“How can I transition my Spanish class from listening to me speak in Spanish, but almost always responding/suggesting/asking in English to the students speaking in Spanish as well?”
A teacher asked this eternal question on Facebook today.
Based on my level one students, my response is that 10 – 15 daily doses of thirty- second meaningful and engaging music and voiceovers sprinkled through out the class period will have the appropriate phrases dropping out of students mouths!
My students have a constant stream of transition videos that release relaxing endorphins and teach them useful phrases for the classroom. I understand the input/output theories but in my experience this year, music creates a direct shortcut to output! No research on this, just what happens in my classroom every period every day!
Scroll to the end for videos in English, French, German, Italian, Latin and Mandarin.
As my students walk in each day they hear “the day song” and soon they are using the words to express their feelings.
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.
3 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?”
4. 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.”
5. 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”
6. 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.”
7. 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.
8. 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.
9. 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.
10. Tidy up the room.
11.Take out the Agenda video and students write down the homework. My students can say any line from this song at appropriate times.
“ay no me gusta, pero es importante” “Saco mi agenda, escribo la tarea.”
12. 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 on TeacherspayTeachers. Or click here for the starter kit! They help support several Venezuelan families. We are making them in French, Mandarin, German, and Latin, and English. What I love about TeacherspayTeachers is that it helps new teachers to quickly climb the learning curve by selecting tried and true activities from veteran teachers still in the classroom, like me! If you need something new to get your students spontaneously speaking in the target language – this is it!