It’s official. The honeymoon is over. Today marked the end of the second full week of 100% TL in my classroom. All and all it was a great week but it is apparent that we’ve entered into the challenging portion of this process. In my last post I listed my tentative lesson plans for the week. Here’s how this week ended up:
Monday: I found that students hadn’t completed Friday’s assignment from when I was gone so a good chunk of the day was devoted to that. Students started working on their giant maps in groups.
Tuesday: Students finished maps then wrote and followed a set of directions from place to place on their map. Highlight of the week, “I like doing this. It actually makes sense to me now.” – Student
Wednesday: We had a snow day.
Thursday: We reviewed commands to practice directions and “texted” using white boards to practice our main verbs. We also labeled our giant maps with the vocab.
Friday: Test day!!!
My Fail Day
I failed this week on Thursday. I made the instructions too much about me talking and much more complicated than they needed to be. I should have modeled better using a group of students as an example. I also should have organized the whole day differently. Immediately after class I felt drained and discouraged. We got where we needed to go but it took too long and resulted in too much confusion. However, I reflected and know how I will avoid this in the future.
We run a shortened schedule on Fridays and only two students finished the test. Although the test was shorter than other tests it was harder because it required students to complete authentic tasks which was something new and, as we know, takes much more thought than filling in some blanks (drill and fill). I am going to grade the sections students completed and we will finish the test on Monday. It was evident that students were a bit frazzled by having to face this sort of exam. I had great questions from them and could see the wheels turning in their heads as they tried to apply the language to real-life situations.
While I haven’t started grading the exams, I have a feeling the scores might be low. I feel good about the exam though because it presented real challenges that I faced while living abroad utilizing directions and city places. Depending on how things shake out, we may end up spending class time going through the exam and correcting it then retaking it or creating skits in some form or another to reinforce this type of assessment.
What I already love about this is I saw students using what they knew. There wasn’t just one correct answer. Students could create any answer they wanted using whatever words they knew. This really let people’s personalities shine through which I can tell they enjoyed. Just from walking around I can tell you the exams featured: Chuck Norris, “J’s” (Air Jordan shoes), milk, ice cream, golden statues, and lots of celebrity names.
A lot of the students felt challenged by the test. I don’t want to say “discouraged” because they weren’t upset or down on themselves but I think they got a wake up call on how hard it is to think and function in a second language when you’re just beginning to do that. I believe that as we continue with this type of assessment, students will become more confident.
In our next unit we enter food vocab and formal commands. It should be interesting. Hello realia! If you’re interested in what the exam looked like, you can find a copy of it on my new Materials page. Please bear with me as I am a beginning blogger and working on how to post materials.
Until Next Time,
P.S. Here are some pictures of the students making maps. I bought little cars at the dollar store for them to drive around while following directions from a partner.