Turning the class over

As I’ve mentioned, I have a bunch of new kids in my second semester Russian 1 class, partly because I advertised that if they would take the class, they would be able to learn how to teach languages more easily, and help save Native languages.

I hadn’t come up with a really good way to ease them into practice-teaching, but decided that this week, they were going to start. I had envisioned getting one kid to go through the steps, and coaching one kid at a time, but that’s not what I did. Instead, I divided them into groups after we’d picked which words we were going to learn this week. One group of total newbies got the job of figuring out gestures for three structures: is jealous, seems, and if. There is a more experienced student in that group to be able to read the board and pronounce. Another group of newbies came up with PQA questions. Another group drew pictures for the words. Two other groups (more advanced kids) wrote stories using the words. I forgot to tell them to write in English, so they both amazed me and wrote in Russian.

I divided and made assignments on Monday. Today the kids had five minutes to work. The results were pretty good. We learned and practiced the gestures (those were hard), used the pictures, and did some mini stories to set up the PQA. One PQA was, “Would you be jealous if Virginia had candy?” Another was “Does it seem to you that you would be jealous if the class left you out of a game? Thus we had to set up the context. One kid had new, black Nike Jordans, and another was jealous. Then another kid who loves snakes didn’t have one, but everyone else did. Then everyone was playing soccer except for me, and I was jealous.

Every single kid got all the words on an exit quiz, and even though I felt we went WAY too slowly, I think we probably didn’t. I am writing this up as another class files in because otherwise I would forget the story before my prep period.


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