5 Interactive ways to start your Spanish classes
Hello friends of Rock A Lingua! By now we hope that you’re fully back in the swing of the school year post-holiday routine and seeing lots of progress in your Spanish classes. We also hope that our videos and teachings resources are helping to make your job easier and to keep your classes engaged and enjoying the process of learning Spanish. When I (the blog writer) first started teaching kids classes I completely underestimated the power of a solid beginning of class routine, especially with younger learners and in lower level classes. Over the years, I’ve found that having a repetitive start to the class gives students the opportunity to settle in and feel comfortable with the change in language, allows shy or unsure students a chance to speak, and sets the tone for the class. As the year progresses I add new elements to the routine to keep it fresh, but keep the initial foundation or order of activities to help my learners feel in control. In my classes we start with general information (day, date, weather, feelings) and have now added the “news” section. We have different ways of working with the information and by adding the “news” time to the routine we make time for those who want to speak more to tell us about something that’s happening now (it could be the actual news or something about their life). It’s important to note that I only see my classes twice per week and would do my routines differently if I saw them every day, and that the routines and times spent on them varies depending on the level and age of the class. With that being said, today on the blog we’re sharing some of our ideas on interactive ways to start Spanish class and elements that you can add to your already established routine. As always, we’d love to hear about how you set the tone for your classes. You can tell us by either commenting below or on our Facebook page.
1. Beginning of Class Routine Resources
Our beginning of class routine Spanish worksheet for children combines lots of natural and simple language in an interactive activity that can be used individually at the beginning of class or completed as a whole class. You can start the year off by singing along to The Beginning of Class Routine song and completing the worksheet together. Once your students understand the vocabulary and questions, have them use the worksheet individually. To use it, print out the worksheet and laminate a copy for each student. Use it as a do now activity by having students come into class, take a laminated copy and marker and begin filling in the information. This can help with where the students come to you and arrive at different times. It also gives them a chance to activate their Spanish brain and takes advantage of those first unsettled minutes which would otherwise be lost. If you’re a traveling teacher, giving the students a familiar do now activity gives you a chance to get settled without sacrificing valuable language learning time.
We also have a template and video tutorial to make this interactive activity that can be used to review weather, date and feelings at the beginning of each class.
2. Feelings post its
We saw this idea on Fun for Early and Elementary Spanish Teachers Facebook page and absolutely loved the simplicity and effectiveness of the activity. Set up a station and make it part of the routine that the children can do on their own before choosing some to tell the class which is theirs and how they are feeling today.
3. Changing activities
This list has some great ideas for how to start your Spanish classes with older students and on doing different actitivites based on the days of the week.
4. Ask and answer warm-up activity
Prepare simple conversation question cards making sure that the questions differ slightly from card to card and that they are targeted to the level of the class. You'll need a card for each student - plus it's always good to have a few extras on hand! Laminate them to keep them around longer. Have students get in pairs and ask and answer questions for the first 5 minutes of class. You can change the questions throughout the year to include vocabulary you want to practice based on the unit you’re working on OR you could have the students create a list of questions that they want to ask their classmates and pull questios from there. At the end of the activity make sure to ask students what they learned about their partner. You can get ideas from songs (the Beginning of Class Routine song has good questions! You can also combine weather, days and feelings!) Here are some ideas for questions:
¿Cómo te llamas?
¿Cuántos años tienes?
¿Qué día es hoy?
¿Cuál es tu color favorito?
¿Te gusta comer ensalada?
¿Tienes alguna mascota?
5. ¿Cómo estás? How are you?
Listen to the song ¿Cómo estás? Sentimientos / How are you? Feelings to practice feelings vocabulary. You can use the lyrics sheets by laminating them and having the students circle how they’re feeling that day after singing along to the song. You can go around the room and have students tell you why they’re feeling that way. Make it a moving activity by putting different feelings on the walls around the room and having students move to the feeling they identify with. Give students a chance to answer why they’re feeling that way if they want to, helping them with useful vocabulary by writing a repeated sentence on the board. To create an ask and answer in pairs activity, have students ask five classmates how they are after singing along to the song.
Thanks for reading! We hope our ideas are helpful and we'd love to hear what you do in your kids Spanish classes! Until next time, keep on rocking!