Los primeros 30 segundos de las clases de español

by | 11.12.15

Karen Mallonee is a Spanish language teacher at College View Middle School in Owensboro, Ky.

What does your First 30 Seconds—the routine you establish in those crucial, tone-setting first moments of class or the school day—look like? Why did you settle on this routine? What impact has the First 30 Seconds had on your students?

As in any world language class, the first 30 seconds should focus on communicating in that language, whether it is español, français, italiano, deutsche, 日本語, 中國 or any of hundreds of others spoken on the face of our unique planet. I want students to recognize immediately that even if they have just finished a math, science or social studies class, they are now moving into the Spanish-speaking world.

How do I encourage them to shift their focus for the next 47 minutes?  It is not often an easy task with middle school students, so I meet them in their own environment. Where do students socialize the most? The hallway! Even before students enter my classroom, I greet them at the door with vocabulary questions, flashcards or just a brief conversation. They are engaged in Spanish without yet stepping into room 86.

Once they enter the class, there is always Latin music playing, which assists in focusing them on the daily warm-up activity. There is always a reason that I play a certain song or genre of music. Perhaps the title has a key vocabulary word in it or demonstrates a particular grammatical concept. Maybe it is highlighting a style of dance or regional music from one of 20 Hispanic countries.

Finally, my favorite way to engage students in that crucial opening segment of class: One of them actually begins class, not me, the maestra. They greet each other, review the date, season, weather and personal feelings for the day, all in the target language. Then it is my turn to continue student engagement with high-energy activities that make Spanish a world language for real-life situations. ¡Viva el español!

About the Author

Karen Mallonee
Karen Mallonee

Karen Mallonee is a Spanish language teacher at College View Middle School in Owensboro, Ky.

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