One of my main priorities in February when I started teaching part time at Route 39 was to increase both the ability and desire of students to use the Target Language. Taking over part way through a year adds massive challenges to this in terms of developing the right mentality for this, but we're getting there...
Along with wall support, an emphasis on using key verbs to springboard into sentences, a group talk variant and thinking skills tasks such as reading images, each table (4 students) now has their own spontaneity and support box. I share the classroom with an English and Humanities teacher, so can't tape things to desks or leave things out permanently, but this solution actually brings students back a bit closer to their primary school days where table boxes tend to be a norm.
Each box contains:
- 2 x dictionaries- it takes a strong learner to stand up and walk across a room to find a dictionary, grabbing the attention of everyone in the class. This way they just reach across and look things up.
- 4 x red / yellow / green flicker cards. Students are becoming familiar (still a way to go for it to be fully integrated) with the need to indicate their comprehension and confidence levels with the appropriate colour card. They also know to support their team group, so if someone has a red card out they should receive immediate attention from someone with a green card on their table. Only if that doesn't work during a task should things fly up the chart to me. I want my students to be thoughtful, not dependent, learners, and sharing knowledge reinforces new learning.
- A-D cards for voting
- 2 x spontaneity mats- although I want to get students to redraft these themselves next term.
- Download Spontaneous language mat May 2014
- 2 feedback mats- to try to develop feedback in the target language peer-to-peer and also to allow me to then develop the level of TL that I can use myself for feedback, which at the moment (5 months in) tends to be predominantly in English as we develop students understanding of my expectations and how they need to develop themselves.
- Download Oral feedback form (massive thanks to Nina Elliot for this idea and the original grid)
However, with summer ahead, I'd love to reflect on how to improve the boxes- any ideas, folks?