We are back again after our fall break and, after three weeks of vacation, my students seem to have various levels of enthusiasm for being at school today. Some are barely slugging through the hallway whereas others are smiling and cheerfully catching up with each other. Most look a little sleep-deprived and some look like they are suffering from PTSD . . . so what do we do on that first day back?
Obviously we Spanish teachers want to do something in Spanish to get our students thinking and functioning in Spanish again. But, at least in my case, I don't want to jump right in with something serious right away. I like to ease back into school in a friendly way so I try to come up with a "fun activity" when we track back in.
One of the things I tried for years, mostly unsuccessfully, was to encourage students to talk about what they did during vacation. This seems like a no-brainer in that it's personal, relevant, and interesting. Only, the problem is that students don't feel like they did anything worthy of mentioning or they don't have the vocabulary to express themselves. So I wind up frustrated at the front of the classroom going, ¿Nadie? ¿Nadie no hizo NADA durante las vacaciones? ¿En serio? ¿Nadie quiere compartir nada? Por favor . . . And then I give up in exasperation and I have to find busy work for them until the bell rings - not ideal.
As with most things in life, I found that the more preparation and work I put in ahead of time, the better things go. So I decided to create a meet-and-greet activity that will work at levels 2 and up.
Students use the sheet to interview one another and record their answers. I used a good mix of regular and irregular verbs but the activity could be easily modified to include other verbs. Today in Spanish II we did the activity using the present tense forms and I explained to them that we will be learning the preterite tense later in the week. In my other classes we used the preterite.
And here's a nice thing: when students fill in the names of their peers who answer yes to the various questions, it creates a visual chart. With a quick glance, they can easily tell which were the most popular and least popular activities over the break. (Math connections anybody?)
Be sure to review how to ask and answer questions and remind them to stay in Spanish. The idea of the activity isn't to get names on a sheet; it's to communicate with one another in Spanish.
Here is a link to the activity that we used today. I hope you are able to find a use for it in your classroom as well, amigos.