I love to start the year off with a BANG! I teach mostly level 1 and I really think the first day makes a big impression on students. While I know it’s common practice to talk about rules and go over the syllabus on day one, I don’t do it. I try to put myself in their shoes. After listening to classroom rules, supplies requirements, and grading scales, I would be ready for summer break again!

I improve my first day lesson a little each year but here is an idea of what it looks like…

I start each class (even 1A) entirely in Spanish. I welcome them and say “HOLA.” This sets the tone and prepares them to expect TL from you. I take a quick attendance and in the TL teach them “AQUI” or “PRESENTE”. Then I use Prezi to tell them a little about myself.

Right when I begin, the Prezi zooms in on this…

This tends to ease their worries and makes it more of a challenge. After I go through this little presentation and have talked about 10 minutes, I show this screenshot…

Then I let them share what they heard. As a class, they can usually retell me everything I told them. I act shocked and ask them “What class is this? I thought this was Spanish 1. Have you all taken this class already?” Of course, they haven’t but it gives them a taste of a new language, the task of listening for cognates, and the benefit of visuals.

I take the class right into a talk about proficiency. It’s so important that they have a realistic expectation about what they will be able to do by the end of the class and how their progess will be measured. Here’s what we talk about in my classes…

 I asked students to write down their own answers to some of these questions before we talk about them. Specifically, I want to know why they are in the class and what their goals will be.

I give them an idea of what they will be able to do by the end of the class…

We also talk about how to improve in this class. It’s important to know that a skills based class is different than a knowledge based class. I let them come up with their own answers for this one…

Then I show them some real-world ways to improve their language skills while they are in this class.

I give them a sneak peak at how their progress will be measured…

(explaining grades and rubrics and assessments takes a little more time – Kara will post her awesome activity that helps students get the bigger proficiency picture soon!)

Finally, I end class with this video. Kara put it together and it’s a gem!

Whew! There you have it – that is the first day in my level 1 classes! Hope you can take an idea or two to use in class! Un beso!