My Beginning of Class Routine

Yesterday someone asked me to expand on the Beginning Routine I listed on my Spanish 1 Week 1 Plans post.  I wanted to take a separate post to explain this because it is rather involved!  I was inspired to do this routine after observing the teacher who teaches the majority of our Spanish 1 courses.  She had a routine in which she began with a Spanish song that she sang everyday and then she circled the day, date, weather, and then celebrated special stuff like birthdays.  The first few days my routine looked very much like this:

My Beginning of Class Routine | Shared by Elizabeth Dentlinger at

My Beginning of Class Routine | Shared by Elizabeth Dentlinger at

  1. DAY: I had three phrases (Ayer fue (yesterday was), hoy es (today is), mañana será (tomorrow will be) and circled the relevant days of the week.
  2. DATE: I circled the dates of these three days.
  3. DAY CHANT: I took the tune from Friday by Rebecca Black and changed it a little to be a chant I tweak and reuse every day in class.  Here’s a more detailed description of the chant.
  4. DAY SPELLING: At first I included this as the DAY CHANT, but I’ve come to realize it’s a separate activity all together.  I have the letters for the days printed out so that one letter fills up on page.  The days of the week are different colors so I can easily identify where the letters for “viernes” begin and end.  I have a group of students go up, hold up the letters, and then we repeat the letter after the kid who holds it up.  I do one normal round and then I begin changing the way they say it.  Examples have included: like a soldier, whispered, shouted, in a masculine voice, in a feminine voice, with applause after the letter, etc.
  5. HANGMAN (ADDED 2nd WEEK): Once letters were becoming easier for them (I mean, there’s only so many vowels!) I began playing hangman with a Spanish phrase.  I started with an easy phrase (Ex: Monday is the worst day of the week – but in Spanish!) and now I’m googling phrases for each day of the week (here’s today’s example).  I ask each of my rows to get into a circle, nominate a representative, who then gives me some piece of information.  I might ask for them to tell me their favorite animal and the biggest animal goes first while the smallest goes last, or today I asked for their favorite month in Spanish and the closest to my birth month got to go first with the farthest month away going last.  Each group then guesses a letter.  I have YET to actually get a full body for hangman!
  6. WEATHER:I initially began reviewing weather by circling it, as well, but when it’s been cold and gloomy for two weeks straight you have to get creative!  So now instead I’m asking my “weather experts” (aka – the kids by the window to look out at our courtyard) if it’s nice or icky outside and why.
  7. EVENTS: I ask for special events in the school and boy oh boy are there a lot of them!  There’s the typical sporting events, but also robotics practice and competitions in Speech, Music, etc.  If there’s a competition I make my kids not competing form a tunnel with their hands and as the kids that will compete run through the tunnel we say “Buena suerte y trabaja fuerte” a la Bryce Hedstrom.
  8. BIRTHDAYS:  If there is a birthday we do these little songs/rhymes for the birthday person.  I then try to get a picture of them with some friends or the entire class to send our a “feliz cumpleaños” tweet because my school is BIG on promoting the district using Twitter and I feel it’s important to get some Spanish tweets on there!
  9. GOOD NEWS: This comes from the Capturing Kids’ Hearts “Good News.”  In the training, you’re taught many techniques to build relationships with kids – one of them being “Good News.”  Students share something good they did, are going to do, and more.  I call them “Anuncios Positivos” in my room.  I model by telling students something about me and I make them ask me 3-5 questions about my statement.  I then ask for volunteers or pick a whole row to share something with us and I take over asking questions.  I’m hoping my students will pick up on asking more questions so I can begin to let them steer conversations more and more.

Here’s a couple of observations and/or reflections about this routine:

  • This routine as described above takes me a full 30 minutes.  This is a luxury of block scheduling!
  • I don’t always do the same order because I noticed after the same exact order for 3 days they got bored.  Changing up the order and beginning with the spelling or chant was a good change!
  • I sometimes forget one or two of these steps… usually weather or the date.
  • A student who displays autistic tendencies told me he did not enjoy the chant part of class… or having to get up and do the actions for the chant.  When I asked him what I could do differently to help him he said there was nothing because this is just the way this class is and he has to get used to it.  I checked with him the next day and he said he was just having a bad day.  I did opt to “forget” the chanting that day for him.
  • I plan to change the focus every few weeks or so but not exactly sure how.  I don’t think I can sustain reviewing days of the week in this manner for a whole semester!
  • Hangman is going great! They only issue I ran into is the same person will come if I do not clarify it has to be a different representative.  I can see reusing this all year but perhaps whittling it down to 2-3 days a week and  changing the theme of the phrase.

Hope all this information was helpful to someone!  Let me know if you have more questions by asking them below:


6 thoughts on “My Beginning of Class Routine

  1. Thank you so much for the further explanation! I love it!!! How do you present the alphabet to them originally? Do you have it posted? Or do you just teach it to them as you go. Sorry, tantas preguntas.

  2. Pingback: Spanish 2 Week 2 Plans to Build a Community | La Clase de la Señora Dentlinger

  3. Pingback: Spanish 2 Week 3 Plans | La Clase de la Señora Dentlinger

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