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La Campanada

November 18, 2011

The Campanada is a core routine in my Spanish classes. My high school Spanish teacher called the daily bellwork/entry task for her classes the "Campanada" (the ring of the bell), and I like the way it sounds, so I use it as well. The daily Campanada is an important part of my daily lesson plans because it helps with classroom management (students have a task–and know that they have a task–to complete as soon as they enter the classroom). Furthermore, it serves to help my students access background knowledge and prepare for the day's lesson. Also, having an entry task is required by my administrators ;-)

Daily Campanada routine

Here is what my Campanada routine looks like:

Start the Campanada upon entry

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!). The expectation is that students begin work on the Campanada as soon as they reach their seat, but I don't usually bug students to get started until after the bell has rung.

What I do during the Campanada

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 2-3 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.

Review the Campanada together

Finally, we review the Campanada and move on to the lesson. Sometimes, reviewing the Campanada is super fast (ex: the choral translation of a single sentence). Other times, the Campanada task was some kind of preparation for the next activity, and so "reviewing the Campanada" turns into the first activity for class.

Campanada ideas

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 :). I have several fairly standard options for the Campanada:

Ask a personalized or customized question

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 to a question that I wanted to ask and discuss anyway, 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 from Somos 1 Unit 5.) 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. Personalized questions could be anything from "How are you feeling" to asking students to share facts about their lives or share their opinions.

Translate a passage

Statements or stories to translate from Spanish-English or English-Spanish, depending on how familiar students are with the vocabulary. In this example from Unit 1 of The Nous sommes Curriculum (a FREE unit), students translate from French to English:

Mini free write

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".) Here is an example from Somos 1 Unit 16 Flex:

Fill in the blanks

An excerpt from a class story or an informational text 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

How to assess the Campanada

Campanadas are formative assessments, and I do not grade them for accuracy. I do keep a record of whether or not students are completing the work (on my seating chart), and every two weeks I give them a letter grade based on how often they have met the expectation in the previous two weeks. A = always/almost always, B = usually, C = not often, D = occasionally, F = never.

If students are absent, I don't require them to make up the work. Since I only make a mark on the seating chart if students are in class and NOT working on their Campanada when they are supposed to, their absences don't count against them for this portion of their grade.

This grade goes in the Work Habits category of my grade book, which accounts for just 5% of the student's grade and is a catch-all category for formative assessments.

Find warm up activities for your language classes that prime them for engagement all class long!

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