I’m Not Willy Wonka

There’s no everlasting gobstopper or golden ticket to keep slow the summer down… if you are not back in the classroom already, you’re getting ready to go. In 9 days, my son will move to college for his first year, I’ll have an empty nest for the first time in 25 years, I will start back to school for my 30th year, and I will probably cry about any one of these factors… more than once.

That said, I’ve been thinking of back to school and some things I want to try this year. I have done Card-Talk to begin the year every year for… MANY years. Like 15-16 years! But I was thinking about something that might be a variation and also a variation of AnneMarie Chase’s game Mientes con todos los dientes.

Here’s the change I am considering: In Spanish 2, students traditionally draw something they did over the summer on their name card. We talk about each student in the class as we get some great Spanish input in the past tense… but what if I gave them a card with three lines. They could write two things they did and one they did not do (marking the lie for me). I could bring 2-3 kids to the front, collect their cards, and do my circling and discussing the kids by asking the class which they think are the lies and who they think did each activity… It would keep one kid from being on the spot at a time and it would lend itself well to introducing they forms and direct questioning to the students “on stage”.

In Spanish 3 we do goals for the year. This would also lend itself to the variation… In Spanish 4, we do different imperfect subjunctive prompts each year… this year I was thinking “if I had a thousand dollars I would…” I feel like it would be more fun to try to guess who would buy a car and who would buy a giraffe than just “revealing” what each student would buy!

I’ll let you know how it goes. No sugarcoating the ups and downs! Hope your year begins well and that you find a lot of joy in the classroom this year.


  1. ❤️ it! I have actually done weekend chat like this but I have never read Anne Marie’s blog about it. I just called it Weekend Chat with a Twist. Nor have I done it at the beginning of the year. Thank you for that! I have 2 adaptations; they tell 2 truths and 1 lie-the students guess the lie. And the other adaptation; the students create 2 lies and 1 truth-the students guess the “hidden truth”. Whoever stumps the class gets a prize. The students are engaged and lots of communication happens.
    *One more twist that I do is weekend chat on Friday as a weekend preview, what are they going to do this weekend, with the same variations from above being rotated in throughout the year.

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