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

Continuing the Conversation: What do you think?

On a scale of 1-10, how accurately does this visual align with your beliefs and assumptions? 
(Taken from Caleb Zilmer's presentation, "An Authentic Look at Proficiency")