Thursday, May 3, 2018

How I assess with exit quizzes

This blog post will be broken up into the following sections for quick reference:
  1. My go-to classroom jobs 
  2. How I might set up a story 
  3. How I assess with the exit slips

Part 1: My go-to classroom jobs

I’ve learned to use classroom jobs over the years to enhance engagement from students, add a bit of buy-in for others and help class run more smoothly so I can… well… teach more effectively. I longer listes of things poorly and shorter lists of things well. I haven’t invented the idea of classroom jobs. They’ve been around for quite some time, and here are some of my essential ones each day:

Scribe: I generally have a classroom notebook for each class where a scribe will write down in Spanish what we have discussed.

Quiz writer: Depending on the class, there might be one student who is a faster processor who enjoys having control over the questions for the quiz. They will write them based on constraints outlined below for me so when I get to the end of class, I don’t have to think as hard.

Some ways to tweak this job are:
  1. to draw straws or have random picker pick a student. 
  2. Have them write on little slips of paper that you can scramble 
  3. Have them write 10 and you choose the best 8 
  4. Obviously there would be times I would have to change their questions if they weren’t well worded or if they weren’t good questions 
  5. I would normally tell them to write most of the questions about the words on the board that we were practicing (if we were telling a story) 
  6. Some might do comprehension quizzes in English. I’d rather do it in Spanish since it’s not really a “gotcha” type of thing. I have translations in English on the board. And if I have been going slow enough and repetitive enough, they’ll be fine and many won’t even look at that point. 
  7. You could have a few kids each write a question to spread out the participation 
  8. If I don’t get to the quiz at the end of class I might start with it as the warm up (but now multiple choice) and with the structures still up on the board.
Quiz alphabetizer: I also would have in some classes a student whose job would be to alphabetize the quizzes. This was great. Especially for grading and entering in grade book. Saved me so much time! And extra bonus if I had students check their own quizzes with a collection of colored pens I had before turning them in.

Quiz passer: Other job if the class was ok with it, was for a student to pass them back out once they were graded. It’s all about saving me time and getting them involved!

If you’re interested in using classroom jobs, I recently helped TPRS Books design some new handouts. Here is one on classroom jobs for FREE. Also be thinking about what are things that would make class run more smoothly if you didn’t have to deal with it and a student could handle it for you.

Part 2: How I might set up a story

While talking in class I generally have language that I am practicing. At times it might be a little more free form as I am conversing with my students.

So let’s say that we are telling a story in class (although this could work when talking about a short movie clip, making a backstory up about a picture, etc).

I would establish the story a la TPRS and continue to ask questions to make sure the students are hearing that new language where there are breakdowns in the story and I am asking a lot of questions.

Let’s say that the following we my structures or targeted language:
  • Wants to impress 
  • Buys a — for him/her 
  • Gives it to him/her 
My general idea for the story might be:
  • Part 1: 
    • [Character] wants to impress ___. 
    • [During time 1], S/he buys a __ for __. 
    • S/he buys a __ for __ to impress __. 
    • S/he goes to visit __. 
    • S/he tells __, “Hello. I bought a __ for you. Are you impressed?” 
    • __ is not impressed.
  • Part 2: 
    • [Character] is sad because __ is not impressed with __. 
    • So, [character] goes and buys a __ for __. 
    • [During time 2], S/he buys a __ for __ to impress __. 
    • S/he goes to visit __ again. 
    • S/he tells __, “Hello. I bought a __ for you but you weren’t impressed. This time, I bought a __ for you. Are you impressed?” 
    • __ is not impressed. 
  • Part 3: 
    • [Character] is sad because __ is not impressed with __. 
    • So, [character] goes and buys a __ for __. 
    • [During time 3], S/he buys a __ for __ to impress __. 
    • S/he goes to visit __ again. 
    • S/he tells __, “Hello. First, I bought a __ for you but you weren’t impressed. Second, I bought a __ for you but you weren’t impressed. This time, I bought a __ for you. Are you impressed?” 
    • __ is impressed. 
    • (and character’s reaction to the gift. Class can decide if s/he gives a hug or a kiss or destroys it or throws it in the pool, etc.) 
So first, I’ll establish the main character, I might still need to create parallel characters (who I can compare and contrast with my student actor). So if my actor is John, a student in class, maybe I also learn something different about Ezekiel (because noticed he looked like he wasn’t engaging with the lesson and this is how I hook him). 

So we find out that John wants to impress Kate Upton by my asking questions in the target language with the target phrases from before. And I can use the interrogatives to play around with that information via circling (TPRS skill).
  • Who wants to impress Kate Upton? 
  • When does he want to impress her? 
  • What does John want to do? 
  • Why does he want to impress her? 
  • Where does he want to impress her?
Maybe we find out that he wants to impress her for their 5 minute/hour/day/month/year anniversary on Friday the 13th behind McDonald’s.

*silliness isn’t necessary. But I like to play around with my students and if we have one or two silly ones that we can compare/contrast with some that are serious or more imaginative, at the end of the day I want to learn about my students and speak in the target language. If they want to make things up though, I’ll play along to help us escape from the day-to-day.

So John wants to impress Kate Upton...etc

Does Ezekiel want to impress Kate Upton? I ask Ezekiel if he does and we play around in the language. If he does then he has a different place, date, motivation. Anything that is different we can use to compare and contrast the two of them. It is easy for a teacher but for students we are repeating enough so these once foreign sounds attached to meaning don’t need a translation on the board anymore.
As we continue through the story, we find out more information about John, more about Ezekiel, and maybe more about another student or a fictional character (maybe even myself).

Part 3: How I assess with exit slips

Disclaimer: I can’t take credit for this as I originally got the idea from some old dvds by Ben Slavic. If I remember correctly, he would give his students 10 question quizzes at the end of each class.

My exit slips lend themselves best to a class where comprehension is king and we are telling stories, talking about classmates, etc. This might not be something that I could have used as easily when my lessons were more grammar-centric. Although I am sure an instructor could still adapt it to fit his or her needs.

So if you remember my quiz writer job from before, I have asked them ahead of time to write a quiz for me for today’s discussion.

They are to write 8 questions for me:
  • 5 yes/no 
  • 2 what, where, who, how 
  • 1 why (if I got to a place in the story for this type of question) 
Originally I did 8-10 yes or no questions. Then, when I went to a district that used standards-based grading they pushed me to use more types of questions so I experimented with what would be level 2 questions, level 3 questions and a level 4 type of question.

It might not be perfect but even when I returned last year to the normal letter grading system I really enjoyed continuing with the 5-2-1 question format. It made it so students could pay attention, but I could really see how they were doing in the language with the last three questions. Most students would get 8 out of 10. The idea for me was accountability.

I need students to look and listen during class. They need to participate. My class is incredibly rigorous because it requires your attention at all times. I try to make it fun and different from other classes, but if a student doesn’t pay attention there is very little I can do for their acquisition. So what ends up happening, I get student buy-in because they know there will be a quiz at the end of class.

The problem with unit tests or quarter/semester tests is that high school students still haven’t fully developed their frontal lobe (part of brain for making long term decisions). As a result if I tell them to pay attention today for the test in two weeks, that isn’t a very good intrinsic or extrinsic motivator. 

So this to me works out for the following reasons:
  1. Manages class day-to-day 
  2. since there is an expectation that you’ll need to know this for the quiz 
  3. Long term retention since they are paying attention to my best attempts at comprehensible, scaffolded language each day. 
  4. Something for grade book 
  5. Accountability 
  6. Extra data to show if a student is truly doing all they can during class (using class one effectively) 
  7. I can find them slipping sooner so there is no “how did this happen???” 
  8. And emails can be sent home sooner or conversation with a student can occur sooner because i have data 
  9. Saves my brain after a class of helping facilitate the acquisition of Spanish
And that’s how I do daily quizzes. Hope that was helpful!

1 comment:

  1. Dear Jeremy,

    Thank you for reminding us teachers how to keep students engaged throughout class time! I like that you assign jobs to students to maintain classroom engagement, which decreases behavior problems (my classroom issue). Last year, I kept my students engaged by periodically giving out tokens to students who answered comprehension questions correctly. For example, students were eager to participate and receive a token because they would receive a reward at the end of class. I appreciate my students for listening closely to the lessons, however I don't want the sense of getting a reward in exchange for learning to overpower my student's educational experience. I will implement your "classroom go-to jobs" next school year to see how it goes.