Double Quizzes

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18 thoughts on “Double Quizzes”

  1. Of course we all fall short, but I love how in this group we are trying to turn ourselves into the complete teaching package. The real mojo only really flows in those classes where we as teachers are able to combine all the essential skills together at the same time. Quick quizzes and staying in the TL aren’t enough by themselves, for example, but are maximally effective only if combined with Checking for Understanding. When only a few skills are in place some progress can be made, for sure, but things really start humming like a pristine engine when all of the skills click together.

  2. I feel ready to break out the stopwatch and try to do 10 minutes of no English. I was wondering, are students still allowed to use the stop signal for clarification? I imagine I can get around the speaking English by writing the French with the equivalent in English on the board. Any suggestions?

    1. 1. Yes, they should be always asking for clarification and we need to keep on them about that. They must self-advocate in our classrooms. It is a key ingredient and they almost always forget to do it because few teachers in the past, if any, have asked them to actively and for real clarify and communicate with us during class.

      2. If you are talking about Point and Pause (writing the English of new words on the board), remember that we have to avoid doing that. Our input to them should ideally include no new structures except those we are trying to teach that day.

  3. “boring kids who have been allowed by the broken, totally broken system to turn it around on us and say our classes are boring when they are the boring ones. ”

    I think this is so important for us to remember, especially on those days when we are trying to hang out in the TL, and getting nothing from the students. It’s not our fault. These kids are being constantly pacified by the tech/entertainment/gaming industry (even in schools!), with the result that they become more and more bored (and alienated) from simple human interaction. Rather, it’s our mess to try to clean up, at least while those kids are in our classrooms. And doing short bursts of TL with assessments is a great way to get them to engage. For my challenging classes who just can’t handle that, I keep them reading texts that I know they understand 90% or more of, and throw the ball around the room to students who will answer a question or translate a passage. These strategies keep the TL flow going, but not knocking ourselves out by trying to be a clown.

  4. …not knocking ourselves out….

    Thanks for saying that John, and for seeing what I mean with the ten minute burst idea. I cannot make it through a full class of CI with no L1 sidebars. Maybe it’s because my initials are B.S. I have knocked myself out trying, however, for years now. But with the ten minutes bursts, I find that I CAN do 99% CI and it is easy, effortless. With a naturally occurring brain break every ten minutes, moreover, the quality of the CI has increased notably. The kids will give much more effort when they know they can speak English in just ten short minutes.

  5. Only somewhat related: It is so beautiful right now what is happening in this class of level 2 students. They are taking a “test” on some readings we recently completed from our textbook/novel (we’ve been 1/2 in stories and 1/2 in this textbook/novel and we’ve spent maybe 2 months or so reading these readings every now and then with embedded versions, cRD, etc.), readings comprising an impressive number of pretty dense Latin pages. The test is really simple, just some English comprehension questions answered in English with a supporting Latin quote taken from the stories. You should see them. Not a sound, total focus on the text from EVERY SINGLE STUDENT. I’ve been asked for help maybe six times total and I’ve seen maybe a dozen or so students flip back to the dictionary for a quick second before diving back into the reading. I remember the old way when they would have their noses buried in the dictionary. HOW COOL IS THIS WHAT I’M SEEING RIGHT NOW!

    1. This is wonderful, James! Congratulations!!!! So I take it that they have their books open to take this test? You are so smart, giving them additional CI even as they are taking a test.

      1. That’s what I’ve started doing this year since I would never be able to get away with not testing. I’ll adapt a reading to fit the structures we’ve been studying, and pair it with some pictures to do a listening assessment, and then before they even read the story, they’ve seen the pictures that go with it. They are much more confident now.

  6. “if a child is not involved in a class based on comprehensible input that is being done properly then there is something wrong with the child.”
    I needed to repeat that. When it’s comprehensible and compelling and they sit there like they’re bored, then it’s not me. Those of us teaching beginners certainly have it the hardest – it’s easier to be compelling when you have more language to work with. And if they’re younger, then you have attention span challenges. The education system has it backwards, in the way it lets the most experienced educators teach the older kids and upper levels.

  7. My main goal in most auditory classes is to get a good 15-20 minute chunk of pure CI. After that we need the brain break and can come back for more auditory CI or, most of the time, some reading/writing. I fight for those 15-20 minutes. If the kids start side conversations I signal the timer to pause. “This can be the longest 20 minutes ever or just 20 minutes, it’s up to you,” I say.

  8. Michael Nagelkerke

    Ben mentioned scan-tron as a way to keep grading to a minimum, but I use GradeCam. Does the very same thing, but you can do it with just a webcam and students can see what they got on the test immediately after taking the test. They just drop the quiz under the webcam or document camera, and it tells them their score on the computer screen. Anyone else using GradeCam? The best thing about it is if you only need to do 10 point quick quizzes, you can use it for free. If you want to do anything more than 10 point quizzes, you’ll have to buy the subscription. Check it out.

  9. THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!!!! for reposting this NOW!
    I just finished a “teacher on the defensive”, “zombie-like” sort of class, and had to get online for a shot of “Ben’s blog” to help me figure this class out before I turn into a zombie, or worse yet, resentful – of so many things! I can now DO THIS again! thank you

  10. My second period was so dead. They responded to nothing. I heard crickets. On my prep doing the same thing mb. I hope our tech guy goes for it. One of the points of our district mission statement is that we are child-centered, not adult-centered.. If he approves the download, I am trying this. This is a hard year already (no air in my class for a week in new wing) but I am committed to CI.

  11. Oh No LOL!!! Tim, I read yours without reading MB/s and I thought that you were asking your tech guy to get you a download of the SOUND OF CRICKETS so that you could play that when those awkward silences happened LOLOL!!!!! (I think I might have to try that with my first period class!!)

    with love,

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