Friday, July 31, 2015

Day #5

Essential Question: How do we use student interest to drive learning?
Concept map 
Curriculum Triangle
Question Sequences
Today we started to practice the tools we've learned about and observed over the week. After leading our own circles yesterday, many of us are chomping at the bit and ready to dive into the mess that is language learning!

While the first strand practiced developing concept maps and question sequences, the second strand continued to discuss the essential question: How do we instruct for proficiency? Through carefully constructed prompts that address errors and mistakes we can push students through the levels. These prompts often take the form of questions. As Ricardo said in his presentation, questions allow for more questions and such questions permit students to think and use language creatively and organically. 

Caleb's mind-blowing possible formula for progression:
1. Identify the inaccuracy
2. Determine whether it is a non-compensatory leveling issue or not
3. Determine if it is an error or mistake
4. Hypothesize what has resulted in the error - transfer or training?
5. Where does the error/mistake lie? Implicit? Explicit?
6. What do we do about it? (Enriched v. enhanced input)
7. Design instruction around the most appropriate type of intervention...prompts, exposure, experience, literacy, comprehension, production, ect.

One of the highlights of the day was the Intermediate circle that Darcy led to show us how OWL worked at the higher levels. While she led thirteen twelve teachers in an engaging class about regional stereotypes, the rest of us took careful notes about her question sequences, transitions, and how she handled ambiguity and student-initiated deviations. Watching her model a circle gave us a better idea of what we are striving to create in our classrooms. 

We put everything we've learned over the week to the test at the end of the day with some concrete planning work time. Annie, Darcy, Ricardo, Caleb, and Ashely supported us as we broke into groups to begin to plan the first two weeks, design curriculum and scope and sequence, and outline English week. It was so helpful and now we are all leaving with something concrete to bring back to our classrooms in a few weeks!!

Major take-away: Ambiguity is okay!!
Major take-away: Without corrective feedback that negotiates meaning you and your students get stagnant.

"But OWL makes a difference. For me it's a light in the dark." ~ Overheard in the cafeteria 

Utilizing Threads & Progressions

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Assessing Student Work (Summative & Formative)

Dream team in action! 

Day #4

Essential Question: How do we measure student progress and growth?
After three days of intense whole body OWL immersion, our facilitatertots were sensitive to the low energy in the room and kindly adjusted the day's plans accordingly! OWL is often active and today's activities reminded us that it can be quieter and introspective as well while still engaging students in meaningful thought and communication. Every activity, transition, and grouping we experience in the workshop can be translated into our language classrooms too!

First, we learned how to use the ATLAS "Learning from Student Work" protocol with samples several participants brought in to share. Through focusing on describing and interpreting student work we were able to discuss the implications the sample might have for the type of teaching and assessing in that particular classroom. Below are some of the key questions we considered in our conversation.
1. What steps could the teacher take next with this student?
2. What teaching strategies might be most effective?
3. What else would you like to see in the student work?

Later we examined even more student work in a gallery walk and reflected upon what the data told us about what the student could do, what we were asking them to do, their performance/proficiency level, and whether or not the students were using real language. This activity transitioned smoothly into a closer examination of a collection of different assessment rubrics.  

Most exciting of all... we all ran our own mini circles today!! It was so much fun to finally put into use everything we have been learning these past few days. All our different personalities, past experiences, and interests made for over fifty interesting circles! Afterwards, Ricardo led us all in a fabulous demo that showed us how rhythm and formative assessments play a role in the circle. Video to come!  
Major take-away: Authentic, unrehearsed, and spontaneous documentation gives us real data! 
Major take-away: Teach your students how to assess each other. Are they speaking in lists, chunks, memorized phrases, or sentences? 

Quotable OWL Moments 
* "You have to recognize the moment in which a transition is needed. Know your students!" ~ Participant

* "Students are going to be scared and frustrated and forget everything they know and they have to get through it! Classrooms have to be scary places with a lot of support." ~ Darcy

* "Choose transitions that fit your personality. If you get stuck thinking of a transition, turn to your vocabulary lists and the words around you." ~ Annie

* "Educate your students and parents about the importance of a proficiency-based model. They can help push for change!" ~ Participant

* "Bring your true self to the classroom. What are your own strengths and passions? Be authentic! Be you! Your students will love you!" ~ Darcy 

Happy Hump Day!!

It's all downhill from here! 

Circle Activities part 2

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Day #3

Essential Question: How does our classroom ignite student learning?
'Elucidating', 'energetic', 'preferred', 'encouraging', 'easy-going', and 'fun' were just some of the words the student volunteers chose when asked to describe their experiences with OWL during the workshop today. After recommitting to our community agreements, we continued to find evidence of this as we further explored various aspects of the circle magic during the third day of bootcamp 2015! 
Group #1 
The first team observed and participated in both a novice French circle and an intermediate Spanish circle with the great group of student participants. Aside from playing guinea pig, these students also shared valuable insights into what is like to be an OWL student. In comparing and contrasting the two different circles, we were able to identify key components of running a successful circle. We discussed characteristics like the transitions, types of student responses, redirection, questions, movement, vocabulary lists, and threads. 
Major take-away: Goal: Intermediate Low by Year 3! What a relief!
Quotes from the student panel
On how to engage students:
- "Take away the chairs. Don't let them sit. We're always up and moving. Sometimes we even have dance parties!"
- "We always learn actions with new words so that even if I can't remember something I can do the action and someone else will say the word for me."
- "Make things personal and relevant for each individual student."
On challenges:
- "Class is a constant game of charades or Pictionary. There is sometimes frustration, but immersion is still better because I don't have to translate things to English in my head. It's easier because there isn't that second step."
- If the teacher answers ¿Cómo se dice...? you get lazier and lazier and just stop trying to think and remember how to say things in Spanish. 
On OWL in general:
- "OWL is so forgiving of errors. Communication is everything and it has made me so much more comfortable speaking."
- "OWL is a very accepting method of learning language."
- "I learn things through interacting with people and that has increased my confidence speaking French in every aspect of my life. My family doens't speak French so I speak to my dogs in French. THey don't care if I make mistakes either!" 
Group #2
Group 2 first focused on identifying our OWL successes and challenges from the past year. Although we all work across different levels and ages, we discovered that many of us struggle with similar things like effective assessments and maintaining student motivation. We will address these issues when we practice the consultancy protocol in the next few days! After lunch, and in true collaborative OWL fashion, we shared our favorite circle activities that help ignite student learning. 
These included songs and games like:
Tengo problemas
Big Booty
"Pirata" song
Bear, hunter, princess
Wink 'em
You and your neighbor
"Cuando diga..." song
(Videos examples and written directions/modifications of these activities will be posted to the blog soon!) 
Finally, we concluded class with a discussion about literary. We worked with the following three framing questions. 
- What is literacy?
(labels, magazines, comics, lyrics, info-graphs, TV shows, poems, bus schedules, menus, clothes, bilboards)
- What is authentic literacy?
(Real world examples!!)
- What are multi-literacies? 
(Any form of self-expressions - dance, painting, music - different ways to make meaning with the whole body)
Through this lens we began to work on compiling our favorite literacy resources. You can explore this growing collection under "Forums" on the OWL website! 
Major take-away: You don't have to change the pieces of authentic literature, just change the task!

Practicing Circle Technique