Today, I greeted students at the door as usual, waiting for their class password and making a personal connection before class. When the bell rang, I went to my desk, a bit like Vanna White drawing attention to the projected “Do Now!” with the instructions to read a new text I had placed on each seat. After a minute or so, I began walking around with a clipboard marking a) who was reading, b) who wasn’t/who was talking, c) who was coming in late, and d) who was absent.
This went into the gradebook.
If nothing else gets quizzed throughout class, using a clipboard to record whatever students are doing each day builds enough evidence to explain why a student might not be understanding the target language. If they’re not reading, they’re not receiving CI. If they’re not drawing a picture, or doing something else to get their head ready for class, they’re likely to receive less CI when class begins. Oh, and this is super easy, requiring absolutely no prep.
To be clear, this is just a management (MGMT) strategy to get students focused, like any brief thinking and writing task. However, I’ve been noticing how data from these can be recorded in the 0% grading category portfolio along with Quick Quizzes to stack up scores in the gradebook real fast. No one asks “how is X doing?” because there answers are all there, and what’s there reflects class. After all, a student’s grade is based on receiving CI, which is aligned 1-1 as much as possible with what’s needed for language acquisition. In fact, I’m finding that quizzes are even less necessary now with so much data being collected. Something like this might help keep CI levels high throughout class if your quizzes aren’t as input-based as they could be.
So, take a look at how you manage classes, and then find a simple way to record that. Here are three ideas that have worked out very well in the last month or so:
Independent Reading Rubrics
Use these for Do Nows, Sustained Silent Reading (SSR), or Free Voluntary Reading (FVR). Tell students they’ll be getting a score, then pass out papers after reading for them to self-assess. If you notice a student off-task, enter class late, leave the room, etc., fill one out during reading time, then hand it directly to that student so they see that you know they weren’t meeting expectations. Manage reading, and get a score for the gradebook.
When reading, have students draw circles, lines, etc. to annotate something as you go. This could be anything on the spot (e.g. “circle what Sulie wants,” or “underline all the words in this paragraph that take place in the past”). Keep students focused, then collect these to get a score for the gradebook representing who was receiving input. If a student left the room, especially for a longer time, they simply weren’t receiving CI. The gradebook can reflect how much class they’re missing, whereas some grading systems allow kids completing assignments at home, yet messing with class to earn credit.
Weekly MGMT Sheets
I’ve written about using these recently. Briefly, though, they can show engagement throughout class, and throughout the week, used whenever you need to refocus. Oh, and that kid who takes those long breaks, like missing the annotation task above, won’t be in class when you walk by and mark their work done.
I recommend cycling through the sheets, independent reading rubrics, and annotation tasks to keep routines in place, but not so frequent as to lose effectiveness.