In Stephen Krashen's theory of Comprehensible Input, a "silent period" of active listening and of auditory language processing is needed in order for language acquisition to occur, e.g. think of how much input which babies take in before they begin to verbalize/speak. Therefore, it is not recommended for teachers to jump immediately into having level 1 students produce language right away at the beginning of the school year. As much as you may want to go around the room having students ask/tell each their names in the target language during the first week, rather consider doing Total Physical Response (TPR) with your level 1 classes instead.
TPR is essentially associating a vocabulary word with a physical action. It can be hand gestures, American Sign Language (ASL) signs or the actual physical action itself. The idea is that through enough repetitions muscle memory will aid in the acquisition process.
There are many different variations of TPR which can be used in the world language classroom, of which the most basic form is commands, where you as the teacher command a student/students to do something in the target language, and their task is simply to perform it. I will do TPR for the first 5 days of Latin 1 - I know that Bob Patrick does it for the first 10 days - and I will do it for about 20-25 minutes of class.
What kinds of words to teach? That is up to you, but for obvious reasons, the verbs need to be action words. You can pick classroom management words such as "sit down," "stand up," "shout," "be quiet," etc or words which have much action associated with them, e.g. "go," "open," "close," "pick up," "put down," "throw," etc. I usually pick 4-5 new words each day on which to focus, while continuing to recycle past words in order to get in repetitions.
The name of the game is to get in as many repetitions as possible in as many different ways! Students must hear the words in a meaningful context over and over again in order to acquire them. The number thrown around is 70 repetitions in a meaningful context in order for students to acquire vocabulary.
1) For the first 1-2 days, stick with only verbs as commands.Determine which words you will teach that day using TPR, and write the commands on the board in both the target language and in English in order to establish meaning. I usually write both the singular and plural form, because throughout the class, I will end up commanding both individuals and the class as a whole to do something.
2) When introducing a new command, I will usually "command myself' first by pointing to the word on the board in order to establish meaning and then I will demonstrate the action. I will then call upon multiple individual students to perform the action
3) Even though this is a silent period for students, the very completion of the command demonstrates comprehension and is a form of non-verbal output, i.e. it was necessary for students to understand you in order to complete the task.
4) Once students begin to understand the commands (maybe after a day or so), start introducing objects or places in the room for students now to use and with which to interact. Remember to write the nouns on the board both in the target language and in English in order to establish meaning and to point to the words and pause when you use them.
5) Feel free to introduce adverbs too, such as "slowly" and "quickly" to spice things up.
6) As students begin to acquire the language, you can also start making longer sentences, such as "Carlita, stand up and go to the table. Pick up the book slowly and bring it to me. Now go to the table, pick up a cookie and throw it to Barbara."
7) A variation is in the beginning to divide the class into groups, to give them a name (a number, animal, color, etc) and to command the different groups - this requires the class to listen, "Beatnicks, stand up! Hula Hoopers, stand up! Beatnicks, sit down! Hula Hoopers, turn around! Hula Hoopers, stop! Beatnicks, stand up! Beatnicks, walk to the Hula Hooper and sit on them!"
8) As acquisition furthers during TPR, you can start to narrate the action of a student, e.g. "Susan, walk to the door slowly. O class, Susan is walking to the door slowly (you write "is walking" on the board in the target language and in English in order to establish meaning and then point/pause). Susan, touch the door. O class, Susan is touching the door (you do the same for "is touching") In this manner, you have gone from the singular imperative to the 3rd singular present form, but don't get into a full-on grammar discussion about it just yet. If you do this enough, students will start to predict the pattern and actually say it with you.
Your first instinct may be to jump into the grammar of it all but wait for a student to say something. Usually, I will have a student ask, "Why did 'ambula' go to 'ambulat'?" and my first response is, "Even though the form of the word changed, did you understand what I said? I used 'ambulat' because I am narrating the action of Susan, not commanding her," and I will leave it at that - this is an example of pop-up grammar. The same goes for if your nouns change forms too based on their function.
9) As noted CI/TPRS publisher and presenter Carol Gaab is fond of saying, "The brain craves NOVELTY," so change up the commands/objects by having students do wacky and funny tasks with different combinations of known words, e.g. "Julio, pick up the cookie and eat it slowly. Now turn around slowly and eat the cookie loudly and slowly. Marsha, walk to the board, pick up a pen and write 'I love Justin Bieber' on the board slowly." This is what will keep the class engaged!
After 5 days or so, students should have 25-30 words, which you specifically targeted for them, in addition to maybe another 10-15 words which were incidental words.
10) After the 20-25 minutes of TPR, I will review the new words which were TPR'd. This is a good time to introduce any derivatives which come from the words.
11) I sometimes give students 5 minutes at the end of class to command me around the room. Because the words are written on the board with their English meaning, I am not asking them to output on their own (although many will have acquired those words purely due to the massive amount of input).
I was absolutely scared the first time I ever did TPR a few years ago, because I was 100% sure that it was going to bomb. Instead, I had one of my best experiences with CI, because I was completely floored by how engaged the students were and by how much these Latin 1 students understood what I was saying (due to establishing meaning), even though I was speaking in Latin.