There are many ways that you could start your Spanish class. I know that each year I stress about prepping the perfect first week of school that sets an excellent tone for the entire school year. While we know there is no secret magic formula for the perfect week, I am going to share many ideas for ways to start your Spanish class on the right foot.
Idea #1 – Get to know your students!
- Name Game Speedball – My go-to name learning game is speedball. It works perfectly for the first day of a novice class and practicing introductions.
- Have a Tomatina “fight” – Instead of a review unit, this year my Spanish 2 is going to start with a mini cultural unit on La Tomatina, which occurs right around the first day of school each year. As a part of it, we will build relationships with a food fight, meaning we will do the activity “snowball fight” with red paper. Students will write something about themselves in Spanish & crumple it up. Then we will have a Tomatina food fight, and then read the statements to figure out who is who and find out more about our classmates.
- Special Person Interviews – Give each student special attention by starting Bryce Hedstrom’s Personal Especial Interviews. You can see here how I have implemented them in class starting the first week of school as a part of my first high-frequency verb unit.
- Break Down Stereotypes – Use this first week as a way to break down foreign stereotypes using this post from Sherry at World Language Cafe.
- Talk about your summer – For Spanish 2 and up, let students practice their past tense in Spanish with a Find Someone Who, while learning about each other or mixing it up using Back to school Question Cards. Or if you need to stay fully digital, use this fully digital Mi verano Google Slides activity. Get all 3 mi verano activities in this hybrid bundle for multiple days of preterite practice.
- Ice Breakers – Community building is such an important part of language class. If students do not feel comfortable with their classmates, they are not very likely to speak a new language with them. Here are 10 Beginning of the Year Ice Breakers and Games from Elisabeth and a few more icebreakers to try out.
Idea #2 – 1st Week Stations
- Syllabus – Instead of the teacher reading the syllabus, students read through it on their own and write questions or takeaways on a big piece of butcher paper. (Here is my editable syllabus).
- Student Information Form – This could be a Google form or paper survey that allows you to find out more about the interests, strengths, and concerns of your students.
- Photo Booth – Start the year on a positive note with pictures to remember it. You can create a backdrop with a dollar store tablecloth with fun props, or make an Instagram Photobooth. I allow students to use their phones and post pictures with our class hashtag, or if that is not allowed you could have a designated photographer with a school camera. These pictures will make for great decorations or discussion material later.
- Set Up Learning Management System – Stations are a great way to get through all of those start-of-the-year logistics. Post the signup code for Schoology or Google Classroom. Once in the system, you can then have the other tasks posted as well, such as the google information form or electronic syllabus. You can also have students sign up for other online programs they will be using such as Sr. Wooly, and Duolingo, or create a Spanish class Twitter account.
- Proficiency Puzzle – Have students work in groups to learn about proficiency levels with a proficiency puzzle. It helps to build background vocabulary such as “interpersonal,” and “novice low,” and sets the foundation for the class.
- Interpersonal Speaking – For levels 2 and up, students could be given speaking task Cards, to get their language skills flowing again. This is a great way for the teacher to listen in and see what baseline the students are at. These could even be recorded for the teacher to listen to at a later time. This would be great on Flipgrid.
- Class Expectations – Have students get aquatinted with the interpersonal communication skills that will be expected in class.
Idea #3 – Set up your Student Organization System
Update – 1st Weeks of School Using Distance Learning
- The distance learning Present tense high-frequency unit or Blended Learning Present Tense High-Frequency Verbs Bundle
Plans for the Whole 1st Week
- The 1st 2 Weeks of Spanish 1 used high-frequency verbs
- The 1st 2 Weeks of Spanish Class – Elisabeth (Spanish Mama)
- 1st Week of Spanish Class – daily plans
- First Week of Spanish class using Comprehensible Input
- 1st Week of School
- How to start the year with High-Frequency Words – 1st week
Need more ideas for back to school? Check out all of our SSS Back to Spanish Class posts
Also, do not forget to check out a FREE Back to school resource library that many of our Secondary Spanish Space authors are a part of for many free resources!
I came back from my vacations and I am ready to start planning my first unit with my classes. However, my creative juices are not flowing:( My Spanish 3/4 read Cajas de Carton during the summer. I want to start the first couple of weeks going over the book but I am not sure how. I would like for my students to present the book to each other. One idea was to have corners with each chapter and let students choose their favorite chapter. Then they will have three or four options for them to present the chapter to the class. What do you think? Any ideas or suggestions?
Thanks a lot.
Would you use the word "estación" to label stations around the room?
It is August and that means back to school season is upon us once again.