First, I took a page from Grant Boulanger and simplified my syllabus tremendously by simplifying my classroom expectations. I now only have three (and one of them could be linked to the other two).
- NO CELL PHONES (mainly because this drove me nuts at the end of last year)
- Be an active learner (participate, let me know if you are lost, and pay attention)
- Respect me, yourself, your peers, and property.
On the first day, I used Blaine's pre/post-test to see what my students acquired last year. While they did not do as well as I had hoped, it was great for seeing what I needed to review and what I can skip. I'm hoping that I can also keep track from year to year to see my own growth as a TPRS practitioner.
I took the "I can" statements and ideas from Mira and Michele's session on the ACTFL standards, cut them into level (I'm still not sure that they are appropriate for a TPRS learner...but we'll see), handed them out to each student, and am now posting daily standards on the board for each level.
I am hoping that it will be helpful for students (and me) to focus our energies. Looking at the writing standards, I am excited that this year I will be able to give more specific prompts to my students about what they should write during free-writes.
The other thing that I am doing is a ton more partner work. I know that it goes against "TPRS", but I loved seeing it and experiencing it in Carol and Betsy's classes. I find that it's a good brain break and I'm hoping that I've started a new habit of never asking for a volunteer to speak in front of the class without allowing them to first try it out with a partner. I'm enjoying it, but I did catch myself correcting someone while in partner work and I kicked myself right afterwards. I need to get better at using Betsy's positive attitude and no-correction policy. It makes such a huge difference in how the students feel about volunteering or speaking in class.
Plan is almost over, so I'll sign off. I'll keep updating as I try new things.