There’s a lot to do the first week of class, but what we choose to include in our first lessons really shows our students what we value most. I want students to walk away with an experience with the language and a positive impression of language learning…starting on day one!
The purpose of this first-day lesson example is the following:
- get all students comfortable listening to the target language
- show a glimpse of long term goals
- be clear about both of OUR responsibilities in this class
Start with this on your screen when kids start coming in the room. (I’m usually by the door, greeting them in Spanish even if they won’t/can’t answer back). After the bell rings, I say a quick Hello and welcome them to the class. Then, I grab my clipboard and start attendance. I don’t say too much outside of calling their names, but I don’t use any English either.
After attendance, I’ll show this slide (not saying a word). If you see students not paying attention, you can clear your throat and hint toward the screen.
Introduce yourself. Give them any acceptable names to you. “In this class, you can call me Señora_____, Profe, Profesora, or Señora.”
“Today I am going to tell you about me and give you a little information about 3 things… my life, my favorite activities and my personality.”
(I intentionally pick topics/themes I know we’ll be learning during the year.)
Pick one of the 3 categories to begin. Give a main idea about each picture and give a few details to support it.
My new students were always curious about some of these things and liked hearing stories about my husband (who also taught at our school at the time) our pets, college, and where I was from.
The idea is to share naturally, and try to get an idea of how well they can follow you. Simplify if necessary, or give a little more, if you think they can handle it.
There are so many cognates… pick a few that will boost their confidence!
Again, these are things students will learn to talk about in a typical level one curriculum. So as they get to know you, they’re also getting a little preview of what they are working toward by the end of the year.
A little summary…
Students will have been listening for a bit now, and the question in English might catch them off guard. Wait for someone to break the ice.
“You said your family is important.” “You’re from Argentina.” “You like to play tennis.” I would let them tell me as much as they could.
When they ran out of facts, I would grab my clipboard again. “I though this was level 1 beginner Spanish. ” They tell me… “IT IS!”
Which leads perfectly into the next question…
These answers are very important, and you have to give them time to come up with them on their own. My classes always said variations of the following:
- some words sounded like English
- some words looked like English
- you had pictures to show what you were talking about
- you used hand motions and acted things out
- your facial expressions helped us know if something was good or bad
Tell them that is EXACTLY how they are going to follow along each day in the classroom!
Let students know that we all have a responsibility in this class if we want to be successful.
1.) Pay attention. (they may not understand every word, but they need to watch the clues to follow along in Spanish)
2.) Show the teacher somehow if they don’t understand. (facial expressions, raise hand, etc.)
1.) Make sure students can understand the main idea! (You’ll use expressions, gestures, pictures, or repeat/rephrase)
By the end of the year THEY will be able to share similar information, like you did in the lesson, with some details –
ALL IN A NEW LANGUAGE!
Then have them fill out this target language form all about themselves… it’s so easy, even a novice can do it!
Want to plan your own “about me” lesson to start the year in the tl?
You can download this EDITABLE PowerPoint for free now! It’s generic and ready for you to add you own pictures, put in your favorite activities… etc. The headings are in Spanish, but it would be easy to translate into other TLs.Download PPT
We know how busy it is planning, organizing, and putting new ideas into action… Hope this resources saves you time and helps you get excited about the first day!