Stacy Stephanie asked “ OK, 7th grade question again…what incentives? Toughest Group ever!”
Many teachers are suggesting food as a reward.
I’ve been teaching at least one 7th grade class for the past 20 years and I stopped using food as a reward about 15 years ago. It tells students that what you are doing in class isn’t rewarding enough and so an external reward must be given. Rather than being grateful for a one time treat, they can blackmail a teacher with bad behavior unless there is a treat. Teachers can feel trapped into giving them food every class, and it becomes expensive. If only a few ‘win’ the reward, many teachers are surprised by the remaining students feeling let down and resentful that they didn’t win. It’s not pretty.
Stacy further clarified that the class meets just once a week. In my opinion, the problem is an administrative scheduling flaw that she is trying to correct. The class only meets once a week and most students perceive class importance based on the number of times it meets. This is our harsh truth as ‘non-core’ teachers.
If the problem is remembering to bring in homework for a once-a-week class, perhaps a set-up a reminder can be sent out the afternoon before class.
If the problem is paying attention in class – students may feel they have a license to act out because the teacher isn’t a team teacher
Since it just meets once a week, then make that your strength. Focus on internal motiviation by creating a happy, relaxed atmosphere. I use my musical transition videos to keep the endorphins flowing and it sets a happy tone. My students know they are going to listen to easy-to-imitate Spanish, read an interesting headline using cognates, here lots of CI backed up with my daily tech guide for visual support and start speaking Spanish.
Here is what my class looks like:
1. When I am ready to start, I play the class count down video – students know to be seated and quiet as they count down the 3 -2 – 1 ya! French version below!
Students use this expression spontaneously before beginning anything.
2 I greet them, ask how they are, and tell them the objective of the day and the class activities of the day – all on 3 slides. I play the “Take out the Homework” video and show the answers on the board while I quickly check for completion. Since day two of the school year when I first played it, my students spontaneously tell me ‘la tengo’ or ‘no la tengo’ and if someone doesn’t have it everyone else asks, “¿en serio?”
3. Check for questions and play the musical slide to take attendance – we get nasty emails if we miss attendance for any class! My students tell me” X está ausente” or “no está ausente, en el baño.”
4. Play “The Daily Review”song and complete five minutes of review. My Spanish 1 students can fluently say “cuando necesito gramática perfecta” and “¿Qué hago – repaso, repaso, repaso”
5. Play “Take Out the Vocab List video and they can all mimic “Favor de sacar la lista del vocabulario.”
I also play the self- talk musical slide that reminds students if they don’t get it right to tell them selves – I don’t have it yet! I introduce a chunk of vocabulary, practice comprehension with gestures and then show slides with visuals. My Spanish 1 students use “lo acerté spontaneously in many situations” and even “no lo acerté – todavía.”
6. Play the video about finding a random partner of the week or if we already did it play the musical slide to find this week’s partner.
My students can say ¿Quién sera? even though they won’t be taught this tense for three more years.
7. Practice with partner(s) usually some kind of spontaneous speech activity – there are videos that show the students how to play guessing games. If we have the computers then they will watch “The Take Out the Computer” video, “Practice QuizletLive” video, students practice on their own, play the quizlet live video and finally I play the “Put Away the Computers” video and rearrange the chairs slide. My students quickly learn the games that have songs to teach the vocabulary and create spontaneous dialogues – month two of Spanish One! They can all do “más alto, más bajo” and many others.
8. Slide leading into next activity – could be a listening activity or a reading activity or Simon says. My students all know “vamos a jugar” and can follow it with many games.
9.Take out the Agenda video and students write down the homework. My students can say any line from this song at appropriate times.
Here is the French version.
“ay no me gusta, pero es importante” “Saco mi agenda, escribo la tarea.”
10. Closure – students sing and then tell me something new they learned. My students can spontaneously say “Hoy, hoy aprendi ” and complete the thought.
My public school seventh, eighth, and ninth graders in Spanish One produce spontaneous speech even if they don’t want to – they can’t help themselves because music enters their brains and remains like nothing else that I have tried in these past 30 years. You can make your own songs or use mine.
You can even use my videos, created by native speakers, and offered here for Spanish
They help support several Venezuelan families. We are making them in French, Mandarin, German, and Latin, and English.
Stacy, you are asking the right questions – I believe you are an excellent teacher, refining your teaching voice. Kudos.