Signaling

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3 thoughts on “Signaling”

  1. Everyday I put a learning target on the board and the main one for my 6th graders is “I can let the teacher know when I don’t understand something by signaling” (Learning targets is part of a school wide initiative, or rather an EL-Expeditionary Learning initiative to get the students more involved in their learning and assessment.) I’ll go over this target to remind them before starting PQA or a story. They have filled out a self-assessment of this target along with 5 other general targets 3 times since the beginning of the year, but this last time I had them write a comment about the target. I too was surprised to hear from a student about being embarrassed to signal. Other reasons were not wanting to stop me or the “flow” of the class. Some students wrote that they forget. And some students admit that although they might not understand one of the words I say, they can sort of figure it out through the context. I thought this was interesting because when I talk to a native speaker, I don’t understand every single word he says, but I certainly don’t stop him because I can figure out what he’s saying from the other phrases I understand. So perhaps this isn’t a negative thing. It turns negative though when the student starts spacing out because she got lost and didn’t want to signal. So, I really rely on my barometer students and the student that hold the “ALTO” sign. This sign has been very effective in all of my classes. Also, I constantly ask my students questions about the story (esp, the barometer students). I no longer have my students hold up their fingers from 1-10 because I felt it was too arbitrary. To check for understanding I’ve been doing a lot with illustration. The day after my class and I created the Halloween story, and before I handed out the reading, I gave them a piece of paper with four panels. I told them the story at a regular pace and had them draw the different scenes in the story and then retell the story to a partner using their illustration to help them. I was impressed that so many of them spoke in Spanish the whole time using the key structures we used (I want to be, you should be.)
    One of the last things I do is I stand by the door when class is over and I ask certain students if they understood the story and if I’m going slowly enough. Some students have told me straight up that I still need to go slower.

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