I had to be gone for more than a week here at the beginning of the school year. My mixed classes go from level 2 to AP/IB. I put a team of kids in charge. They did the “day starter,” which I saved on the class website. That is the day/date/weather, plus reading of the weather report (in Russian) for our town, and news: personal, school-wide, holidays, and other. The leaders knew that they could take as much time with those as they wanted.
Then they did one “Our Star,” based on Bryce Hedstrom’s interview questions. The classes are newly mixed, so many kids don’t know others. They’re all taking notes on their classmates.
After that, the leaders were responsible for scanning the (new) level 1 texts for little bits of comprehensible readings and doing “teacher type” discussions, questions, pair-work and group games with them. I didn’t have time to write over a week’s worth of lesson plans, but these kids have been with me long enough to know what I would do with readings.
I return tomorrow evening, and I’ll have a day of school to find out how it went before Back-to-School night (yeah…not much info for the parents!) I intend to do Bryce-type quizzes over the information that the students have noted on one another, meanwhile using their information to learn about the kids myself. I’ll add some questions from his recent suggestions, and we’ll start “real” storytelling.
Since I have a great (non Russian-speaking) sub who would have let me know if things were going badly, I think it has probably gone reasonably well. Thank goodness I knew enough in advance to be training the upper-level kids to run the beginning of class, and thank goodness for having taught this way for long enough that the kids know what to do.