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.
We know how busy it is planning, organizing, and putting new ideas into action… Hope this resource saves you time and helps you get excited about the first day!
You have no idea how much your work and generosity blesses me! Thank you so much for this!!
I cannot access the informacion sobre mi sheet. Please help. Could you e-mail it to me, please?
Hi Alora… the download is available here: http://www.creativelanguageclass.com/student-about-me/
Welcome! Those first few days back are crazy busy. I can remember spending so much time in meetings and doing all the school required stuff, that the time in the classroom and to prep were so limited. I’d spend so much time getting all those little things done, then I’d still need to do lesson plans. SO much to do in so little time. Glad to help you out Christina!
This is wonderful! Tha k you so much for sharing.
Glad to share! Thanks for letting us know it will be helpful!
This is great. I don’t see the link for the student sheet, though. Thanks for sharing.
Hi, Yvette! Here’s a link for the student “about me” form. Enjoy!
This is so simple, but yet great to give the students an open mindset that understanding another language is not that hard.
Exactly! I’m always surprised (and excited) when I can understand a new language when traveling… even if I may not be able to say much!
We’ve got to get them feeling successful right from the start!
What a wonderful helpful post! I will share this with as many teachers as possible! You are giving us a GREAT example! Thank you!
Thank you , Helena! You’ve inspired us in so many ways!
Thanks for sharing your creative ideas, as always! Great way to start the year with some comprehensible and compelling input! 🙂 I think you could also extend this–you could also ask them to write in English something they have in common with and something that is different about them. That way you can get to know a bit about your students and get a better idea of what they understood.
Christa – Good idea! It’s really important for them to show us what they understand, especially at the beginning! Maybe even in the TL… where they can make a list under “en común” and “diferente” … choosing from a list of words from the presentation! Thanks for sharing!
You have no idea how helpful this is going to be for me. I am going to be a first year teacher with only a Spanish degree and not the education side and I was just hired with school already in session. I have nothing prepared for my new journey, not to mention I have been out of college for 6 years and am rusty on the language. Thank you for this wonderful presentation. I will continue to keep up with this blog for more help!
Hi, Haley! You might want to check out Adiostextbook.com if you need resources asap! Email us at email@example.com if you have any questions and we’d be glad to help you!
Thank you, thank you! ¡Gracias, Gracias! Por tu creatividad y tu generosidad. Estaba precisamente pensando en cómo atraer la atención de 30 estudiantes del grado 9 quienes vienen con un mínimo de español. Mil gracias.
Muchas gracias por esta ayuda tan inmensa. You rock!
Con mucho gusto!
Thank you so much for all that you all share. I used the PowerPoint today and it was a big hit! I will use it with my parents next week at Open House!
So glad! Thanks for letting us know!
Thank you for sharing this! I can’t wait to use it in my classroom!
Thank you very much! Merci beaucoup! I was wondering how I could start this year in a different way involving the language. Thank you so much for your generosity. I love this presentation.
Thanks so much for the free resource! It’s excellent and such a help!
Glad it’s a help! Have a great first day!
Hi Megan, Great post and interesting title too.
Thanks for sharing.
Thank you for sharing the powerpoint and all the wonderful ideas to immerse the students in the language right away without overwhelming them.
Glad it was helpful! Hope it’s a great new year!
During the PowerPoint, you are only speaking Spanish? Just want to make sure! This is so wonderful! Thank you so much!
Yes – all in Spanish! I use some cognates, body language, and visuals to be comprehensible but ALL in the target language – no English! It is a major confidence builder when they see how much they can understand even if they do not get every word.
So wonderful! Could you share which fonts you are using as my computer is adjusting the fonts and spacing! Muchas gracias from Alabama!
please tell me which handwritten font and which bold font you used! 🙂 gracias!
Can you possibly make available a clean copy of the target language form all about themselves?
Could you possibly make available a clean copy of the Informacion Sobre Mi sheet?
This is fantastic. I appreciate your work and your willingness to share with other teachers. Thanks to Maris who led me to your page.
have a great school year!
also do you have the document for the informacion sobre mi fill in ?
Here the link for the “Sobre mi” student form: http://www.creativelanguageclass.com/student-about-me/
I´m glad to hear it is helpful! Thank you!
I found your site through Maris, and I’m thrilled! Thank you for sharing your awesome ideas with everyone! 🙂 It’s very much appreciated!
Hi there! I love the powerpoint- thank you so much!!- but I can’t seem to edit it. Any ideas here? Thanks, again! Molly Achbach : )
Once you download the powerpoint you may have to click “enable editing” at the top of the screen to edit! Hope that helps!
This is great! I would love to create this in French. How could I get the student sheet as a document that I may translate? I love the various fonts and presentation! Happy to share when done.
Could you provide the Sobre me worksheet in the Italian language?
If you send the translations, I’ll do it! here’s our email: firstname.lastname@example.org
i love this! cant wait to try it with my students
Let us know how it goes! They’ll love hearing you use the target language!
This was absolutely phenomenal!!! Gracias.
Yay, Olivia – so glad you had a great first day! Thanks for letting us know!
Cannot thank you enough!
If you like this, you’d love adiostextbook.com 🙂
just saw your presentation and liked it very much! This idea for the first day is amazing 😀 I’m trying to download the German version and edit it but it’s not editable. Would be very helpful if it were :-DDD
Thanks a lot and thank you for your work!
Hello, I appreciate your pointers for how to lead a non-intimidating first day in the target language.
I noticed that the basic template of the slides is not editable, so I wanted to respectfully call out what I believe is a proof-reading error. In French, the feminine “professeure” is starting to be used popularly, and formally in some countries, but if you use the feminine “professeure” you would need to change the article to match – “la” (or in this case “ta professeure” instead of “ton”).
If you have been advised otherwise, I’d be grateful to know where the structure “ton professeur” is seen so that I can update my sources for talking about careers!
Sarah – Thank you for your kind correction! We’re not French speakers so we must have mistyped something after we got translations from a generous French teacher! I’ve changed that slide and updated the download to the new version.
Hola mi nombre es María Barron, baje el power point the First Impressions, llené todas las cajes y lo salvé, pero cuando lo abrí de nuevo el power point no salvó lo que llené con la nueva información. Me puedes ayudar?
Hello Maria, Sorry we missed this! Send us your email and we’ll send you some other versions. email@example.com
Thank you for this! What age group / grade was this set for?
I made it for high school students – level 1, but I’d use this same one for levels 1+2 (any age) and I’d modify it by including more details for upper levels. ALL students want to get to know a new teacher and find out what they are into! Hope it goes well for you!]