Sunday, August 6, 2017

My First Blog Needs Assessment

I am really feeling at a loss this week regarding what to write about in this space. So let me ask you, my readers, what you would like to read about here, what information you wish ELT bloggers would share, what you feel is lacking in what you are getting from your network of fellow teachers.

Just to help you start to think about it, I will start the brainstorming.

Your turn!


Toni Lynn Cassidy said...

Good Afternoon,

I have a classroom management practice that encourages the learners to arrive on time and leave on time. Each learner has a private binder that they stock with loose leaf lined paper which they use as their private diary. They write about their classroom life in this "diary" and are able to account for their arrival and departure times, any appointments taken and classroom work missed as a result. It is an independent and private accounting of their day. I mark the binder when they are ready for me to see their progress. There is no peer review/assessment of the binder because the learners write about their personal journey and peer assessment would limit the scope of their personal vocabulary development. Some learners use it as a diary for their own use, and never ask for it to be marked and others want it marked daily. This meets every students expectations and doesn't impinge on their privacy. Of course, there are many other writing activities but the learners always love this one. There is a time block at the beginning and end of each day. I am able to find time throughout each day to read and/or correct the binder as the student chooses. I am able to learn about any help the learner wants, see what writing support they need and am able to coach them on attendance practices and punctuality goals. This activity is a Real World Task so if a learner hasn't handed in the binder for assessment in a certain amount of time, I remind them that they could gain a RWT if they hand it in, and they usually chose to write a less personal account but they are always amazed at how easy writing becomes over a few months.

All around, the beginning and the end of the day are student centred and learner driven. Works like a charm everyday just like a little bit of magic.

I hope to read about what other people have cooked up to make their classrooms run like smoothly.

PS The learners with perfect attendance receive a pencil, pen, eraser, small ruler or another classroom tool from my dollar store stash. This is a surprisingly successful tactic. I wouldn't believe it if I didn't see great attendance and punctuality on a month by month basis.

Kelly said...

I think this is a great idea. I just won a year's subscription to FlipGrid Premium. I wonder if we can utilize a space there to share ideas with each other!!?? I'll keep you posted after I read the parameters of the account I just won. I have to save enough space in it for the online class I want to give this year. --K

Toni Lynn Cassidy said...

Sharing ideas is a great idea:) and it seems to be a dialogue that is missing. A nice, clean and easy way to share classroom management successes (maybe without free commenting but private messages activated would be nice so that no one is open to public criticism). Everyone has something to add to the success of our new reality. The more people band together, the stronger and more resilient they are. Sometimes a work network is so small and fossilised that it is difficult to mix up the methods and a larger scope is needed to find new helps.

Thanks for thinking outside of the box and setting up this lovely blog post to facilitate sharing.


Nancy Callan said...

I really like this idea, Toni Lynn. I have often struggled to make those first five minutes meaningful as many students come late. Could you say more about this: "are able to account for their arrival and departure times, any appointments taken and classroom work missed as a result." I didn't quite understand.

Toni Lynn Cassidy said...

Hi Nancy,

Sometimes students have troubling accomplishing tasks in class and can't quite connect their absences with the "holes" in their learning. When learners journal or diary about their day it is easier for them to be reflective about their learning and also to see the impact that being late or absent has on their learning. For some students this is an essential point of growth. For some students a journal is a way to confirm that going to school is worth the time and effort. And for other students it is a nice way to show their family/caseworker or others how they spend their time at school. Count the cost, or taking account of our time is an important aspect of life, and this diary lets them see how much of a positive impact school is making (or not making) in their life.

Thanks for asking Nancy.


claudie said...

lol Toni, The Dollar store would go out of business if it weren't for teachers! I have a store of stash that I use as prizes. Sometimes on Fridays I will have a "spelling test bingo" - there's a list of new vocab on the noticeboard that is added to everyday -very rough -then sometimes at the end of the week the students make Bingo cards -writing the words in random order in the squares.They "correct" each others spelling ("Move the cards two places to the left") Those that get 100% or the most right ( if no 100%) get a prize. Then we play Bingo (more prizes) If they win they become the caller for the next game. We usually play three Bingo games. Whole event takes about half an hour. (I went to a Gamification workshop once and the presenter said research showed that men will play just for the hell of it but women need a prize.) Toni - what Level do you teach? (I teach 6/7 but have used Bingo with all levels -the objective is fun but also vocab review - and spelling)