The relaxed teacher is not a state of mind, but the cumulative effect of preparation! I am relaxed when everything is all taken care of. This throwback task from the pandemic, does just that! This student-centered activity allows students to leverage their creativity, and use their language in familiar ways. It could be the perfect activity for coming back off of Thanksgiving break, especially if you are one-to-one with technology.
A few years ago, I had students create a slideshow of any and everything they accomplished during break. I allowed them to make up their vacation, or just talk about things they did even if it was “family-filled-fun.” I know the topic of “family” can be difficult for some, so it’s important to know your students- but also, don’t think just because they have a situation that seems difficult to you, that they would not like to share. This is a huge mistake we make. We sometimes impose our pity on our students. Let them decide what and how they want to express themselves.
Many of my students enjoyed actually talking about family, reading books, playing video games, or being creative and making up things they did. I discovered that one student went to Space and met Aliens!
It also doesn’t have to be a big production. For example, the week we came back from break, I didn’t know if everyone was going to show up, and having them make memories using Google Slides and Canva, was a win-win for everyone. Below is the video I created about my vacation; it also served as a guide.
This is also another favorite of mine, and it works just as amazingly after break as well. This conversation tool is quicker, but equally powerful. I have actually printed my Weekend chatmats in color and have laminated them. We don’t do them every Monday, but a few out of the month, and surprisingly, this does not get old for students. What I LOVE about these chat mats (and check out the ones from Anchors and Aids on TPT as well) is that they allow students to express themselves in the past, in addition to having pictures, and structures for guidance. It’s a great review and reminder. Click the link below to find out more about these tools!
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I use Mis classes locas‘s (Allison Weinhold) resource various times throughout the year. And, similar to the weekend chat, students converse about what they did over break. This activity has a bit of a twist as it promotes more of that kinesthetic movement. Students walk around and do mini-interviews. If you have a class that can handle that freedom, more power to you!
Watching Series in Class After Break
Okay, this is probably what I am going to do tomorrow! For my Spanish 1 class, we’ll watch a few minutes (15-20) of Secrets of Summer (Netflix) and write about the characters.
We’ve learned about clothing, emotions, personality traits, etc (I have switched to doing mini-units on everyday topics and building skills the first semester). I will mostly likely have them do a Quick Write based on the episode they have seen. They have done a good jobin writing about the episodes so far with exit slips I provide after viewing.
One of the other things that I love doing with these clips, is watching, taking notes myself in the moment, and doing a lesson on whatever dynamic I see. This has saved me from the days of pre-watching and creating activities. Those days were fun, but school is so much more complicated now that I have to improv on the go. It’s more authentic and real for the students as well, and it’s minimum prep.
For my upper-level students we love Alta Mar! Now, I do have some activities created around this series (especially with the present perfect tense). There are very few parts that need to be fast-forwarded (episode 3). This murder mystery is always a hit in class. It’s also on Netflix!
Novels and Resources by A.C. Quintero
A.C. Quintero Literary Partners!
CI Bookshop (Europe)
Command Performance Language Institute
Teaching Spanish Made Easy (TPT) Catalog
Website: https://acquinterobooks.com/Books & Bundles Novels and resources by A.C. Quintero