This year I am so excited to begin the new year. As I flipped through my unit plans, I came across several engaging and language-filled beginning of the year activities.  I'd like to share a few ways that you can get your novice-level students to use the target language, meaningfully, from the day 1!

 #1 Speaking the TL from the very first day! 

So I teach really nervous nellies the first day of school. They come into my class with a terrified look on their face because for some of them this is their first time in a Spanish class ever. Last year many of my students had taken Hebrew as a second language and were totally unfamiliar with Spanish. I had to find creative ways to lower their affective filter but engage them in the language from the first day. My first plan of action is to get them to take the first step; introducing themselves and getting to know their classmates. 

As they file into my room: 
I only greet them in Spanish and then after they have taken a seat.  I introduce myself with a PPT slide: 

I use the laser pointer to encircle "Me llamo"in the statement so that students  that understand that I am stating my name. Then, I point to myself while saying repeatedly "Me llamo." Soon after, I circulate around the class. Every student introduces him/herself, and they love it. They feel so empowered just by introducing themselves.

#2: Teaching the alphabet with a twist! 

So, in years past I NEVER taught the alphabet (I only do this on the first day). Students would always ask me mid-year "when are we learning the alphabet?" My response was "you're learning it now!" But, this alphabet activity is a good way for introducing sounds and having students sound out their names in Spanish. 

First, I give them a Spanish letter board, like the one from Spanish411.net (alphabet in Spanish and sound out letters in Spanish. ) you could google "Spanish Keyboard" and find some good ones online to print.    

Then, we go through and sound out the letters. Again, this is more of an exercise to make them feel comfortable in the class and get them familiar with Spanish phonetics. We then listen to the video below. You can switch the order of these activities. 

Listen and view Alphabet video (the music is a bit infantile, but the music will get them grooving). Now students have "how to say their name" and 'how to spell it" under their belts real fun begins. 

#3: ¡Las citas rápidas!

With the expressions on the board or the projector and after having practiced a few times, I have them go around the class to meet their fellow classmates and write down at least three names. 




 #4 Who did you meet? 
 After this, I write or project "Yo conocí a." I give them examples, by asking students their names and then saying " Clase, yo conocí a Miranda. Students verbally share out who they met during class. 

 #5: Teaching numbers with the KWL activity 

What do you know about the Hispanic Culture- Teaching a few numbers and team-building!  

 In addition to reintroducing themselves and meeting other new classmates, I survey what they already know by teaching numbers.

We only focus on numbers 1-7 because students will get into groups to do some light group work.

For numbers, I usually teach this trendy song:

San Fermin Song  (I do it "Gaucho" style)

Uno de enero, dos de febrero, tres de marzo, cuatro de abril

cinco de mayo, seis de junio, seite de julio San Femín!

After this high-intensity song, I have them call out numbers 1-7. The first student is one, the last is 7 and then we repeat. I have all the like numbers group and do to the KWL activity. You can make this activity anything you like. I think it is good for several reasons:

1. It is another "get-to-know-you activity
2. It fosters team-building
3. It's a diagnostic in nature, you get to see what the students know.
4. You get to reinforce numbers, students leave class with one more vocabulary set under their belt.

Materials: 7 sheets of butcher paper or chart paper with categories listed and

Deportes (picture of sports)- one student draws the picture.
Personas famosas

Historia/ Arte

Sharing time:

One student shares for the group: They start off with "Nosotros tenemos".... and then they list what they have in English, but they learn "tenemos" on the way.

I have a list of farewells they can say going out, and they usually choose 1. For my upper-level students. 

I got this list from Pinterest. Click here for the link: 

These are some activities that I used to immerse my students in TL from the very first day. Please share your strategies!

Check out the new novels for Spanish class!

Click here: http://bit.ly/2pzd1SZ

TPT Store!

Click here: http://bit.ly/2pAnP33