Well, we all know that we cannot assume what they already know from previous language classes. Some students from last year go to new teachers or we get new students from other schools. Generally speaking, continuing students come in with different language experiences and knowledge. Focus on what they KNOW!
I hate to hear when teachers blame other teachers for not covering something specific. I especially hate to hear when they do this in front of the students. Our job is to take students where they are and teach them more. Period. I don’t want to start the year with them hearing me say “You don’t know that! Oh my…” or “You are so far behind.” That just makes them feel defeated before even starting. We all have our own strengths, and weaknesses, as teachers. We are in this together! Ok. I’m done ranting.
I have found that a quick “Show What You Know” evaluation helps me to see the strengths and weaknesses of my new Spanish students, especially in level 2.
I give the above “assessment” to my level 2 students after a few days back in class. Sometimes I will even give it to level one students (individual or the class) if I think they have had previous experience. Each number above is a broad representation of a unit from the JCPS level 1 topics. If a students does really well, I will give him/her the next level’s “Show What You Know” to make sure they are placed in the appropriate class. I’ve even used this to set their individual proficiency goals for the trimester. For example, I had a girl that loved Spanish, took Spanish 3, but she could barely put a sentence together. We set her goal lower than the other students. In the end, she caught up with the class.
Afterwards I like to throw in a quick interpersonal activity like the following scavenger hunt to hear what they can do. This also gets them to mingle with each other.
This next photo is for students AND teachers. 😉