My original concept of the Circling with Balls cards (four years ago) has evolved as per the following:
1. Now, each class’ group of cards is color coded. This helps immensely in grabbing what I need for any one class.
2. On the back of each card is the Anne Lambert questionnaire, which, because it is in two columns, fits perfectly there.
3. In the first few days of class, that beginning all-important magnificently slow (to the point where complete beginners comprehend!) period which makes or breaks the year because it makes or breaks their confidence, I have everyone put the card on their desk. Since I am only able to talk about a few kids each day, the cards, on the third or fourth day of class, are no longer on the desk – they just stay in the stack. The reasoning here is that after those first few days the cards can become a distraction, esp. with the questionnaires on the back. I grab any card and circle that kid’s card without all the other cards on desks that wouldn’t probably used that period anyway (any comparisons are made with kids about whom we have already talked – the kids remember every detail!)
4. The kids only fill out one bit of new information from the questionnaire per week. I always start with “a name you would like to be called”, but, after ten days now, I am not anywhere near getting to even that question. By not allowing them to fill in all the questions on the questionnaire right away, I get much more thoughtful answers as we slowly get deeper into the questionnaire.
The color coded cards with the questionnaires on the back, with only one question being filled in each week or two, gives me an effective PQA curriculum for months. I anticipate spending about four months with the cards, at least. Then, with a massive foundation of CI under their belts, the kids will start reading (Sept.) and writing (Oct.) and speaking (whenever is natural for them) like gangbusters.
The technical changes described above may help others who have been doing this PQA activity over the past years.