Don’t miss my first guest post at www.multiculturalblogs.com! I wrote about raising kids who love and appreciate their Hispanic Heritage, and included a printable All About Peru Mini-Book as well, in Spanish and English. There are tons of wonderful resources at MKB– make sure to stop by and take a look around.
We have already been in school for a month, but I was putting this post off until I could take better pictures of my salón. That hasn’t happened, like many things on my to-do list… ah, the life of a teacher and mother.
I am teaching every period this year, with no planning period, and I’m trying to be as organized as possible to deal with paperwork and keep things in their place. I moved rooms, as well as taking on some history blocks, so I was going for a streamlined look that would be calming for me and for my students. My room is tiny, but I love it. Here’s the grand tour:
Update: I couldn’t get decent lighting for better pictures, but this year (2016) I covered all my days of the week, alphabet, numbers, etc., posters. I have so little space and like a clean look, so they had to go to make room for my high-frequency verbs. Not as cute, but definitely more useful.
I tried for a maps, chalkboard and burlap theme with lots of blue and green.
I had the students write their names on popsicle sticks for randomly selecting students to call on, or to quickly create groups. These are just tin cans covered with maps. I have them write both their real names and their Spanish names to help me learn both.
Another update: now that my classroom is proficiency-based and comprehensible-input driven (and I’m only teaching Spanish), it was time for a bulletin board update.
This is one of my favorites. I play LOTS of games– bingo, board games, etc. These are magnets from IKEA that I fill with bingo chips and dice. If I have a group that finishes early, or everyone playing games, I just grab a tin for each group and it makes for easy clean-up too.
Storing scissors, glue, and extra pencils in these drawers has also been great. I just pull out the entire drawer and set it in the middle of the table. I used to store all my game chips together, scissors together, etc., and spent way too much time passing out materials. Again, thank you Pinterest!
I liked this quote I found in an article at CiRCE . It comes from a Latin quote: Fortiter fideliter forsan feliciter, and I wanted to remind my students in our results-oriented culture that their attitude, hard work, and habits are more important than just the outcome. And, hey– I need to see this everyday.
This is another Pinterest find that has been GREAT. The tabs are numbered 1-31 and whenever I hand work out, I drop any leftover into the file that goes with the day of the month. If any students are absent, they can quickly find the work by looking for the day they missed. At the end of the month, I empty them and file them wherever they should be. I can’t tell you how many times this has already been a lifesaver!
For some classes, I have to fit a lot of students in and it is tight. I am constantly using groups and have found that tables work best.
And that’s all! Here are the those quotes, too:
Update: I wrote this post years ago. Since then, I’ve switched up my philosophy a lot. To read my current thoughts, try this post:
Here’s the original post:
For the coming school year, I am determined to focus more on CONVERSATION. We all know the drill: take several years of a foreign language, in which one or two students will excel and go on to speak and use the language, while 95% of the class forgets everything after ¿Cómo estás?. Well, this year I am upping the participation grade to at least 25% of their grade, if not more. My goal is less content, with more usage and practice.
The participation grade has always been a bit nebulous and a weak area of mine. I like starting students with a 100, because I do lots of direct questioning and games that force everyone to use the target language. It seems too complicated to start at 0 and track everyone’s participation until they earn 100 points. BUT– I found myself saying “Hablen español” frequently, which meant that the students were speaking English more often than not. I would deduct points but it wasn’t a concrete thing, and anytime teachers find themselves making threats, it’s likely because they haven’t delivered palpable consequences. Eek. I know. Also, we have pretty cramped classrooms and sometimes I would forget to write down all the points I was supposed to deduct by the time I actually made it back around to my desk.
But this is a new year! New years, new semesters, fresh starts: this is the glorious part of teaching. And here is where my newest printable comes in. On the first day of school, I will hand this sheet out to my students and have them cut out the euros and write their name on the back of each one. Then they can use a paper clip or whatever to attach them all securely to their notebook. Whenever we are doing a “Spanish-only” activity, or if it’s a Spanish-only class, and I hear English, I’ll simply ask for 50 or 100 euros, depending on how off-topic it was. Then later in the day when I enter in that day’s participation grade, or the participation grade for a certain activity, I’ll know who got full credit and who lost points. The points deducted might vary for different levels.
The cool thing is that with something physical like tickets, they can potentially earn them back before class ends by showing me they are really making an effort to speak lots of Spanish. It also eliminates any threats or scolding. I can just say “cincuenta euros, por favor” and go on with the discussion without missing a beat. The next class they get all their tickets back and get a fresh start.
What do you all think? Would this be an effective strategy for your classes?
¿Yo Tengo, Quién Tiene? (Groups of 18 or less)
Print, cut out,and laminate the cards. Pass out the cards to students. Any student you choose may begin. The student reads his or her card aloud, naming the object in the picture. The student who has the card asked for by the first student goes next. Simple, but effective!
I have a Zoo Animals games packet available at on my TpT store as well if you are interested in more first-week resources!
Inside: Battleship Verb printables for the Spanish classroom.
*Update*…. since writing this post, years ago, I’ve switched up my teaching quite a bit. I used to focus a lot on explicit grammar and verb conjugations. Since then, I’ve thrown out the textbook, and switched to a proficiency-based, comprehensible-input driven classroom. I changed my strategy to not teaching verb conjugations until December, and now wait even longer.
I know that’s not possible in every school, and I know that sometimes explicit grammar is required or needed. So I’m keeping these available! My students really do LOVE this game, and it is great review for rote conjugations.**
Quickly conjugating verbs is one of the main components to learning (about ;)) Spanish, but it can get boring to a restless group of teenagers. My favorite way to do this, and make it fun, is through Battelship Verbs. When we play this in class, the students are engaged and on-task the whole time, and they love it. They have been known to take a game to lunch just to finish it. Battleship is also my go-to when I have to quickly leave plans for a substitute teacher who doesn’t speak Spanish. It works for groups, two against two, or when you are tutoring one-on-one and play teacher against student. You can practice whichever tense and verbs you may be working on.
Each team gets a board and fill in their ships vertically and/or horizontally in the top section (the ships may touch each other but shouldn’t cross) . They must try to fill in the opposing team’s side and record their hits and misses on the bottom section. To guess certain squares, the team conjugates the verb for that square and the opposing teams responds with “agua,” “tocado,” or “hundido.”
Here are several printables. The blank ones include a game that uses vosotros, and one that does not:
This one is for practicing regular verbs (can be adapted for any tense):
And this one is for practicing irregular preterit verbs:
And… Español in the Jungle Unit 3 is ready! This free 20-page unit builds on Units One and Two and includes flashcards, bingo, a word search, stories and comprehension worksheets, games, and more! Read more here about using these units at home or in the classroom. The Español in the Jungle series from SpanishMama uses games, crafts, songs, and TPR/TPRS storytelling methods to learn beginning Spanish. Unit Three introduces:
– Classroom objects and vocabulary
– New verbs: dice, toca, abre, escucha
– New adjectives: feliz, enojado/a, grande, pequeño
Here are some helpful links for supplementing Unit Three:
En Mi Mochila Roja (GREAT song for practicing classroom objects! Contains more objects than are covered in the unit, and uses “bolígrafo” instead of “pluma” for “pen.” Also helpful for practicing making nouns and adjectives agree.)
Real Spanish Classroom (Video of teacher introducing classroom objects and colors– may be helpful if you are not a fluent speaker.)
Classroom Objects Pronunciation (Youtube video)
Classroom Objects Pronunciation (Click to hear)