Wave at the bus

My first week of school is still three weeks out, but like everybody else I’m still thinking of what to do during the first week to kick things off. German I is easy–Circling with Balls and then I’ll get into questionairres. Last year that essentially was my entire first quarter, as I went slow, featured all my students, and really just had fun making up skits and readings off of that. This year I want to do more with making class books, so we can have some FVR material starting to get archived right off the bat.

German II/III/IV, though, is a bit trickier. My German III/IV combined class is always a bit of a mixed bag because I have some people who take a year off after completing German II who are going to take a while to get back up to speed. Add that into this year I’m looking to push some extremely advanced German I students, so I enrolled them in the III/IV class instead of the II. Combine that with my usual complement of IIIs and IVs with their normal range of abilities, and I’m going to have to differentiate quite a bit this year. So with them, we’ll need to do some community building across the board, and I”m not quite sold yet on how best to do that.

That said, what I DO want to pull out during the first week that will get us off with a good start is spending a day with the “Wave at the bus” site. IF you haven’t heard of it, last year a dad wanted to tell his Sophomore son he loved him by standing out in front of his house to wave at the bus as it passed each day. What he did, though, was dress up in a different costume for each of the 170 school days that year–Charger’s fan, Pirate, Michael Jackson, bride in wedding dress, etc. The blog that documents each day is right here:


For implementing this I’m thinking about using the structures “Waves”, “wears”, and “embarasses.” These are very PQA-able in their own right. We can practice various types of waves. We can role play different ways to show you are embarrassed.  We’ll ask questions something along the following lines: When do you wave at people? Who do you want to wave at you? Who DON’T you want to wave at you? Have your parents ever embarassed you? How could you embarass your sister/brother? What could you wear to embarrass your sister?  What could your parents wear to embarrass you? etc. etc.

Then when we get the conversations going pretty well, then I’ll describe the true story of how this dad embarrassed his son.  I’ll show a couple of pictures, then try and get them to guess additional costumes.  We’ll discuss what costume would be most embarrassing for their parents to wear for them personally and then see if we can find it on the list.

In the past, I would have worried that I might not have enough material here for an entire class period.  This year I’m accepting the responsibility to go slow enough that this will make it.  It will take a little bit longer to cover everything because I’ll be speaking slower, but I’m expecting the real boost in time to come from increased input from my students.  I’m going to go slow enough that they will understand me, and learn to recognize this year that somebody else is going to have to speak up more often this year, because I won’t fill in all the silence as much this year.  Looking forward to it!


5 responses to “Wave at the bus

  1. My apologies…I didn’t read our blog before I started writing today! What’s funny is that we overlapped a lot on today’s posts. I guess it’s not rocket science that teachers are all figuring out what they’ll do the first day. I like the “Wave at the Bus” a whole lot, because it is connected with emotion and nostalgia for those simpler years in high school kids’ lives. I might just have to try it.


  2. By the time school starts for me (a month from now!!!) I’ll have more ideas from you two than I’ll know what to do with!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :o)

    with love,


  3. I am going with the assigned seat thing for those combined classes, as I think we discussed elsewhere; last year my combined class never did jell because I thought they would without my help.


  4. You know, the same thing happened to me. My German III/IV combined class was always the class I wanted to give the freedom of choosing their seats as a reward for sticking with it and as a token of faith for their maturity, but what happened is that I had to be continually beating down turf wars and watching my class split into groups. By the end of the year we negotiated functional truces between the groups to the point we could call ourselves a class, but the process was way too drawn out for my taste. This year I’ll get some initial complaints from my German IVs who have always been able to choose their spots, but I can live with that.


  5. I plan to do the Wongs’ first-day structure stuff without talking about it: make very sure to finish each class so that I’m at the door greeting the next kids when they’re entering, and I will point to where I want them to sit. No choice. I’m also going to insist that kids bring their own pencils this year…or borrow from someone other than me so that they don’t show up at their first job interview without a writing instrument.

    There are other things that they’re going to need, but I’m not totally sure what they are. I have to make decisions. Re-writing the list as we speak.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s