jGR Defined

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12 thoughts on “jGR Defined”

  1. I really like how the various pieces fit together. Progress Report grades were due this week, and I had a couple of students come and ask me about their Classroom Interpersonal Communication grade – and even asked what it was. Yes, it’s a new term for them, but when I showed them the Interpersonal Communication Rubric to which I refer daily, they knew what I was talking about. Today I took time to go over the various pieces with my German 1 classes again. (They were the ones with questions; my other classes know how it works.)

    One student convinced me that I had failed to recognize the way that the standard was being met, so I raised the grade.

    Another student admitted that the grade accurately reflected basic competency rather than proficiency but walked away knowing what to do to meet the standard.

    A third student wanted to know what mistake s/he had made to get a four rather than a five. (Yes, a student who is accustomed to receiving straight As) I was able to explain that just meeting the standard as printed is Proficient (which equates to a B) but Advanced competence requires going above and beyond – so a challenge to work language acquisition outside the classroom without assigning specific homework.

    Years ago before I had these tools, these conversations would have been much more difficult.

  2. While I label jGR as “Interpersonal Communication” in the gradebook, I do not talk to parents much about ACTFL standards. Instead, when a parent asks about their kid failing a jGR score, I deal with it the same way I (or any teacher) deals with a missing or incomplete assignment. I tell parents that language is about communication, and in a communication-based class, engaging appropriately in the conversation is the assignment, every minute of every day. If their kid goes to math class and does not try to do any math, the kid will not get any better at math and the parent should expect to see missing assignments in the gradebook. If the kid comes to my class and does not try to join the conversation, they will see a missing assignment in the gradebook. If the kid makes a half-assed effort to join the conversation, they will fail the assignment, just like they would if they only did half of their math assignment.

    “Participation grades” seem nebulous and subjective to parents. Missing or incomplete assignments are pretty straightforward, and when I say that in a language class, the assignment is to engage appropriately in the class conversation, parents seem to understand that refusing to do that amounts to a missing assignment in my class. It’s been working well so far, at least.

  3. A little epiphany during PT conferences. One of our student learning expectations states:
    “The Shepherd Hill student demonstrates effective interactive communication skills (speaking and listening) – understanding and responding to a variety of topics and points of view.” The epiphany was that this is interpersonal mode. The components on the school rubric for this are high-level, output based and appropriate for native speakers. We have been told to make adaptations for FL needs. The double epiphany was that jGR is supported by our student expectations. “Interactive” sounds a lot like “interpersonal” and I see know need to search further for a semantic difference.

    Parents are very happy to know that their quiet kid can have a high “participation” grade. All were in agreement with the idea that I am trying to have a conversation with the students and were able to appreciate the question, “What are the behaviors which characterize a good conversation?” Look interested, look at each other, express agreement and surprise, answer questions, speak in appropriate language, and it is not right to make the people who do not language do most of the speaking.

  4. Starting on Oct 21, our first day for quarter 2, I will be teaching all Spanish. No more U.S. History classes. This is a big relief for me. So, reading this thread about jGR is big as I will have 25+ kids in my classes of Spanish 1, and 25% of them will have IEPs. I’m prepping my admin on jGR right now so I’m properly armed with jGR from the get-go.

  5. We just started a new quarter on Monday, and I have a class of real unengaged kids. I knew I was going to implement jGR, but was trying to pare it down to make it easier for myself. Then I saw that Bryce Hedstrom made a poster out of it, and also made a grading sheet for it, explaining what a 100% looks like, an 85%, a 75%, a 50% and a 0%. I love that because if they speak English ONCE, they get 50%, if they speak it 2x they get a 0%. (of course, a teacher makes the final decision! but it’s pretty harsh! )
    I started to enter its description into the computer grading program, and this is what I put (P-T conferences this morning too – explained it to them, and the parents I had so far LOVED that I am holding them accountable!)

    This is an interpersonal/participation grade. It is very important to remain in the TARGET LANGUAGE for the entire class period, since we do not get a lot of time together. The BIGGEST way to pick up a language is to HEAR IT OFTEN. We are trying to optimize immersion by just using comprehensible input for at least 95% of the class time, as is directed by ACTFL. When the students have side conversations with friends, they are usually speaking in English – and NOT paying attention to what the Spanish speaker (teacher or media) is saying. Students also will NOT pick up the language if they are not ACTIVELY trying to understand and be engaged. This grade is very serious and has a direct impact on acquisition of the target language. Please encourage your son/daughter to do their 50% (as explained in the Class Expectations) by following the classroom rules — if they do, they will do well on this grade. If you have concerns about your child’s participation grade, please feel free to come and see me. **If they have an EXCUSED absence, they can make up their participation grade. Ask them how — parents are involved too!

    1. btw – I put “biggest” way to to pick up a language ….because i do not want to alienate my colleagues — we are making headway. it’s slow, but they understand that the kids need to hear the language, but they are still believers in grammar being necessary to be “effective” communicators.

  6. Thanks Sean – yeah, I’m kinda nervous about giving out “0’s” this week, but I figured — we now have classes for the WHOLE year, but only every-other-day. If I nip it in the bud NOW with a 0, it will not hurt too bad since it’s the beginning of a new marking period. BUT it will show them that I mean business and will NOT be a pushover!

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