I did my first speaking assessment of the new semester today. I had two goals; one has to do with the upcoming contest of spoken Russian, which my kids will participate in. They have to talk about themselves, among other tasks. I don’t prep them for this contest anymore. We just learn what we learn, and they get a couple of practices to get used to the format. But I do want them to feel that they know how to do it; thus, the practice speaking in first person.
I also wanted them to skim the recent reading they’ve done AGAIN. In groups, they identified three-four characters from their reading and drew out their full history in a picture (they could elaborate as needed). Then they drew a card before coming up, and spoke in first person about whichever person they drew. (This is an adaptation of one of Scott’s many wonderful speaking ideas.) It’s not exactly re-telling a story, so I couldn’t look for beginning/middle/end, but it worked out really well to tell me how much they’d understood…in some cases, not much…and how much vocabulary they were picking up…in some cases, quite a bit.
As usual, I learned a lot about what my kids know. I used Scott’s holistic rubric (on his website under resources), underlining what they did well and writing a little comment for one way to improve.
I also learned that it’s unfair to ask kids to speak about what they’ve just been reading in small groups. It hasn’t sunk into their minds yet. They’re just starting to acquire some of the vocabulary, and suddenly I shock them! So I am going to re-think this and do it after they’ve had more chances to process the new characters and surrounding vocabulary.