First Day in Spanish 1a (a.k.a. 90% TL on Day 1)

I know that when I started out with CI, day 1 was a complete mystery to me. What to do…syllabus? TPR? Verbs? Greetings? Class builders? And on and on.  Well, here is my take on day 1!!!

With Spanish music in the background (thanks Annabelle Allen for the reminder!!!!), I stand by the door as students enter, saying hi and letting them know to read the board to know where to sit and what to write. (You can ignore the objective–I didn’t actually do that today!!!) This is the slide:

slide b2s

I enter, head to the front, and grab my roster. I go through kid by kid in English (this part doesn’t count toward my 90% because I’m not counting it as the lesson just FYI), checking that I know how to say each name and identifying siblings that I’ve taught (my fave thing!!!) by their last names. I ask randomly how they are, how their day’s going, tell them how (genuinely) happy I am that they’re there, etc.  Usually on the first day, I practically bouncing off the walls because I am SOOOOOOOOO happy to finally have my kids and not be in PD talking about what I’ll do when I have them!

I don’t worry about how long this takes on the first few days (15 mins is pretty normal), but always let kids know a few expectations gently (like there will be a quiz, not today, on each other’s names—which may or may not actually happen—and they should listen to each other, also that when 1 voice is talking, the rest are listening). These reminders help begin to build the difficult skill of LISTENING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

After saving attendance on the computer (with music playing!!), I dramatically grab my stop sign:


and say “Nooooo ingléssssss” while dramatically showing the sign.  I don’t bother to teach any of my expectations, rules, or talk about CI on day 1 (except in context if needed. For these first few days, if a student is shouting out in English a lot, I prefer to just stand very close to them with my hand on their shoulder or with my stop sign near them as a reminder). I want to get right to the FUN stuff! TPR-able verbs!


Last year in PD, I was told to think about when a middle school student (especially a brand new 6th grader) goes home from day 1. When they say, “My favorite class was __________.” Which class are they going to say? Do I want them to say that it was mine and why? I decided that yes, I want them to say Spanish because they learned SOOOO much on day 1.  So, no syllabus, no talking in English (other than attendance and a few expectations), JUST COMPREHENSIBLE SPANISH!!!!!

Then, I put up this slide:slide 2 b2s.PNG

And simply say “Buenos días” (or change it to tardes as needed) while pointing A LOT at the slide with my hand/laser. Then, I pause and smile and nod a lot. Sometimes the kids repeat it back, sometimes they say hola. I don’t really care at this point. I just want to make sure they don’t use English (building that habit).  Then, I ask while pointing, nodding and pausing, “¿Cómo estás?” But then, I quickly give them the options, bien or mal, using my thumb up and down to show what those mean.  Then I do a little bit of circling with a few specific kids, “Gemma, ¿cómo estás? ¿bien o mal?” (WITH thumb gesture and pointing) Gemma: “Bien” Then, I can circle if she is good or bad. Comprehension check: Turn my stop sign to “Tiempo Muerto” and ask, “Raise your hand if you can translate what I just said, Clase, Gemma está bien.” Let a kid do it with lots of praise. Flip the stop sign again and continue on.  This lasts for maybe aboout 5 mins, and I transition to:

slide 3 b2s.PNG

At this point, TPR is the best! Kids have most likely been sitting all day, and now they get to MOOOOVE! I like to add in some adverbs:

slide 4 b2s

And a bit of competition: México vs. España

slide 5 b2s.PNG

Of course, you can get really silly and add in *romantically* or other funny adverbs.

This was all I had time for today, but it sure beats reading through a syllabus!!! Hope your first day(s) went as well as mine (even if it happened weeks ago)!!! 🙂




One thought on “First Day in Spanish 1a (a.k.a. 90% TL on Day 1)

  1. Pingback: The First Few Weeks in a CI Classroom | Mary Overton

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