I teach at a year-round school so, believe it or not, students are already back in class and we are getting ready to finish up our second week!
We had our Open House before we recommenced and it was abuzz with excitement and anticipation. The freshmen are excited to finally be at the high school and the seniors are strutting around like they own the place. :-) I had older siblings introduce new students, hugs from parents, visits from former students, and just a lot of positive energy all around. Honestly, Open House is one of my very favorite things that we do all year!
So, the question is this: How does one keep the excitement going as long as possible?
I know how NOT to do it. Here are some things that I never do on the first day of class.
- Go over a long list of rules and consequences.
- Read the syllabus to them.
- Give them homework.
- Try to intimidate them into behaving.
- Have nothing planned.
But, obviously, we do need to review the syllabus, go over rules, assign seats, assign textbooks, encourage good behavior and (eventually) assign homework. So what to do?
Here is how I handle the situation: For the first week I go over one rule per day and one major issue on the syllabus. For returning students in Spanish V and Spanish III, this can be very minimal indeed - these students already know me and my routine. But for new students in Spanish I, I might need to go into a little more explanation. I keep paperwork to a minimum and try to get them into having fun in the language as quickly as possible.
It's fun to do an "Introduce Yourself" activity with Spanish I. But, my school is a small one and the students here have all known each other since kindergarten, so introduction and icebreaker activities don't go over very well. Another good option is to do a cognates activity. This way they can start to see how much Spanish they already know. I posted a cognates activity last year that might be a good fit for your class (and might not).
This year I have a great activity that I'm going to do that involves music and geography accompanied by a beautiful video, but I will have that completed and I will post it to share with you all tomorrow.
Believe it or not, I started writing this post a week and a half ago and then got so busy that I didn't have time to post it. You believe me; I know. You are teachers, after all, and you know how it goes.