Interpersonal Communication Rubric 2

I’m moving this over from the list of comments. In this long rant, I respond to a question from Brian. I post it here because it has in it the closest thing I have yet seen, in my opinion, to a good set of rubric descriptors for the interpersonal communication mode. It’s not set in stone (is anything?) but it will be a good reference for me to understand my thinking on this now in October. And thank you, Brian, for blasting away at this. It couldn’t be of greater importance as a blog thread right now, in my opinion. I feel like we are definitely moving through something right now:
Brian, the reason that I called my participation grade bogus was because it is. I use it to manipulate the quick quizzes. If a kid does really well as a human being, but not well on the quizzes, then they get a higher participation grade and it pulls the grade up, which I want. You should see the kid’s human reaction when I do that. It is so nice to genuinely honor their work in class with the A and damn the torpedos with ADMIN labels. If the kid doesn’t show up in the human way in class, but have high comprehension grades, then I torpedo them. This used to be improper until Harrell started reading the ACTFL guidelines more carefully than anyone else.
In my opinion, calling out the kids on their interaction with us in class is the opposite of that they wuss Princeton guy did. We are holding kids accountable for learning. The Princeton guy would rather retire. Who loses in that scenario? Oh, le pauvre professeur qui ne pouvait pas supporter tous les élèves sans la capacité de penser comme il voulait et tout ça à cause des profs au lycée! Oh, il va pleurer et prendre sa retraite, le pauvre connard!
In the above grading scenario, however, the grade is still bogus, having the quality of water and not defensible at all in the eyes of AA’s (asshole administrators whose friend’s daughter in your class got all A’s in middle school but now must be forced to become human in your class and hence the “concern” of the AA).
Now, with this new initiative in aligning with the three modes, the grade is defensible because it aligns with standards. The little robot girl, bless her shortened childhood heart, cannot keep behaving like a robot now. She cannot continue to look everywhere for things that you are doing wrong, so that she can tell her controlling parent about you, who can tell the assistant principal to come after you, so she doesn’t have to feel the burn of becoming more human, of actually interacting artfully with the teacher.
When I tell the class what a 3 (proficiency) means in so many words, then they know that that behavior will get that grade, and it won’t be a watery and somewhat underhanded participation grade with no clear definition, but a real grade connected to standards.
Brian here are your definitions, with mine below them in italics. I don’t know which are best or most useful – we can all write our own. That is a discussion for another day and why Matava, always on point, asked you to define your interpersonal rubric. We can do that later. Again, here are your rubric descriptors for the Interpersonal Mode from that big – hugely important – post of a few days ago:
0 – not fully present, unnecessary L1
1 – being fully present
2 – signal confusion (the ‘no comprehension’ response)
3 – respond appropriately to communicated message (reactive response)
4 – initiate conversation (non-reactive, non-forced speech output)
And here are the ones that you provided in this different scale to Anne today:
0 – not attentive, uses English unnecessarily
1 – fully attentive (Ben’s rules about nothing on desk, laps, clear eyes, etc.), and NO unnecessary use of English
2 – signals when he/she does not understand (perfect from the first day to the last for all levels)
3 – able to respond to L2 (NOTE: this does NOT say able to respond IN L2 – again, following Ben’s original ideas, students can always respond with up to 2 words in English. What…they don’t understand? Then that is why level 2 says use the signal…EVERYONE, including language level 1 students, can get to level 3 on this scale, becuase signalling (level 2 on the scale) insures that the teacher never goes out of bounds. Signalling gives them ownership of the pace of the class. From there, level 3 says they ALL can repond. Yes/No answers, Either/Or answers, 2-word English answers, etc.
4 – this is speaking in L2 that is non-forced, non-reactive (i.e. not an elicited response – student spoke up in L2 becuase they wanted to). This does not imply long strings of L2 – may just be a few words.
Here they are tweaked by me, for no other reason than they reflect my own thinking on this right now:
0 – student is not mentally present, uses unnecessary L1, does not communicate to the instructor when confused, does not participate in a way that is good for the group, is largely mentally absent, does not follow the posted Classroom Rules. Applied to the school grading scale, this is an F.
1 – student does not yet fully understand his/her role in class, that learning a language is a reciprocal and participatory activity requiring that the student be consciously involved in the class, trying to understand the language, communicating when he/she doesn’t understand, helping the teacher and the rest of the class in the process. Student does not does signal confusion using the “no-comprehension” response. Follows the Classroom Rules, but minimally. Applied to the school grading scale, this is a D.
2 – student is able to do the above described behaviors, but minimally. Student can and does signal confusion using the “no-comprehension” response. Follows the Classroom RulesApplied to the school grading scale, this is a C.
3 – student is able to do the above described behaviors. Student responds appropriately to communicated messages (reactive response). Student frequently signals confusion using the “no-comprehension” response. THIS IS PROFICIENCY in this communicative mode. Applied to the school grading scale, this is a B.
4 – (Brian I changed the 4 grade most, to avoid any mention of output in an interpersonal grade): – student effortlessly does the above described behaviors. Student responds appropriately to all communicated messages (reactive response). Student always signals confusion using the “no-comprehension” response. THIS IS ABOVE PROFICIENCY in this communicative mode. Applied to the school grading scale, this is an A.
Now, these will certainly change. And we need rubric descriptors for the other two modes of communicationas well. But this is a start for me, anyway.
And I love the way Brian wants to keep this roughly the same thoughout all levels. Because there ARE NO LEVELS in language acquisition, just time exposed to the language. Let’s not forget that point as we move forward in this discussion.
That last question is really at the heart of this thing. I have been waiting for that question, not knowing what it was or how it would fit into the overall discussion, but seeing it now, I get it. Of particular value to me is this sentence from you Brian:
…for the Interpretive Mode, we’ve got simple numbers coming from quick quizzes – can anyone see any simple numbers that could be collected with this Interpersonal scale…?
Yes, of course, the Interpersonal Communication rubric becomes valid, can actually measure something. Let’s re-read what Robert wrote about two weeks ago, which I really consider key:
…what I am finding is that if I start all students at Proficient and get buy-in for playing the game, I need to keep track only of significant deviations from that. The stars will stick in your mind because they are the stars and will get Advanced grades. The students who are quiet will probably evaluate themselves more harshly than you will, so giving them a better grade than they think they earned will not be a problem (besides, discussing the discrepancy gives you an opportunity to tell them you appreciate their quiet participation). That leaves a very small group in each class (usually only 1 or 2) that you need to document. It doesn’t hurt to keep a journal of some sort in which you note behavioral issues each day….
Now I would rather be doing something else than keeping a journal on my kids’ behaviors. That sounds extreme to me. I would rather give the grade because I am the expert. I am the teacher. No mind numbed number cruncher will tell me how to evaluate in this key area. And it’s definitely not a participation grade, it’s where the kid stacks up on a proficiency scale, where the 3 is in my mind about an 80, which should be and is what we will call proficient, if you will, and a 4 is over 90, and a 2 is something like a C and a 1 like a D, as expressed above, and the most important O is where Robert guides us to NAIL the kid who does nothing to help the group. I really really really like the way Robert says that above in the first scale he offered, because it is spot on, and because it is simple and very little work work, right?
Another thing on the above numbers. If we are doing our jobs right, making sure that we are going slowly enough, teaching to the eyes, pointing and pausing effectively, inviting Krashen in,  then we are going to have most of our students at proficiency, at B or A. This is good, because teachers who fail kids, those traditional teachers who DO NOT DO THEIR JOBS PROPERLY, failing the kids, for decades now have justified their failures by CLAIMING THAT MOST OF THEIR STUDENTS ARE STUPID and thus shouldn’t continue on to the next level, which we now know is simply not true. that it is the method of instruction that causes the kids to fail and drop out, and not any inherent inability on their parts to learn a language.
Maybe I am oversimplifying things, I tend to do that these days. I just need it to be simple now. I no longer want to think too much about what I am going to do in the classroom, and justify a grade with all sorts of little rubrics and numbers and shit (when the grade probably would be more accurate if I just pulled a number out of my head, honestly). When I plan too much and grade too much, then instead of going into each class fresh and open to what will happen if I just trust life, trust my conversations with my students to just happen, trusting in the pedagogical approach we use (the subtitle of which is “Quit Trying to be a Teaching Star, You Meathead, and let Conversation Emerge in its Own Way, You Fool!”), then I lose the pulse of life in that action of getting stuck in my head. Pretty gnarly rant there but hey it’s Hallow’s Eve.
To return to the long lost point, the rubric you offer fits my plan perfectly, Brian. I dump the participation grade, and fire up the Three Modes descriptors. I like the numbers, they target proficiency, like you said in another comment somewhere, between 2 and 3. I can award grades to kids BASED ON WHAT I SEE IN CLASS and if some administrator questions their validity I will patiently explain what the Three Modes are, or at least what they mean to me, as per:
and I will NEVER ALLOW AN ADMINISTRATOR TO QUESTION MY AUTHORITY IN EVALUATING KIDS. I just won’t let them question me, for the reason that they don’t know what I know about my kids in my own classroom.
I LIKE THE NUMBERS, Brian. Thanks for them. If we can hammer something out on this first one, the other two will be very similar, as per what you said to Anne. And please, feel free to burst my bubble on this possibly too simplistic view of grading (I’m feeling that some people who read how I grade are thinking it’s too simple. Fine, pay me over $200K per year and I’ll show you some serious shit numbers). But, at my current salary and with my colleagues being laid off all over the country, I’m not going to take any shit from anyone on how I evaluate my students.
And, one more thing. Once all of the grading is done,  is it not true that many teachers go back in for one last look at the grades before posting them, and, there at the last minute, adjust the grades up or down to reflect if they like the kid or not? Yes or no? We are such hypocrites. Hmmm. A rather ranty night here. Oh well.



26 thoughts on “Interpersonal Communication Rubric 2”

  1. Hey Ben,
    I’m glad that you see some value in the scale. Even better, I’m glad it led to some thinking that was uniquely yours, allowing you to take ownership over your current version of the scale. That what I was hoping to see – different ways of looking at the same issues/ideas. Then that helps me have a clearer idea if any of this has value…
    At my school they are pushing the idea that level 3 is the A and level 4 is an advanced level to give the superstars one extra notch to try to climb. I would not make the ouput of level 4 on my version to be an A since that’s ouput. On the other hand, if as we agreed the other day that Interpersonal Communication is everything and the other modes are just different shades or angles of the same, then I see this scale as the MAIN scale and it should therefore explain where interpretation and presentation output it (levels 2 and 3 for interpretation and level 4 for output). Again, the A for me is at 3 and level 4 is just above the call of duty – reason to celebrate when they are there.
    One last thought: The Interpretive Scale then becomes just a closer look at how a student is doing with levels 2 and 3 of the MAIN scale, and the PRESENTATIONAL scale becomes a closer look at how students are doing at the level 4 of the MAIN (a.k.a INTERPERSONAL) scale.

    1. Makes sense to me. That is what I am planning to do.
      Thank you Brian and Ben for fleshing this out. It’s helping me to clarify my thinking. I love the idea of no levels (duh!). And I also really love the piece about output not being reative or forced so it can emerge.
      And…my first inclination was to equate the scale to A-F scale like Ben did. But now I am thinking more on this. I really like the 3=A and then 4 is beyond that but does not get “extra credit.” I like this for a few reasons: 1) no “extra credit” 2) maybe it will nurture and encourage pride/curiosity/risk-taking and confidence more than a bigger GPA 3)seems like it will de-emphasize forced output more because if you got more credit for more output than you’re ready for, you might just memorize a bunch of stuff 4) overall it de-emphasizes grades. Just thinking out loud here. I better figure it out soon though!
      A couple of questions I have are 1) Have either of you presented this scale to the students? I have not yet presented anything like this (because I didn’t have it) and now that grades are closing I wonder about this, because it will seem like the grades are not based on a system if I don’t go over it now, but if I do, it will seem like I should have told them before (well, I did, constantly, by using the rule charts and calling kids out and also having them reflect, but I didn’t have it all neatly spelled out like this.)
      Another question I have is about the scale of 2 and up, which clearly states that the student uses the “I don’t get it” signal. Just clarifying what I think to be true: students are responsible for communicating by responding to everything. Either they understand, and thus respond appropriately (yes/ no / either/ or who, when, etc)….OR they don’t understand and must communicate this. Right? Just checking. So the scales indicate to what degree the students communicates? Geez, maybe I should make a flowchart!
      I’m just asking all these nitty gritty questions to clarify my understanding and to have a simple response for students and parents. I am getting a minor amount of flack when I remind kids to signal. I feel like I was considerate for several weeks when kids reflected that they “feel stupid” signaling, and that they don’t want to stand out as “the one who doesn’t know,” BUT I feel like now, they have had a whole quarter and so they just need to do it. Any advice on reluctant signalers? I tried a few weeks ago to make a big distinction between listening and reading in terms of signaling. I said that in listening I want to know immediately when anyone is unclear, whereas in reading there is a bit more leeway to find context clues. There are some students who refuse to signal, claiming that it doesn’t help and that they prefer to use context clues.
      Obviously if I present the scale and it concretely represents a grade they may be more inclined to signal, but I’m really trying hard to avoid the whole “grade motivation vibe.” Maybe impossible right now? Maybe this is all just really brand new to them…the whole interpersonal piece?
      Ahhh! Sorry! That ramble was all one question!
      Question 2) Regarding emerging/ spontaneous output…how/where does this fit into the whole “no blurting.” I have a few kids in level 2 and several in level 4 who are definitely outputting in a non-reactive, non-forced way, but then isn’t this blurting? How do I allow for this to take place? Really sorry. I’m sure these questions make me sound ridiculously clueless. Which I am. But I love having people I can ask even if I feel a bit silly. Sometimes it feels like I’m juggling a lot. I guess I’m just asking where the emerging output fits into the class rules.
      Trying really hard to put discipline first. It is not my strength. But I see so clearly how nothing will work unless everyone is playing by the rules.

      1. Hi Jen!
        Thanks for the detailed reflection on this scale stuff – no apologies necessary – it was what I was hoping for when I first sent it over to Ben. If it all passes the ‘blog test’, or – even better- comes out better on the other side, then perfect…
        I like your thinking on the no extra credit for level 4 thing. You are right. In fact, I don’t think I believe at all in extra ‘credit’. Thank you for reminding me. I am trying to run the other way from the old-school idea that students pass my class because that got ‘points’. I need them to have skill!…
        I have presented the scale to my students and I have begun ‘training’ my students carefully on what I mean for each level. The reality is – just like you said – it isn’t really any different then what we did during the first nine weeks, except that what I am looking for is now formalized a bit more – and prioritized from 1 to 4:
        1 (must to it! must happen always)
        2 (do it.)
        3 (do it as much as you can. your understanding depends on how much you signal and (perhaps more importantly) how SLOW the teacher goes)
        4 (we celebrate if you do it, but not forced)
        Here’s how I’ve trained them on the levels:
        level 1: have 5 minutes of silence (do remember, I have 95 minute blocks), with your desks cleared, laps cleared, NO English, clear eyes (they don’t need to be staring at me, but I need them looking alive and attentive to the peace of the moment, etc…this may sound like a waste of ‘instructional time’ or whatever, but these high schoolers I believe MUST know what this type of relaxed but attentive silence ‘sounds’ like. Without knowing, they don’t know what to do with themselves when we have a quiet moment in our CI discussions. Five minutes to teach them a non-sleeping, meditative silence when they NEVER get this in their fast-paced, entertainment-hungry lives? They should get an hour of that a day. All the wise people in history come to that conclusion…
        If they broke the “level 1” protocol (‘the rules’), then I began tallying up these offenses (simple tally marks) on the board. Not with individual names, but just for the class as a whole. I’m not too sure about this idea in the long run, honestly. I just on a whim decided to try this as a way to draw their attention to the new scale. They actually have reacted well to it. I have not (yet?) tied this tally mark thing to a grade…but honestly I can look by on the tally marks from each of my classes yesterday and today, and the numbers do seem to represent which classes tend to muddle up the CI.
        2. I trained level 2 (use the signal!) by throwing out words or word chunks to see if they knew what they meant. If they knew them, this time they could just sit there – no gesturing (different from the first nine weeks when we always gestured our word wall warm-up). BUT, if I call on one of those students and ask them what I word meant, they must know. If they didn’t, I remind them that they should have been using the signal, AND add a tally mark on the board. Also, no last second signaling as I go to call on a student. They must learn that the signal is to be made not just becuase I am looking at them – they must make it so I the teacher see it out of the corner of my eye. This way throughout real CI time in class, I have reminders all around the room when I am losing them.
        3. Training level 3: Ben gave us this a long time ago: simply get some CI going (i.e. fly) and make sure you ask frequently, “What did I just say?” – to our barometer students…and all the rest for that matter. Of course, if we see/hear them responding correctly to our circling, then we know CLEARLY that they are at level 3. It is when they are a bit quiet that we throw out that, “What did I just say?” question. What? They didn’t know? Then remind them that they weren’t even I level 2 on the scale – they must signal!! I’m not too sure about the whole argument that they ‘want to try to figure out what is being said’ and so they don’t signal…no. TCI is not language sudoku with kids trying to fill in the missing pieces via logical inferences…its about knowing, then hearing it a zillion times, until we forget about the language itself (transparency) and just get the message. Don’t understand? Immediately signal before I lose you too much…no signaling? tally mark on the board.
        So, to be clear, the little tally thing (however long that idea is going to last – I don’t like teaching with the point deduction whip) is throughout the period, but first started during the five minute silent bell work (…silent bell work…hah!). Maybe the point thing will hang around – their class participation grade based on maintaining those tally marks to a level less than the last time we met and had class.
        And for the level 3 practice, I used Harrell’s daily starter questions: How are you? What day/date is it? How’s the weather? What birthday’s do we have this month? Who is absent? Etc…
        The whole thing are just now presenting this scale to the students in November as opposed to August…well, my students know because I’ve worked this into my ‘honest talk’ with them, that I am and will always be looking for a better way to do things. And so they need to be ready for any new idea that I may have – and…get over it. I’m the boss! Stay on your toes!…but really – most of the buy in from my students comes from showing them that I REALLY am looking out for the best way to HELP them learn, not STRESS them out. How many times I’ve heard my students ask me, “But mister, what happened to that idea you once had, when we used to…”….my answer: I found the next best idea!
        You wrote:
        “Just clarifying what I think to be true: students are responsible for communicating by responding to everything. “….I say YES! That’s the big deal to me with this TPRS/CI/Whatever stuff…it is true back-and-forth communication from day one! Even if its more talk from the teacher, the students play no passive role whatsoever. At least that is the goal.
        Reluctant signalers: Hmm…we should slow down more then and ask more students, “What did I just say?” Why do they need to signal so much? We must stay in bounds more. We have the great responsibility to make sure we are COMPREHENSIBLE. Beyond that, ask them more often, “What did I just say?” We must find our non-signal users…
        Blurting out…in L2! lol….perhaps the good-ol’ hand raising will take care of this. Many of my instances of students using Spanish without being asked is when they raise their hand…I say, “Yes, Marie?” or “What is it, Marie? ” and they begin to try to piece together what they wanted to tell me…these are my favorite moments every day!!!!!! At times I take the answers blurted out too, but that is just how I am.
        I am also trying to keep discipline first – I think that is clear, that without it, no CI works effectively. Any thoughts out there on this tally mark thing, or any other way this scale can be converted into a piece of (yuck..)…data? Ben, thanks for reminding us of Robert’s comment the other day on just paying attention to those that live at the bottom and the top of the scale – that is, to just go by memory and talk to them individually.
        My goal is to run a tight enough ship with interpersonal communication (which is everything about humans together in a room) that no student has time to even hang out at the bottom of the scale. Perhaps a good ol’ tally mark whip would work? Thoughts?

        1. Catching them being great students, thanking them for the skill they are demonstrating and this Susie Gross trick goes as far, if not farther, than tallying:
          Susie looks out at the group and says:
          “I just want to thank those of you who are visualizing what I just said.” (or whatever skill you want to see more of) “I can see on your faces that you get what I am saying. I know that you’ll be ready when I call on you. Even better, I know that you are already French thinkers!!! You know, in other classes students don’t become French thinkers for YEARS!! This group seriously amazes me.”
          and then she goes on. EVEN IF NO ONE WAS DOING IT. :o)
          with love,

        2. Thank you Brian!
          This is awesome. I really appreciate the “training tips.” I will begin this today! I also totally agree with you about the silence piece. I don’t see it as a “loss of instructional time” at all. In fact it is probably the most instructional of all practices: 1) from the personal mindfulness perspective and also 2) from the respectful conversational practice perspective.
          Our school does a minute of silence each day in our morning assembly. I have tried sporadically to add another minute or 2 in my classes, but have yet to devote myself this regularly because I get caught up in the frenzy. Thank you for the reminder. Haha. Especially ironic/sad is the fact that I practice (and teach) yoga and have not made the leap to bring some of these critical life skills into my classroom :0

          1. Yoga and TPRS have a lot in common. Just for you, a statement that Brian Barabe (aka Dead Elvis in Los Angeles) told me many years ago that stems from his yoga expereiences:
            You are where you are supposed to be.
            How brilliant is that?
            with love,

          2. Totally! TPRS is yoga! At a workshop 2 weeks ago, this awesome teacher said “Everything is perfect, even if it’s a perfect mess!”

        1. That’s pretty much my train of thought. I have been applauding these “blurts” especially when there is a really unexpected one from a quiet kid or a barometer student 🙂

  2. Brian–
    The scale you and Ben are working on is the very thing that our teachers got presented last week at their planning meeting. The idea that 3 is the targeted objective mastered-A and 4 is a student who is going beyond and might use some more challenge. 2 they are mostly there, and 1 they need a bunch of support.
    We don’t use grades. We use portfolios but the reality is how is a child/parent to judge their level of performance in comparison to expectations. We felt this scale agreed with our general philosophy at our school and the teachers felt good that the could use the standards and benchmarks already expected of them to teach as their plug-in goal.
    So I think your idea will hold up to administrators working this system with the core classes.

    1. Thanks for the postive encouragement. The reality is my boss came around today for an unexpected observation today!! I spend some time chatting with her after class, and she seems good with it all, but she is also curious on how I will begin to quantify student’s progress on these learning goal scales. That part is a work in progress for me…but the scales themselves seem to pass the test so far.
      p.s. our new observation system takes all the things my supervisor was looking for and saw/didn’t see, along with her comments, and posts them to a website that I can log into and read. No feedback yet on today’s walkthrough. We’ll see. I hope to get some specific feedback on this type of stuff (scales, etc.)…we’ll see. In the end, I practice boss avoidance…do what I know as the professional in the room what I know is good for my students, and then hope that it flys with the admins. when they come around. I refuse to do it the other way around: be so worried about what ‘they want’ me to do in my class, and structure accordingly.
      Learning goals and scales posted? Okay fine…but my way!
      Data to be collected based on scales? Okay fine…but my way…I just haven’t nailed that one down yet. Quizzes for comprehension, and tally marks and/or memory of slackers/high-achievers during the period and give an “interpersonal communication” (aka participation) grade indicating where on the scale they spent most of their time during the class?…

  3. I was just thinking about what was said about the participation grade being bogus. I agree and have stopped using it as a grading category but using French outside of the classroom to chat me up is something of value and could be credited to participation – willingness to take French out of the classroom. It’s speaking that is done outside a classroom setting – less stressful. I was doing a make-up speaking assessment with one of my French 4 girls today. I just started talking to her about stupid stuff. Do you usually buy cheap cloths or expensive ones? Do you like to buy expensive clothes? Where do you buy them? Who pays the bill? Do you work after school? She told me her History teacher is usually funny but he is serious (she was lost, but saved herself )when we take a test. She used “prenons” to get around “when we ‘take’ a test.” She started to max out on her vocabulary. It was very interesting. She had some friends waiting for her. They were talking, but as Katie kept up her end of the conversation, they were kid of in awe of her ability. This may become a new way to to a speaking assessment or just plain old effort above and beyond the required!

    1. The ACTFL position statement says that teachers and students should speak the language outside the classroom whenever possible – so using the out-of-class encounter to affect a grade positively is in line with our professional organization.

    2. The whole L2 outside the classroom vibe has really changed in my school. As in radically from last year to this year. In past years there were a few kids who would initiate or respond, but most would say something like “it’s not Spanish class so I don’t have to speak Spanish.” Or they would groan or visibly cringe or whatever. Now, lots more kids cheerfully initiate…if not conversation at least a booming “Hola! Que pasa?” or something.
      One interesting twist: I have an early morning Spanish 4 class. Most kids are not awake and I’m having trouble with way too much blurting/side conversations in English. One student in particular is a repeat offender. Yesterday as I was calling her out on it, I realized (and said to her ) that she speaks to me almost exclusively in Spanish in the hallways and if I see her in her free period, yet in class she speaks English? She doesn’t sleep enough so has trouble in the morning. Interesting.

      1. That apparently consciously rude kid needs to stop it. I further address this in the next month in the Pigs posts. We need to act on those kids and their piggy behavior. She doesn’t have the right to blurt out English. This English thing has quickly moved to the top of my concerns list for myself as a CI teacher.

  4. I am thinking about a self-evaluation rubric every couple of weeks and then the teacher writes if they disagree with the level that the student places themselves at. Then the grade could be the average of those and it would still serve to emphasize the expectations for classroom communication. I don’t want to just evaluate each student for the whole grading period at once. I would like to check in every couple weeks and then see if it could improve with focus on it.
    What do you all think?

    1. I am currently in the second round of self-evaluation with my students, and I find the process helpful. I’m doing what you are suggesting, Melanie. Most of the time (though not all the time), my evaluation places the student either at the same place or slightly higher than the students have been rating themselves. The discrepancies provide an opportunity to talk. Today in one class a student handed his paper in and said, “I’m doing better, aren’t I?” I agreed that he has improved in interpersonal communication. It’s moments like this that help convince me that the process is valuable.

      1. Or in other words, through using this interpersonal communication rubric in this way, you are facilitating actual interpersonal communication. Good stuff.

    2. I’m on my third “round” but I call it “reflection.” It is so valuable. Instead of doing a whole rubric each time, I am focusing on one or two skills (or class rules). This way I get really specific reflections from the kids and it doesn’t take a lot of time. In the most recent one, I focused on just one skill: “I signal the teacher when I don’t understand.” I had a scale of 1-5 with 5 being always and 1 being never. I asked the kids to explain/comment if they were at less than level4 (usually), what is holding you back from signaling?
      I’m using this more as a way to keep the communication flowing rather than as a grade. The first time I focused on this particular skill I learned that there was a high level of fear around admitting publically “I don’t understand.” I was able to address this fear and also reframe it in the context of what we’re doing…learning to communicate by listening and responding!
      Of course this communication clearly “backs up” my observations of the students so I can refer to it as needed with students and parents.

      1. That is an incredibly helpful comment, jen. Thank you. I am going to do that today because my kids don’t signal enough. I bet other teachers’ kids don’t, either. This could be a great thread – how exactly to get kids communicating with us to tell us when they don’t understand, which, since we are all new at this, is quite often.
        I know what I do. Whenever I say something that they don’t understand (you can just tell, plus I know what they know and don’t know because I am their teacher), I just signal for them. I just put my arm way back behing me and model/guide that move for them. Such a good topic – what to do when they don’t signal. Thanks again jen.

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