Practicing for a sub day

My standing sub plan has been Susie’s: groups of 2-3 kids develop and practice stories in ten minutes, drawing illustrations on a white board. Then they present to the class (everyone must talk). You can tweak it by asking them to re-tell a former story with changes, or to use specific structures.

Today we practiced the sub plan. It was great: I was off the hook (refusing valiantly to offer any vocabulary or other help) and I got to listen to the kids! Now I have a grade to enter, and I know what the kids have learned. Such a deal.


2 responses to “Practicing for a sub day

  1. Very nicely done. The “framework” of practicing for a sub not only reinforces the procedures, but does it according to a logic that makes sense to your students.


  2. I am re-posting this comment because it is in a place I won’t be able to find it!

    Maria asked for the explanation for the sub on this. Good idea!

    I seem to destroy the sub plans, and I need to just keep at least one copy, since we almost always do similar things–it’s either reading or story-telling, or both–on a block day. These presentations take about two minutes in my Russian 1 class. In the class with fourth-year and above, I have to be very strict about the five-sentence maximum. It can get out of hand otherwise, and what I want is repetition of the structures, not a movie script.

    Something I forgot to mention: Susie had her students write a story and then direct actors as they retold. I haven’t quite gotten to that stage. This is my adaptation. I do think that will be fun, but I will have to try it in my room before a sub has to manage it. There might be some more rules (like: you have to stay positive, you can’t embarrass anyone…)

    Sub plans: Please copy the following structures onto the board: едет в Москву, работает, у неё есть (goes to Moscow, works, she has). Tell students that today is a story-telling day. They divide into pairs or groups of three. Each group gets a white board and a marker. They divide their white boards into six blocks and draw illustrations for a story which should use each of the three structures at least once. They have ten minutes to develop, draw and practice their story. They are not allowed to use a dictionary or any other source for language.

    The groups will generally volunteer to speak, but make sure to call on everyone. Remind the class that they must now listen attentively and appreciatively. When a group finishes, they can answer any vocabulary questions that arise. If a vocabulary question comes up, the group should write the word on the board with its meaning and then re-tell the story, pausing and pointing when the word comes up.

    The group members write their names on the board so that you know who is who for grading purposes. Each person should say at least two sentences, but they should not say more than five.

    Here is the grading system (please write it on the board as they write their stories):
    A: said more than two sentences, spoke slowly and clearly, used emotion, prop, and/or was very entertaining or funny.
    B: said at least two sentences clearly and slowly. Pointed at the appropriate picture frame while talking.
    C: Might have said only one sentence; vocal production may have been less than desired.
    D: Came up with the group and pointed to the appropriate pictures, but didn’t speak Russian.

    As each group finishes, insist on energetic applause. Make a positive remark about something you noticed (even if you don’t speak Russian), and write in grades.

    When everyone has presented, set the timer for five minutes and students write their group stories into their notebooks (this is really only because otherwise they’ll try to re-tell the stories to me the next day, and they’ll have forgotten details–I love hearing them).

    Everyone erases their white boards and starts over with a new story. This time they don’t have to use the structures. If group members improve on the first presentation, you may change the grades. If there’s time for a third go, ask one of the students to pick three structures that everyone must include from one of the word lists on the wall in the room.

    At the end of class, students clean the white boards before putting them and the markers away neatly. They also straighten the chairs (or stack them, if it’s period 7).