How to Hook ’em!


Hey y’all!!!

I am fresh off of Day 2! Phew I am exhausted!!! We just fed, bathed and put kids to bed, I washed all my pumping parts (which takes up the entirety of my limited planning at work #worthit) packed my lunch, and now I am sitting down to chat with y’all before I shut down for the night to watch some netflix and cuddle my hubby!

In my new adventure using Patreon, anyone who chose the $2 tier or higher had the opportunity to vote on my next blog! The consensus was this… What are some general strategies we can use to “HOOK” students the first week, so they are eager to come back for more. Thanks for y’all’s input!

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This can be a challenge. We are up against LOTS of forces fighting against us. The number one being, students are coming to us fresh off of summer and they are EXCITED to see their FRIENDS and be SOCIAL again, not so excited about us demanding their precious attention in class.

I think it is ESSENTIAL to channel some of that energy and remember to do a few things:

  1. INTRODUCE YOURSELF- If you’re not willing to talk about who YOU are and WHY you’re there, you can’t expect them to open up and start creating meaningful relationships with you!
    • I love to do this with a slide show with pictures like THIS one of my sweet little family, and places I’ve traveled to.. They eat it up!
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      • I talk about these pictures MOSTLY in English so that their affective filters are LOW, and they aren’t struggling to make meaning but are comfortable and real with me while I am being real with them. I throw some TL words in there just to get their interest peaked and get them curious about how I am going to teach moving forward
  2. Start with a catchy/cool/different call response or transition. I used HOLA HOLA COCA COLA and “Qué Pasa? Calabaza!” last year… This year I introduced HOLA HOLA INCA COLA! and they’re so hyped up about it! Such a simple novel twist… I showed a picture of inca cola and told them about where it’s from and what it tastes like
    • Practice that a LOT
  3. Give them a chance to use that transition in the REAL life… Teach them a Brain Break (or one easy one every day, maybe brain breaks that build on each other….) an easy but fun one like rock paper scissors (my kids were excited to “review it” and new kids were super into it too) and then shout your transition/use your noise maker, and count how many times you have todo that before they follow the expectation that it is silent afterwards and all eyes on you. I do this on my fingers high above my head.
    • Praise praise praise for whatever they get (5 or under) and push them to do even better the next time (PRAISE IS ESSENTIAL HERE…. EVEN IF YOU FEEL LIKE THEY SHOULD HAVE DONE IT IN TWO)
  4. If you’re setting up rules and norms, routines, rituals, entering/exiting transitions, setting goals and more, DO all of that yes, BUT make sure to include LOTS AND LOTS of movement… Give them the opportunity to talk to LOTS of  people throughout the class. They’re going to want to do it anyways so build in that structured time for them! That way you’re not annoyed with side conversations and starting off frustrated.
    • Today, I had them play rock paper scissors with their feet, and when they heard me yell STOP! the person they were playing with was their partner…
    • Then after writing something together, we got in a circle next to our partners played zip zap zoom and then I paired them with the team standing next to them so they had a group of 4 to write some more
    • Finally we shared out our norms (what they were working on) with a Kagan strategy and danced (moved) to the music and when it stopped we shared with the person closest to us

All of these things require lots of quick pacing with CLEAR, CONCISE, instructions and modeling, which I will talk about more in a future blog! SO much to write about so little time!

I hope you’re all enjoying your first days back with students! I am thinking of you and sending you my love and positive energy!



La Maestra Loca

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  1. ¡Genial! Tengo que hablar contigo más porque me doy cuenta que utilizas Kagan. Nuestro edificio nos manda utilizar Kagan y para decir la verdad, muchas veces no tengo confianza de cómo debo/puedo incluirlo. Gracias de antemano.

    1. I will write a blog about the few strategies I use. You need to remind admin that for your class, student communication in the TL happens MUCH slower and later and you won’t be able to implement Kagan strategies in the same way that other classes are in order to inspire discussion. We shouldn’t force output but rather encourage it….

  2. Thank you for taking time to give inspiration. This gives me a chance to set up a positive first week back to school. My students love hola Coca Cola. I like the new twist. Thanks for always passing it forward.

    1. Ana, are you in?! I sent the invite to the Patreon email… if it isn’t associated with your facebook you need to edit your facebook settings first and change your email there. when you do that the link should work perfect! let me know!

  3. Hi! Newbie teacher here devouring the internet for any and all ways to learn how to teach Spanish to kids ages k-8th. Long story short I’m a native speaker and the school (private) desperately needed a teacher so here I am and starting on Monday. From what I’ve learned in the past few days CI is the way to go these days. Now my kids will be taking one Spanish class per WEEK. Is that not often enough for CI to work? Any and all advice would be sooo appreciated! Thank you for all your content, it’s helped me so much so far!!

    1. CI is the only ingredient that is absolutely essential to acquisition. With only one day a week it is just going to take much longer to get there. Be patient go so so so so so slow (especially as a native go 10 times slower than when you feel BORED you’re going so slow). Watch videos of people doing this online. Be patient with yourself and them and really just focus on them, fheir likes and interests… make them your content 🙂 it’ll be a great year!!!

  4. Hola! Thank you for sharing your energy, enthusiasm, and joy. My school is currently planning to return to campus in September and students will be 6 feet apart in the classroom and wearing masks. Any ideas on how to foster community, engagement, and interpersonal communication while adhering to social distancing guidelines? Gracias!

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