Classroom Management Part 1.2: Fiestas

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One of my most read blogs was my post on my  Classroom Management point system.  I constantly get tons of GREAT feedback from teachers who decide to experiment and use arbitrary points to motivate their students and create an incredible classroom culture and community.

I wanted to give everyone ideas for the many different “fiestas” or parties you can do at the end of the “point earning” to reward students for their efforts to stay in the target language and make your class time together awesome! 🙂

Two notes before I explain these different fiestas:

  • NEVER offer up ALL of these ideas every time they earn enough points. I change my point system through out the year (ever so slightly) to keep it novel and keep kids invested. I will blog about that soon. However, each time they “win” the fiesta, I find it is best to give them 2-3 party ideas to vote on. You want to save parties for different times of the year so that there is novelty and variety.
  • Don’t make this hard on yourself! 🙂 Remember, the first “fiesta” should come fairly early on in the year, maybe after 4 weeks. That way you get BUY in…. after that, YOU manipulate the points to decide WHEN the parties are going to be. Try and manipulate them so you can have every class’ party on the same day… I prefer it that way at least. If a class earns a fiesta faster than others, I just tell them that I don’t have “approval” from my principal to have the fiesta until later, that way it gives the other classes time to catch up. 😉

Jeopardy

Jeopardy in Spanish. I LOVE jeopardy in Spanish. Jeopardy labs is this AMAZING website that Mary Overton found a few years ago when we taught in Denver together. You can create your own Jeopardy game. I am lazy and rarely write the “question” to be revealed…. I am always looking for ways to save time 😉 Here is an example of one of my class’ “fiesta” jeopardy. Here is a video of jeopardy with one of my classes.

  • You do need little white boards and markers (one per team) for this fiesta
  • Have students form teams
  • Instruct students to come up with team name (in TL) and gesture to go with that name (ex. Los Gatos Locos-the crazy cats accompanied by a clawing with both hands)
  • Have each group say their name and do their gesture (COORDINATING AT THE SAME TIME) and explain that THAT action will act as their buzzer. (That way if everyone writes quickly but only one group is perfectly coordinated  THEIR’S is the answer you read first.)
  • You can set lots of different teams. You can also assign EXTRA points for things like:
    • Effort
    • Sportsmanship
    • Positivity
      • Some teachers like to deduct points but as you know, I like to keep my classroom all positive and if I reward the good behavior I see, I tend to see more of what I want
  • It is really important (I have found) to establish GAME RULES
    • NO ARGUING with the teacher
      • What I say is final, the points I assign are final… If you whine, you may cost your team points
    • This is the ONE time spelling and punctuation MAY count…
      • If your team finishes at the exact same time as another, but YOUR team has correct spelling or a period in the right place, YOUR team will get the points.
    • Your team (your ENTIRE team) must do the gesture and say your team name in order for me to look at your white board.
  • WARNING…. this game can get incredibly competitive…I only play it with classes that I know the competitive spirit will be great and not damage the classroom culture and relationships I have worked hard to build with my students

Get Outside

Outside Games. The fall and spring are absolutely beautiful in Louisiana. I take my classes outside on normal days, so I definitely offer it up for party days.

  • Students (of all ages) LOVE children’s games. I like to find ways to convert these games into Spanish.
    • Pato Pato Oca- Duck duck goose (it is particularly hysterical to watch high school students playing this one, giggling as if they were in Kindergarten)
    • Freeze tag- but when students go through each other’s legs, they have to say something in Spanish
      • if a girl is wearing a skirt then students have to run in a circle twice around that student
    • Marco Polo- but instead of an individual, a small GROUP of students try to find everyone else and they say “¿Dónde están?”-Where are y’all? while everyone else yells “aquí aquí” – here here
    • Serpent- Serpiente which is the extreme Rock Paper Scissors game you can read about here. Here is a video
    • Evolution- the other extreme Rock Paper Scissors game, and a video
    • Mafia- I play the “shorter” versions I blogged about when we go outside

Food

Students are obsessed with eating and so am I….

  • Have kiddos sign up for dishes to bring
  • I love to make my food fiestas “cultural” by asking that they bring a dish from another country but it could be anything really
  • Play music in the background and chow down!
    • Depending on the level of the class, sometimes I request that we speak only in the TL during these fiestas

Specialty Food

Some of you teachers are super cool and can cook (and actually enjoy that sort of thing) if that is YOU, then you may enjoy doing something like this:

  • French teachers have a crepe party and you make Crepes for everyone
  • Spanish teachers have a Pupusa party and make one for each student

Movie TIME

Now, I personally LOVE to expose my students to the beauty of watching their favorite movies IN SPANISH. Some teachers say, if they’ve earned the points they don’t care about losing a day of Spanish and letting their students watch a movie in English. It is up to you…

  • Make sure you pre-approve the movie with admin to avoid problems later.
  • I like to give students a choice between 3 movies (the day of the fiesta)
  • We watch the movie (almost always one they know VERY WELL) in Spanish with English subtitles…(unless it is a more advanced class and then we watch with Spanish subtitles)
    • This year we watched, Monster’s Inc., Moana, and Sandlot in three classes
  • Sometimes, depending on the time of year and my willingness to clutter my room for the day, I allow students to bring in pillows and blankets to “get comfy”

Board Games

I have a bunch of board games in Spanish that were left in my room from the previous teacher.

  • Apples to Apples (great vocabulary builder)
  • Guess Who? (amazing for questioning)
  • Bingo
  • Lotería
  • Scrabble

Theatre Games

So many of us CI teachers, are also drama coaches or teachers, or we dabbled in theatre before becoming teachers. I have 5 blogs (seriously… I have 28 blog drafts right now… ugh! so much to write so little time) that speak about different theatre games individually so I won’t take much time describing them here, but I will link to them once I do finish writing them! For now, here are some videos. (Also, many amazing theatre teachers have already blogged about these, so if you ARE interested you can Google and check their blogs out!)

Señor Wooly “website” Day

Some of my students are so incredibly obsessed with Señor Wooly, they just BEG for more time to spend on his site.

  • I allow them to play nuggets or the video game. Most choose the video game.
  • The video game can’t be played on iPads yet… We book the computer lab for these fiestas

Songs and Señor Wooly “songs” Day

Often times, students just beg to watch their favorite Señor Wooly songs over and over the whole class time.

  • I don’t often offer this one up unless it is one of my more advanced classes. I do NOT show all the Señor Wooly songs at once. They are like little treasures that I save to surprise students with throughout the year. I only ever introduce them once they’ve acquired the language in the movie.
    • If I offered this one to some of my beginner classes we would literally be watching the same 2-3 videos the whole class time.
  • The “songs” part is for any other “songs of the month” we have done that they want to watch

Re-Watching our Favorite Movie Talks

My students love movie talks so much. Sometimes they are just desperate to watch them the whole way through without me touching the pause button and allllll too often I never leave enough time at the end of class to do that… (that MAY or may not be on purpose)

  • Have a list of movies that you’ve watched with each class ready (that way students can’t manipulate you into watching movies that maybe you watched with other classes and are saving for later)

Zumba

Everyone knows I have killer dance moves… I mean seriously…. 

  • Even though I am more than capable to lead my class in Zumba lessons, I let professionals do it instead.
    • I have had friends actually invite Zumba instructors in to lead classes! How cool would THAT be?!
  • It is not often I have a class who is super excited about dancing for a fiesta, but it does happen…. Of course, if you do have students who would rather sit out, let them, and give them some candy so they still are “rewarded” even if they are just watching
  • Video of Zumba

Brain Breaks

Yes, you ARE reading that correctly…. I REALLY have had classes ask for an entire party made up of Brain Breaks.

  • I find that when this happens it is ESSENTIAL to have your list of Brain Breaks posted and visible.
  • Students can vote on and pick their favorites

Mafia

It never fails to be a favorite and it is the BEST for Input Input Input

  • Sometimes my students choose Loup Garou over Mafia which is a game we made up based off of a unit I taught on the the Louisiana legend.
  • Even though it is a fiesta day, I require that we stay in the TL
  • If you have a Heritage student in your class (I hate it when this happens but it is the reality for so many) teach THEM how to lead Mafia and be the narrator, but teach them how to stay comprehensible by sheltering their language, going slowly, and creating suspense….
  • Video of Mafia

FREE GRADE!

When teaching Middle School and High School, some kids are just boring (or seriously grade motivated) and all they want is some sort of Grade in the Grade book

  • There are a variety of ways you can do this…
    • Give everyone a free homework pass
      • MAKE SURE TO DESIGNATE THE ASSIGNMENTS they are permitted to use the pass for
    • Give everyone a free assessment grade or quiz grade
      • If you want, you can say that they can choose the quiz they use the grade on

I hope that these ideas help you create some awesome fiestas for your students! 🙂 Remember, the more enthusiastic, passionate, and excited YOU are about the point system and parties, the more invested THEY will be.

Until next time,

HAPPY TEACHING! (or hopefully VACATIONING and SUMMER BREAKING by now!)

Love,

La Maestra Loca

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