Doodling

Today I am giving a vocabulary test to all of my classes.  I give the same core 25 words to all of my classes each quarter, but the German Is just define the terms, German IIs use it in a sentence, German III/IVs have to do all of the above plus past tense.

During first period while I was waiting for those couple of students to finish who always take forever, I told everybody that I would give them one point of extra credit if they would draw a picture of one of the vocab words on the back.  It gave the quick students something to do, it allowed the slow students more time to finish and gave me something to ooh and ahh about while I was waiting too.

That worked great until I hit my German III/IV class, and their doodles were phenomenal.  Part of it was a function of them having a longer wait time due to a longer test, but almost everybody spontaneously inserted dialogue into their doodles and created a series of drawings (sometimes related, sometimes not) that incorporated up to seven of the target words in long drawn out montages.  It’s like I got a bunch of graphic novels handed in as a bonus to the test.

After my German I class where they just illustrated words, I was thinking about scanning some of those pictures and hanging them on the wall.  Now I think I’m going to elicit a few more montages that cover all the words on our list and get them in their hands somehow: make a collection for silent reading, hang them on the wall, post them online to study from, etc.

Whoops, gotta go.  My German IIs are just finishing up and I need to go check out a new batch of doodles.

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3 responses to “Doodling

  1. Right now I am officially in love with this idea. It’s the outcome side of the concept that you have 25 words you’re focusing on at any one time. I can see that one could do 25 words a quarter over a two-year period, which would mean that you’d cycle through 200 (magic number) and they would still all be the basic ones that you need. My AP kids could be required to do something more: subjunctive, complex clauses, or something like that.

    Whoo hoo! I might just keep the vocab part of the grade in because of this idea!!

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  2. Can you remember when you were just learning your language? I still vividly remember doing my language study in the mornings when I lived in Switzerland on some vocab, phrase or grammar principle and then leaving the house and hearing everybody use the exact things I studied that morning all day long.

    That’s what has been happening to me a lot with my word list lately and it’s told me that I got a good set of words. We’ve been looking at a lot of song lyrics, stories, etc. various sources and at least twice a day I find that one of the words in our current list keeps coming up. What’s cooler is that these are the words–becomes, believes, stays, only, etc.–that my students could never seem to get in my pre-TPRS teaching life. Now because we are focusing on high-frequency terms, they are showing up in meaningful contexts and becoming “sticky” for them. It’s fun to see.

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  3. Absolutely! My parent class last night was crazy: we had this story that I’d picked only three phrases from, but every single extra word that came up and went on the board for one of the beginners was a word that was in the reading. I felt like a superstar teacher.

    Hmmm…I posted my lists for first semester. Obviously you have your lists…care to share them? It would even be okay if they were in German; now that I have google translate, I can read anything!

    Not that I’m counting or anything, but I’ve noticed we get our highest readership on two kinds of days: when one of us posts an assessment plan or when one of us posts a word list.

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