Back to School Spanish Class – First Week Tips and Lesson Plans

Are you feeling stressed about heading back to school or are you a first year teacher looking for tips to get started? You’re not alone. Keep reading to find out how you can have a successful first week (and year!) in your Spanish class.

  1. Keep it simple – don’t try to implement several new things at once. Choose one or two new things you learned at your most recent PD and start with that. As the year goes on, you’ll be able to add in new things.
  2. Choose connections over curriculum, especially in the first week. Spend time getting to know your students. Use surveys and All About Me activities and don’t forget to let the students know you, too.
  3. Check in with your students frequently. Learning a new language is not easy and it’s important to survey your students frequently to make sure they are not suffering anxiety or feeling overwhelmed. Make a copy of this free student survey for the first week of class.
  4. PROCEDURES! PROCEDURES! PROCEDURES! It is soooo important to set clear expectations and model those expectations for several days beginning on day one. You will set the tone for your class within the first week. Preparation and readiness are key to good classroom management. Here’s an example of a Classroom Expectations Slideshow for the first day or week of class.

Here’s an “AT-A-GLANCE” of my First Week of Spanish 1

First Week of Spanish Lesson Plan

Starting on day one, the most important part to creating a classroom that runs smoothly is practicing and modeling classroom procedures.

Each day for the first week of class I take the time to review and practice classroom procedures and expectations. Reviewing these do not have to be boring or take a lot of time. In fact, I try hard to do the opposite. My students love UP/DOWN checks. They work like this. Teacher says a statement (Ex: Students are allowed to go to the bathroom at any time.) and if the statement is true, students stand. If the statement is false, students stay in their seat. I use this activity ALL THE TIME! For added fun, I have the students close their eyes. We practice standing and sitting carefully before we do this with our eyes closed. Come up with a list of statements about your classroom expectations and procedures and throughout the week stop and do some UP/DOWN checks to make sure students know what the expectations are.

A few things to consider when deciding what your Classroom Expectations will look like …

  1. MOVEMENT AROUND THE ROOM – This one is huge! How and when are students allowed to move around the room? What about if they need paper, a pencil, tissue, or to throw something away? If you want students to ask permission first than you should explicitly state this. Throughout the week acknowledge students who are following the correct procedures for moving around the room and redirect and remind students who are not following directions.
  2. GROUP/PARTNER WORK – Will you allow students to chose their partners or assign them? Ultimately this will depend on the type of class you have. I have never been a fan of allowing students to choose their partner at random. However, I do have systems in place that allow students to feel like they have some choice. At the beginning of the year students complete an activity called “Compañeros de la Clase” – similar to Clock Partners. Bryce Hedstrom has an excellent activity he calls “Amigos de …” and students use maps from Central or South America to quickly partner up. You will probably need to set aside an entire class period at the beginning of the year (or each semester/trimester) to have students complete this activity. Another way to partner students quickly is by using Class Dojo. This requires a little set up, but I love this site because it allows you to choose which students should “never” work together and it won’t pair those students.
  3. LEAVING THE CLASSROOM – I think it’s extremely important for there to be a tracking system in place for students leaving the classroom. This could be a sign out sheet or other system. Students should record their name, date, time and destination. My personal rule in my classroom is that students need to check in with me before they leave the room and cannot ask to leave during direct instruction unless it’s an emergency. Otherwise, students just quickly let me know they’re going to the bathroom or for a drink of water and sign out. There’s been several occasions where we’ve needed to follow up on incidents and the sign out sheet came in handy!
  4. ABSENT WORK – How will students collect work when they are absent? Will you have a designated bin for absent or late work? This should be explained the first week so students know exactly what to do if they need to miss class. I like to have a bin by the door with folders for each class. Whenever a student is absent I drop in any worksheets or activities for that day. I also date them and write the due date so students know when to have the work completed by.

You will thank yourself weeks and months into the school year if you took the time to establish clear expectations and classroom procedures the first week of school.

The Back-to-School Bundle includes FUN & ENGAGING activities to successfully execute your first week of Spanish. Includes an editable Classroom Slideshow, Calendar Talk for the school year and detailed lesson plans and activities.

Spanish Cognates

Help your students feel successful their first week of Spanish with one of the best strategies – COGNATES! Here’s a complete lesson that will cover several days and is PERFECT for the first week of Spanish.

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