Wow, what a day!
Today was my first day of the 2013-14 school year and it was a game changer for me. I began today with my message clear. I wanted to get to know a little about my students, let them know this class would be different than others, and tell them a bit about me in the process.
I opened by talking to them briefly about the class, but not in the traditional manner. Here is what I said.
Get ready for the experience of a lifetime! Welcome to your Spanish travel adventure. I will be your tour guide and if you think this is going to be one of those boring, documentary style trips…think again! We are going to have fun, get experiential, and hopefully learn along the way. We will do everything in our power to make learning Spanish relevant, meaningful, fun, and easy. Wait a minute…did she just say easy? Yes, we will work with your brain, learning style and preferences to make learning Spanish as easy as possible this year. You will work with your travel mates (take a look around…see the wonderful group we are travelling with?) to develop language, communicate in an entirely different way, and build a community of learners.
You will pursue your passions in this classroom through a concept called genius hour…To be continued next week.
We will focus on learning. There are no points in this class, only standards, feedback (from me, your classmates, and yourselves), and assessment. The word homework is not used here, only practice.
We will embark on our journey soon, but there are some housekeeping details we must attend to before departure.
After this, we took attendance and took care of any misplaced students. Our next activity was to figure out Spanish names. I let my students decide what they would like to be called in my room, as long as it is in Spanish. I know this is not reality when they step outside my room, but they really enjoy choosing an identity for class, and we always seem to learn some new words along the way! (I had a student today that chose Sacapuntas as his name – Pencil Sharpener)
The final activity for the day was to take pipe cleaners and create something that tells about them. Here are a few examples:
We closed by introducing ourselves and the pipe cleaner creations we made.
The moment of the day was when one student approached me on his way out the door. “It was nice to meet you. I can tell I am really going to enjoy your class.”