I needed some grades for the grade book. In level 1, we read a story on the projector and translated it. Then I posted five questions in English on the board (because I didn’t think to make/copy them in advance). Everyone wrote answers in English. I asked kids to read the question (from the projector) that answered each question. Each student graded his/her own paper. They all got all the questions right (predictable, right, since we just read it out loud and translated?) Then we went on and read the two extended stories. I asked individual kids to translate sentences or whole sections. When I got to the gradebook, I put in a B (meets expectations) for the whole class, and changed the B to an A for the kids who could do the extended translations without any help. It’s the first step in preparing them for reading quizzes. I want them to feel success first.

In my advanced class, we re-read the third chapter of a novel. The kids, in groups of three or four, were responsible for each drawing a picture from one part of the chapter. Then the group told those three sections to the class, in order. That way, the entire chapter got a re-telling, and I could mark a speaking grade. I told the kids that, with a new text, their progression was likely to be this:

Can tell in English

Can tell the bare bones in Russian

can tell the story with some details

can use some complex sentences in the retelling

can use new vocabulary.

It turned out that most kids didn’t try new vocabulary. It was just too fresh. But several of the brand-new level 3’s used complex sentences. I also heard some clear grammar mistakes that need fixing by my attention to using them frequently.


4 responses to “Assessments

  1. Just a clarification: did each group in your advanced class draw one picture per group, and then the retell was done by combining the pictures from all the groups, or did each person in a group draw one picture, and then retell from their group’s collection of pictures?


  2. Each kid in each group drew one picture. They had to agree who was telling what part of the chapter so as not to repeat within the group. Then the group told parts of the chapter in chronological fashion. We had six groups. The telling went pretty quickly, and I got a reading, group work, a re-read, and a speaking assessment done in one class period. Pretty nifty!

    I think that what I’ll do when we’ve done the first six chapters is to split them up to do a chapter each. That will be a more lengthy speaking presentation.


  3. Michele,
    Thanks for the timely post! Since this was really my first full week with my kids I did a little 5-6 question mini-quiz for them yesterday. I used what we had been playing with (Dylan loves to play football and swim. He plays football slowly under the ocean against seven sharks. The sharks win and since they love to eat they eat Dylan. The class cries, etc.) Little mini stories about each kid and their interests. I didn’t want it to be too easy so I changed it up as in putting in that Dylan likes to swim instead of play football and that Amy loves to play baseball with the Hulk rather than the detail we came up with in class which was that she loves to play against the Gingerbread Man. Of course I wanted them to succeed but I thought that if I didn’t throw in some details it would be ridiculously easy!

    I was pretty surprised and definitely disappointed with the results. Of the classes I’ve looked at I did not get my 80/80. This is actually the first time since I have been using this methodology that I haven’t gotten 80/80. I’m feeling like assessment is something I really need to improve! I like your inspiration for the speaking grades and am using something similar with my second year French class.
    Anyone have any thoughts about where I might look for inspiration on assessment? I feel like I failed them a little (though it has been a really good week, aside from that) as I am pretty sure I confused some kids who have been paying attention and actively participating.
    Love your blog and your thoughts my dear!


  4. Your great story shows you haven’t been failing them at all. My only trick in this case is to do a few eyes-closed, thumbs up/down for T/F, every so often, just to see whether they’re getting it. If a lot of the group doesn’t get something right, I have them open their eyes, and we re-do that part of the story. Slowly they and I learn where they are. The one thing I need to do with those quizzes is to build in a feedback loop. Probably I should repeat the question a second time so that they can hear whether they got it right.


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