Lab day

I mentioned that we’re headed to the lab to do part of our quarter exams. We’re also prepping for a big contest. In the lab, the kids will come to me individually to tell a story based on one that we’ve told in class and do a listening test on line. Then the Russian 1 kids will take the story of “Bob” or “Bobbette” from our website, change it to be true (or false) about themselves in a word doc, then add it to a PowerPoint on our shared google docs site, and finally use it for a class presentation. This will make them take a lot of input from the site and play with it, but most of their input will be correctly spelled. I will be able to easily check and correct it, and then they will be able to present it to the class. I’m really excited about this and hope it will work as well as I want it to. I’ll have the speaking/writing taken care of, as well as listening/reading. It might not be as clear-cut as I’d like it to be, but the writing and reading will be motivated by a project that will then take them farther if they want it to do so.

Later…I LOVED the cut-and-paste exercise, especially for my level 1 kids! It worked out beautifully…they had to read the Bob/Bobbette stories in first person, figure out what needed changing, and they did it! It was really easy for me to correct, too, because I didn’t have huge chunks of misspelled stuff to re-write for them. (I don’t want the Power Points to have the wrong spelling of the basic words.) It was easy to see who understood what as well as how to give the A’s out: those were the kids who quickly made the changes in the text and then added stuff. For the next visit to the lab, we’ll be able to do the Power Points.


9 responses to “Lab day

  1. WOW! I love that cut and paste exercise. I’m going to try it out this week.


  2. I was totally surprised by the whole thing…I guess that I could have just put the document into the google docs box for them to change; but then they wouldn’t have had to remember how to get to the wiki page.

    It worked better than I’d expected as a way to get them to re-read, and they had only a few things they had to change. Of course, my kids are dealing with both reading and typing in Cyrillic, so there’s an extra layer (no little labels on the keyboards) of difficulty.


    • Hi Michele,

      You probably already know this but I discovered it last night… google translate can take phonetic spelling and turn it into cyrillic!!! It will also say the words aloud. It will do chinese too. In either case, you have to know what you’re looking for or who knows what you’ll end up saying. You can also use it to type in Russian on a computer that’s not set up for it by I type 5 words per min in Russian (Cyrillic) but 60-80 in English, so this a huge help. But you may not want that kind of help for your students. мне нравится google translate!


      • Carla,

        Wow, wow, wow! I didn’t know this…it’s a little tricky if the sounds are complex, but it’s super cool when it works!! I love the suggestions that it gives…


  3. OK, thinking about this even more and I’m seeing that this cut and paste activity works so well because everybody WANTS to be set themselves apart a bit, and the only way to do that is to make changes. Do the minimum, and not only does everybody know it, but because the activity says “This is who I am”, doing extra effort is a form of identity claim.

    Now, being the total sponge that I am, could I trouble you for a couple details of what types of things you put in the Bob/Bobbette story? Obviously it needs to adapt to vocab we’ve been doing in our classrooms, but it would be nice to see the level of structure you are aiming at.



  4. Yeah, I had complete silence for a while with my pesky period 5 kids today as they edited a huge document of questions and answers in this style. (More later on that.)

    The Bob/Bobbette story went something like this: My name is Bob. I was born on the Phillipine Islands, in the town of Manila. I live in Alaska, in the city of Anchorage. I am 16 years old. I have nine brothers and sixteen sisters. My brother Carl is a giraffe. He is very tall. He works at a store. He cleans shelves. My sister Cami is very short. She is blond, but she is smart. She goes to school at West. I go to school at West too, but I used to go to Romig. I like West because I have Russian. Russian is my favorite class. I also have science, math, language arts, and bungee-jumping.

    It’s really clear to me who hasn’t made changes, as you can imagine. We also had Bobbette, so that the past tense verbs would be there for feminine gender too.

    Now that I’ve discovered that in Google Docs, kids can work on documents and presentations together at the same time, the advanced classes used today to collaborate.


  5. Hi Michele!
    I really like this activity. So, you said that after the kids made changes in a word document, they “added it to a PowerPoint on our shared google docs site.” Does this mean that all the kids were adding to the same power point? And what do you mean by your shared google docs site? Do you mean that you made a site that all your students could edit and add their power points themselves? If so, did they have to have their own gmail accounts to do it, or is there a special school thing?


    • We have a portal through our school district where all the kids can get to google docs. (A bit of a pain for those of us with our own google doc sites, but that’s another story.) You wouldn’t have to have your own site–you could just have them all use gmail accounts , but of course some districts might frown on that.

      On my school google docs site, I made a folder for each of my classes, and shared that folder with all my students in that class. That means that every time I open up a document in that folder, all the kids can see it. If they open up a document in that folder, the same is true, so I had to tell them that they should “un- share” documents with all the others in the class or open up a document outside that folder and share it just with me. Otherwise there is too much commenting and deleting and adding going on.

      But overall, this is a very powerful application. I think this is part of what is going to change schools in the future. I’m not sure how much it will change the day-to-day business of language classes, because the google doc stuff is output. But if we can train them to do output when needed at home, that will make it easier to share later .


  6. Now that you mention it, my school set up gaggle accounts for all my students. Apparently, Gaggle now uses Zoho docs, so I might be able to use that.. Good idea!

    You bring so much to this community. I’m so glad you decided to blog!


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