An Idea For The First Day of School

Saturday, August 3, 2013
I like approaching the first days of school in a very low key manner. We are all getting ready and adjusting to the new routine, and as some suggest, it may take up to 6 weeks for children to finally feel ready for your class. This is especially true as I am an specialist, and I see my students two times during the week. I am not a lucky homeroom teacher who gets to see them everyday! I like to use my first classes to show my students how my class works and what I expect from them, but before I dive into rules and procedures, I introduce myself. This is how I do it:

Every year I make a book where I share with my students a bit about myself, my family, my country of origin, and something fun I did during the summer. I create a short story book and use pictures to illustrate it. I call this book "Todo Sobre Mí."


Students really want to know who their teachers are, and they really appreciate the information you can give them, even telling them my first name, but letting them know that I prefer to be called "Señora Gómez" (however, note that this is not true anymore; this year I am going to make the shift to allowing them to use my first name, just like my students always did in Colombia.)

This is how my book looks!







Would you like to make your own? Grab materials to create yours HERE!

After sharing information about myself, I let them know what I expect from each of them in my class. I do this in the target language most of the time, but still speak about 10% of the time in their native language, suggested by ACTFL to make sure everyone is with me. I use a lot of visuals to let them know what I expect from them in my class and keep my rules simple as much as I can. In fact, I use five simple rules:

1. Respeto
2. Atención
3. Silencio
4. Espera tu turno/Levanta tu mano
5. Sonríe

And of course, I don't want to end my first class without knowing students' names and introducing or reviewing "Yo me llamo..."
Depending on the grade level, I use a puppet or a circle game passing a ball. You can learn more about these two activities following this link: First Week of School: Two Songs for Teaching Greetings and Introductions.

¡Buena suerte!
Carolina


15 comments:

  1. Qué bonito tu trabajo! Soy tan mala para la tecnología que me pregunto, éste blog lo haces en qué programa/app?
    Felicidades! Muy inspirador lo que haces!

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    1. Hey, gracias por visitar y leer mi blog. Ha sido creado usando blogspot.com.

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  2. Carolina, I love your blog! This is my first year teaching Spanish. I am excited & clueless :o). I will be traveling into the classrooms, so I really enjoyed your tips for that. I have taught first grade for 13 years, so I am trying to make a plan for managing a large amount of students/classes--I'm thinking of color coordinating- a different color for every grade level. I am looking for to being a specialist/enrichment teacher. You rock!

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    1. ¡Hola! Thank you for your comment and for reading my page!

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  3. Apreciada Carolina, me encantan tus ideas. Yo voy a enseñar EC4 hasta 8vo grado este año. Este será mi primer año enseñando chiquitos de primaria ( Confieso que no soy muy buena cantando con marionetas :-S ) Viajaré de salón en salon también. Ya adopté las ideas de las bolsas, los clipboards para cada nivel y la caja mágica. : )

    ¡Buenas vibras para que tengamos un excelente año escolar!

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    1. Me gusta mucho lo de las "buenas vibras". ¡Qué tengas un año escolar lleno de mucho éxito!

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  4. Carolina, I have been debating on whether to use my entire last name which is muy largo and difficult to say with Senora, versus, Senora and my first name. The previous teacher had established herself as "profe" but I am not sure how this sounds and if it is a custom in South or Central America. Yo soy una maestra nueva de Kinder al segundo grado. Recomendaciones?
    I also really love your blog. Sigue todo lo que haces para ayudar e inspirar a los demas.

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    1. Thanks for writing! My students in Colombia used to call me by my first name. I also taught in Guatemala and they called me "seño". Here in the US I have had schools where children call me by my first name or also "señora Gómez." I think it depends a lot in the school culture. In the school where I teach now, the teacher decides how they want to be called. I will switch to my first name this year. Good luck!

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  5. As a future bilingual teacher, I found this blog very helpful! I love your book idea! It is important to break the ice on the first day and communicate expectations. A few of my classmates and I have been working on a blog together, and one of or posts is a podcast on how to plan for your first of day. Please feel free to listen to our blog podcast and let us know what you think!
    Here is the link: http://myextraordinarydayatschool.blogspot.com/2013/10/podcast-planning-your-first-day-of-year.html

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  6. Hola Carolina,

    He leido partes de tu blog y te agradezco muchísimo las ideas que compartes con nosotros basadas en tu experiencia, éste es mi primer año como maestra de español en Estados Unidos y voy a necesitar todas las ideas que encuentre. Saludos

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    1. Hola!! este también es mi primer año enseñando español aquí en USA. Ya tienes algunas ideas de como van a ser tus clases?

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  7. I will eagerly share these ideas with my former co-worker who teachers young students as well. Her students would really love this in addition to the songs you have linked to the page. I teach on the other hand High School students. Although they are bigger and they think they are wiser they love these type of activities as well. I created and Todo sobre mí activity that includes light cognate laden reading, and basic questions about their interests such as Cuál es tu serie favorita de Netflix, etc. I find that even on the first day they pick up so much Spanish and love being able to share about their interests in a very simple way. I also find these activities to be extremely helpful in setting the culture and climate of any class. They also give my students, most of whom come from different part of the city and from different socio-economic backgrounds a chance to get to know other people not like them. Thank you for sharing!

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  8. Con perdón y sin ofender pero la palabra es "Respeto" es con "c" en íngles.
    Saludos

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    1. Para nada, por favor, gracias por dejármelo saber. La "C" era mi error, se me fue como extra. Gracias por pasarte por aquí.

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  9. Thanks so much for this info! I'm a brand new elementary teacher this year. I taught HS for 17 years. I'm excited about the change. Question please. Do you have your rules (respeto, atención...) on cards or a sheet or something? I'd like a visual for students and wondered if you already had one made? (Why reinvent the wheel if you know what I mean!) Thanks for all your hard work!!!

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