I have continued to work on developing the interpersonal assessments and facilitation. It seemed to be work out well as a start. My colleague and I decided to start with an introductory unit discussing what to see and do in our community, the DC area for our level 3. For our interpersonal assessment, students could discuss the variety of places in the community that they liked and places for others to visit. They could also discuss places they did not like. It ended up being a good topic because it was very open-ended.
My colleague and I discussed how to prepare students, and came up with these steps:
We started with puedo statements. They are low key, allow for a ton of practice and allow for teacher input with all of the students. Students feel like they can at least do these activities.
In addition, students completed the Flipgrids AND I think I finally cracked the problem as to why there isn’t enough conversation! Instead of having students record themselves answering the questions THEN asking a question, they just need to record a question around a theme. Then, students can respond to their questions. (Also thank you to everyone who has responded! If you haven’t started and want to, you can still join us next week before a new topic gets put up!)
Close to the assessment, we did a fishbowl activity. Since it is two smaller groups but each person has a role, it makes the conversation a bit more real. It also allows me to add in positive feedback and ways to improve. It was during the fishbowl activity that I realized that students needed help with circumlocution.
The following day, we played the circumlocution game. I came up with a variety of words on a slideshow and put my class into groups of 4-5 students. One would have their back to the slideshow, and I would change the slides for 45 seconds as their teammates tried to explain as many words as they could. I was worried that some may be disengaged, so I had them write down one of their favorite clues per round. They ended up being completely engaged, so I didn’t have to worry about collecting it.
We also continued to work on follow-up questions. I used PearDeck for this. I would write a sentence, and I would have students think of a follow-up question to ask. I like that with PearDeck they can see their peers’ answers anonymously. Many times, this will inspire them to think of new questions.
During the interpersonal assessment day, students would split up into small groups of 4-5 students. I would also let students self-select when they went. I would tell them that I needed 4-5 volunteers to go first. I would give them the prompt, and they would have time to read over it and ask any questions as I was writing down their names. Everyone else had Señor Wooly nuggets to do to ensure that they weren’t just listening to their peers.
Because students could self-select when they were going which I think helps lower their anxiety. The smaller group also helped with the worry of having to do a speaking assessment. After their assessments, we reflected on this and students reported that they preferred having smaller groups much better than just a partner. They felt that people didn’t get stuck as often as when they were just with a partner. One group was so successful that they talked for 10 minutes solid! While most groups didn’t speak that long, they had good conversations. Many students were starting to really elaborate their thoughts! And one even circumlocuted the Potomac River by saying not to swim in the Potomac water. (And a good suggestion for any tourists visiting the DC area!)
After the assessment, we did a follow-up survey. I asked students how they think the assessment went, what they think they did well, what they wanted to do better the next time, and what helped them in class to prepare. Many students noted that the fishbowl and circumlocution game helped them.