Well, school just got back into full swing as we returned to having students on Tuesday. My goals this year are to worry less about the actual storytelling (because it seems to be coming more and more naturally) and to instead worry about my students. Last year I noticed I did better at monitoring students' lack of understanding. That seems to be more heightened this year.
The first day went very well. I think I got the idea from Ben Slavic to teach the first day while slowly teaching the classroom expectations during the first week or two. Most kids aren't going to listen anyway if you just give them a list of rules the first day. I wouldn't listen if someone did that to me. So the idea is to show that everyday we will be learning Spanish (even on the first day). This helps me set the tone for the year. It also is very common that teachers might think of the first day where they don't have to teach very much and they can use it as a sort of day off. I would rather be teaching though than babysitting. If I am babysitting the kids, there are always more personality conflicts and kids not doing what they should be doing. I think the best way to have a "day off" (of classroom management problems) is to teach. When kids are engaged, they cause fewer problems.
For Spanish 1 and 8th grade, they drew a picture of something that they like to do and we started talking about me and how "The teacher plays guitar" (in Spanish). Then we circled that information a little bit. Afterwards, I moved on to a student or two and compared and contrasted their activities to mine. This is another idea I have gotten (and used before) from Ben Slavic. The more I do it, the better I get at throwing out more language to the students in a comprehensible way and also doing more short grammar explanations.
For Spanish 2, I had them draw two pictures about what they did over the summer. The idea was to review stuff from last year while throwing in some new information and getting to re-familiarize myself with them. I did notice that I would throw in some structures from last year and check for comprehension and most of my students from last year would remember those structures. The only difficulty is that I have students who had the previous Spanish teacher (the year before I came) and they have no clue what we're talking about. They did grammar-based homework out of the textbook all year. Guess how great that was for their acquisition of the language! Yep. Not so great. So they are keeping me mindful of making sure I do go slow and point and review even more so the structures from last year.
All in all, they were both good days. On day 2, we continued the activities and they'll probably take me a few weeks to finish. If I finish early in a class with getting to know everyone, hopefully we'll have plenty of fodder from different things we talked about to create short narratives or I can do some one-word images. I already notice myself going off on tangents and asking about the names of the chicken they play soccer with or anything else that might be relevant to make it interesting.