Some of the most fun I had with students was during Spanish Club activities. Some clubs are for additional, informal conversation practice. Most of the ones I was involved with as a teacher were culturally themed. If you don’t have a club at your school, I highly recommend organizing one. Our Spanish club was an opportunity to further explore culture in Spanish-speaking countries with not only the students in our classes, but also those who weren’t taking Spanish. The club turned out to be excellent P.R for our program. A number of students who didn’t initially take Spanish, decided to take Spanish later. The club also exposed even more kids to the Spanish-speaking world. I also got the chance to get to know some wonderful kids who weren’t in my classes-yet. And for the kids I did teach, this was an informal way to work with things they learned in class and to get to know each other in a less formal setting. We were having fun-no grades involved and no performance anxiety.
The beauty of this kind of club is that anyone can participate. No athletic skill, academic average, musical ability, or popularity contest required. Everyone was welcome and there was always something everyone could do. It’s fun and-dare I say it-educational. It’s a way to open the world just a little more. You can do some activities that you otherwise might not be able to do in class. Our kids were proud of the club-we even had T-shirts (designed by the club members). It’s all great P.R, right?
So what did we do in the Spanish club? We made carnival masks, we had lots of parties, we learned dances, ate food, and even played in the annual Language Club Bocce Tournament. The bocce games were particularly fun, but sometimes troublesome for the students who took more than one language!
You may be thinking about the practicalities of the club. We met twice a month after school for an hour. I’ve also done Spanish clubs during activity periods that were built into the schedule. Your choice may depend on your students. Younger students may not have the possibility to stay after school; you may not have an activity period built into the schedule. This is something you’ll have to flush out. Our first meeting of the month was a planning meeting unless we were working a big project that required extra time. The planning meeting was for determining future activities, fund-raising ideas and updates (which you don’t have to do, but we had big plans), or party planning. The second meeting was activity oriented. This system worked great for us, but your situation may be different. There are lots of ways to do this and don’t feel you have to meet as often as student council to do anything worthwhile.
Give the club a try. Your kids will learn more about other cultures and also their own…without realizing it as it’s happening. You’ll see each other in a new light and quite possibly get to know some of your quiet ones from class. Just have fun with it. If you have a Spanish club, tell us about it. Your feedback is always welcome!