Here…We…GO!

For all my tips, tricks, and sneaky systems, I do a LOT of scripting and detailed planning the first weeks of school in order to feel prepared. Last year, I wrote about “annual amnesia,” and this year is no different. Granted, I’m reaaaaally on top of certain things, like creating a giant colored-coded poster with class END times near the clock to reference while teaching, and other odds ‘n ends. But then there’s Monday…

“What the HELL am I actually going to DO in class?!”

OK OK, it’s not that bad. However, I did need to set aside time to think things through, all outlined in this post…

Tomorrow, Thursday, is 9th grade orientation. Teachers meet all students in small rotating groups for 12 minutes. I’m all set there. Last year’s plan was a major success. That day will end with students’ names, and probably just one drawing on heir name card, to be finished next week. That’s more than enough for me to type up the following day, using lots of cognates. As for next week, here are the lesson plans:

Week 1 – Monday

  1. Do Now (finish drawings for Card Talk)
  2. Card Talk
    -Break- (Rock, Paper, Scissors, in English)
  3. READ (Lesson 0 Card Talk statements)
  4. syllabus (p.1)
  5. Password (salvē!)

Before class, I’ll put name cards on chairs to randomize seating and help with attendance (i.e. as students continue drawing, I’ll mark who’s absent (by collecting the name cards of vacant seats). Then, I’ll make statements about drawings, and ask questions (i.e. Card Talk).

See that planned break? You’ll see in my schedule at the top how 6th period M/W/F has class, goes to lunch, then restarts class. Oh, and classes are 40-44 minutes depending on the day. Efficiency is crucial! So, I needed something to do after lunch every time, but I also wanted it to be done for every class every day, for sanity’s sake. I decided on a break after 20 minutes, then reading. Every class. Every day. The only difference with 6th period M/W/F is that they go to lunch instead of a brain break. This will also help me stay honest about providing new text every class, even if it’s short. Reading will be independent for a minute, and then I’ll model choral translation for the class (but not yet asking anyone to translate out loud on this first day).

Next up, is the syllabus. This year, I’m spending a day or two on parts of the syllabus before moving on. Let’s face it, students don’t really absorb the info, and very few of them consult the syllabus once school gets rolling anyway. Here’s part of the first page:

Class will end with a password for the week, “hello,” which students need to say in order to enter class. This is really just a moment to connect with students at the door, and maaaybe sneak in some key phrases. Day 1, done.

Week 1 – Tuesday through Friday

  1. Do Now (reread previous syllabus section)
  2. Card Talk
    -Break- (Rock, Paper, Scissors, in Latin)
  3. READ (Lesson 1 Card Talk statements)
  4. TPR (Total Physical Response)
  5. syllabus (p.2)

The rest of the week involves using the Do Now warmup time to reread the syllabus. This day, I’ll go ahead and add the next page because it explains the first. We’ll spend a couple days on it:

Card Talk will continue so we get more statements to type up and read each next day. The new activity will be TPR. Now, anyone following my blog can probably tell I have a love-hate relationship with TPR, but that’s only because I’m not super great at it. Therefore, I’ve updated—one again—what I hope to be the last PPT I use. Like most things, the solution has been to simplify how I introduce each new word:

At this point, after I model a few times, I have the option of naturally beginning to use the word, commanding individuals and groups, left side/right side, and narrating events to those not moving. However, IF I get stuck, theeeeeeen I can use the next slide:

If I don’t get stuck, I can skip it, or choose to show students the spelling. Hmmm, opportunity for Grant’s air spelling before showing this slide?! At some point in the week, I’ll hand out seating cards (e.g. half pirates, half bicycles), and use these to make conditional statements, like “if you have a person, stand up.”

Week 2 will introduce Mondays of discussion and writing in notebooks of upcoming week events at school, at home, or special days (i.e. Calendar Talk), then alternating interview program (i.e. Discipulus Illustris) with continuing Card Talk using various prompts beyond “like” and TPR.

That’s the start of the year.

4 thoughts on “Here…We…GO!

  1. Thank you for the refresher on Discipulus Illustris. I am currently doing this right now with 165 middle schoolers and this was the first week. I really appreciate the list of questions. Since my Latin is not that strong, your sharing and materials are so helpful and I am able to teach the students with success.
    Gratia!

  2. A Chinese teacher here, so some things like reading might go differently, but as I’m entering the countdown to Day 1 and feeling nerves, I really appreciate your sharing. Feeling more ready for Sept. 4!

  3. Pingback: First Text: A Year To Year Comparison | Magister P.

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