Something is afoot in my Spanish classroom this year. For the first time in 30 years, students walk in sighing with relief that they are in room 363 because it is so “chill” in here.
Every fifty-minute period we go through about 8 activities on 100 slides with no gaps or down time. One new student mistakenly thought he had stumbled into an Honors class because of all we do. We aim for 90% target language from day one – past students confided their first month was stressful. Current students express their relief and joy at being in my class. Joy!
There are over 20 million entries in Google for “Fun Spanish Class Activities” but there are only four for “Joy in the Spanish Class”
Fun activities are the preterit tense with defined beginnings and endings.
Joy is the flowing imperfect tense with no defined ending.
Fun is external. Joy is internal
One fun activity for the past 20 years has been our “Song of the Week.” Students love the five minutes of the class devoted to wonderful songs. This year is different. To keep students in the target language and on task, I developed transition videos. The unintended consequence is that they make students feel joyful!
Six to ten brief 30 to 60 second transition videos are sprinkled through out the 50 minute class period releasing a steady stream of endorphins as students sing along and imitate the announcer’s voice.
According to http://www.emedexpert.com/tips/music.shtml music is powerful.
Music enhances intelligence, learning, and IQ.
Music fights fatigue.
Music calms and relaxes.
Music improves memory performance.
Music reduces stress and aids relaxation.
Music improves mood and decreases depression.
Music is a great anti-anxiety remedy.
Transition videos are the glue in between fun Spanish class activities that create joy. Other teachers using them report the same experience – one confided it was the first time she overheard students in the hall gushing about her class and the only difference is the transition videos.
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.
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. Tidy up the room.
_13 Que desorden Pls no posting – trimmed from ellen shrager on Vimeo.
10.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.”
_20 Saco Mi Agenda Pls no posting – trimmed from ellen shrager on Vimeo.
11. 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!
Click here for Italian videos.
Click here for Mandarin videos
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