Friday, August 28, 2015

The Proficiency Journey

Earlier this summer Musicuentos posted this blog; Carrie Toth posted a picture of her bulletin board on twitter; Amy Leonard posted some summative proficiency scales in collaboration with Greg Duncan.

I combined all these into a mini lesson/bulletin board of my own that runs through the middle of series of cultural pictures, that is titled "The Proficiency Journey". There is a man with a briefcase that starts the journey (novice low) by sitting, then as he proceeds through the different levels one can see him standing, walking, running, and confident hands in the air.

We spent some time talking about the different proficiency levels, using anecdotal descriptions for tacos to better understand each one. Once the students understood the levels and about where students of each level might be placed, they were given a push pin. After identifying where they thought their skill was, they placed their pin in the location along the path.

It is my goal to have them reevaluate their skills two to three times per quarter. It may be that their pin continues forward along the journey, but it may be that they readjust their pin to a lower level. We will always be tweaking where we are most comfortable. Ultimately, I'd love to have them take the APPL test to truly evaluate their proficiency level. 

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Classroom jobs

After attending the #iflt15 conference in July, I thought it would be good for me to start blogging about my experiences in a new district. While I am a 15-year tinkerer of #tprs (that's to say I used traditional TPR with mild aspects of TPRS in an exploratory class), I really only consider myself a 2 year veteran of #tci.

One thing that really struck a chord with me was the use of jobs in the classroom. So, this year I am going to venture into this method of trying to get students to feel more a part of our classroom, a self-sustaining classroom. Giving students a job gives them a purpose for being in class because we truly are all in this together.

Bryce Hedstrom and Ben Slavik are masters at doing this in their classroom and their job lists are, well, quite overwhelmingly long. I decided to limit jobs to "Los 10 Súper Trabajos". Perhaps later I will add more, but I thought 10 would be a good number to get this started. Start small and grow, right?

Los 10 Súper Trabajos

What else do these teach?
As teachers we are always teaching so even when doing seeming minimal work as assigning jobs to students, there is still a learning opportunity.
1. Don/doña as titles of respect and also "gift". We are all given special gifts in life and we need to tap into them and use them for the greater good.
2. Jobs - students need to explore careers they may be interested in. It also gives me an insight into their interests, personalities, and possible career choices.
3. Agreement - students see how the gender changes with words given if a male or a female is doing that job.

What's up with the Café Points and the bubblegum machine?
This is a motivational strategy that I picked from a former student, now colleague. I have used it past few years and the kids LOVE it! Again, this is something simple, but always a learning technique that comes in the "back door". This is explained in this previous post.

What are my concerns? 
1. The students will poo-poo the jobs and not embrace them like I envision.
2. I will forget to do this. I'm hoping to practice them in class so that it's a good reminder for me what these jobs are and the kids will hold me accountable for using them.
3. I have a class of 11 students. One student may not have a job. I will figure out in the next couple of weeks how to deal with one "unemployed" student.

Do you use jobs in the classroom? What jobs do you use in your classroom?