July 24, 2011

Ideas for Beginning the School Year

School will be beginning for many of us soon, and teachers are sharing plenty of great ideas for starting the school year. We will be sharing some of them this week and in coming weeks.

From the MoreTPRS listserv:

I usually take the first day to hand out my rules, keeping in mind that the students have already (or will obtain) obtained rules from several other teachers.

The first real activity that my students engage in is learning everyone's first name. So, I start with the first student, who says, after I have repeated this about 20 times to the class, "Je m'appelle _____." ( "My name is _____." ) The second student says the same thing, and then tells the rest of the class, "Il s'appelle _____," while pointing to the student in front of him. (I have only male students, and the "Il s'appelle" means "His name is...." )

We continue until the very end, where the last student, bless his heart, must tell his name in French and then repeat everyone else's first name, in French. Of course, he has heard their names many times by then.

I used to think that this activity might be too much for the students, but they always seem to like it! We do this in a light-hearted way and do not hesitate to remind those students who seem to forget of everyone's first name.

After that, I like to spend a bit of time asking my students why they chose to study French.

After explaining class rules, I hand out my rules, all typed on one page.

My school does not tolerate much student noise in class. Sometimes acting silly while telling TPRS-style stories is too much for students. Therefore, now I usually start with a list of frequently used vocab. We act that out because the students must, in my opinion, know the basics like Stand up, sit down, be quiet, please, thank you, etc.

Rubinstein, B. [moretprs] Re: First days of class. MoreTPRS listserv (moretprs@yahoogroups.com, 7 Jul 2011).

What I do (which is totally borrowed from other TPRS teachers): I do PQA (Personalized Questions/Answers), or whatever name it goes by for different people. I have a template for a desk name card (cardstock paper folded in half). On one part kids write their name and the other part they draw a picture. The picture varies by class based on what we will study in our first chapter. (Spanish 3 is all about past tense so they draw something they liked to do when they were kids--I'm the only TPRS'er in my school.) Then I just chat with them about their pictures, writing all the new words on the board as I use them. I try to talk to/about 4 or 5 kids a day.

I use the name cards to give a seating chart on the 2nd day. They come in and find their name and sit there.

I give my syllabus out about the 4th day of class--that way on the first day or 2 I'm not one of 100 teachers who bore them with nothing but rules. I have an activity that I do with our behavior incentive program that leads into the syllabus.

Ferguson, K. [moretprs] Re: First days of class. MoreTPRS listserv (moretprs@yahoogroups.com, 8 Jul 2011).

Learn more about TPRS techniques and how PQA fits at Ben Slavic’s website: http://benslavic.com/resources/workshop-handouts.html

Several teachers recommend two books: Positive Classroom Discipline by Fred Jones (http://www.fredjones.com/books-video/Books_Videos-home.html ) and The First Days of School by Harry and Rosemary Wong (http://www.effectiveteaching.com ).

Read another idea for using personal images on the first day of class on the Collablogatorium blog: http://collablogatorium.blogspot.com/2011/07/icebreakers-not-sleeping-pills.html

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