Yesterday, I started my advanced class off with FCR like I always do and that was great. Then I started to chat about the weekend and the calendar like I always do and I quickly realized that my students were “off”. They interrupted me about 10 times in a span of 4 minutes (which they never do), kept blurting in English and were off-task. In listening to them for a while, I realized that they were worked up about a major science summative and there was no way they would be able to do the reading options of the story we created last week.
So, on the spot I changed my plans. We haven’t done any long writes yet, so I wasn’t sure how it would go but we had 45 minutes in class to do it. I had them set it up like I’d do for Writer’s Workshop where they make a plan of ideas, then their first draft and then revision. Some of my students would never be able to write for 45 minutes so I decided to totally change things. Ha ha. I gave them 10 minutes to make their plan and told them to figure out the:
Then I gave them 20 minutes for the rough draft. I gave them all the advice I gave my immersion students:
– write all your ideas down without stopping
– don’t worry about spelling, grammar, even words in French – if you don’t know a word in French, write it in English and come back later
– don’t worry about organization, sentence structure, voice
– just get your ideas out on paper
Then they had 15 minutes left to do the revision:
– I allowed them their iPads to look up words in French.
– make changes in a different colour ink – no erasing your original ideas
– this is where you focus on word choice, organization of the text, sentence structure and voice
– don’t worry about fixing grammar yet
Some of the students only finished their first draft in that whole time and I told them that that’s OK. I was able to walk around and give tips to students during their revising. None of them finished their revisions in the 15 minutes so I told them we’ll continue this later. I told them that in all their writing, they should be spending the most time developing their plans and their revising. They couldn’t believe it. I ran out of time so I’ll come back to those points later.
I made a few realizations in this moment:
1. These guys are ready to write and learn how to write in French.
2. I’ll be working on the writing process in Semester 2. I think it will really help them when they’re in high school with the IB. It’ll help them to organize their thoughts and get them down on paper when they have their papers to write.
3. I’ll need to do Long Writes again because this morphed into something completely different! lol
I did a GLAD lesson for St. Nicholas Day on Dec. 6 with all my classes and all but one of them (one of my intermediate classes) did soooo well with it. They understood and lapped it up. It wasn’t too hard but it showed me that I can easily teach culture in French using the GLAD method – those visual input charts are gold! And that class that struggled? I stopped the activity after the two boys who had interrupted me several times didn’t stop even after redirection. The others were ticked off and I even got an email of disappointment from a parent! The next class, I spoke to everyone and had them try it again and this time, they did well.
OK. Enough rambling. Just thought you might be interested in what I discovered. Now, I’m off to get sorted for our French bake sale at lunch for world language week. Oh, and listen to all the recordings for the speaking summatives. Sigh.
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Sounds like a writing process I might try with my Spanish heritage classes. I like how in revising you have them write edits in a different color ink, without erasing original idea.
In January, I’m going to get this made up properly. I will share once I’ve got it for anyone who is interested.