Today was the unit 3 assessment about activities for level 1. I was excited to see what they could do, but I could feel their fear when they entered. They knew the assessment expected them to give more information than the previous. Some were giving up before they even started. I switched up my lesson plans and did a little game called “Pasa la tabla” (Pass the board) to ease their nerves.
I put students in groups of 4. Each group had one dry erase board, marker and eraser. I let them use notes this time. Next time we play, I will not let them. I showed them the above rules on the board. To start a round, I showed them a picture and started the 3 minute timer. They had to create one really long sentence based on the picture. After each person wrote ONE word, they had to pass it to the next person.
Example board (I wrote this example. The student boards had errors, but that’s acceptable at a novice proficiency level.):
When I called time, one person from each team brought the boards up to me. This board earned 19 points (one point for each word). If a word was hard to understand, I did not give a point. On the chalkboard, we kept a running tally of their scores. I sent them back and I showed another picture. Sometimes I added that they had to include a negative form or use a specific word like “favorite”.
After we finished (about 5 rounds), we talked about why we played that game. They realized it was about making detailed sentences. NOW they were ready for the assessment! Here’s an assessment that is showing Novice High characteristics:
Ivonne R. showed me this cool Datexx Miracle Cube Timer. You flip the box to the show the amount of time you want on the top and the timer starts. I will be purchasing one of these! I need a quick way to keep track of time during games and activities.
I like using this on-line timer/count down. You can set any time. Perfect for short speaking assessments, timed free writes or anything for that matter.
This is an awesome idea! I am going to use this on Monday! And I love seeing an example of your student work, it could have been from one of my students. I still struggle internally with the change from a book-based, grammar-focused, vocab sheet-filled classroom, it’s good for me to see that I’m right where I should be. Thank you again!
I loved this and wish I’d known about it last week. I’m definitely going to use it ASAP. Btw, there is a Miracle Cuba available for under five minutes I think.
Did you allow the students to talk and tell each other what to write, or did they each have to make the decision of what came next.
I allowed them to do about anything they wanted as long as each person only wrote one word. I did this because I mixed the groups to have mixed proficiency levels. I heard some great talk about “you can write this or that” in the groups which really motivated my “unmotivated” students to try. I think they would have refused to play if they didn’t have that extra help. As they all get stronger, or in my upper level classes, I add the challenge of “no talking!” or “no notes” while they are playing. I would say you know how far to push your students. Just make sure they are having fun while learning!
Kara a really awesome timer for any type of activity or game is the software timer available through KAGAN. It has a huge variety of timers in one package! It’s great!
I asked my kids to write about their classes today. We talked about moving beyond the minimum and different ways to do this. Their paragraphs were amazing! It was really exciting seeing what they could do with the tools I learned from this website. Gracias, gracias, gracias!!!!
I’m using this today! It is so much fun that I’m taking the time during my planning to write about it. I’ve never seen my kids so excited about writing. Even my day dreamers are participating!
This was an awesome activity and very motivating for my students! In our current unit I have learned that the more open ended I make writing activities the more engaged my students are! Thank you for this awesome idea…EVERY student was participating and adding creative ideas to the sentences!
Added a twist….had each group read their own sentence aloud, to count words, then passed sentences to next group to check the count (and thus tricked them into reading more!) Smooth transition from group effort to solo production on paper–no complaining! and only a couple of nonengaged ( I asked them to at least copy the sentence the group had written and they did).
I agree that the allowing them to talk helps and I was not overly strict about the one word becuase some were adding whole phrases ( los lunes or a las 9 or en la primavera!!!!)
Like! I also felt that “smooth transition” to writing alone. It shows the power of group learning!
Used this today….except I use shiny plastic notebooks because I don’t have mini-white boards – cheap alternative! After three rounds my students went from six-word sentences to 20+ words – so proud of them!
What do you mean by “shiny plastic notebooks”?
A friend of mine that teaches French at UMBC, shared this idea with me for inexpensive writing boards:
Get some medium to heavy weight sheet protectors
Line with a piece of paper (I use cardstock for durability)
Cut up squares of felt – one for each sleeve – these are the erasers
Put an eraser (felt) and a dry-erase market in each sleeve.
Instant writing boards!
Don’t forget to remind students that they write on the outside of the sheet protector – some automatically take out the paper/cardstock.
Oops, just saw your comment! I mean three ring binders with the clear plastic cover where you can slide in a sheet of paper.
The sheet protectors are a good idea too!
I just read this idea and really like it. I am wondering if you gave out an award to the winning team? I am always curious if other teachers feel they need to give a concrete award.
I do not give a reward every time we do any “competitive” activity for two reasons. 1. I’d go broke, because we “play” so often. 2. I feel like they should just enjoy the activity (it’s better than a worksheet!). Sometimes I do give a little something, but I will never reward them if they ask. That is a big no-no to me and they will quote me “you never ask for a reward”.
I would rather give a treat when I see something outstanding or a student doing something kind for someone else. These are just my thoughts!