Remind 101

Hello all!  So, I don’t know about you, but with everything going on in my life I need a way to help me remember what I need to do.  I’m sure that our students do too with all of the stuff they have going on as well- sports, school (many different classes), family, friends, etc.  A few years ago I discovered Remind 101 through one of my son’s high school teachers.  It’s a site where teachers can sign up for FREE and set up text messages for their students. Like I said it’s totally FREE and the students don’t have your number and you don’t have theirs.  Remind 101 gives you a special phone number in your area code that the students send an initial text to and then you set up reminders for them that they receive on their phones!  Parents can sign up too of course and it’s great because it keeps them in the loop.  As a parent myself I thought it was fantastic because I always knew what was going on!  I know, I know… students should write down their homework in their planner but let’s face it – we’re human and we forget things!  This is just a great way to keep the lines of communication open with students and parents.

Have you used Remind 101 or any similar site?  Comment below!!!!

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Class Syllabus

¡Tanto tiempo!  It’s been a LONG time since my last post and so many exciting things have happened over the past few months.  I had a baby in June and this past month I decided I’m going to open up a little side business selling t-shirts inspired by pop and Latin culture!  More of that to come later…

I start school after Labor day, so I have a little bit of time left to enjoy my little ones and get prepared and pumped for the new school year.  The start of school can be overwhelming for everyone – especially since I’ve been checked out and in baby mode for so long.  A BIG thank you so much to the Creative Language Class blog for helping get motivated with their BTS teacher stamp sheet.  It’s great!  Today I decided I’m going to get my “stamp” for my class syllabus.  Last year CLC did a post on this topic and really motivated me to upgrade my syllabus.  Here is a link for my syllabus in my TPT store if you’re interested – it’s at a super low BTS price and in a word doc so all you need to do is edit!

Do you normally give students a syllabus?  What other documents do you give them?  Do you hold them accountable for it?  Do they sign it? Their parents?  Share below!  Thanks!

¡Juguemos!

There’s really something to be said about getting kids moving around and playing in the classroom.  It really makes a difference in their learning!  And… they LOVE it. So why not?  My goal this year has been to incorporate more games and cooperative activities in my curriculum.  In the next few posts I’ll share some of the games I play and hopefully get some ideas from you!

One game my students love is Alrededor del mundo or Around the world.  I have a PPT I use and adapt for different topics.  I then have the students create a circle around the room.  To play I have the first two students compete to answer a questions, the winner then moves on and competes with the next person and so on until a person makes it around the world and back to their spot.  They love it because they get to move around and middle schoolers love to compete.  I usually give the winner a sticker or bookmark!

What games do you play with your students?

Here is an around the world ppt I have for verbs on TPT!

Routines

Routines are so important- at every grade!  I start every lesson- from day one with a routine- this helps the students not only pick up on so much target language but they know what to expect, it provides structure and it saves valuable class time.  From day one I explain to my students that when they come into class they are to complete the “calentamiento” or daily warm-up, this is projected onto my smart board and is either a speaking or writing activity or sometimes it involves turning in an assignment or setting up a project- but they always have something to do.  This gives me time to go around and check homework, take attendance and check in with students.  The students have a Spanish binder with a calentamiento section and this is where they keep their work- I usually have them keep them for a few weeks so they can look back for reference and review.

This year I am giving my students calentamiento sheets so that they all have the same structure for setting up their papers- here is the word doc.  I had a lot of trouble copying and putting more than one on a document so when I made copies I just cut and paste old school style!

Hojadecalentamientos

Once I see the students are done with the calentamiento (5-10 minutes or so) I greet the class.  My greeting includes a welcome, good morning/afternoon, I ask the date, the weather and the time.  Within a few short weeks the students are experts at answering all of these questions and by then I begin to have a student of the day and s/he asks the questions and calls on students to respond.

Here is a picture of the board I use to write the answers.  There are always visuals to help- the questions are up, they can see the calendar, days of the week/months and weather expressions.

     Questions of the day

 

Part of this routine also includes a word/phrase of the week.  This is a tradition that I began last year.  At first I started with a word of the day but I felt that the students were not learning these words or using them enough in context.  The Creative Language Blog inspired me to change my word of the day to the word of the week.  I started doing this and the students vocabulary exploded!  They were using the words all the time- orally and in writing.  The incentive of course helped- I give them a billete (a copy of a bill from a S.S. country) when they use the word in context and they write their name on it and put it in a bucket.  At the end of the week I pick 3 names and they all receive a small prize.  I bought plantain chips, made CD’s with Spanish  music and also gave free homework passes. I will continue this tradition this year and I will start a document I will share with everyone with the phrases I use.  I also went out to Target to look for prizes and found some super cheap pocket dictionaries that I will use for prizes as well.

Routines help classroom management in so many ways- what types of routines do you have in place?  Please share 🙂