How to create your own CI classroom using a PPT/Google Slides with links to CI activities .
Game Changer Alert! If you want to structure your class with routines and varied activities, stay in the target language and prep for each lesson during your prep and not at home, then use this PowerPoint template. Use it every day to establish routines and create an interesting class. Choose from among the 75 activity slides for your activities. Never forget something you wanted to do in class because you have a slide for it.
Save each day’s presentation “daily tech guide” in a folder with handouts and label it day 1, day 2, day 3, etc. and next year spend even less time prepping for the day’s lesson. If you have already purchased a bundle of videos or the videos included below, go here and I will send you the template.
Some of the routine videos are embedded. You can always add more by clicking on the icon on top of the slide. There are 75 suggested activities and many have links to blogs. This is a growing bundle. Follow instructions inside to join our group and share new activities that we can add to the resource. Or send me your email for monthly updated slides.
After downloading, if you want to order a bundle of videos, email me and I will insert them for you and set up your custom bundle.
You should use a remote presentation device or wireless mouse so that you can stand anywhere in the room and click to the next slide.
You will need to be able to open a zipped file to find:
- 1 PowerPoint to use in class with 95 + slides and appealing visuals
- 1 La clase va a empezar video.
- 1 Hoy aprendí video.
- 1 Role video.
- 1 ¿Cual es la fecha de hoy? video
- 1 Saluden a tus compañeros video snip.
- 1 Gracias por aprender video.
- 1 Días de la semana video.
- 1 Dedo roto video.
- 1 Me siento fatal.
The PowerPoint is editable, but if teammates, coworkers or a school or a school district would like to use my resources, there is a multiple user license that is available at a reduced price.
Are you like me and wish for four things this school year?
13 Minutes of Instructions on how to personalize your template.
If you would like to purchase the template with the videos, click here.
If you would like to join our FB group and share new activities and slides, click here.
All net proceeds help three Venezuelan families – meet them in this video as they open three boxes I sent to them.
If you want to read more about class structure and transition videos, read my blog here.
If your school won’t provide you with these tools, you may consider this:
Back-to-School Nights can fly by in a blur. At our school, on Back-to-School Night, teachers have 10 minutes per class with parents. Use this time wisely. Don’t squander these minutes on technical information easily conveyed in a brochure, or by teaching a lesson in the target language — you have five more important messages to convey that will improve your relationship with parents for the rest of the year.
- You want to convey you are personable, friendly, human, and that they can trust you. Later on in the year, if there is an issue, you have laid the ground work that they approach you first with a problem or a complaint, not your boss.
After a brief sketch of my background and the advantages of learning Spanish, I mention my personal experience. I tell them about scholarships I have won, and how their child can also win scholarships, based on language skills. I share when I have made more money because of my language skills. Money catches their interest! I tell them how much I love teaching seventh grade right up until February when these twelve-year-olds turn into teenagers. I wink, we have a good laugh, I ask if the teenage alien has already entered their home, I have over 200 a day! See, I’m personable!
- You must convey to them that you are the expert on this age group, compared to them. Even if you are a second year teacher throw out your statistic.
I spend a few minutes educating parents about adolescents and I assert my expertise with this age group. I tell them that in my experience of teaching more than 2,000 students in this age group, (here I pause and joke that I have the gray hair to prove it but you want it to sink in. Yah, they have two kids but you’ve had X amount in this age group.) I’ve seen some seventh graders try out some new—and undesirable—behaviors: lying and cheating.
Many parents are relieved when I depersonalize this shocking behavior. I reap many benefits throughout the year from this, as parents are more likely to admit their children’s mistakes to a teacher who doesn’t perceive these behaviors as a reflection of their parenting.
One unexpected behavior may be lying about homework, so I explain how I daily input grades into the grading program. I can help them put the app on their phones if that would help them to track their child’s actual homework turned in versus what they are told. Another lie may be that I haven’t handed back their make-up tests. My policy is to update grades and return them every Tuesday. (This slows down the compulsive parents who check grades online several times a day.)
I wrote 12 pages in my book about what teachers of other grades want parents to know. See below if you need more information.
- You must convey to parents to talk with you privately if something feels odd.
I tell them this, “If your child is trying to convince you of something that sounds unbelievable, email me to give you a call and we can figure out what is going on. Your child doesn’t have to know that you and I talked about the story that Mrs. Shrager is so old that every day she forgets to give me credit for my homework.”
4.You must educate parents that their high school teachers will be writing college recommendations about the soft issues, including honesty.
If your parents are like my parents, the thought of their child having good grades but lousy recommendations terrifies them. You can learn how to talk to parents about the Common App letter of recommendation below. Teachers love having this information to help parents see the importance of correcting behavior issues in their class.
5. You must convey that languages are learned not just taught, and you have practice available whenever their child needs help, at their time convenience.
I tell them that I have quizlet games every week for practice that can be played on their child’s phone while on the bus to a sporting event. I also tell them that my job is to give them a love of learning Spanish which I do through music, current events, and by preparing 100 slides a day with my daily tech guide for visual support so that we can conduct the lesson in Spanish. I ask how many have heard their children singing one of our songs already? If time, I show a minute video of the class singing a song. Parents love it and we end on a high loving note.
Prepare your presentation, use your time wisely to reap benefits all year long from it and enjoy Back-to-School night.
This post is a condensed version of one of the sections from my book, Teacher Dialogues. Available at Amazon.
Don’t blame the parents or the students! Blame social media surrounding our middle school students with the belief that every opinion is important and demanding of immediate attention. The village needs to directly teach children and their parents to stop this or else the students will not deserve an excellent Teacher Evaluation when applying to colleges.
In case the parents don’t know, over 700 universities accept the Common Application. Its Teacher Evaluation will be important and students really don’t know who in their senior year they will be asking to complete it. Acting like jerks in ninth grade study hall may prevent students from getting the kind of recommendation they need. I described this in detail in books for parents and a book for teachers. If you want the whole explanation and create a paradigm shift with your community, consider using these books: Seventh Grade Guide Sixth Grade Guide Teacher Dialogues
But if you just want the 10 minute explanation it goes like this. Pick a time to have a heart-to-heart talk with your class. Explain that their speaking out, whining, and interrupting, is becoming a habit that must now be broken in middle school because their high school teachers will be judging them and evaluating them. Even if they think they will grow up when they are juniors – their senior teachers may have had them in a study hall or lunch room duty when they were freshmen. Even if they are marked as being good – they are in column 5 of 7 – and not the best candidates. The margin is very slender. Show them the four areas indicated with the arrows that concern you. Tell them that they have a great future, but not if they don’t have the social skills desired by adults writing and reading the college applications.
This usually stops students and parents. I tell them that I will do my job by reminding them with the words, “social skills alert” meaning their lack of appropriate social skills is a problem. I call their parents and tell them that I am doing this to help them and ask for their help. I assure the students and their parents that this is so important that I am willing to assign detentions and work with their parents to get them back on track.
As for Spanish class, I have created three musical videos to demonstrate these skills. The first is how to treat a new student in class. The second is how to write an email to a teacher, and the third is the most important, asking if now is a good time before just talking at the teacher with different requests.
As I write these words in March, I see many teachers writing about classroom management beginning to unravel. Point systems are all about external validation that quickly loses its attraction and the external rewards need to be upped as time goes on. There is no magic bullet that will last the year. External rewards only last so long.
But internal validation is something else. It’s about catching their vision of who they want to be and showing how developing self-discipline will get them there. Connect with your students by sharing this information with them and their parents and relating their behavior choices to their future ability to have the things they want and the lifestyle they deserve.
A new Spanish teacher posted recently, “What are your best classroom attention getters. Particularly for High School. My freshman still have not learned that talking when I am isn’t acceptable. Nothing I have tried has really worked.”
My first response is to take charge and when you start an activity, explicitly tell students that the “fast finishers” will do X and not talk to one another. Give them the options that they can do and be explicit up front so that it is impersonal. If you start redirecting them at the end – it makes it personal and open to negotiation. This is smart classroom management that comes with experience. But what if that isn’t enough?
There were close to 100 responses to the above query, featuring hand claps, sayings, call-and-answer responses, whistles, teen buzz, points-off-behavior-grade and the silent treatment.
What is going on here? Clearly there is a bigger problem here encompassing two issues:
1.You must eliminate that part of you that gives them permission to talk over you.
2. Rather than trying to get them to be quiet, pique their interest with highly engaging transitions that vary from activity to activity.
Step One: Get Your Head in the Game
No teacher wants to admit this but it is true. When a class acts this way, the students are actually bullying the teacher.
I have learned a lot from my dogs. There is always an alpha dog. When we try to interfere and not let the alpha dog take charge, the other dogs are not grateful; rather they are confused and act worse until the alpha dog returns and re-establishes the pecking order.
Children need to know who is in charge and will act out if the teacher does not lead.
In my most still, reflective moments, I have to admit that when a student has more power in my classroom than I do, it is because a little part of my psyche agrees with the student that I don’t have to be respected.
I can blame that on my family legacy of beating us as kids, and most times I have vanquished it.
Sometimes it crops up when:
- I am stressed with a life event.
- When there is a really bad combination of students who should never be scheduled together, and I am powerless to make changes because Spanish just isn’t perceived to be that important.
- When for whatever reason I will have unwanted consequences if my admin finds I am struggling.
I have a friend who let students talk over and walk over her because she is a French teacher and needs her enrollment. Turns out, only when she took charge did she retain her enrollment. You need to fearlessly address what part of you gives them permission to have more power in the classroom and deal with it.
You need to talk to yourself and tell yourself: “I am the adult in charge.
I will be obeyed.
I will not let children take away from those who are here to learn.
When students whine, it is not a moral judgment about me, but more about their own teenage angst. I will not feed their whining and let it grow by responding to it.
I deserve respect and if I don’t get it, that child will be removed for the rest of the period. My other students deserve respect.
There is zero tolerance for talking over me; it undermines my authority and I DO NOT DESERVE IT AND WILL NOT TOLERATE IT.”
Believe this and walk into that room with the steel eye and erect posture that demands respect. period. Oh and every time you ask for their attention you must be 100% prepared with the next task. No looking for the handouts, or realizing that you have to fumble on the computer to find the video, nada. You must get their attention and move on – otherwise you will loose them. I use a daily tech guide and a clicker so that from any part of the room we move on to the next activity with seamless transitions.
Step Two: Vary your transitions and take them to the next level with musical videos.
Rather than trying to get them to be quiet, capture their interest with transitional videos that pique their interest and make them tell the others to shush so they can figure out what is next. At this point, with three months under our belts, my students catch a hint of a video and they start to do the task it requires or else they listen to the airhorn or the vamos a jugar video to see which one applies to the class. Rather than telling them to be quiet so that they can write down the homework, they hear the song and start pulling out their agendas and looking for the handouts while singing the song.
Here is a previous blog showing how they work.