Activity Reports

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1 thought on “Activity Reports”

  1. Love it! Terry waltz does some TCi reporting at the beginning of class. I found pieces of her moretprs post plus others’ response to it here: disclaimer – not sure which parts are Terry’s:
    Add the “phone number report” to all the routine reports you can do to start class (and teach all those “sets” of words).
    We are doing the Date Report, the Fashion Report and the Lunch Report just now. We’ll be phasing the Date Report out soon (since they’ve got that) and replacing it with something else.
    For the Phone Number Report, the responsible kid has to make up a phone number for the celebrity/character of his choice. You (or, now in Q2, a student) “interviews” him to find out the phone number. Short and sweet. One or two circling questions to the crowd and move on.
    Or the Time Report — What time did ____ do _____? Yesterday at ___:____, ____ did _____.
    Done every day, this 5 minutes at the beginning of every class REALLY adds up. I just picked up the first piece of writing from my 1s and I’m seeing them use the words from the Reports that were never used anywhere else during class.
    First, i have a list of names posted on the wall. There’s one column of names under each job heading. On any given day, any kid might have any one of the jobs. It rotates through however many students you have in total. So for my 1s which is a small class now, each kid will have any given job every 21 days, because there are 21 students; within a 21 day period, he will have 4 jobs, because we’re doing 4 reports each day. This takes the longest to make up. 😉
    I have a little template I stick up on the board (or you can just write it yourself each day if you want) that gives them the language they need at the beginning. This is forced output, fair enough, so I’m not going to ask them to actually DO anything they can’t do (pattern/grammar-wise). And at the early stages, it’s very, very supported output. If the kid is a slow processor, I might even read the sentence myself and just ask him “Is it the case that today is Monday, December 5?” or whatever. This is a great chance to differentiate instruction by changing the task subtly and demanding more from your faster kids.
    So, for the date, I started by writing on the board, What is the date today? Today is ____. By now, my kids know how the write the date. Earlier, I’d write part of it for them to sort of get them going.
    For fashion, they draw a stick figure and sketch some clothing on it. Doesn’t have to be accurate or even good. We get a lot of mileage out of making snarky comments about how ugly the stick figure characters are (we’re careful to call them the Non-Harry, the Non-Lauren, etc. instead of the real kid, if they chose to talk about someone’s clothing in the class! So it’s someone who wants to be like Harry but can’t quite make it…)
    For the lunch report, I gave them a list of a few food items and they pick one. For the first couple of weeks, the lunchroom apparently only had tacos and pizza. 😉 Which was okay — the point was to teach the word “lunch”, really. Soon we’ll be having the dinner report instead, since they’ve got “lunch” down and have expanded their food vocabulary beyond that.
    I also give a Pinyin “visual dictation” task at the start of class for anyone who doesn’t have a job. So the four “have a job” kids are up there preparing their reports, and the others are at their seats writing the Pinyin for a short sentence I write up in characters (this is how we work Pinyin spelling, besides pop-ups). Or we do a short translation, or write a character, or whatever. Something really short and simple. They are graded on how well they CORRECT their work after I write up the correct answer, not on how well they did in the first place. (This is liberally stolen from the French dicteés people have been doing.)
    So for the actual reports, get something to be your “microphone” and “interview’ each kid. This is also a great chance to use formal introductions and so on.
    “Good morning. What is your surname, please?”
    “Ah, Classmate Smith [I’m teaching Chinese, remember…], hello. May I ask, what is for lunch today?”
    And the kid answers, pointing to what he’s written on the board in characters. I circle it REALLY fast with him or with someone in the class (they don’t know which) and on to the next one. Depending on the kid, I’ll ask an expansion question (using vocab they don’t know, just so they can hear it and use it; I write it up if needed).
    “Ah! Are the hamburgers beef, or horsemeat?”
    “Do you put ketchup on yours?”
    “How many will you eat?”
    Every now and then, we do a 1 to 10 on some report: “On a scale of 1 to 10, where 1 is I want to throw up and 10 is this is the best lunch ever, how many points would you give the cafeteria’s hamburgers?” Sometimes we do “Rotten Tomatoes” and give a percentage instead. The point is to have them hear natural language about points, scores, percentages — things that aren’t particularly difficult but just don’t get covered, and to do it without taking up time.
    The whole thing is designed to take up very little time, provide a reliable opening to class, give me time to do whatever needs to be done, and give me a cushion so people see me teaching “bell to bell”. I had times in my previous job where I’d be late arriving for whatever reason and the admins were impressed that the kids came in and started on their jobs without being told.
    And I’m delighted with how much of that language is showing up in writing (though sometimes in Pinyin if it was an “extra” word. But that’s okay for now.)

    I added some reports for the first time today and I like the idea of making them part of every day’s routine. Only, I did them TPRS-style. For example, I posted some pictures of clothing articles and their Spanish labels and I asked the students for a celebrity and I “asked” the details, while circling the structure “dresses himself with.” The posted options allowed the students to stay in the target language. I did something similar for foods and drinks that a student was going to have for lunch/dinner, that way providing reps on “is going to eat/drink.” I didn’t, but it would be very easy to have a student write a T/F quiz to be taken on the reports.
    I think this would be a good way to convert more people to TPRS. We are doing CI, we can personalize/customize, practice our circling, and make it compelling, while “teaching” the thematic lists. These reports were super easy to do, since my kids have already had a year of TPRS. I told them that the goal will be for them to present the various reports, but first I’m going to continue to ask the details, giving them a lot of CI every class on these reports. After I asked the details for 5 different reports, I did encourage students to retell what they could of the reports.
    I am amazed at how easy this is to expose the students to thematic lists my district currently expects them to have “covered.” I envision I could come up with some type of “report” for each thematic vocab list! The beauty of it is that it only takes 10 minutes or less each class (so I’m not giving up too much time on low-frequency vocab and I’m actually stressing the higher frequency verbs, not the thematic nouns) and it eases that worry that my students will not have exposure to the same vocabulary of the other elementary schools not teaching via TPRS. Of course, you could easily ask the thematic lists in your TPRS stories, but this routine is a more conscious attempt on the behalf of the teacher, making sure I DO work in these structures and vocabulary on a regular basis.
    Alisa here again: I saw Jason Fritze do something related to this at a conference. Here’s a doc he created (in French n English) to help prompt Ss to respond about what they did on vacation or on the weekend:

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