Tuesday, August 19, 2014

First Day Ideas

One of the goals that I stated in my last post was to spend more time getting to know my students. I've decided to make my first two months dedicated to structures that will allow students to introduce themselves. Here are my plans for the first day. I have split them up by grade level.

Kindergarten: After a couple rules and introductions, I start off the first day with the book, Say Hola to Spanish by Susan Middleton Elya. This book is not all in the TL, but it introduces some basic Spanish words that students can often figure out by the pictures. I have students say what the new words mean or have them point to objects. It also includes a few words that English speakers have borrowed. My kindergarteners the last two years have been surprised that they already know a few Spanish words. This book has really hooked them the last two years. After the story, I pass out the name tags from the book, Music that Teaches Spanish! by Patti Lozano. I fill in their names and they draw themselves on the blank person. We use these all year. While the students are completing their name tags, I am going to move around the room and complete their pre-test. I will have a mat with pictures. I'll say a list of words and have the students point to each one. I'll check off every correct choice. I am hoping to finish these within two class periods. Cross your fingers for me, please! I got this per-test idea from Leslie Davison at the NTPRS conference this summer. After name tags are finished, we'll play a name game from Music that Teaches Spanish! I say a rhyme in Spanish that asks the child's name. The child taking his/her turn gets to hold the big blue microphone. To keep it interesting, I have them do different motions during the rhyme and have them use different voices for the rhyme or when they say their names.

First and Second Grade: I am going to start both classes by playing a name game. This will be my second of third year with most of these students, but I'm still working on all of the names. I'm going to pre-test them using the same words as kindergarten, but I will have them write what they think each word means. Some first graders might use pictures. After they finish the pretest, they will make a name tag similar to what third thru fifth will make, but I'll have them draw or write three of their favorite things on the back. After name tags, I will do some TPR practice in their teams. They heard some of these verbs last year. I am splitting each class into two teams, Barcelona and Madrid. I got this idea from Jason Fritze at the NTPRS conferences. If there is time, I'll turn it into a competition, maybe Simon Says, so I can start to encourage the students to work together in their teams.

Third-Fifth Grade: On the first day of school, I'll introduce some rules and procedures. I'm trying to split these up through out the week; introducing them as needed. I don't want to put the class to sleep day one.  I will also get my pre-assessment out of the way. This will be a three question vocabulary quiz. The students will write the English translation of the three structures we'll practice for the first two months. After I give my pre-assessment, I am going to have the students create two name tags. One will just include the student's first name. They will hold onto this during class so I can practice names. The second is for me to use when planning for PQA and stories. On the front, they will write first and last name in their favorite color. This saves me space on the back of the card. On the back, I will have them split the card into six boxes. They can draw or write these six items on the back:
1. Age
2. A like
3. A dislike
4.A want
5. Something he/she has (pet, sibling, favorite toy, etc.)
6. Interesting fact
While students are working, I am going to pass around the iPads and have students take "selfies" for a a game we are playing to practice se llama. All of the pictures will be put on a PowerPoint for the game. We'll be using it to play Ten Ball. After making name tags, they will practice some TPR verbs in teams.

There isn't a lot of TL used for the first day, but we're starting from scratch. That will changer very soon!

If you have any questions or suggestions, please let me know! I hope you found something useful here :-)

What do you do for the first day of school?


  1. I use Say Hola to Spanish with kindergarten as well. They like the rhymes and like you said can usually figure out the meaning of things. I like your idea for name tags. I don't need tags for anyone but kindergarten but that might be our first craft of the year. :-)

  2. Hola, I just found your blog! I am also a K-5 elementary Spanish teacher in NJ. I have been teaching Spanish for a while, but am always looking for new ideas. I lenjoyed reading what you do on the first days and wanted to thank you for sharing. I love your idea of the teams. I always struggle with whether to use the TL or not and I am glad to hear that you don't right off the bat either. If you need at other ideas: one thing I have always done is a grab bag of what we will be learning about and what culture we will focus on. Students have to guess about the culture based on the clues. I also love using folded paper fortune tellers with the older grades. Thank you again for sharing. I just added your blog to my blog list! :)