Today I had my students do a write up at the end of class. I gave them 10 minutes apiece and depending on if I had been able to do writing with them before or not, I determined my expectations. For some of the classes, I told them a really small number like 30. But I made sure to explain that more is better and if they can do more than 30 I expect them to. Some students who normally would not do more than they were asked did. I'll have to make sure to praise each of those students when they get their papers back.
Or maybe I could start doing 'homework pass' for a homework writing assignment or something like that for those kids who write the most. It's good to give them a reward for doing more work.
I was proud of the students who did what I asked and more. I only had a few students who were not able to get the number of words. This only frustrates me as a teacher because I should have been better at encouraging them and making sure they were paying attention.
In my Junior High class, I know that sometimes their attention is a little bit of a problem. It's the last class of the day and they are squirmy junior high students! It's hard sometimes to keep their attention. Regardless of what I try, they can easily get off task. But hey, I'll still working on this method. What I was saddened to find out was that they were not keeping up their part of the bargain in class because many of them did not write the story that we had talked about in class. It almost seemed as though they didn't follow most of the story. One or two of the students did. I don't have to worry about them because language comes more naturally. But the rest seemed to miss out on all of the fun details and even the basic skeleton of the story. This worries me because storytelling is not useful if they are not understanding the language.
The purpose of this assessment is to help me figure out what they know by the end of class when it is still fresh in their minds. I will probably try again today to see what they come up with. Maybe Friday was just an off day.
I need to do assessments more often in class instead of assuming that they understood. As Friday proved in the one class, I was way off on my estimates of their level of understanding.