tire of it quickly. The key is to end on a high note and keep them wanting more. Read this blog post to learn more.
- STATIONS – (Updated this back to school bundle has everything you need for 1st week stations that we usually do not get to until day 2). The goal of stations was to learn about students, incorporate choice, fun, culture, our new 1:1 laptop the first day. I decided to base the stations around the number one student obsession in my school at the time, Twitter. (remember this was 2014 🙂 They created a new account just for our class, where at the time I posted class reminders, they followed Spanish artists and tweeted in chats during the year. (Update at a later school they were not into Twitter and we stopped the Spanish accounts).
- During stations I had a chance to informally walk around and chat, getting to know them as people. The could include the following:
- Practice introducing themselves
- Follow Spanish speakers (exposing them to culture and language)
- Find and post books from our library to read –(showing their interests)
- Find and post Spanish music (giving them a voice in Música miércoles)
- Read & reflect on class syllabus (Not just boring me droning on, but they get the information, take it home to their parents to sign, and we will discuss it as a dialogue and question/answer the next day.)
- Later addition the proficiency puzzle
Spanish II – IV
- BEFORE CLASS – Spanish music playing & all desks will have these seating cards.
- GREET – Greet all students at the door in Spanish with a smile, handshake and a seating card. Since I know all of them and had them last year, instead of asking their name I will ask them about their summer.
- TALK ABOUT SUMMER – In place of the introduction Prezi, I showed a slideshow of pictures of my baby, while talking about what HE did this summer (possibly making it slightly ridiculous and over the top). This will naturally lead into asking them about their summers and everyone sharing and practicing the past tense (III & IV). *See this post for Find Someone Who,differentiated question cards, or digital option to talk about summer.
- STATIONS – Since I had had all of the upper level students, they just did a short modifed stations and then moved on to other activities.
**If you would like to download all of my back to school products together, you can find them here.