This is a lengthy post, but worth the read in my opinion:
The goal is to use how we assess to build a positive response in class from our students, to build them up for trying and not necessarily for achieving. What things can we do? We can ask for little rounds of applause for kids who are trying to listen well, just stopping class when we see the kids honoring the Classroom Rules and saying “Applaudissez, classe! Arnold is listening so well right now that I wanted to stop class just to say that, because that means that he paid attention in the first week when I stopped you guys all those times and pointed at rule #2, right? And you thought this class was weird bc you didn’t have to memorize stuff, and just give me your full attention and follow those rules over there and Arnold is doing that right now so congratulations Arnold you’re doing it right and it will show up as 65% of your grade at the next marking term so keep doing it! It’s how people learn languages! In fact, I’m going to my desk right now to write myself a note to email your parents after class to tell them how well you pay attention in class! It’s not easy to do this kind of thing if you’ve never had a class like this before. Everybody needs to know that you think you are looking at me but I am looking at you too and you are being graded right now when I am talking in French! We’ve looked at the rubric together already so where would you put yourself on this rubric right now? Get in groups of two and talk about that. Do you see how your effort determines your grade in this class, and not how you do on some test? We don’t memorize in this class and we don’t have big tests. And any big tests we have, we just do what we do on that Star every day, so if you pay attention you will get the grade you want. And Arnold I have noticed that you are really listening and trying to understand and that is done silently, right? Because you’re not ready to speak yet, right? And that silence and focus is the sound of your grade going up! Oh and don’t just start staring at me, because I can tell if you are trying to understand me in class. When you stare it’s a different look in your eyes and plus when you fail the quizzes, that tells me what is really going on because they are so easy if you just listen. (Ed. note: formative grades in the first month of the year are only quick quizzes, which are essential to give, if you can, on a daily basis, along w rating your students on the rubric every day to effectively train ALL the students in your classroom. The other formative grades like free writes, FCR, dictées, will start to populate the grade book later.) I’ll know that I was right about how much you were understanding with the quizzes. The quizzes and the interpersonal skills rubric work together, as you can see. Don’t worry! It’s my job to make myself understood so the quizzes are easy and I will do that I promise (ed. note: via WBYT). And since I am grading you daily here at the beginning of the year, you better know that if I see a cell phone out, I won’t say anything but I will go over to my desk and write down a 0 on your daily IPS grade and those add up, since it’s 65% of the grade! So, if you see me making notes on my desk during class it’s either to remind myself to call a parent about good interpersonal skills or the phone problem. Yes, you may have heard that I call parents during class, but not very often. So, there are about four people right now who are failing the class due to phones but I won’t talk about it. We’ll talk later when the first grades come out. I know it’s weird being graded like this, on how you listen in class instead of on memorizing something for a test, but that’s how I’m supposed to do it, so we’ll see if any grades go up now. Let me show you what I mean”. (Walk over to an empty desk and model the behavior physically that you want to see.) Congratulate Arnold again and get back into class. Of course, you wouldn’t say all of those things, just one or two each time you stop to congratulate the kid and ask for a round of applause on their behalf, but that is the gist of a form of classroom management that really works. Once we realize that the best way to improve our students’ behavior is not by “managing” their behavior at all, but by complimenting them, we will have the kind of classroom environment we want.
To review the above:
…little rounds of applause….
…stopping class when we see the kids honoring the Classroom Rules….
…spot emails to parents ….
…you think you are looking at me but I am looking at you too….
…you are being graded right now ….
…the silence when I am speaking is the sound of your grade going up….
…it’s my job to make myself understood and I will do that….
…the quizzes and the interpersonal skills rubric work together….
…phone out in class? – I won’t say anything but at it’s a 0 on your daily interpersonal grade….
…if you see me making notes on my desk during class it’s to remind myself to call a parent about good listening skills or the phone problem. Yes, I do call parents during class….