Journal: Here We Go Multileveling

Sorry about missing yesterday’s post.  I worked a split shift, and instead of blogging and running errands in the freedom of my afternoon, I dorked around on my computer and took a couple of walks.  As a result, I didn’t feel stressed out at all!  I came home and had a normal, though short, evening rather than mumbling to myself as I headed straight to the bedroom and shut the door.  It was a very nice improvement over Monday.

Yesterday’s class had only about 6 students, and I was especially pleased with my vocabulary practice because it checked for understanding in a way that challenged them.  It also turned into an information gap activity in which the students all had the answers for each other.

Today it was like having two classes and coordinating: 3 students in Low Beginning, 11 in Beginning, plus one student registering.

The necessary drudgery of the new semester (pre-tests and paperwork) is wrapping up and class is already starting to feel normal.

We had ten minutes at the end of class, so I asked the students if they had questions.  I gave the example that sometimes my old students would ask me vocabulary questions.  Today they asked if we could do conversation for the last ten minutes.  It went well (we started with “What do you like?”), and they asked if we could do this everyday.  I said yes.

Is this sounding familiar to you? Maybe I should plan to never plan open conversation time but always add it in when they ask for it.

Students: 14

Countries of Origin: El Salvador, South Korea, Puerto Rico, Vietnam, Mexico, Peru,

What surprised me:

  • Having 14 students!
  • I had to split conversation time into two groups, and it so happened that the group I didn’t supervise (the higher level group) was comprised of 100% Spanish-speakers.  Even though I was sitting about six inches away from them and turning around to pressure them into using English, at the end of the class several of them said in distinctly disappointed tones, “In Spanish!”  They have the motivation, the setting, and to some extent the skills to have English conversation time, but they need firmer direction than I’d expected.

Today’s Objectives:

  1. SWBAT name, spell, and understand 10 jobs
  2. SWBAT answer “What do you do?” with the proper form of To Be and “Are you a [job]?” with a short answer.
  3. SWBAT read and understand details of a story.

What went well:

Because I knew this week would be so busy, I planned the whole week last weekend.  I was very smart to do so!

We acted out the story, mostly for the benefit of the low-beginning students, and even though it wasn’t exactly action-packed, it was certainly funny (and I think instructive).  How can you argue about the value in having the pregnant woman volunteer to play “Man from Brazil?”

We were talking about singers yesterday (one of our job vocab words) and I mentioned Aretha Franklin as a singer I like.  Most students didn’t know who she was, so today we opened the class with Respect.  It was inadvertently an interesting mini-lesson: what it means and how to spell it.

What I’d like to improve upon:

There was certainly moving around and student-student interaction, but it was still a little too much like The Emily Show.

I also don’t feel as though my lessons are quite as responsive to students’ needs when they’re so thoroughly planned in advance as this week.  That being said, I think I should continue to plan at least a week ahead.

Thoughts for tomorrow:

We’ll be using snippets of Obama’s speech to students.  It’s going to be a big challenge, especially for the low-beginning students, but I think they need to hear the President talking to them and their children.

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