Maybe Tina can get this little book done (all the Bite Size Books on teachables.com are around 30 pp.) before next May. Here is the first chunk of ideas from Tina and thanks for sharing them Tina because maybe some of us can get a little boost here to get across the 2017 finish line with a few of these gems. The general plan that I always used was heavy auditory input giving way a little bit every month through the year to more and more reading, and then, in spring after testing, this kind of stuff, projects and such. in certain classes I would teach like I used to out of the Amsco grammar workbook. Mindless. That was to align with high school programs. (With all the CI the kids could handle a lot of grammar in a few months, since they actually knew the language to base their mechanical study of the language on.) Teachers who try to hammer down on the CI in April and May are not thinking clearly. When you and a few kids are the only ones that care in the classroom in spring, that is a bad thing. Relax. Check out what our former social studies teacher shares with us:
Here it is, off the top of my head:
1. Story Book project which is eating up UNTOLD days of class for me and the kids are really into it, PLUS it is cresting stories for next year’s SSR time.
2. Read and Write. Have them read for ten minutes in their SSR materials. Then have them list five new words they learned. Have them teach them to a partner. Then have them read ten more minutes. List five new words. Then work with a partner to write a story using those words. If time permits, illustrate it.
3. Watch Extr@. My kids love this series. I told them that we would watch Extr@ and Sr. Wooly every Monday till June 10. If you are feeling punchy, watch ten minutes then stop to Write and Discuss, and create a class summary of the main points.
4. Play the Word Chunk Team Game or a new game I invented called Pass the Paper Not the Crayon.
Kids are in groups of four. One kid has a paper with eight boxes. I have a paper with eight lists of ten words each. Thematic vocab with titles like “Things in a house” and “People in the Family”.
Kid Two has the pencil. They listen and can’t write. I say the list in one of the boxes three times. They try to remember as many words as they can in L1 or L2. Then after three times hearing the list they get together as a group and the paper kid gets the pencil and takes down the ten words. They pass the paper but not the pencil so Kid Two can be the scribe for the next round. Then we moved on to box two. At the end the groups traded papers and we corrected together. Since several groups had perfect scores we did a spelling bee type “French Off” (or “Spanish Off”) with one kid from each group competing for the ultimate prize. A Jolly Rancher for each group member.
5. Insta Scavenger Hunt. Give a list of things found outside. Kids run around and take pictures of them They send them to your Instagram teacher account as a message. They can tag the photos with the word from the list.
6. Running Dictation. Always good for a sunny day.
7. Assessments. Tell them it is an assessment and the pencils start moving. Tell a story then repeat it again in chunks while they write in English what they understood. Tell them you are NOT repeating for them.
8. Invisibles Beauty Contest. Put the Invisibles you have not gotten to yet in a pile. Put one on the projector. Describe it for a while. Then describe another one. Then another. After a few, do a Write and Discuss and write a few sentences about each one. Then talk about some more, then write some more. Repeat till the attention wanes. Then vote for cutest, smartest, most intelligent, whatever. Then
9. Who’s That Person? Have them sketch a four or six panel…well just watch it.
You can also make it into a Quick Quiz.
10. Letter to Next Year’s Class: Have them write in English and explain how this class works, tips, tricks. You may or may not use these.
11. End of the Year Reflections: If you have kept a portfolio then have them look through it and pick their bet work. Then have them write a reflection letter on what they have learned.
12. Appreciation Letters: Have them choose a teacher or staff member who has made an impact on them. Have them write them a card in English. Maybe a sentence or two in the language. I had a Science teacher colleague at Russell who used to do this every Teacher Appreciation Week, and it was so sweet to get their letters. I still have them in my Happy File. And, yes, I do have a Happy File.
13. Guess the Teacher: Get teachers to submit baby photos. Or answer personal questions. It is like Who’s That Person but with teachers/staff.
14. Pig: I stumbled across this online. I liked it. It was fun. It is kind of lame but kids loved it.https://sradentlinger.wordpress.com/2015/11/04/cerdos-a-vocabulary-game/
15. Let Go. This is a teacher game. It is an activity WE need to do in May. We need to LET GO in May and June. We have given them so much, we have given them so much language, so much input. We do not need to be superheroes every blessed day. I think of the school year as a roller coaster hill. We quickly chug up to the top, in fall. By December I am usually teaching my VERY BEST. Everyone knows what is expected, we are a group, we have inside jokes and I (usually) know everyone’s name, all 182 of them. January and February are good teaching months but I am usually pretty low on energy and glad to coast on that fall momentum. The input is pretty much still going strong like a faucet I turned on in September. March and April we are still coasting but I need to break it up a little. Assessment batteries are good for this time. They provide input while also getting pencils in their hands and they sound “official”. A good assessment battery can take up a whole week. It is good to have some “tricks” up your sleeve to pull out in spring. Movie Talk, Picture Talks, Special Chair, Running Dictation, whatever they haven’t seen before. That is why in fall and winter my highest recommendation is Keep It Simple Stupid. Let’s not think that we have to be three-ring circus entertainers in fall and winter. Listening to the language spoken slowly and clearly is enchanting enough for most people and if we enforce the Classroom Rules each and every time then we do not HAVE TO STRESS about being entertaining, until spring. March and April are the times to turn towards new and novel. May is the time to pull out all the stops. And give ourselves a freakin break people. We have taught them so much. Most of my SEVENTH GRADERS have developed more proficiency in a year than I gained in three years of French in high school. And certainly more than two years of middle school Latin where we conjugated and declined day in and day out. So, why not take it easy on ourselves, coast a little, let them do some projects? I am having SUCH FUN with my kids here at the end of the year. They are writing, illustrating, and we are just being together.
P.S. I am sure the savvy teacher can find the hidden standards in the above activities. If you need help with that, just shout out. I am pretty good at making “taking it easy” sound like “rigorous academics”.
P.P.S. I used to be president of my local union. I love teachers! We work too hard, for too little, with too many people, for way too little pay, with too many headaches, and far too many hoops to jump through, for us to EVER beat ourselves up about ANYTHING. Let’s all breathe, look at what we have accomplished this year, celebrate our own growth, and look forward to summer. It’s not TOO far away now. Five weeks here in Portland Public. I think I can, I think I can…