Episode 15: The PERFECT Activity for Day 1!Aug 17, 2022
I can't wait to share this activity with you! Shout out to Tami, Barbara and Sra. Garcia for sharing with me!
Click here to watch the original TikTok by Mrs. Garcia (I said Gonzales in the podcast but her name is Garcia. I apologize!)
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Welcome to Teaching la vida loca a podcast for World Language Teachers seeking inspiration, unapologetic authenticity and guidance in centering joy and facilitating language acquisition to the people who matter most are. I'm your host, Annabelle. Most people call me la Maestra loca. I'm an educator just like you and inspiring teachers is it Hi there and welcome to episode 15 of teaching la Vida loca. I'm glad you are here.
First day activity
Today I want to talk to you about an awesome epic, wonderful, revolutionary even. I don't know that it's revolutionary, but I loved it. activity for the first week of school or even first day I did it my first day with students. It was also my first day ever with these students.
Before I start, I just want to acknowledge that I am not necessarily my normal, bubbly self. My grandma passed away last night and I'm okay. And I know she's okay. She hasn't really been herself for the last three, even four or five years she's suffered with vascular dementia. And today was a day. I was incredibly grateful to be a teacher. I try and practice gratitude every day and especially reflecting on things I'm grateful for throughout my day with my students. But today, especially I was grateful for their smiles for the joy I felt playing brain breaks with them for their love and compassion. I had one student give me a stuffy to carry around all day. And I did. It was a comfort for me. So I'm feeling very grateful to be an educator today. And I'm grateful to do this for you tonight and talk to you about this epic game for you to play on day one of school and again, it doesn't have to be day one. But I know you're gonna love it.
I learned this from two people in my PLC community. La Familia loca. Tammy and Barbara and both ladies introduced it to me during our monthly workshop at the beginning of the month. And they said oh Annabelle, there's this lady on Tik Tok. She introduced us to this new game, you have to try it. So, they shared the tic toc with me, it's by Miss Gonzales on tick tock. I'll go ahead and share the original video with you as well. The idea is instead of just going through a PowerPoint about yourself, for students to learn about you have them learn about you in a different way. Make it a puzzle, make it a game. Oh my gosh, this was so epic.
So day one, what I did was introduced myself, I told you all in my last podcast episode, I'm all about English, English, English the first week and a half, two weeks even more if you need really establishing community building connections, setting up expectations, etc. And I didn't really tell them too much about me. After about 15 minutes of like setting up initial expectations teaching a brain break teaching our callback. I said okay, we're going to complete a puzzle for you to learn a little bit about me. And I modeled it first. I asked two students to join me at the front of the classroom, we sat on the floor, I opened a plastic baggie. And inside I had cut up 10 sentence strips, you could have more or less depending on the age you're teaching how you feel about this activity, you might want to do more if you teach older students, I had third and fourth graders, so 10 sentences. And in each sentence, there was a part of the sentence that was missing one word, and I just left that place blank. So it was like a space that they could fill in. So, inside the bag 10 cut up sentence strips. And also there were 10 words, those words would fit into those blanks. So, for example, one sentence that I would pull out to model with them. I had a student read it out loud. And the student would say, Maestra's favorite place she's ever been to was blank. And then I pulled out a word for the other student who was sitting with me to read and they would say turtle as a class A does that make any sense? Nice, just favorite places ever been to was turtle? And they would giggle? No, I'm like, Okay, let's try a different word. pulled out a different word. And this person would read India. I said, does that make sense? They would say yeah, it could be. And so, I'd say Oh, but could it also be Florida? Could it also be Ireland? So, I was hinting to them that there were multiple places in the bag. There were multiple animals in the bag. There were also multiple numbers in the bag.
So, I made sure that I went through that activity first myself to make sure that there were enough answers that made sense. There weren't any gotcha moments where students would be intentionally confused. And to be clear, I did not talk about myself before I introduced this activity to them. They had no idea; they knew nothing about me. The beautiful thing about this activity was, I partnered them myself, I did not let them choose their own groups. I knew nothing about the students, nothing. I'm literally day one learning their names as well. The beautiful thing about this activity is you learn a lot very quickly about students. By doing this, I quickly paired them just counted them off, got them into groups, they sat on the floor and groups of three, and teams of three, there was a couple teams of two occasionally. And I gave them this plastic bag. I of course, made it dramatic and fun and like showered the papers over them threw them up in the air, it was very dramatic, very exciting. And they got to work. I narrated groups that I saw using teamwork, I said, oh, I noticed this group is flipping all the answers over so they can read them all clearly first, even if I didn't see any groups doing that just to give them a little head start and a little help. And then I walked around.
Listen to your new students
And I just listened and observed. I learned very quickly who my strong leaders were. I learned very quickly who my people were that were fighting for equity of voice and making sure that everybody had a chance to participate. I learned very quickly who my students were that were just going to sit back and let everybody else do it for them. I also learned very quickly my students who wanted to dominate and do all of the work. So very quickly, I was learning about personalities in one activity that I just it was it was awesome. And then at the end I said Okay, class A everybody look up at the screen, we're gonna find out the answers. And together we learned about me through the PowerPoint after they did the work. And then they were so cute with their little celebrations. Like yes, I knew she had two kids, not three kids. I didn't know you spoke three languages. You speak three languages. What other language do you speak, it was really, really special, hugely unifying and community building. And I loved that I learned so much about them while they were as a team trying to learn about me. Shout out again to Tammy Barbara and Miss Gonzales on Tik Tok for introducing it to me and for creating it. I love, love, love the idea and I'm grateful for having used it and I hope that y'all love it too.
La Familia Loca
Before I go, I want to invite you to be a member of my professional learning community la Familia loca. The doors are open this week, the doors only open two or three times a year. I've spoken about this group a few times on the podcast. But I want to take the opportunity to extend this invite right now while the doors of the community are open. But Familia loca is a professional learning community where I work to develop and enhance your skills when it comes to acquisition driven instruction, and facilitating language acquisition for your students in a group of like-minded individuals who really center positivity and all the things that they do to unlock unprecedented joy for you and your students. And I know that sounds a little cheesy, but honestly, that is the result that members talk most frequently about is how they feel more joyful in their classrooms, how they sense more joy from their students, and how grateful they are for the community of teachers who really work to focus on the positives, and constantly work to improve and get better. The way the program works is each month we have a strategy and focus, I present on that strategy and focus. You then take that to your classrooms, the different activities I suggest the different strategies I'm teaching you, you apply it in your own classroom, you figure out what went really well highlight the positives, and then come back with what felt tricky and sticky. We talk as a community, we have our community worktime session, we work out the things that didn't feel right and talk about why. And we also are just accountability buddies for our boundaries that we set and everything else when it comes to education.
There are seven monthly benefits in the community. The first is the monthly webinar with me. We have a guest of the month I hire an expert in the field of world language education. We've had Justin Slocum- Bailey, Paul Kirkland, Diana Noonan, Mark Mulaney, Jenny. We've had so many people profe Delgadillo. They come and join us each month for an intimate q&a session. We also have a community worktime session where you work with all of the high school language teachers, or all of the middle school language teachers, all the elementary teachers to really hash out what is going well, what's feeling tricky in your classroom. There are resources every month released in English, Spanish and French. These resources are used to support and enhance what you're doing already in your classroom. Sometimes it's a giant mini unit, a current event unit, culture unit, a clip chat unit, with all the activities needed worksheets for your students, etc. That goes out every month. There's also the land map session, which is my favorite, land map session means a little bit extra. It's something totally unrelated to teaching, yoga, we've had painting classes, we've had Zumba, we do trivia nights. This year. This week, we're doing Family Feud. We have one of those events every single month. Sometimes it's just a happy hour. We also have a live q&a session, which is essentially group coaching where you come and you ask me any questions that are on your mind, three members per month get chosen for hot seat, where they are in charge of 15 minutes of those questions. And then the last 15 minutes are for anybody. And then the final benefit is really the community itself. It wasn't always called La Familia Loca PLC. It actually started as live with our loca. And I've been doing this for three years and a year and a half ago, I had to rebrand it completely because everybody in the community within Facebook itself, we were calling each other familia, familia.
Collaborating as a family
And while the membership portal is not through Facebook, we have our own membership portal where all of the recordings are uploaded, all of the resources are uploaded, we all collaborate within Facebook. And that's where it's really magic. I've seen teachers experience a loss in their family. And within hours of reaching out to community, they have lesson plans and ideas to be able to use for their substitutes the next day. Sometimes it's just about going and sharing something that happened. That was awesome. Sometimes, like today I went and I cried and just talked about how hard today was but how grateful I was for students. So it's really about the community. It's about growing as a professional, around people who really get it. Sometimes if you're a department ofone, or sometimes it feels like your department of one. Having that sense of community really can completely transform your school year.
So if you're ready to transform your school year, and you'd like to learn more about la familia loca PLC, please go ahead and click the link that is listed in the show notes. I would love to have you. I've also included in the shownotes a letter. If you click it, it'll create a forced copy. You can ask for funding right now at the beginning of the year is the perfect time to ask for funding from your school. And I would love to welcome you as our newest member to La Familia loca PLC. There's truly nothing on the planet, at least professionally. I'm very proud of my children, but nothing professionally that I am more proud of than this community and the people inside of it. If you're already a member of La Familia loca. I love you. I love you and I'm so grateful for you. And thank you for listening teacher. Until next time, I'll be teaching la vida loca and I'm sure you will be.
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