Reflection Question

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23 thoughts on “Reflection Question”

  1. One thing that I saw today (day 4 of teaching) is that I start to circle “to be afraid of ” on Friday. I only circled it for about 12 minutes, and got 36 reps in on Friday. Today I started it up again, but a kid I had last year said that he was afraid of girls with beards (there heightens the interest), then another boy (who was in his class last year) accepted the wig, and came to front of the class (yes, he has a beard and mustache) and it turned into Nick NOT wanting “her” as a girlfriend because she was not “good-looking”, but rather, “ugly” with a beard and mustache.
    I have kids in this class who were with me from Level 1A (before we did away with 1B – so only half a year of Spanish), kids who just came from the middle school into Level 2, and kids who have had 4 semesters already at the high school — all in my Level 2 class. None of them (except my aide) have had “to be afraid” before.
    I gave an exit exam today, and they all knew “to be afraid”, ugly, good-looking, beard, is important, spider, girl, girlfriend – just within two days – well, a total of a 1/2 hour between the two days!!! and with a weekend in-between!
    So, wow! this process WORKS – and they were ALL engaged – well, except for a few freshmen, but I have not gone over the rubric yet. I went over the rules, and modeled today and Friday how they were not adhering to the rules — but there were no discipline problems (yet).
    The heads down and doodling are getting to me — some I know understand and are bored (4%ers from last year who wanted worksheets! and freshmen who don’t feel comfortable yet saying they do not understand.) But, they are not misbehaving — they just need more training.
    So, with this room full (19) of 9, 10, 11 and 12th graders, I am glad that i *have* jGR to use to “train” them!!!

  2. Someone, somewhere, mentioned that instead of asking students to signal when THEY don’t understand, we should ask them to signal when WE are going too fast, using words they don’t know, not being comprehensible. I read that, then a while later it went Kaplunk! Of course. By asking them to signal when they don’t understand, we’re asking them to do something difficult that even adults don’t like to do, admit a weakness, even an inferiority to those who seemingly do understand. By saying, “Let me know when I speak too fast, when I use words you haven’t learned”, we’re asking them to help us do our job, to help us be better teachers. Duh! I wish I could remember who said this where, because it’s absolutely brilliant.

    1. I think it was Diane in her video. I went over this today in class, specifically saying “signal when I am unclear” (I am unclear when I speak too quickly and/or use language that is out of bounds)

      I am framing jGR as a tool for success: it is simply a list of the skills you need in order to maximize how much Spanish / French you will understand. The “scale” represents the level of skill you demonstrate most consistently. It happens to be attached to a grade only because we are in a school.

      1. I can’t claim it. I read it in someone else’s comment on some post in here last month. It was great. It’s still hard to get them to do it, but at least I can try and reinforce it’s about my going too fast or my using unfamiliar words.

        I did refer to the classroom rules as “things you can do to increase your enjoyment and progress in Chinese” and that’s how I’ll always introduce them now.

  3. I hadn’t seen Diane’s video yet, so she must have said the same thing either here or on moretprs. I just watched the video and loved it. And this is what I’ll be telling all my students now, “signal when I’m not clear!”

    And I like your idea of jGR as a “tool for success.” It could be used for self-evaluation and it definitely does concern “skills you need” for success.

  4. I don’t think we should ever be “evaluating” (i.e. counting for marks) behaviour.

    BUT…this year I am way more conscious of SLOW and using less vocab, and I am finding zero problems maintaining focus. I am also doing the Blaine-and-Von direct questions thing (kids can just read answer off the board) which is helping keep ppl focused. cCWB IMHO works well.

    1. It is not *behavior* — it is a performance! It can be assessed.

      I am looking at 180 underperforming sophomores and juniors every day, with 20 or so high achievers, and I will use the rubric.

    2. Chris,

      Please tell me more about “the Blaine-and-Von direct questions thing (kids can just read answer off the board) which is helping keep ppl focused.” I would definitely like to know more!


  5. Shhhhhhhhh…..the truth is that …
    a. jGR is teaching teachers that they do have the temperament and backbone to establish and enforce simple and well-communicated set of rules. Once the teacher knows this…and uses this knowledge…it isn’t needed as often.
    b. jGR has given teachers the experience of knowing what a calm, focused, self-controlled classroom feels like…so that they can…wait for it…wait for it…and then know when it has “clunked” into place.
    c. When the teacher and students are in synch in this way, the teacher can relax, focus and provide clear, compelling input in a narrow and deep way.
    d. PACING is an advanced skill as Judy (I think) said on the more list. It’s a multilayered skill and is as much about the timing of silences as it is about the speed of the utterances. jGR has given teachers the skills and the power to be better at pacing.
    e. Too fast leads to out-of-control in a million ways. Embrace your inner tortoise friends!!!

    Shhhhhhhhhhhhhhh it isn’t the jGR that is doing any of it. It is YOU ALL and how you utilize the jGR.

    with love,

  6. I know I am probably restating the obvious, but I have found GREAT value in the rubric as a tool in which I help students understand what behaviors will lead to success.

    On one of the feedback sheets I asked students what they “expected/needed of me their teacher” One student replied that he needed help in knowing HOW to learn a language. He had had Math, Science, Reading etc for years and felt like they knew how to “learn” those. WL feels different to them because they have no experience with them. JGR give them concrete descriptions of behaviors that will help them succeed.

    I have seen differences in the behavior of entire classes after reading through the rubric.


  7. This is a side note but I’ve noticed this comment in posts. There seems to be a problem with students writing or messing with their bags and stuff. I have eliminated this by having my students put all their stuff in the back of the room as they enter class. It works great and I think they like not having to worry about a bunch of writing. Another thing that has been great for me is the brain break. It’s amazing how they fade after 15 to 20 minutes then after a 3 min break they are back in the mix. My students’ favorite break is doing the class hand shake.

    1. I also ask for students to clear their desks with nothing on them during class. As you say, this is a relief for them, since it means they aren’t expected to take notes, and it prevents distractions and lets them focus on the lesson.

      1. I actually got it from a Prezi I found on brain breaks. I made my own and taught it to the class. Another cool break is to have students stand up and balance on one leg while holding the other leg up like a flamingo. Have them do both legs for 20 secs. Then have them do it with their eyes closed. It’s fun to watch them try not to lose their balance. Vision is key to balance. This exercise helps them engaged their core and leg muscles. Nothing to do with language but stimulates the body and gets them charged up.

        1. I could add a language element once they can count: count slowly to 20 while doing the leg thing. I need some “cooler” and more active brain breaks and that would be good. The handshake thing is good because it develops a sense of being a group, also very important for instructional time.

          I did something for a brain break that one class loved… but it’d only work for non-native teachers of a language (well, maybe adaptable). I called it Quiz the Teacher. They look up words in the student dictionaries on the shelf and see if they can stump me. If I know the word, I get a point. If I don’t know the word, they get a point. If they win after 3 minutes (or whatever time limit), they all get a piece of candy. Bonus: they were all racing through the dictionary and getting practice using it in a fun way.

  8. Energisers are great. A great language one is fruitbowl, or last man out:

    — tell kids zero talking
    — put chairs in center of room and have 1 chair less than # of kids
    — pick an easy vocab item, like 3 colours, or boys/girls, or jeans/sweats, or hair colours
    — put on board and clarify
    — when you say one of the words, everybody to whom that word applies has to move chairs but not right beside them
    — nobody wants to be the one person standing so they’ll move fast
    — great fun for 5-10 mins in TL


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