Ok – so you probably read that title and thought, “She’s crazy!! Mondays are the worst!”
But honestly, I do love Mondays because we do Spanish speaking activities. Check it out:
On Mondays, I start all of the my classes (even my Spanish 1’s ) with students talking about their weekends during our “Weekend Report”. I write this question on the board for student reference, “¿Qué hiciste este fin de semana?” and ask for volunteers.
If you don’t get any volunteers, just pick a random student to start. Ask the question and then encourage students to ask follow-up questions.
For example, if a student says, “Fui al cine”, other students could ask:
¿Con quién fuiste?
¿A qué hora fuiste?
¿Cuál pelicula viste?
¿Cómo se llama el cine? Dónde está?
¿Comiste algo durante le pelicula? Qué comiste?
¿Qué tal la pelicula? Te gustó?
¿Qué hiciste después de la pelicula?
¿A qué hora saliste del cine?
¿Cómo llegaste al cine?
¿Cuánto cuesta comprar un billete para el cine?
At first, it’s a good idea to brainstorm these types of questions with your students to show them the types of questions that they can ask.
If students don’t know a word, I teach them how to say, “Cómo se dice . . . en español?”
Monday Spanish Speaking Activities
At first, students will struggle to speak and that’s okay. Help them out by writing any tricky words or expressions on the board. Very quickly, they will need to know how to say things in the past tense.
But wait a minute, Sherry! I can’t do this with my Spanish 1 or Spanish 2 classes because they haven’t learned the past tense yet.
Here’s my answer for you. Of course you can! When you were learning your native language, did your parents only speak to you in the present tense because you didn’t know the past yet? No way!
Did you ever conjugate a verb when you were learning your native language? I bet not! You learned language in context and that’s exactly how you’re going to teach your students.
Early on, I teach my students these past tense basics so they can talk about what they did and ask other people questions. I keep it simple and wait for my students to ask me how to say this type of thing. Think of it as a pop-up grammar lesson. Should take less than 1-2 minutes to explain.
AR Verbs: yo – é, tu – aste ex. Hablé, Hablaste
ER, IR Verbs: yo – í, tú – iste ex. Comí, comiste
Almost all of our communication is in the yo and tú forms, so you don’t need to delve into all the nitty, gritty details of the past (just leave the past in the past – ha, ha).
To keep track of the new weekly report vocabulary, have students set aside several pages in a section of their notebooks or make a document on their computers. Tell students that it will be graded so they need to write down everything that you write on the board. Check this from time to time, a few times a quarter. This helps because each week students have all the previous vocabulary at their disposal.
But, what do I do if my students are super reluctant to speak and don’t want to participate?
Here are a few ideas to solve that problem:
Option 1 – The Seating Chart Method:
If you grade participation, keep track of which students participate and how many times. I do this on my seating charts. Here’s how to do it.
- Use one 8 x 11.5 sheet with a rectangle for each student’s desk.
- Write the student’s name by the rectangle (where his/her desk is in class).
- Staple or tape this sheet to the top of the folder that you use for the class. That way, you’ll always have it nearby. Pro Tip: Use a different color folder for each class).
- Write a tally mark by the student’s name each time they participate. Pull this out from time to time throughout the quarter during speaking activities to encourage class participation.
- To keep track of which students have participated that day, use a different colored pen each time.
Option 2 – The Class List Method:
Print a class list and leave space next to each student’s name. Keep it nearby on a clipboard and make a tally mark each time a student participates.
Option 3 – Participation Squares:
This is my favorite one!! It works especially well with your most reluctant learners and ensures that everyone participates at least 3 times.
- Give each student 3 small squares of colored paper. Have them write their names on both sides of each square.
- At the beginning of class, have a few students pass out the squares or leave them on a side table for students to pick up as they come in.
- Each time a student participates, they give you one of their squares.
- Call on students who don’t usually participate to ask follow up questions. Help them come up with ideas. ¿Te gustó? ¿Te divertiste? ¿Qué tal la fiesta/la pelicula/el partido de fútbol?
- The activity continues until each student has used up their 3 squares. If you are pressed for time, pass out fewer squares per student.
Now, keep in mind that these Monday Spanish speaking activities can take a good 15-30 minutes (and even longer as your students get better at it), BUT – it is so worth it because your students are using everyday language and talking to their peers about things that interest them.
This is the type of language that we use to communicate EVERY SINGLE DAY with our friends and family. Think about it – how often do you ask someone what they did over the weekend. Pretty often!
And – this is a fantastic way to introduce authentic expressions that are super useful:
Plus, it teaches your students how to ask all sorts of questions.
And students like it because they get to chit chat about the things that they’re interested in and learn more about their classmates.
As your students get better at speaking, ask for a bit more. Instead of “Fui al cine”, ask them to add on to the sentence. Ex. “Fui al cine con Paco para ver la Guerra de las Galaxia.”
You will be amazed how well they can speak by the end of the year if you do this every Monday. The best part is that it requires zero preparation on your part, so you can rest easy on the weekends, knowing that you already have a plan in place for the first half of your Monday lessons in all of your classes.
And that, my friends, is why I love Mondays in Spanish class! I hope that you will, too.
Would love to hear if you have other great ideas for Mondays in the comments. 🙂