Tips for Finishing Strong with Your Spanish ClassBrooks
It’s that lovely time of the school year again when your elementary Spanish students seem to be going crazy, and you and your colleagues are ready for a much deserved break. Despite being a hectic time of the school year, it can also be very rewarding as you see the results of all of your hard work. Here are some tips that will help you finish strong with your Spanish class.
Take Time to Review
Review is built into every lesson of the Sonrisas Spanish curriculum. At this time of year, make even more time in your lessons to do extensive review of the songs, lesson activities, and stories from the whole school year. This helps cement the performance targets in leaner’s minds.
- Consider doing an entire class session of just Circle Time. Sing your students’ favorite songs. Review as many of the lesson activities from the year as you can. Pick the ones that your students liked the most.
- Do the same with Story Time. Dedicate an entire class session to reading your students’ favorite storybooks from the year. Don’t forget to use the story and the illustrations to extend your interpersonal communication.
- Do some role-play. Take a lesson activity and turn it into a peer-to-peer role play activity. Your students will love this.
There is a tendency at the end of the school, if you have not finished all of the lessons, to want to speed up and finish more lessons. We recommend doing the opposite. Slow down, take time to review, and enjoy noticing how much Spanish your students have learned.
Invite Parents to Spanish Class
This is something we have always done with our preschool and elementary Spanish classes at the end of the school year. We invite parents to class to observe a typical class session. Our students get really excited about this. You can even make this into a little party. Students will love decorating your class room or making special dishes to serve to parents.
A parent visitation day gives students the opportunity to “show off” all the Spanish they know. It also fosters understanding for parents when they see the immersion environment in your class and the way that their children use their Spanish in the different activities. The extra effort it takes to plan a parent visitation day is definitely worth it.
Do a Play
Doing a play with your students is actually one of the best ways to solidify skills at the end of the school year. When learners engage in drama, they activate higher orders of thinking such as analysis, synthesis, and evaluation. It can be amazing to watch students use the Spanish they have learned throughout the year as they work through dialogue, memorize lines, and create a drama.
Lesson 31, of Sonrisas Level II, is a play based on the book Harry, el perrito sucio. Doing this play is a fun and productive way to end the school year. For Sonrisas Level I students, you could do a short role play or drama based on the story of La Batalla de Puebla which is the origin story of the holiday, El Cinco de Mayo.
Take Time to Reflect
Reflection is a powerful teaching tool. When you take time to reflect, you engage your own higher orders of thinking such as evaluation and creation. In simple terms, you evaluate what went well in your school year and what did not go well. From there, you can make plans to build on what went well and change whatever did not go well.
Reflection is valuable any time you engage in teaching. The end of the school year is particularly an ideal time because everything from the school year is still fresh in your mind. It helps to take notes as you reflect and to think about how you can improve the learning experience for your students.
Teaching for June
One of the things we like to think about for our yearly Spanish classes is the idea of “teach for June”. This means that while we may see slow progress throughout the school year, we know that if we use the best practices for the Sonrisas Spanish curriculum, that come June our students will be able to use a lot of age-appropriate, practical Spanish. Part of that process is finishing strong at the end of the school year using the tips mentioned here. We hope these help you finish strong as well.