How do YOU warmup your class?

I know that every teacher has his or her bell-ringer or warmup, usually to keep the students focused, engaged, and quiet, while the teacher takes roll.  I too looked for something and here’s what I do:

First, the name: Tapa del Día.  If you don’t know what tapas are in Spanish culture, click HERE.

Every day when the students enter the classroom, I have a PowerPoint slide on the screen with the date in Spanish, a Spanish idiom (the tapa), and “anuncios” for any upcoming events such as a test or meet-the-teacher night for parents.  The students write the Spanish phrase on their calendar (which is my way of encouraging them to pay attention to what’s coming up).  I then allow them to guess what they think the phrase means and many times, they can figure out a direct translation.  What’s fun is that most of the idioms do not mean anything obvious to the students when directly translated.  This is because each language has its own idioms.  I then tell them our English equivalent and make it into a life lesson.  Sometimes I have to look up the English explanation for the English equivalent because it’s not one to which I’ve already been exposed.  For example…

Antes que te cases mira lo que haces.
Literally means: Before you marry look what you are doing.
The English equivalent is: Look before you leap. From HERE

This leads into a brief discussion (can be done in English but better in Spanish) about weighing options and putting a lot of thought into big decisions.  My students especially love the ones where I share an embarrassing story.  Even if it’s done in Spanish and is providing them an opportunity for comprehensible input, they enjoy it.

I have enough for every single day of the school year.  So how did I get this list?  Google!  I googled “Spanish Idioms” and here’s what I GOT.  This can be useful for teachers of ANY language.

So… What do YOU do to warmup your class?

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