For the last week of school I have allowed students to choose their own passwords. What a fun way to start each class period this has been! They get to show how smart they are, and I get to admire and applaud them. This is just where we want to be in late May. Beats the heck out of the nagging and brow-beating that I used to do at the end of the school year.

What makes this work is the ownership. The students choose what they want to say.

Level 1 students could say any password they like from the entire year. I am amazed how many they remember and the diversity of passwords I hear as they enter the room. Often a password is not repeated, even with classes of 30 students. They remembered passwords that I had forgotten, and even alternate passwords that I had added on just for fun and Spanish 3 passwords that they picked up along the way. Great fun. I should have done this sooner.

For level 3, they chose an authentic wise cultural saying, a “refrán” or a “dicho”. The diversity here is awe-inspiring as well. They looked up these wise sayings on authentic web sites and showed them to me to be sure they were appropriate. I have heard many of these used before and I think most of them are truly authentic. Lots of folk wisdom here. I am proud of those kids. Here are the ones they chose:

No vendas la piel del oso antes de cazarlo.

A mal tiempo, buena cara.

Más vale feo y bueno que guapo y perverso.

Año nuevo, vida nueva

A lo hecho, pecho

Todo camino tiene su charco.

Caballo regalado no se mira en el diente.

Donde hay gana, hay maña.

Más ven cuatro ojos que dos.

La paciencia vence lo que dicha no alcanza.

No hay mal que por bien no venga.

A diario una manzana es cosa sana.

Si quieres el perro, acepta las pulgas.

Camarón que se duerme, se lo lleva la corriente.

Dime con quién andas y te diré quién eres.

Ahogado el niño, tapando el pozo.   This one brings up a disturbing image: “Drowned child, capping the well.” sort of like “Shutting the barn door after the horse has bolted.”

Ojos que no ven, corazón que no siente.

Acabándose el dinero, se termina la amistad.