Break time can be a challenging time for language teachers, as it can be difficult to keep students motivated and engaged in the material. However, there are several strategies and activities that can help teachers maintain a positive and productive learning environment, both before and after a break. In this blog post, we’ll explore 10 activities that Spanish teachers can use to keep their students motivated and on track, both before and after a break.
Before the Break
Corrections & Iterations
Encourage students to take responsibility for their learning by allowing them to correct their own test mistakes. This will not only help them identify and fix their errors, but it will also give them a sense of ownership over their learning. Encourage students to explain their corrections and revisions to their classmates or on this worksheet. This will not only help them clarify their own understanding of the material, but it will also give them practice communicating in the target language.
In addition to correcting their own test mistakes, you can also have students revise and improve their previous assignments or projects. This allows them to apply the skills and knowledge they’ve learned in a more open-ended and creative way. I also give students an opportunity to complete a capstone project on a topic of their choice, which lets them dig deeper into topics we’ve seen in class and explore topics we haven’t covered.
Overall, the goal of the correction and iteration process should be to empower students to take control of their own learning and to help them develop the skills and strategies they need to continue growing and improving as language learners.
Reflections and Goal-Setting
Have students reflect on their progress so far and set goals for the rest of the term. This will give them a sense of direction and purpose, and will help them stay motivated and focused. Encourage students to set both short-term and long-term goals, as this can help them stay focused and motivated in the short term while also providing a sense of direction and purpose in the long term.
One fun activity before break could be having students create a vision board or collage to represent their goals visually. This can be a fun and creative way for students to think about what they want to achieve.
Consider incorporating goal-setting activities into your lesson plans for the rest of the term. For example, you could have students set a goal for the week or month, and then check in on their progress periodically to see how they are doing. Here’s a no-nonsense reflection worksheet you can use with your students.
Reviewing previous material is always a good idea before a break, as it helps students retain what they’ve learned and sets them up for success when they return. Consider using games, quizzes, or other interactive review activities to make the process more enjoyable. Check out this post about reteach and review.
I don’t recommend assigning work over the break (it’s more work for them AND you!), but you can encourage students to engage with the target language as much as possible. This free practice choice board gives students plenty of ideas for practicing over a break.
Coming Back from Break
It’s likely that students will need some extra support to get back into the swing of things after a break. Consider setting aside time for reteaching or reviewing key concepts and skills to help students get up to speed. One idea for after break is to have students create a study guide or cheat sheet to review key concepts and ideas. This can be a helpful tool for them to refer back to as they continue their studies. These portfolio projects are a great resource for structuring a bigger review.
Jump in with a Speaking Activity
This speaking-based Bingo game is a fun, interactive activity that helps students connect with one another after a break. Students ask each other questions, and practice vacation vocabulary and past or present tenses.
An alternative activity that I love after break is having students create collages of their break using Jamboard, and encouraging them to write a few sentences about what they did during the break. You can also use games or activities that involve talking, such as “20 Questions” or “Two Truths and a Lie.” These types of activities are not only fun and engaging, but they also help students practice their speaking skills in a low-stress environment.
As with before the break, setting goals can be a helpful way to keep students motivated and focused after a break. Encourage students to think about the progress they have made so far and what they still hope to accomplish. This can help them set more meaningful and relevant goals. Have students set new goals for the rest of the term and create a plan for how they will achieve them. Finally, consider using goal-setting tools or techniques, such as SMART goals (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound), to help students set more effective and realistic goals. This can be especially helpful for students who may struggle with goal-setting or who may need additional guidance and support.
With these six activities, you can help your students stay motivated and engaged, both before and after a break. Whether it’s reviewing previous material, setting goals, or playing a fun review game, there are plenty of strategies that can help keep students on track and ensure that they make the most of their language learning experience.
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