Reflection of “bell-ringer”

At the beginning of the year, I talked about trying a new form of “bell-ringer” in order to set the tone daily for my class.  (refer to post: Oral practice)

It is now time to reflect on this new practice – what was effective and what I think needs improvement.

As the year has progressed, I have made some changes.  Periodically, I have the students break into partners or small groups and brainstorm what they will say before the present them to the class.  I occasionally place specific grammar or vocab requirements on what they are saying.  (I want to hear sentences in the preterite – what happened before the picture was taken?) 

The visuals are very random and do not limit the students to specific vocabulary sets, but as the year has progressed, I have tried to find visuals that are also culturally relevant.  We have used images from various Latin American and Spanish festivals and traditions.  The students loved visuals I took from La Tomatina in Spain!

Overall, I am very happy with this method of starting class.  The students start every class session actively engaged and SPEAKING THE TARGET LANGUAGE!  As the bell rings each class, I am in front and students immediately have their hands up waiting to speak Spanish.

I’m happy with the assessment method.  The rubric I used was very easy to follow and explain to the students.  When I had students who were not speaking as they should, I had individual conferences with them.  Before long, I didn’t have a single student, out of 140, that was not speaking Spanish daily in class.

We are now working on our end-of-year speaking assessments for the final exams.  I have the students at tables, in groups of 6-8.  I hand a student a visual and he/she tells a story from the image.  Two “table-mates” then ask for more details about the story that was told.  They are graded based on the story, their questions they ask others, and their ability to answer their classmates questions.

I will follow up with my reflection on this assessment method when it is complete.

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