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Beginning week of Spanish class (jr. high edition)

I was inspired by Allison's post over at Mis Clases Locas about what her first week lesson's are going to be, that I thought I'd share mine. I'm utilizing the same format/idea to present my info. **I'm also using many of her ideas, and adding those of others I've gathered. I've tried to make links to everyone so that they can receive credit. If I've missed anyone, please let me know. Gracias**  I've been changing towards a proficiency path for a couple of years now, and truthfully I do really enjoy it! My students this past year were just an AMAZING group, so engaged, and eager to learn the language. I'm not sure if that is a reflection of this particular group, or the fact that I changed up class a bit by trying to make it more exciting! I just attended a conference from my high school about proficiency and the new Seal of Biliteracy that IL is implementing. Check it out for your high school, and see if this is something you can push for in legislature in your state.

This fall will be my 7th year teaching (What?! How'd that happen?!) As I've shared, I teach 7th & 8th grade Spanish 1, broken up into a 2 year format. So ideally, my students should be at a "Novice-Mid" level upon graduation and completion of the 2 years. We have trimesters, and I teach on a block schedule. I see my students roughly 2-3 times a week for 63 minutes.  We use the terms "blue day" and "red day" so I might use these during my post.  Last year, I started implementing the "Two Week Model" from Throw Away your Textbooks, and I loved it. It kept me including culture, and many many other great ideas. (If you haven't checked out her Teachers Pay Teachers store, do so, I use many of her items)

Here's what I have in mind so far for the 1st "week" (with a block schedule, I'm just going to say the first 5 classes??) back to school.

DAY  1 - I can state my name. 
I also had a Pandora station playing (Spanish Guitar Instrumental), thanks to Martina Bex's idea from the seating card post.  Desks will be set up with the seating cards for each to match & find their desks.

  • I will greet students in Spanish, as they enter the class. 
  • Each student will receive a seating card to find their seat. 
  • I will introduce myself (in Spanish) and take attendance. Each student needs to say (here or present in Spanish).
Students choose Spanish Names: I'll have a list either projected on the overhead, AND have lists ready for students to choose from at their desks. This will be their "bell ringer" to start looking at names, & making a list of their top 3 names. Most likely, since it's day 1 I'll have directions in English.

Name Card- I read about implementing CI & ACTFL's 90% target right off the bat from this blog. I loved the idea! I usually do something similar where I speak about myself, but how wonderful having the kids understand that this is their expectation from day 1:  use Spanish! I'm anticipating  A LOT of anxiety with this, mostly because my incoming 7th graders are very intimidated, and scared to begin with. I'd like to brainstorm how I can calm their nerves...anyhow, through CI & the target language the students make a name card. I'm hoping this doesn't take more than 20ish minutes?? 

Introduce myself- I, also, usually use a Prezi to explain a bit about myself.

What do you know about Spanish? - I may do this if time allows. It's a "human bingo".

Supply explanation- Every year, I have students create an ISN (Interactive Student Notebook) or CIE [Cuaderno Interactivo estudiantil - in Spanish :) ] You can read more about this HERE & HERE in my previous posts. I will want them to start bringing this ASAP to class, so I'll let them know that they need to bring in a composition notebook, and it will need to be decorated by the beginning of DAY 3.

In the past, I have ALWAYS passed out their textbooks. I'm debating whether or not I should, especially since we put all of our info in our CIE notebooks.  We don't really use them. Any tips/advice on this would be greatly appreciated. 

DAY  2  - I can investigate class procedures and proficiency.  

This is something I want students to understand right off the bat. Especially since most will probably be scared, and intimidated after last class. Hopefully, some students see that they CAN understand some spoken Spanish, but more importantly, they're not supposed to understand everything. So I want to dive right into proficiency on this day. Also, this will be the last day (Friday) I'll see my blue day students (block scheduling) and then the  first day (Monday)  I'll see my red day students.

Attendance with a ball- I LOVE this idea, and remember reading it in Creative Language Class a while back. I'm excited to use it, but honestly, I'm also nervous. I think it's better to use it on the second day with junior high students.

Class procedures (Meme powerpoint)- I use this Meme powerpoint that I created. I know I've seen some ideas off the internet. I came up with this a few years, and it's really gained popularity.

Proficiency Targets- (begin...not sure if we'll finish this) 
I'm fortunate enough to have gone to a conference where I actually did this activity (From Creative Language Class)  myself. My high school that my students feed into, has begun issuing the IL Seal of Biliteracy on diplomas for graduating HS seniors. They were actually a pilot school in the last couple of years.
  • Students are split into groups (4 or so).
  • Each one receives a card explaining their proficiency level. 
  • They write a description of an idea that you state to the students. We did explaining Chicago at my prof. development. Maybe make it more relatable to students choose a technology app, or place in town. 
  • At the end, each group shares their writing. 
  • Lastly we'll discuss what level they are expected to be performing at. 
Finally I'll show this video
This is from ACFTL's OPI training. It is in English.  I also saw this at my professional development training.  It shows the students how they're expected to speak at a novice level. (I'm also going to show this to parents on our open house night so they have an idea of their child's progress.)
  • Sidenote: if you have the chance, please go and check  out the AAPPL test demos. It give you a GREAT idea of the different proficiency levels. I did, and I can understand ACTFL's levels a bit better. 
Now since my two sections that I teach, Intro. & Advanced, are basically Spanish 1 split into 2 years, they should be at a Novice-Mid level. I personally feel that my students are normally at a Novice-High level. Maybe I'm optimistic, or maybe it was just this year's classes. 

HOMEWORK- Reminder composition notebook is due next class, as we'll begin designing them. They should bring in any extra supplies they might want to use to decorate (pictures, scrap book paper, etc)

Day 3  - I can investigate class procedures & proficiency. 

Bell Ringer - Students will need to take a copy of the "Spanish All Around You Project" & read this over. They'll need to form 2 questions for me, or jot down ideas for beginning the project. Here's a link to this on my TPT page.

Attendance with a ball

Proficiency Targets - Complete &/or share last classes' products. Discussion about what is expected at their level. Show video if I didn't get to it.

Stations : (such a great idea Allison! ) I think I might have students start in a group, and move around freely.

  • Syllabus
  • Info form - using iPads & google forms
  • Edmodo / Google Classroom setup -if students already have one, they will use our class' join code, or sign up for one using iPads provided. Many students coming will have already had one, otherwise I may end up spending  A LOT of time at this station. Maybe a video is necessary? 
  • CIE cover design (paper, glue, scissors, stamps, stickers) Students will begin, and most likely not finish this task. 
Exit Ticket: 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 about stations

HOMEWORK - Bring in complete CIE notebook & a photo of yourself. 
Begin looking for memorabilia for Spanish All Around You Project. 

Day 4 - I can introduce & state the names of my classmates. 

Attendance Ball

Stations - complete?

  • Discuss any Exit Ticket issues/questions
CIE notebook set up - Table of Contents, Syllabus pages, "I can" stamp page for greetings?? (haven't truly decided how I want to set this up yet...)  Signed syllabus is due next class.  (This is attached in CIE notebook)

Presentational Speaking practice -  Students will get a "bingo" sheet. They will exhcange CIE notebooks with another student. They need to go up to 5 different people & introduce  (in Spanish) this student using the CIE notebook for reference (note- it should be decorated. Most include pictures of themselves/family). Once they've done this they will get a classmate to sign the box. First student with 5 signatures wins a prize.

Day 5 - I can explain class procedures & proficiency. 
              I can introduce my classmates. 

Attendance Ball 

Performance Tasks  -  I may have students doing these three items simultaneously. This way, those who are speaking won't be the center of attention?

  • Presentational Speaking - names
              -In a circle, students will introduce one another.
  • Interpersonal - Procedures
             -They will discuss procedures & proficiency with classmates by playing Jimmy Fallon's                    "True Confessions" game. They will write down different real life scenarios that could occur              in class in two different envelopes.  (Example: I heard of a student that turned in work 14 days late. Got full credit.)  The students will have to guess if it is truly for Spanish class, or another class/fake. (Still working on this idea, just came to me. More later.) 

Here's the video where I got the idea from. 

  • Presentational Writing - proficiency
           -Students write about  proficiency goal and what strategies and performance tools they will use to reach               that goal.
             -I might have students write this on our Edmodo / Google Classroom page to save class time. 

WOW! That was  A LOT of information. Hopefully you're able to retain some of it. Thanks for reading along. Please leave me a comment if you have suggestions/ideas. 

Now, if only Mr. Sun would come out so I can enjoy summer! 


  1. Gracias for sharing. I teach the same levels as you and I always struggle with first day activities. I struggle so bad that I don't want to go back. Thanks for all the info. I am going to try the interactive notebook

  2. You're so welcome! I'm so glad it could be helpful for you. I know the beginning of the year can be a struggle, that's why I created this plan last year. I've printed off my ideas, and all materials, and putt them into a binder for easy access. Please let me know if you have any questions/concerns about starting out with your interactive notebooks!


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