✔ Rules (DEA & CWB)
✔ Routines (Routines, Student Jobs, Interjections & Rejoinders)
✔ Brain Breaks
✔ Reporting (Quick Quizzes)
__ Showing Growth
As mentioned in the last post on Reporting, people (e.g. admin, department chairs, parents, students) usually just want to see evidence of growth. In a CI classroom this happens naturally, so all we have to do is document it. The simplest way to do that is with Fluency Writes (i.e. Timed Writes). These work particularly well as teacher evaluation goals if you collect several for each student throughout the year.
Fluency Writes are timed writing assessments that illustrate how many words students can write in the target language (without access to notes, or teacher help). Because students don’t have supports, Fluency Writes are an indication of what students can do at that time. They might not indicate acquisition because language production always lags behind what is understood, but these assessments certainly show growth as word counts increase.
Fluency Writes are either retells of class stories, or original narratives (i.e. Free Writes), but expect the former if you have students writing early on. Whether 5, or 10+ minutes, it’s best to remain consistent in order to show valid results. I know some people who have writing periods during which students create 400 word+ stories for each other to read! If that appeals to you, just don’t report those on the same documents that show growth because now your time variable has changed. People claim that a good number is to write 100 words in 5 minutes. OK, maybe. I don’t focus on goals like that anymore—these are about growth. I’ve had students who wrote 3 words on their first Fluency Write, and then months later were able to start their own original story by writing 25 words. That’s growth. We should celebrate such a victory, not hold students to a norm-referenced word count.
How to document student growth? I have a folder for each student and after reporting their word count on a spreadsheet, I just file them away. A bonus to keeping Fluency Writes in folders is that you select any one of them at any given time to use for any reading activity you can think of. Just type them up and show, or print and give to the class. Another reason to keep these is doing an optional metacognitive analysis at the midyear, or end year point so students can see their own growth by reading older stories. Additionally, you could grade these. Some people do, but as long as research keeps showing that students make errors for the first few years of language regardless of teacher interventions other than additional input, I’ll continue not wasting my time providing corrective feedback, or assigning grades to student writing. For a discussion on that, listen to Episode 16 of Tea with BvP on the Role of Feedback.
Here is a folder containing half sheet double sided Fluency Write paper with spaces so students don’t have to count up words, full sheet double sided paper for older/more advanced writers, and an example of an analysis you can have your students do: