Chatting increases

It’s spring…even though we just got several inches of snow today… and I just realized I’m in a rut of response to behavior again. For my chatty period 3 kids, I am going to do an April Fool’s trick of putting out their notebooks where I want them to sit and enforcing it. And then I’m going to put the clock behind fifteen minutes and see how long it takes them to notice!! (There were a few other cute April 1 ideas on the Yahoo list.)

I tried asking nicely for polite behavior, re-running the rules in a very strict voice, and a couple of my other worn-out things…but it’s been a while since we’ve told regular stories, and like I mentioned yesterday, hormones are here. So I am going back to the old Power Teaching stuff, combined with the new seating chart, and we’ll work for no minutes after class. Hate to do that. And I wish I had started and continued the popsicle-stick partner idea (new partner every month, per Carol). But that’s for next year.

I had a great time with the advanced kids today, telling yesterday’s song’s story and singing it, then reading. Very simple lesson plan, but I could see the advanced kids have come far in their reading. Lovely. And the middle groups seem to be moving quickly too. It’s amazing what reading does. I’m going to finish a book at last with the advanced kids and have them do some writes or character maps a la Jody (check out her website!).

Still working on how to grade reading, now that Scott has unmasked the problem with my usual plan of having kids translate a paragraph out of the book they’re reading. Instead, what do you think of this: I will have the kids write questions in English, write the answers in Russian in their notebooks, then they trade questions…I plan to quickly teach them to write four questions that are literal and one that is not. That way, three or four correct of the literal will get the proficient grade, and all five right will get the exceeding grade, with me as arbitrer. I figure that’s not as much fun as the cube game, but it will get them to re-read the section twice at least.


3 responses to “Chatting increases

  1. OK, I’ll bite. What is Scott’s concern with the translation of stories as it relates to assessment other than if you’re translating the sucker that it’s obvious what the content is?

    So you are going to have 20+ different sets of questions to arbitrate? I like the concept but the logistics of pulling that sucker off sound really tough. Perhaps you could employ two sets of quiz writers and offer two quizzes that people would choose between? If you could, provide a bit more rationale behind the quizapalooza based on what Scott was saying.


  2. I know! Scott really did throw a wrench in things, didn’t he?! Especially since making students do translations was my crappy-teacher-day plan (always with brain breaks, of course), but I didn’t feel so bad about it because I thought that it was still useful. But now that Scott has pointed out that it could be counter-productive and I agree with him…yuck. I guess I can’t have crappy teacher days anymore!!

    Anyway, I second Nathan’s concern that having many sets of questions to arbitrate sounds confusing. You could divide the class into pairs or groups of three and have each pair write one question in English from a specific section of the reading (to avoid duplicate questions) and the answer in Russian, then give the quiz to the class. Or, you could assign some of the groups to write literal questions and some to write inferential (is that a word?) questions.

    I love that you considered what your different levels of students would most likely be able to do as you designed the assessment. I need to remember that next time I create an assessment–to write the questions so that someone earning Proficient can correctly respond to literal questions, but an Advanced student needs to show that s/he can use a higher level of thinking in that language. Very smart!!


  3. That’s Scott (the different levels) all the way. Quizzing that way has changed the way kids view assessments–they’re much more like a game than before, for some reason.

    You are both right…20 sets of questions is a lot. I think I’ll try it today though…no, can’t…guest speaker in that group. Monday!!

    Here’s Scott’s note about assessments using translation as a means to check reading comprehension; now that I read it, I think maybe he thought we were asking kids to translate into the TL–but no…see what you think:

    “These are two separate skills [reading and translation] and I would assess them differently. Personally, I wouldn’t assess the ability to translate anything unless the goal of your class is to be an interpreter. My thinking is that they won’t have to do this in the real world, so why assess it, unless they’re going to be an interpreter which is a whole different skill base. My goal in my class is to eliminate that middle step of reading something in L2, mentally translating it into L1, and then comes the comprehension. I want to lessen the middle part of translating to L1 as much as possible, with the end game being that they don’t do it at all. I want them to hear L2 and have an immediate mental picture so comprehension can begin. Also, a translation activity would be very difficult for someone who’s L1 is not English. Traditionally, translators and interpreters interpret INTO THEIR NATIVE language so they get the syntax and nuance correct. Although they do exist, translators/interpreters who translate from their native language to another language are rare.

    So I guess, what I’m saying is what is the bottom line of the assessment. If it was comprehension, then the translation piece is not important as long as the comprehension is there. I often can’t put a paragraph into correct English that I read in another language, but know exactly what is being said. If the translation was the point, and that’s how you wanted the students to show comprehension, than that is what you need to assess.”


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