Happy Back to School, everyone! I started this blog at the end of the 2015-2016 school year with the best of intentions but a year later, plus a new house and our first baby, I realize I definitely dropped the ball. New school years are all about fresh starts, so here we go again with the blogging thing!
This is my fourth year teaching AP Spanish Language & Culture and it finally feels like I have found a good rhythm for class starters.
Mondays: Idiomatic expressions. I give them a couple each week and they come up with examples. I always praise and make a big deal out of it when students use them in class, conversation or writing. Use of idiomatic expression appears multiple times on rubrics for the free-response section of the AP test. Plus, they’re just fun!
Tuesday: Class Question: Students write a question (any tense, any topic but “favorites”) and I pick a couple that students answer in pairs or small groups before sharing with the class. Forming questions on the fly in Spanish seems to stump many students, so hopefully this will help develop some confidence. I collect all questions and give feedback before handing them back.
Wednesday: Cultural Tidbits: I share a few cultural tidbits from the Spanish-speaking world for students to digest. Every other month or so students get to play trivia with the facts with a group for prizes. While I do embed culture in our AP units, this is also a fun way to build up cultural knowledge and share the things that might not make their way into a unit. Students helped search for the facts so I know they are tidbits that are intriguing to them.This is a department-wide initiative this year so credit to my awesome team!
Thursday: Conversation Circle. This was by far my biggest hit last year! Small groups of students sit in a circle on the floor and I give them a convo topic. I try to make it something fun and/or relevant (plans after graduation, Prom, Homecoming, etc.). Students have ten minutes to chat with each other. It’s not for a grade and I don’t make corrections. Their job is just to figure out how to continue the conversation as best as they can. I encourage them to ask questions, answer questions and react to what other’s say. The first few times it feels a bit awkward to them but after a few Circles, they find they are able to say so much more and they feel more relaxed, too! If I hear widespread errors or trends, I address them quickly as a class at the end. This is a great opportunity to teach them how to practice circumlocution, too!
Friday: Like so many great Spanish teachers, we watch El Internado on Fridays. After a quick, “What are you going to do this weekend” convo, we get our Internado on!
Have a great year!