Whoo hoo! I am having some fun with two activities.
First, I am using the “name game circle” warm-up that we learned from Dufeu’s book on PDL. It’s in three sections, all done from a circle. First pairs change places when they make eye contact. Once that’s comfortable, the pairs say their names to each other as they pass in the middle to trade places. After a while, the pairs make eye contact and try to say the other’s name as they’re trading places.
This was so much better than starting out by making people learn names around a circle. Kids “met” on an individual basis. We added some pieces to it in some classes, putting in time limits, or requiring everyone to trade at least three times, and so on. Doing it with just eye contact the first time made everyone much more confident in their interactions.
The next moment was the assigning of jobs. I have a timer and two counters on hangers next to my desk. I have a squeaky hedgehog on my desk too. Kids are now responsible for counting structures, writing quizzes and class information (separate), timing how long we spend in Russian, throwing the hedgehog at my feet if I spend more than 15 seconds on grammar or use up my three time-outs for extended English. Kids will take care of my desk, put up chairs, greet one another at the door if I’m not there, welcome visitors, keep the calendar, and manage the technology. Ben Slavic’s newest book (coming out again soon) has a list of some 60 jobs that kids can do in the classroom. He says that every kid should have a job. Some are very popular and need tryouts (throwing was key today), and others just fit kids perfectly.
A couple of less-than-enthusiastic kids became enthusiastic when jobs they liked opened up, and everyone thought it was really funny that someone gets to throw the hedgehog (at my feet/legs) if need be.
In my Russian 1 class, I channeled Katya, and stayed on “This is” most of the period. She went so slowly for the beginners in Chicago this summer that they all got it! I want to keep everyone on board for the whole year.