Tis the time of year for distractions...EOC's, AP Exams, Finals, Field Trips, College Visits, you name it...it's that time of year.
Today, I want to share an activity that I use when class numbers are small & the kids have little to no motivation...best news: you get to sit...Yes, sit! :) And...NO PLANNING! Say what?!?!
I call it: Circle Up! Give the kids a break from the pen & paper and bring in some fun, interaction, and a no pressure review. Have every kid grab a chair, move the desks if needed (especially if you plan to do this all day with your classes), and make a big circle. You get to bring your nice comfy rolling chair over to the circle too (if you have one - mine is a $200 Staples Office Chair but purchased for $30 at yard sale). Sorry, I have a problem bragging about my bargains! Anyways...
Once everyone is in the circle if you have a large or rowdy class, you want to set some expectations right there. Probably not a bad idea to just do it anyways no matter what type of class you have!
I tell my kiddos:
First, do not be chatting with your friend beside you. I tell my kids everyone today will get 15 points participation grade IF you are doing the activities and paying attention. If you are talking or off task, that will come off your personal grade.
Next, tell them everyone is expected to try. None of that "Do we have to play?!" Yep, you do and if you don't, it's your participation grade. Once the kids get playing, they will bug you all the time to "Circle Up"
Finally, no screaming the answers UNLESS the teacher says so.
So what are you doing in this circle? Well, you can do all kinds of things & here are some ideas:
1. Verb Conjugation Circles - Teacher picks a verb, and the students must go around in the circle and conjugate it. Want to make it harder? Tell them to make a sentence out of it.
Example) 1st student - Yo como pollo, next: tu comes mucho, next: ella come en la clase, next: nosotros comemos pizza, etc.
You can even set a timer and see if the class can beat the timer around the room but warning: go on and write down some planned infinitives on a note card or they'll get mad at you for taking up thinking time (yes, I speak from experience).
2. Keep the conversation going - This is a fun one. One student starts the conversation and the next must reply and keep it going, then the next, and next. So yes, it can be a conversation intended for 2 people but 10 people reply to it, and keep it going. Imagine below in a circle:
Example) Hola Bob - Buenas tardes Johnny - Como estas hoy? - Estoy muy bien, y tu - Estoy mal - por que - tengo examen en mi clase - lo siento - si es muy dificil.
(Sorry no accents - that drives me a little crazy) but anyways this is a really fun one and puts a lot of pressure (but fun pressure) to keep it going. I told the kids if they could keep it going around the whole class one day, I would bring them candy the next day. Yes, they did it and I bought Jolly Ranchers for everyone!
3. Pasa el sombrero - Get a cheap straw sombrero (Dollar Tree) or ball, or any item really and play some music. I usually use a dock (I found a cheap one at a yard sale for $2 - BARGAIN) and I use my phone since I don't want to get up and keep running to my computer. Once the music stops, whoever is holding the hat, ball, whatever...must answer a review question (feel free to prepare them beforehand, use your review already made, or pull them from the top of your head) or have them answer a Spanish question.
Example) Cuantos anos (oops) tienes? - I mean years, years, years...not the other word LOL
Anyways, they must answer or they get another question.
4. Rojo VS. Azul - Make it competitive and assign each kid a color. Go in order & make them say it - rojo, azul, rojo, azul, rojo, azul, etc. You can now make it a competition whether it's answering a questions, keeping the conversation going, etc.
5. Listening Challenge - Speak in Spanish telling a mini story then attach a question to the story & the kids must answer the question that went along with your story. I usually like to do about 5 questions for each little story. This is a good idea to go on and prepare the listening stories beforehand or you'll be scratching your head in that moment. If you're playing team games if the person does not know the answer, they can use a "Ask a friend" lifeline...this allows to get the "other" side of the circle involved.
6. Numbers Challenge - Need a number practice day? Tell the kids the range of numbers 1- 100 and counting by 10's or 1 - 30 counting by 1's, the 100's...etc.
Example) uno - dos - tres, cuatro - cinco, etc.
Whoever forgets their number is out - I make the kids sit on the back of their chairs or on the floor in front of their chair when they are out. You should have two kids left battling it out for the ultimate victory.
7. Infinitive Blast - Did your kiddos learn lots of verbs this year? Put them to the test with Infinitive Blast. Circle up, first kid says an infinitive "Comer" and the next kid must do a conjugation of the infinitive "ellos comen" then the third kid would say another infinitive "bailar" and the fourth kid would say a conjugation of bailar "yo bailo" and so one.
The possibilities are endless with Circle Up & like I said...you get to sit, enjoy your kiddos, and NO planning. Have an idea of which activities you would like to do and depending on the personalities of your class...it can get REALLY fun!
Either way, it makes for an easy day & lots of learning and also it's great to show YOU what your kids know!!! :)
Have a great rest of the year readers!
God Bless Each of You,
SIDE NOTE: If you made it all the way down here, congratulations because that was a huge post but I didn't want to seem lazy saying "Hey, you get to sit all day" Sitting for me is amazing because well, I will be welcoming baby #2 in December!!!
Sorry, not being lazy, just being comfortable! But some days...it's nice to be able to rest our feet :)