Each year I have added more and more scaffolding to the assignment, learning as I go. I feel like this year I finally got it right, so I wanted to share.
Currently, my 8th graders are studying a unit on their daily routine and hygiene. We have done all the standard vocabulary and grammar activities and well as personalized stories about their own lives and preferences, but so much has been happening in the world related to Spanish-speaking countries and I really wanted to incorporate that into our class while still meeting those vocabulary objectives, so I created this webquest.
Today we had a blast reviewing body parts! In groups, students outlined one member and labeled each body part. Then, they completed an interpretive reading exercise where each group had to read different description of a monster and draw it.
The best part about this activity was that we did it OUTSIDE! I bought sidewalk chalk at the dollar store and it was a big hit!
My sixth graders finished our final unit with just two days to spare and I found myself in a panic of what to do on our last day. In one of those truly magical teacher moments, I pulled something out of the air that ended up being a GREAT activity that I will repeat next year.
As a brand new teacher, you are probably armed with lots of templates and formats for writing formal lesson plans that you turned into your professors. You probably learned about backwards design and the UBD lesson planning process. Well, these are great tools, but as a first year teacher, you're probably not going to use them. At least, not the way they are intended to be used. As a first year teacher, your main goal is to stay one step ahead of your students and keep your head above water. And that's OK!! There is sooooo much to learn, that you can't possibly plan for it all and put it into a nice neat package.
Tip # 1: Be kind to yourself
You are in a new job, in a new environment, with new people, and a new curriculum. You're not going to be perfect and nobody (other than yourself) expects you to be!
Tip # 2: Don't over-plan your lessons
This may seem counterintuitive, so give me a second to explain.
One of the very first units that comes up in any language curriculum is numbers and counting, but if your textbook is anything like mine, they give you almost no resources or time. Our textbook recommends spending 2 weeks on the "preliminary chapter" which covers about 6 different topics! No way! My co-workers and I have given ourselves the entire first quarter for this - a whopping 9 weeks. Now, to most teachers, this sounds interminable. How can you possibly teach alphabet, numbers, greetings, and weather for a full 9 weeks?!? How boring!! Well, I am going to give you my lesson plans below for the numbers unit, and hopefully this will give you some ideas to spice things up, and ultimately, help your students actually learn it long term!
For you skimmers out there, games are highlighted in blue font and links are red!
Tener que + infinitive is one of those topics that I have to teach (haha, get it?), but never really sinks in for the kids. This year I was looking for a new way to teach it and I came up with an idea that worked so well, I just had to share it! (I crack myself up!)
I spend a really long time teaching pronouns to my students because I believe it's critical for them to understand this before we begin using any verbs.
We start off by making sure they know what it is in English and I show them this School House Rock video. It's old, but they still really like it. Then we do one of their favorite activities all year: Pronoun TPR. Here's a video demo.