For many years I started class with the classic “warm up”. I would spend many hours trying to come up with the best worksheets that I thought would motivate and help my students. Sometimes I would start my class with a listening activity or getting into a grammar powerpoint right away. Specially when I had classes of only 40 minutes long.
It wasn´t until I started working with Comprehensible Input, that I realized that no matter the level of the class, it is a good practice to start each one trying to connect with the students in a more relaxed way. Instead of trying to find ways to review the pre taught topics or to reinforce them, I realized that students will get into the “Spanish zone” if I asked simple questions about their daily lives. About what was important right at that moment when we started class.
I realize that this might not be possible with students new to the language, but we can still connect with them in their native language at the same time that we choose 5 to seven words to translate in the TL while they are sharing. At these initial levels we can also recast (repeat in the TL) what they are saying in their native language, just to expose them to some listening input.
I was able to see a big difference in my students SL acquisition once I stopped doing the traditional and boring warm ups. By talking to them, and showing honest interest in their answers we can take their language skills further.
Listen HERE an example on how I always start my levels 3, 4 and 5 classes. As my dear friend Viviana Orozco made me realize, you do not need to be as annimated or extroverted as I am, we can all start class the right way if we have the honest intetion to connect with them, not with the subject.
Please let me know if you have any questions. Your kind comments are appreciated.
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