Adventures in the week before winter break

We all know that last week before break is hectic and crazy. Many schools require midterms or final exams (even if you don’t believe in them or want them). Other schools have rules against showing movies or throwing parties. This often leaves teachers wondering WHAT to do that last week. For me, grades are due the last day… so I don’t want to grade anything that isn’t rubric based and quick. I also don’t want to have a bunch of “busy work” that my students aren’t going to WANT to participate in because I don’t want the struggle that last week. I want easy and relaxed lesson plans to get us all to Friday. So what to do:

I don’t enjoy giving a mid-term or a final exam – and thankfully I am able to use our district proficiency exam as our final – but we have to give one. If your students read books or stories, check out this blog for a week long “character cards” exam replacement. I have done this with my 6th through 8th graders (Spanish 1 to Spanish 3) and it’s always a hit. All students need is paper and something to read. An even easier option is using Instagram Templates to have students retell a book or a story. Choose the number of templates you want students to use, or put them in a group and have them do one per chapter. If you’re not into Instagram, Story Maps work the same way! My students just used Story Maps with the novel we read as their accountability / grade. Simpler still? Have students read a story and create a storyboard (a set of pictures without words that represent the events of the story). To level up this activity, you can have students use the storyboard to retell the story verbally. This is my mid-term for my level 1s this year. What if you don’t have books or stories? Or you just don’t want to assess interpretation? My Level 3s this year are doing a conversational mid-term. They have 2 class days to make a list of questions (only Spanish) and practice with each other. They will have a conversation with me for 2 minutes. I’m using the ACTFL interpersonal speaking measures for Intermediate Low 1 as the rubric for quick and easy grading!

Engaging students in something academic isn’t always easy – but it’s possible! My biggest characteristics of something academic that will engage my students are: interesting content, involve movement, & relate it to their lives. You would think interesting content would be the most important – but for my students – movement is the most important. If they get to move around, they’re automatically 5 times more interested and ready to participate. For lower levels – I like playing Would You Rather in a Gallery Walk Style! Hang the prompts, give students the note catcher, and let them go! After you can have discussions, compare & contrast answer choices, and more. You can always play traditionally with movement and have them move side to side of the room, raise hands, etc. but Gallery Walks take more time. Speaking of Gallery Walks… for my Level 2s and Level 3s I use a Winter Traditions and New Year Traditions Gallery Walk. They learn lots of new and interesting things… plus I can have them relate, compare, contrast to their own lives. Some times I have students that just aren’t into movement activities and then I pull out my Yeti themed unit during the last week for upper levels.

Something fun is always on my list! I try to do something fun each day the last week to keep it light! It’s easy to throw 1-2 Would You Rather prompts on the screen for a warm-up, or use the last 10 minutes to play Lotería with Winter Vocabulary. You can also grab this FREE Yo tengo, ¿quién tiene? winter vocabulary game!

I wish you the best of “the last week before break” no matter when your break starts. I’m rooting for you, Profe! I’m also throwing you a last-week-before-break-bone, on my website you can grab this Pick 3 for $6 deal: Instagram templates or Story Map templates, Winter Traditions Gallery Walk or Winter Lotería, Winter Would you Rather or Winter Guess Who game. After you purchase, you’ll send me an email with your 3 choices & if you would like English, or Spanish, or French resources and I’ll email you the links! This offer is ONLY available on my website! (*Note: Traditions gallery walk is only available in Spanish)

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