Tuesday, November 19, 2013

What's working - Basho & Friends

So what's working in my classes this week?

I've been teaching your standard ¿Cómo te llamas?/Me llamo _____ lesson to my students in the third grade. They have studied this before so the Me llamo part hasn't been too hard but I'm trying to get them to feel more comfortable asking questions in Spanish this year so I've been focusing on the ¿Cómo te llamas? part of the conversation but how to do that?

The solution?

Basho & Friends! If you haven't checked out these great and catchy songs then you need to pronto. For $0.99 I bought the ¿Cómo te llamas? song and loaded it onto my iphone so I can plug into the speakers in each classroom. The song is super upbeat and the kids clap their hands, tap their feet and beat on the table (I only let them do that last part as long as it doesn't get too too loud.) The part of the song where they sing the names of the different people we sing over it and put in our names instead, chanting Me llamo ______. Each table of 4 students gets a chance to say their name during the verse. The next two verses are  ¿Cómo te sientes? and ¿Dónde vives? so I just turn the music down a bit and we continue to sing ¿Cómo te llamas? over it. (We'll add those parts later in the year.)

The best part? They sing the question ¿Cómo te llamas? about 80 gazillion times and love it. After some practice without the music we sang it again and I pointed to each table and they "performed" the Me llamo portion for the rest of the class.

Now this gets loud and rowdy very quickly so I've been telling classes that if they get 5 smiley faces (part of my Whole Brain Teaching behavior management system) then they can have a dance party. This ensures that they will get quiet quickly in between and listen to directions. The dance party consists of the same song but when the music stops they have to stop, find a partner and high five them, then ask and answer ¿Cómo te llamas?

In the next class we did the same thing but I changed it up during our dance party. Each student got a card with a cartoon character. They had to introduce themselves as that person rather than their own names then they switched cards. They loved saying "Me llamo Spiderman" and "Me llamo Tinker Bell." We will finish up next week by making a page to put in our books "Todo Sobre Mí" listening to our new favorite Basho & Friends song while we work.

What's working in your classes this week? How do you teach questions and introductions? Leave a comment below!


  1. I had my students sit in two circles (so neither circle was too big). They each got a number, but the numbers weren't in order (around the circle). #1 had to throw a ball to #2, #2 to #3, etc., but they didn't know where in the circle each number was. We did a couple practice rounds until they had the order down, and then we switched it up. This time, when they received the ball, they had to introduce themselves using "Me llamo." After a couple more rounds, we changed it again! They had to ask, "¿Cómo te llamas?" before throwing the ball and respond with "Me llamo" when they received it. It was so much fun! I had them go as fast as they could (which was super fast!), so they were hearing and saying those phrases over and over and over. It was great!

    1. I love this idea! My second graders are struggling a bit with the question part so this could be something we could do where I could really monitor and help them as well as it being super fun. Thanks for the idea!