Thursday, September 18, 2014

TPRS year 5 - Preferred Activity Time (revised)

Last year, I dabbled in what is called PAT (Preferred Activity Time).  See previous posts about it:

  1. PAT - first try
  2. PAT - explanation
  3. PAT - Cut Throat
  4. PAT - Caramba
This year, while I found that many of my students looked forward to PAT, it wasn't quite where I wanted it yet.  After all, the purpose of PAT is classroom management and I don't know how well I really managed my classroom last year.

Here's what I started doing this year...

1. I have changed the multiplier due to bonuses that every 15 minutes in Spanish equals 1 minute of PAT (for 90 minute classes, this adds up).

2. I have really started giving out more jobs to the students in class this year:
  • Scribe (with official class notebook)
  • passer out of nametags / collector of nametags
  • someone to yell at me when I use too much English
  • people to pass out papers before quizzes
  • someone to decide on options so we can move on
  • official PAT watch keeper who yells something when we get to 15 minute mark and class cheers (so I can write it on the board)
These generate bonuses.  When class runs smoothly and I don't have to do a million things extra and can focus on teaching, we accomplish more and it gives students a purpose in class, which I want them to have since they are important!  

So the bonuses range from 15 seconds to 30 seconds extra for students remembering.  This definitely encourages the class because they are already seeing me praise the people for doing their jobs, but also letting them know that's helping the entire class.

I also give bonuses for when students are positive about something in class.  When I ask them to stand or sit and they are just "blah", I give them a PAT bonus for the effort.

Since today I started allowing someone else to time the Spanish spoken, I don't pause the timer when I lose eyes, but I told the class I would just mark in their PAT box on the board and each mark represents 5 seconds they lose (they never will go negative for PAT since they always have plenty of bonuses).  But the idea is to hold them accountable to their eye-contact and attention.

So far with the PAT and positive atmosphere in class (since I am trying to be really encouraging with PAT), I think my classes are really working hard and enjoying coming to Spanish!  I hope we can keep this energy and enthusiasm up!

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