There are days in the classroom where our physical, emotional, and or mental abilities cannot match up to the expectations that we have set for ourselves in the classroom. Honoring ourselves and our space is vitally important; so what should we do with our students on those days? Here are some ways we can keep our students engaged and in the target language even when we can’t.
Play games! Who doesn’t love a game of Guess Who, Battleship, or Bananagrams in the classroom? These games take limited ability in the target language and allows students to practice repeated functional chunks with different lists of vocabulary. Simple decks of cards can go a long way too! Go fish, war, or crazy eights all can be played in the target language too!
Watch a silent film, and the students create the dialog! Thank goodness for youtube! There is a myriad of silent films in one place just begging to be watched by our classes. Let students create their own dialogue to the film. They can then share then out in a gallery walk! Some great examples of silent films are the Pixar shorts, Mr. Bean videos, and last night’s Oscar winner!
Students reflect on their growth in the language. Taking a day for students to look at their own work and measure their own proficiency level is vital to their own growth and goal setting in the classroom. If your students are struggling to know which level they are at, remind them to check out the proficiency level videos on the ACTFL website.
Do a group guided meditation! Meditation can help students and the teacher strengthen their self-regulation and their focus on coursework. It also boosts our overall health, reduces negative feelings, and fosters compassion. One class of guided mediation may give you the energy to go for the rest of the day!
Play fishbowl with your Organic Road Map! Fishbowl is a game that uses the three circumlocution skills. Put all your terms from your Organic Road map on slips of paper and into a fishbowl (or whatever you have laying around your classroom) Break your students into even groups. Each round can be 2-5 minutes long per group depending on how many groups your divided into. Round 1: Act out the words for your team to guess. Round 2: Draw out the words for your team to guess. Round 3: Use all the words you know to figure out the term. Students are having fun and reviewing all the great language you have created together.
Find an exercise video in the target language and do it together! Exercise can improve all of our physical and mental health by minimizing anxiety, depression, and disruptive behaviors. Not only will you all be up and moving, but you’ll be hearing all kinds of new language in the video!
Remember taking care of you first is the most important part of your day. There is only one you and your kids love you whether or not it’s the perfect class. Smile, take a breath, and enjoy the fun that can come from a day of not being able to do it; because you can do it!