The first day of Spanish class. You want to be welcoming, you want the students to feel comfortable. You also want to set the expectation that this class is different. You want to maintain 90% of the class in the target language. It can be done. Here’ a few ideas.
One of the first things I do while taking attendance is establish the name students call me. After I say the students name, I prompt them to say “Hola, profe” or “Sí, profe”. If they say “Sí”, I will prompt them with what I want them to say. I make sure that they repeat it. I do this for the first several days. Sometimes I will just say a students’ name and look/nod at them and wait to them to say “Sí, profe”.
I then give the students an introduction of myself. I talk about where I am from, my family, my background in teaching and traveling, and my hobbies. During this period of time, I am speaking as if I am talking to a native speaker. I do not use visuals, I do not restate in simple terms/vocabulary. I do not give processing time. I then ask students what they understood. The response is usually not little if anything. Then, in Spanish, I explain that I am going to do it again, but this time differently.
I use this PowerPoint Template (you can download for free and input your own information). This time, I use visuals from the Powerpoint. I explain it in simple terms. I give processing time. I speak at a slower rate. I check the audience for understanding. I do everything I can to make it comprehensible.
Then I ask students to tell me what they understood. This time, they can tell me everything! I then ask them (in English) why they understood more the second time. I explain to them that I will be speaking to them in Spanish, BUT that it is my job to make it comprehensible to them. Their job is to be active listeners, because watching my gestures or visuals is important to their understanding. This helps them feel comfortable and not be so overwhelmed that I am just going to be rambling in Spanish.
On the second day, I like to do some sort of TASK that students have to accomplish. They have to listen to the instructions and follow along with what I am modeling. At the end of the class, I ask them if they were able to accomplish the task? When they say yes, I remind them that they were successful in accomplishing something and they didn’t need English to do it. One example is to have them set up their notebook, or you can have them create a passport booklet.