Saturday, March 21, 2015

Strategies for Lining Up in the Target Language

I don't get to see my students nearly as much as I would like, only 25 minutes twice in six days. So I try to maximize EVERY moment I have with them. We  practice vocabulary as we line up and while we wait for the classroom teacher to pick them up. Because I love a good routine, we always say 1, 2 adios and then I dismiss students either by table or by rows from the carpet. My carpet has rows of different colors so my students are always practicing their colors as they line up at the end of class. My tables have flags from Spanish speaking countries hanging over them so my older students are constantly reviewing their country names. I always give the directions for the end of class in the target language.

How they get into line is important too. My K-2 students we learn a new animal in each new chapter. So far we have el pez, el mono, y la rana. Students will "nadan" into line like fish or "saltan" into line like monkeys or frogs. Last week my second graders noisily lined up like monkeys. I reminded them that, "Podemos ser monos en la clase de español pero somos como los peces en el pasillo." They quietly swam out the door. When we did our flamenco unit students danced into line.

Many times, we have to wait on the classroom teacher. Or for a traffic jam (all the Special Area classes are in the same hallway and it can get clogged up as one grade level leaves and another makes it way to Specials) to clear. While we wait, I like to play Diego Dice (like Simon Says) or Teléfono while we wait. Students must be quiet in order to play the game and we are still practicing Spanish.

Other times, I will get out flashcards and go down the line quizzing students. This strategy also serves as a very quick formative assessment. When we did Days of the Week I had students play a game where students had to say the days in the correct order. We went down the line and each student had to say only one day, forcing them to listen carefully. If they said the wrong day or took too long they had to sit down in the line. My more observant students rocked this game once they realized there is a poster with the days on it right by my door.

And my final strategy for lining up - give them something authentic and interesting to look at in the target language by the door. I have lots of memes and cartoons posted by my door that even 100+ days into school still captivate their interest. As they learn new vocabulary they notice and understand more of the pictures. One student last week asked me if one of the pictures was new. "No," I said, "You just noticed it because now you know that word."

There's also some Kid President just because I love Kid President. :-)
 What are your strategies for lining up in the TL? Share in the comments below or on twitter using the hashtag #earlylang!

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Bulletin Board Ideas

I have a love/hate relationship with bulletin boards. I hate how long it takes to put them up. I hate how sweaty I get doing it. I hate how I never ever seem to get enough butcher paper to cover the entire board the first time. I hate how despite the fact that I've threatened to cut their fingers off, my students still touch the board, lean on the board, and pull things off of the board.

But there are parts I love. I love coming up with ideas and creating the different pieces. I love sitting back and admiring the results of my hard work. I love watching my students look at the board every day and practice their Spanish.

Here are my creations from this year.

Bilingual manners board - August 2014

Flamenco - Hispanic Heritage Month 2014

Feelings and body parts - Winter 2014

 Days of the week and food - Winter/Spring 2015

Share your bulletin board pics in the comments or on Twitter with the hashtag #earlylang.