My high school Spanish teacher called the daily bellwork/entry task for her classes “La Campanada” (the ring of the bell), and I like the way it sounds, so I use it as well. The Campanada is a key component of my lesson plans because it helps with classroom management (students have a task to complete as soon as they enter the classroom) and it helps them access background knowledge and prepare for the day’s lesson.
- As students enter the room, they sit down at their seats and begin the task outlined on the Campanada (with some encouragement from me, of course!).
- As soon as the bell rings, I take attendance and then walk around the room with my seating chart and mark which students are satisfactorily completing the Campanada and which students are not.
- If they are not working on their Campanada, I mark a little X on the seating chart, and this negatively affects their Work Habits grade for the quarter. By the time that I’ve gotten around to all students, only 3-5 minutes of class time have passed. This is enough for me to address start-of-class issues, for students to exit the hallway mindset and enter the Spanish mindset, and recall what we’ve been working on in class.
- Finally, we review the Campanada and move on to the lesson. Sometimes, “reviewing the Campanada” turns into the first activity for class.
I have several fairly standard options for the Campanada:
- Personalized questions to which students must respond with complete sentences in Spanish. This is great because it gives all students an opportunity to formulate a response, which results in better class discussions. I use this as the Campanada 3/5 days in a week, on average. (See the ‘¿Cuántos hermanos tienes?’ example below.) In this case, reviewing the Campanada could take 10 or 15 minutes, or it could take up the rest of the class period; depending on how the discussion goes.
- Statements or stories to translate from Spanish-English or English-Spanish, depending on how familiar students are with the vocabulary (see the story translation example below).
- A writing prompt asking students to write a short story using two-three target terms (ex: Write a short story that includes the terms “tiene”, “va”, and “está enojado”.)
- An excerpt from a class story with key details eliminated, requiring students to fill in the blanks and then translate the passage. (see the example below).
- A short reading selection for which students must write four questions; one for each QAR
While there are many different philosophies out there for how to best start class–as in what kind of mood you want to set–I have settled on this quite calm, fairly academic option because my classes tend to get crazy (engaging/lively/fun–not out-of-control…although that’s been known to happen). If I started class off on a lively note, things would spin out of control by the end of the class period. This is a time for my students to get in the Spanish mindset: once there, our adventure begins :).