I am SO excited to be teaching Level 1 again this year! The classes are mostly 6th graders with a few 7th and 8th graders here and there. Last year I jumped in with this level on November 1st…..almost 14 weeks in….so to be here from Day 1 is fantastic!!
I decided to try to convince them that Spanish was going to be easy….on Day #2.
On Day #1 I had used the phrases:
Hay un problema.
Hay ____ estudiantes en la clase.
So they didn’t have much to start with. Now….let me say up front that I didn’t expect them to acquire anything from this exercise…..I just wanted them to experience success!
Me: Your job is to respond to me when I speak Spanish to you. If you do not understand what I said, please stomp your feet until I hear you and stop to explain so that you understand. (I blab in Spanish until they stop me) Excelente! What English word do you hear in “Excelente”?
Me: Excelente! If you DO understand me, just say Ohhhhhh. Me llamo la Maestra Clarcq (we had done this yesterday.)
I ask a student to set the timer on his phone for 10 minutes.
Me: Clase, (I point to poster hay-there is or there are) un marcador (marker).
Some students stomp. I write “marcador” on the board.
Me” What word do you see/hear in English when I say MARCADOR?
Some students respond; Marker
Me: Clase, Hay un marcador.
Me: El marcador es importante.
(If a class stomped, we stopped, I wrote it and gave the meaning. If not, we went on)
I wrote usa (uses) and dibuja (draws) on the board.
Me: La Maestra usa el marcador. Students: Ohhhh.
Me. La Maestra dibuja con el marcador. (if students stomp I stop and explain)
I drew a “lovely” stick figure of a person on the board.
Me: La Maestra es talentosa. Students stomp. I explain talentosa/talented.
Me: I’m going to ask you a question in Spanish. You can give me your honest opinion. ¿Es la Maestra MUY talentosa (I stretch my hands out wide) or UN POCO talentosa? (I make the “little gesture with my fingers))
I restated the sentence depending on the class answer.
Me: Es obvio. Students stomp. I provide the meaning (It’s obvious.)
Me: Clase, who thinks that they could draw a better person than I did?
Hands of course go up and I pick one student to come up to the board and draw a person. (I quietly asked them to do it fairly quickly)
While the student was drawing…..
Me: Clase, hay )point to poster again) un artists famoso en la clase. Students stomp and I write artist famoso (famous artist) on the board.
Me: Se llama Mercedes (or what the student’s name is!)
Each time I am making sure that students “ooh” or stamp after my statements.
Me: Mercedes usa el marcador. Mercedes dibuja con el marcador. Mercedes dibuja una persona con el marcador. Mercedes es famosa a Eich Middle School. Es famosa en Roseville. Es famosa en California. Clase, Mercedes es MUY (with gesture) famosa.
By this time the artist was finished and we had the artist sign his or her work….to the sound of much applause (Es obvio!)
About this time the timer also went off….if not…it was close and I could simply go back and repeat sentences until it did.
I told the students this:
I am going to write down what we just talked about on the board. While I am writing it in Spanish, I want you to share with a partner what it means in English.
(Please forgive any errors because the period was ending quickly!)
Here is a sample!
Then, I read it in Spanish, sentence by sentence, and they said the English. Talk about excitement!!
Many of them took a picture to share at home and several asked me to text it to their parents, which made me smile.
I reminded them that they hadn’t acquired it yet, so they should not be surprised if they don’t remember it all. But…..that Spanish was going to be this easy!!!
I started without asking many questions, or “circling.” That is a skill we work on together and we will start next week. But just for today, I wanted them to know that by
a. listening well
b. responding when they understand
c. showing me when they don’t
that Spanish will be easy!!!!