Greeting students at the door has numerous benefits including creating a personal connection, setting an example of polite etiquette, and for us language folks, using the language! The learning starts at the door.

To me, greeting students is the MOST important routine that I’ve done for all 12 years of my teaching career. I’ve written about Greetings and Goodbyes before, and I want to share how I’ve expanded it over the years. Now I’ve been connecting a greeting to each unit that I teach.
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1. Pick a question based on the current unit

I start with “How are you?” and move to “How do you feel?”. When I taught the “Sick” unit, I put up “What hurts?”. When I taught a unit about Costa Rica, I put up different greetings from there. That one was really fun!

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2. Pick a few answers

The fewer I choose, the better they learn them. My first attempt (above) had 20 possible responses and they stopped looking for new answers.

Sometimes the answers are the part that supports my current unit the most. For a “Media/Movie” unit, include answers like “exciting,” and “scary” with a question about how their day is going.

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3. Create a poster with the question, the answers and pictures

The pictures helped them learn the vocabulary and reduces the time needed to translate. Sometimes students make the posters as a “Real World Homework” activity. The “Me duele” poster above was made by a student on the PicCollage app. She loved that I used hers on the door. A side lesson was that she learned to be culturally sensitive by including different races in the photos. This poster is actually her second version.


4. Greet ’em!

It takes practice to get to the door before they start coming in, but I love starting class with this positive interaction. I leave up some posters just so I can mix up the questions and have a reference. I also have a generic “Rules” poster that lists items they cannot have in the classroom. I used this when the new rules came out to quickly remind them.

My last change up is to let a student be the greeter. Less talking for me, more talking for them! But I’m still there to at least share a smile. 🙂 I like to list that as an option for every unit on my Real World sheets.

How do you greet your students?