Bryce Hedstrom – On Attendance

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6 thoughts on “Bryce Hedstrom – On Attendance”

  1. Bryce, I admire your thoughts. I like the fact that you haven’t yet put in how you’re going to measure what/how long/etc. My current policy is that kids need to use three recent words in a 100/200-word write to make up any day that they miss for activities. But as we’ve been talking here, the whole writing thing does not provide input. I guess that having to come in with a little note that says that they’ve done the reading might be enough to make the policy work.

    1. There’s a cite called that has spanish leveled readers hundreds of books at all levels I believe they go up to 8th or 9th grade reading level. Tons of books that can be projected and discussed as a class, fiction and non-fiction. You can set up classrooms and make specific assignments or just use it for SSR. It’s a subscription based website but its only 100.00 for a class of 30. I’ve been projecting one book a day and circling through them to teach things like telling time instead of drill and kill.

  2. Bryce, these are good ideas. I think I may adopt a form of this for my classes next year. As a standing assignment, I tell my students they should spend 15 minutes a day outside of class getting comprehensible input (i.e. the things you have listed). Most of my students don’t do this because they know that I won’t check it. But I do tell them the rate at which they acquire German will increase if they will do it. One of my students who has an IEP has made some great strides this year because he has set all of his video games to German and plays text intensive video games in the target language.
    I haven’t required something extra for those who miss class, and I am definitely feeling the need to do so. A couple of questions to further the discussion:
    -How do you make this accountable? Parental signature? Summary of reading? Signed note from student?
    -What about students who leave class? I have some students who play sports and will leave fifth or sixth period early. Do they do a lesser amount of make-up?
    -How much should students have to do to make up a class they have missed? Should it be amount of time? Amount of material?
    I have finally accumulated enough books for FVR that I am considering making outside reading a requirement for my upper levels. One day my level 4/AP class helped me classify and mark the books into “beginner” (end of level 1 through level 2), “intermediate” (levels 3 and 4) and “advanced” (AP and beyond). From the experience of my current level 3 class, I have decided that for individual reading (not class corporate reading) a “level 1” reader should be “beginner” and a “level 2” reader should be “intermediate”.* My thought is to require x number of pages per quarter and have a formula something like
    10 pages of “advanced” = 30 pages of “intermediate” = 60 pages of “beginner”.
    Then someone in a higher-level class who has trouble with the more complex language could simply read more pages at a lower level.
    *The experience that this class had: I have multiple copies of Michael Miller’s Hilde und Gunter readers. I have not used them for the class as a whole because I don’t have enough copies. When the class was in level 2, they voluntarily picked up the level 1 reader for FVR and raved about it. I tried to interest them in the level 2 reader, but they complained. This year (level 3), though, they picked up the level 2 reader with enthusiasm. That has convinced me that the readers are independently readable by students about 1 level above their stated target. I’m interested in seeing if this holds true for other readers.

  3. Robert and Bryce. This is of interest to me because I am trying to provide my motivated students with more language. On Blaine’s suggestion, I began having the 4%ers read novelas above the current level of the class on their own time. What I discovered in doing so is that many other students want to be a part of that process. (This may be specific to my learning culture–I teach in a small private school). I plan to get a larger number of each novela for next year and to open it to whoever wants to do it (as opposed to choosing). I plan to do it on a contract (they must attend bi-weekly lunch-time meetings to check comprehension–if they miss twice, they’re out). As it is right now, I publish everything we do in class on our school website daily. When a student falls behind I first talk to him/her and recommend they spend five to ten minutes daily–consistently for five days a week–reviewing what we did in class. If I don’t see improvement in comprehension I tell them I will call home and make the same recommendation. Most don’t want that and I see a difference. There are always a few who need to test me, and so I call home. Most parents I find are thankful that I call with a plan in mind and I see huge improvement in short time. I always tell parents it is essential that it is a short amount of time spent and that it not become a burden–five to ten minutes maximum. I love the idea of gaming in the target language. I am going to try that out with a few students I know who sacrifice study time for gaming. Thanks.

  4. Bryce I really like how you started and explained the subject of attendance for your students. I don’t have any suggestions for you unfortunately as my student population is so very different (only my 4% would even bother or care! But I’m working on getting our library to order books in L2)
    I would like to ask you if you have a document that you give students at the beginning of the school year that explains how to “play the game”? Which would of course include your policy on absenteeism eventually?

  5. Wow, 2010. Bigger problem now for me than 2010. I get students that are habitually absent every week, one or more days (on the truant list). For now, I require them to illustrate a mini-story they read or demonstration of other kind of input based activity of their choice.

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