On the first day back after this vacation, check in with your students in English, like you do in the town meetings with the invisibles. Throughout the year, this check-in period at the start of class will be a good time to talk about any changes or new developments in the class, and this is one of those times. Tell them that you will begin assessing them in a new way starting now.
(Note that I am only addressing – in this and following posts about “surviving January” – those teachers who have lost control of their classes in terms of assessment, where how you assess has not been consistent and challenging and does nothing to hold them accountable, which is the true function of assessment. This has happened to me hundreds of times, so I figure it has affected others.)
So here’s how to do this if you go back into your classroom tomorrow: Review with them, or present for the first time, the Interpersonal Communication Skills Rubric (or if you are a long time reader here, jGR). Tell the students that you will now describe for them what A level performance looks like, what B level looks like, and what C and D performances looks like. I hope you rarely assess kids at the F level because very often it is something YOU are doing that is unfair.
It is suggested that you tell your students on that first day back in L1, almost verbatim as provided below, while looking at the projected rubric as a class, the following (say these words to them):
An “A” grade means you come into class expecting to listen and communicate and show your understanding by answering questions, gesturing, and by your posture. (Tell your students that in teacher school we are trained to read their posture and facial expression to see if they are “with us” and comprehending). You are exerting positive peer leadership to help others maintain a conversation in French. You signal to others to listen better, or quietly shush people when they try to talk to you when they should be listening. You do not need to be reminded to engage in class. You come into class expecting to be attentive and productive. You are a role model. If everyone acted this way, adults would pay the school for the opportunity to teach this class!
A “B” grade means you are basically like the A level most of the time but sometimes you need to be reminded to sit up, look at the speaker, engage in the conversation, or listen without talking. Generally, to get a B you will get right back into the swing of things when the teacher signals to the whole class to improve their focus. This signal is usually pointing to the rules or giving the class with a “lean in” move. To earn a B you sometimes might support others in improving their behavior, but you are not consistently a class leader.
If you are getting a “C” it means that you need personal reminders because your behavior is interrupting the class’s ability to have a smooth conversation in French.
If you have a “D” it means you need frequent reminders, sometimes more than one at a time to correct your behavior. You will be receiving personal attention (note: via WBYT) to improve your focus in class, via the Classroom Rules. You can see that the class would be better off if you were more involved, because you’re not helping anybody in the class learn, and you’re not learning much yourself, which seems like a silly waste of time.
(Of course, also tell them that those who are doing their jobs with gusto will most likely be receiving “A” grades on the ISR anyway).