Extra Credit: Don't Do It Yourself (DDIY) - Free Resources for Spanish Teachers
Don’t Do It Yourself (DDIY)
I didn’t have a traditional classroom when I was teaching. I had a trailer. An old, worn down, beat up, smelly, dirty, and literal hole-in-the-wall trailer. It was my job to transform that ugly trailer into something presentable by the time my students got into the classroom on the first day of school. I always wondered, would the students appreciate the miracle I created if they saw the blank canvas I had to start with. Would they not write on the walls or be so careless as to rip my posters if they saw all the hard work I put into it?
So here’s my thought. What if we put the students to work on the first day of school? There is the basic shell that all teachers want to do themselves like the classroom rules and the calendar, but what about the other walls in the room? I believe students will take more pride in their surroundings if they take the time to create it. They won’t let anyone mess up “their” stuff. They take ownership of their work, which makes them more protective of their work. So follow these steps and see if by the end of the school year you’ll still have your posters and pictures intact.
Step 1: Assign a wall or a portion of a wall to each class period.
Step 2: Decide which posters and pictures belong together. Group them together and then allow the classes to choose which group of posters and pictures they want to use. Once students have seen their group of posters and pictures, allow them to add drawing of their own that belong in the group. For example, if the wall includes the Spanish-speaking countries around the world, then students can draw pictures of the things they think represents the country; for example, flamenco dancers from Spain or Mariachis from Mexico. Some students may want to bring pictures from home from their visit to that country.
Step 3: Provide a list of Spanish instructions for students to follow. For example, Para colgar un cartel. . . Label the tape or push pins in Spanish so students can easily follow along with the instructions.
Step 4: Provide a list of things students may not use or put on the wall. For example, No usen . . . You don’t want any profanity or nude pictures on your walls. I know the student may have really enjoyed his or her experience at a nude beach in Spain, but that’s not what you want on your wall.
Step 5: You may or may not want to grade this as an assignment. If you do, then you’ll need to provide students with a rubric on what you’re looking for as far as participation, creativity, effort, overall design, and the point value assigned to each category. Provide this ahead of time so students know how they will be graded. If they think this is just a “for fun” assignment, then some may choose not to participate.
At the end of the school year, or when you decide to change décor, allow students to take down their own work and take it home. I have a great collection of work from Spanish class that I still have to this day. Students may not remember all the Spanish you tried to teach them, but they will remember the impact you made on their lives. Keep this in mind as you go along this school year. Good luck! And may the force be with you!!
Every year, Americans around the nation get together to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month from September 15th through October 15th. The contributions Hispanic Americans have made to the United States are endless and inspiring, and they have had a profound and positive impact on our county.
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