Thursday, September 7, 2017

Play-Doh in the WL Classroom; First Day Activities

Love those smiles!
When students come back to school after a long summer vacation, they, like the teachers, are adjusting to the new norm of school hours: waking up early, classes, quizzes and grades, sports practices, etc. However, those summer memories are still fresh in their minds and they don't want to let them fade away.

Perfect! They want to keep their summer memories vivid by talking about them and I want to encourage those conversations in the target language. 

As I chatted in Spanish with my Sp4+ students on our first day back to school, I held a plastic bag of Play-Doh behind my back. I wanted to reach into the bag behind my back and, ta-dah, produce a colorful container of Play-Doh to get a reaction from the students. Instead, my bag twisted and I struggled to pull out the Play-Doh. The suspense built and the students started guessing the contents in the bag, including guesses on what food it might be. (They know me well.)   

When I eventually managed to pull out the Play-Doh, I instructed them to create something that represented what they did over the summer. 

After students completed their sculptures, they took turns telling the class what they did. I built on what they said with follow-up questions to both the student and others in the class.

What a playful way to ease back into Spanish class! It was fun, it allowed students to revisit their childhood by creating with Play-Doh, and best of all, we learned about each other using the target language. 
More Play-Doh creations by Ephrata students

Play-Doh on Day One is a staple activity for my Spanish 4+ classes. I keep a bag of Play-Doh containers in my classroom cabinet. When I see a sale on Play-Doh, I add it to my stash so it's stocked and ready for Day One. My Spanish 4 classes have their photo activity for Day One and in Spanish 2, we start with students sketching 3 things on card stock or construction paper: what they like to do, what their favorite class was last year, and either their favorite vacation or anything else they wanted to chat about. 

Fun class for students; fun DAY for me. 

The photo on the right are Play-Doh creations by Señor Cerullo's students that he shared on Twitter.   


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