It's the beginning of a new school year! Here are a bunch of activities I typically use to start off the year right - staying in the target language as much as possible and making students feel welcome and successful right off the bat. Links should take you directly to the page where you can find the original resource. This is a work in progress - some items may not be linked yet or may have incomplete descriptions. If you need more information now, or if you see an activity or resource that is not properly cited back to its original creator, please let me know. Enjoy!
P.S. While compiling this list, I've realized just how amazing the internet is for connecting teachers from all over the globe with free resources and encouragement. It's incredible. Thank you to all who share their great work.
First Day Name Tags (Originally from Ben Slavic's Circling with Balls. It's been a while since I've actually done the circling part of this activity, but in the chaos of a first day, the name tag gives students something productive to do as soon as they enter the room, and gives teacher time to handle attendance and the unexpected things that will inevitably come up! Here are my versions, in English for lower levels and Spanish for higher levels.)
About Me Presentation (Definitely check out the original at Creative Language Class, incredibly effective activity for keeping class entirely in the target language right from the beginning of the year and making students feel successful.)
Syllabus Treasure Hunt (Not sure where I originally got this idea from, but my activity is in a Google Form, so I use it as a way to get my students hooked up to our Google Classroom and I also enter it as their first quiz grade, to give them a nice A to start the year! I usually keep my syllabus quite simple: one page doubled-sided, with a short & sweet parent/guardian letter attached.)
Student Inventory (Check out all of the Student Inventory ideas at Cult of Pedagogy! Mine is a Google Form so that all info is automatically entered into an easy-to-maintain spreadsheet.)
Classroom Expectations Activity (Coming soon! Not sure where this activity came from originally.)
Plagiarism Activity (I believe this activity was created by the amazing Señorita Cassella. It's two parts: an article on plagiarism and a student response sheet. It is adapted for the World Language classroom to address overuse of online translators. I am working on a scavenger hunt-style version that will definitely be a Google Form so it can easily be counted as a quiz. Check back soon!)
Emergency Routines & Procedures (Coming soon... I developed this one on my own and do it using the same strategies I use with the 'About Me' activity. I started including lockdown procedure this year with all of the scary stuff going on these days. Another way for students to receive input in the target language, feel successful, and also get very important information about fire drills & lockdowns.)
¿Puedo ir al baño? (This activity includes photos taken from around the school and teaches younger students the different parts of the school while also teaching them the procedure you want them to follow when asking to leave class for any reason. I usually end with Señor Wooly's hilarious "¿Puedo ir al baño?" song.)
Proficiency Tacos (Explain the concept of a proficiency-based class with this fun activity! Originally discovered at Creative Language Class (this is where you can find the cards that students will need to do the activity), created by French teacher Sylvain F.)
Label the Classroom (I created this activity as a last-minute idea one day when I had not anticipated that most of the class would be away, leaving only about five kids. It worked out great - the students had fun sticking labels in all sorts of weird spots throughout the room, and my classroom became full of written language input for all classes to see! The only modification I would make is to provide the labels pre-made for students to ensure correct spelling.)