Let’s talk about policies for your classroom management to help make next year go smoothly for you! These classroom rules in Spanish class can help set boundaries right from the start. Specifically we’re going to chat about late work, cell phones, and retake policies. These can be tricky, so we definitely want to be setting boundaries and expectations right from the start.
We’re going to talk about why we should consider these policies before the school year even starts, what these policies might look like, and how to communicate them to students and guardians. Let’s get right into it!
Classroom Rules in Spanish Class
So if you’ve seen my post on creating a syllabus for your classroom, you know that I think it’s important to consider and decide your classroom rules and policies before you actually NEED them. This way you’re not coming up with things on the fly!
It’s really nice when you’re having a conversation with a student or parent and you can just point to the policies that you’ve had in place. No one can accuse you of “picking” on one particular student – you’ve had this expectation in class all along.
Sometimes your school has a policy already, but not always. There are a few things that I think belong on your syllabus that if your school doesn’t have a plan in place, you need to come up with your own. We’re going to talk specifics about these classroom rules in Spanish classes.
For all of these, I’m just going to share what I’ve done in my classes. They’re not perfect, neither am I, but maybe you can either use them as a jumping off point, or try it and tweak it for your own classroom!
As a quick reminder, my experience has been as an elective class, for 8th-12th grade students, who are in a 1:1 setting.
What is your late work policy for Spanish class?
Let’s chat about a late work policy first. If you get it to me before my final deadline at the end of the semester, I’ll take it without penalty. I don’t do the whole “10% off per day” or “1 point off per day” thing. For one, that’s just more headache for me. Second, that doesn’t really show me their understanding of the assignment. It just shows that they were disorganized, forgetful, had other priorities, or didn’t want to do it. They’re human and I want to give that grace as they’re balancing a LOT of things on their plates.
However, my schools have always had SOME sort of cut off for when I can put in grades. Plus, I am only human. This means that I take the date the school gives me and then give myself a 1-2 week cushion. Then I tell my students about that deadline, daily, constantly, consistently, annoyingly, for about 2 weeks before the actual deadline. I email about it, then loop in guardians. I post in Google Classroom, I do the whole shebang. If there’s a way to communicate a message, it’s happening!
Does everyone get in all their missing work? No. But they have the opportunity. Do I still have kids who INSIST I never mentioned the deadline? Sure do. But this mostly works, and I cover my bacon by posting it, emailing it, and announcing it everywhere.
Retake Policy for Spanish Class
There is an exception to my late work rule. It’s part of my retake policy, so let’s chat about that next. When it comes to formative assessments like exit and entrance tickets, I build in 2-3 tries throughout the chapter. Students retake them throughout the unit anyways, so they’re not such a big deal. Plus, they’re just a smaller deal anyways, that’s part of being a formative!
For summative assessments like chapter tests or projects, I do allow retakes, but there’s a little bit of a process. In my first years of teaching, I was never against retakes. However, I did struggle with how to organize retakes in a meaningful way for my students and simple for me.
I (finally) wiggled my way to a system that I was pretty happy with and it looks something like this:
- Students complete an assessment AND receive feedback. (Sometimes students approach for a retake before receiving feedback because it “didn’t feel good”. I always tell them to wait to see the feedback. If they want to they can start brainstorming their plan.)
- In order to do a retake on a learning target students must submit a retake plan with four activities to practice that target. If they want to do multiple learning targets from a test, multiple retake plans are needed. If they are missing work that is part of this learning target, ALL missing work must be completed as part of their plan.
- They submit the plan to me for approval via Gmail and I will make suggestions or approve the plan. This step seems like busy work to a lot of them. However, I’ve found that some students struggle to come up with appropriate practices. This is a vital step to make sure the practices are actually useful! My department worked together to come up with a choice board for each retake plan, but some students still struggle.
- Next, they complete their plan, and show proof of completion: screenshots, completed practice activities, recordings, etc. I go through it with them and provide feedback. Sometimes, this feedback means to do more practice. It might also mean schedule 1:1 time with me or a tutor to help them really lock it down.
- Finally, we schedule & do the actual retake. Then I grade it, and the second score replaces whatever they got on that section before, for better or worse.
A few notes – the actual retake IS a different test than the first. Students don’t get a second shot at something they’ve already seen. This can be a little tricky, but it’s where my department worked together to make that happen.
Some students HATE the fact that the second score replaces their original score, but I have always felt like it just makes sense. I’d love to hear your thoughts on that!
High School Cell Phone Policy
Last but not least – the dreaded CELL PHONE policy. If your school doesn’t have a cell phone policy, how do you handle these? I’ll be the first to say I’m not a fan of how they distract the kids. I also HATE playing whack-a-mole trying to get them put away. Here’s how I balance that line:
- Cell phones aren’t to be out in the classroom.
- If one kid is on it, staring at it, but not bothering classmates with it, I’ll remind them once. Then I move on. There’s at least 25 other kids who need me.
- If it is a consistent problem over a week, I email them, CCing guardians.
- If it continues, I email again, CCing guardians, and point to their grade as necessary. I offer them to come up with a plan for their success. This might be dropping their phone off at my desk for the class period.
- Monitor and continue the conversation as necessary.
- IF they are on their phone and bothering classmates or detracting learning in some way, they put it on the ledge of the whiteboard for the remainder of the class period. If that is an issue for them, they get choice of ledge or walking to the office to drop it off.
It’s mostly hands off, although I know when you multiply that by 25-30 students it can feel like a lot. My feelings are that if the school allows cell phones at all, it’s such a losing battle. I could spend all day reminding them to put it away, then class would be over.
Sometimes, I communicate with guardians, and we really get somewhere. Sometimes, I send an email that goes unanswered. In that case, sometimes I move to their counselors, or even their coaches if available. Just depends on the kid and the situation!
Communicating Classroom Rules in Spanish Class
Once you’ve decided on your classroom rules for your Spanish students, you need to communicate them with your students, guardians, and even your admin! (Check out my post here to learn why I think that last step is important!)
If you’d like an easy template to make your own syllabus for Spanish class where you can put all of your classroom policies and info, click here to download an editable template! The wording is already in place for you, so you don’t have to fret over finding just the right words.