This year I have decided to implement PAT. I have trained my classes fairly well the last two years. But something that happens in my new school is a pox on my life: block scheduling.
While 90 minutes could thoeretically have wonderful implications for a Comprehensible Input classroom (more time to practice a story; more time to do extensions after story on the same day), it can be a beast for transitions.
I used to keep class fairly organized based on the 60 minute period. But with this new one, I know we need to make sure to move around a little more and at times, practice something with a partner because after 60 minutes of language, most classes are done. Or they simply need a short break with some lower level brain function.
But for those minutes my class is on task, I have a timer counting up. Every ten minutes on task they get 1 minute of Preferred Activity Time whenever their class has class on a Friday (every other week). I know that they should have PAT once a week, but I'm just trying it out and my students don't know any better right now!
So they get points for being on task during class. If I have to stop to deal with talking or other such things, heads down, not looking, I pause the timer and I wait. The other students tend to police each other then. I might offer a look of boredom to the offending student. Then when we are ready we start class back up. It's pretty great.
They also get bonuses for PAT whenever I have a transition and I give them 2 minutes. If they use all two minutes, that's it. If they use 1 minute, they get an additional 1:00 bonus to their PAT for the Friday.
So far, my students have been enjoying it and it makes Fridays that much more special. Plus it gives us an excuse (and more buy in) to play games for 20-30 minutes on Fridays. I remind them that they have earned it! And these games are still practice of concepts in class.
Today (is a Friday because we have off of school the next two days), my students were playing a basketball game. They were answering questions in Spanish about previous story lines and things we have been talking about and they have to do their group chants first. Once they answer they get a point and a shot at bonus points with my nerf hoop.
It was great fun! They were also competing with last Friday's groups. I also tried something new. They made placards for their groups that I used for score-keeping and then later put up on the high score board for future classes to see. The winner of this last two week cycle was "Negro". They had an AMAZING 10 point nerf shot after getting three questions write. The entire class couldn't believe it.
Here's a pic of my board (for now):
*There might be a student or two in each class who doesn't buy into this, and adjustments should be made.
*For more info on PAT, check out Fred Jones and his materials. I recommend his book: Tools for Teaching.