It’s never too late to start fresh. Not in September. Not in January. Not in May. It’s never too late to start! If you have found yourself panicked on a Monday morning as the bell is ringing because you just didn’t get that lesson plan totally done. You didn’t get those copies made. You didn’t [insert here]. This post is for you. Routine is how we as humans functions. We wake up about the same time every day. We shower, workout, eat breakfast [insert your routine here] every day or week. When we get out of our routine (I.e. staying up too late, skipping breakfast, forgetting to stop for gas) we get grumpy and lose focus. If your life needs routine, why wouldn’t your classroom? Here are 7 easy routines that you can implement daily, weekly, monthly in your classroom to give yourself some breathing room. These routines are low prep, high yield activities that can be repeated or modified to be repeated quickly. Let’s take a look at some world language classroom routines!
1 – Passwords. Passwords are a way for students to enter or exit your classroom that get them interacting with the target language. These can be one word, phrases, or even question / answers. Passwords will take you all of 30 seconds to come up with (or make one giant list at a time!) but will engage every single student. I implement passwords daily in my classroom. You can read more about passwords here!
2 – FVR. Free Voluntary Reading is a common routine in many world language classroom. To implement FVR you need something for your students to read (novels, articles, stories, etc) and a set of rules. If you don’t have a classroom library, consider investing in short, printable stories like these for students to read during FVR or applying for a grant to add some readers to your classroom library! I implement FVR 2 to 3 times a week in my classroom. You can read more about FVR here and here!
3 – Calendar Talk / Weather Talk. This routine is a great way to get students talking about things that change. No matter how often you implement calendar or weather talk, the day / date will be different, the temperature will have changed, the weather will mix it up. This is a great way to expose students to a variety of vocabulary in a comprehensible way. This is also a great way to get a lot of repetitions with things like numbers without having to teach them. I currently do weather / calendar talk about once a month in my classroom. Looking to start calendar talk or weather talk? This unit will help you get started!
4 – Weekend Chat. Weekend Chat is a great way to learn about your students lives outside of the classroom and pull in all kinds of vocabulary that they wouldn’t normally be exposed to. Did a kid play in a tennis tournament? Kickbox? Skydive? All kinds of topics that students wouldn’t normally be exposed to are at your fingertips! I like to mix up weekend chat with a gallery walk! I change out or add in slides for what students did or didn’t do. I also like to do it as a prediction activity to work in the future tense – what WILL you do this weekend / over this break – instead of just working with the past tense. I don’t do weekend chat every week, but I like to work it in once or twice a month when I hear of fun things happening.
5 – Game Days. In my classroom we do Friday game days for Spanish 1. Why? Mostly because my Spanish 2s and Spanish 3s work on their PBL projects on Fridays and it’s better for my sanity if I keep everyone on the same routine… and because knowing that Friday will be a game day makes my week a lot smoother. What kind of games do we play? We do lots of Would You Rather games and Lotería / Bingo games. Why? Because theses games don’t require a lot of Spanish vocabulary knowledge to play, but allow lots of opportunities for input for themed vocabulary! Check out some Lotería games and Would You Rather games that are ready to go for you here!
6 – Cultural Gallery Walks. This is a monthly-ish routine for me. Any time there is a holiday / celebration / tradition I’m doing a culture gallery walk in at least one of my levels of classes. Gallery walks are a super easy way for me to cover a large topic, like Semana Santa, in one or two class periods. Gallery walks are also a great way for me to get students moving around the classroom and engaged in reading and learning. I love doing these culture gallery walks on Thursday / Fridays to end the week on a high note! Here are some common culture pieces I do gallery walks for: Los Barriletes, La Mascarada, Winter Traditions, New Year’s Traditions, Las Fallas, Semana Santa, & more. Read more about how to use a gallery walk here!
7 – Star of the Day / Star Student. I’m ending my list of classroom routines with another routine that could be as daily as you want it to be. Star Student – Star of the Day is a way for you to get to know your students and make them feel special! I would suggest using some pre-made questions to get your students started on basic things like: name, where they’re from, likes / dislikes, favorites, etc. and then jump into personal questions based on that student’s answers. My biggest hurdle with Star Student was finding a way to engage other students that were not being interviewed. So I created a Persona Especial Gallery Walk. Now when we do a star student, the other students have to take notes because at the end of the year they will be randomly given the name of another classmates to complete a Persona Especial Gallery Walk reading for. This helps to keep students engaged throughout the year AND gives me another gallery walk day I can do with the readings that students create! You can grab your templates for the Star Student project here!