Resources for Teaching Languages to Children


Tuesday Tips: Design Your Lesson Like a Letter!

ORGANIZING THE FLOW OF YOUR LESSON can look like many things; why not like a letter? A letter has THREE key components- the greeting, the body or message, and a closing. These three elements provide a complete whole, which feels satisfying upon reading- there are no pieces left undone, you feel you have been acknowledged, you have experienced communication in a capsule. I take this idea, or analogy, and apply it to every lesson I teach, creating a completed experience for my students each and every time we are together. Here's what it looks like broken down:

*GREETING: I start every class with a greeting activity, which typically takes about 5 minutes- whether it is a simple ball roll activity or a more involved partner greeting, saying hello is just nice! It allows us to practice our interpersonal communication skills and fosters interaction between students (and myself, as I always participate in the activities). This is also sets the tone for class and primes my students for more Spanish.

*MESSAGE or BODY: This is the bulk of classtime and features a variety of activities which make up the "meat" of the lesson. Activities could be: practicing vocabulary we are learning, introducing a new minibook, a song, a game, doing an activity page related to the theme, Q & A related to the theme, movement activities, etc. Depending on what we are doing and the age level, I may include 2-3 activities during this portion of the lesson. Little kiddos cannot sustain any one activity for very long (much research suggests a kiddo can sustain the same number of minutes as their age, but wow! my Kinders often can't even sustain 5 minutes for one activity!). Keeping it lively, transitioning well from one activity to the next, the body of the lesson is the time to focus on theme work, etc. Much gets done during this part!

*CLOSING: Any good letter doesn't leave you hanging at the end, and neither should a lesson. This can be as simple as a good bye game or song, and may include clean up time. I use the song 'A guardar' (available on ITunes) as our clean up song (and it's authentic!) which signals it's time to go! This sets the tone for an organized exit as well, which greatly reduces noise and chaos, and brings your lesson to a tidy end. During your closing you can also give a preview of what you will be doing next time, a great way to get kids motivated for your next class!

A LETTER LESSON, as I like to call it, also provides predictability for your students- they always know the general flow of your lesson, which also aids in comprehension of the target language. If they know you always start with a greeting, they are better primed to understand words like 'saludo', 'conversación',  and 'dile a tu compañero ___', etc- this vocabulary information is provided in the context of your routine.

LOOKING FOR SOME GREETING ACTIVITIES?: See my blog post '3 Greetings Games with a Ball' and in our shop: '20 Greeting Games for Spanish Class'.

20 greeting games for Spanish class

AND DON'T MISS OUR EMOTIONS BULLETIN BOARD CARDS! A great visual support for this important vocabulary! Find them in our shop here

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