Sunday, January 10, 2016

Mid-Year Report

I am back after taking 3 weeks off from blogging, and to be honest, I really did not miss it. Not to say that I do not enjoy blogging, but during the winter break, I deliberately chose not do anything related to academics/school, e.g. lesson planning, reading CI blogs, following Twitter, etc., because quite honestly, I needed a break. I was also in between semesters of my graduate school courses, so I wanted to take full advantage of that time off. I traveled back to CA to visit family for Christmas and then upon return back to GA, I spent the remainder of my break enjoying time with friends, celebrating the New Year, and of course, seeing Star Wars (I have waited 32 YEARS for Episode 7 - there was NO way that I was NOT going to see it!). As a result, I return back to second semester feeling completely rested. 

So now that second semester has started, I want to reflect on my CI goals for the 2015-2016 school and on my CI experience itself:

First off, I feel SO much more confident of my CI abilities this school year compared to one year ago, primarily because I feel like I have a much better, stronger foundation. This is my 3rd year in which I have dedicated myself to being a CI teacher, and I definitely have a much better idea now of writing compelling stories for my students, of sheltering vocabulary but not grammar, and of scaffolding lessons properly. I am definitely much further along in my level of comfort with CI than I was a few years ago. Attending NTPRS for the past two years has definitely been a great help.

Let me now address my progress on a number of my goals for this school year (from a previous blog post). 
  1. Associate vocabulary with gestures and get in TONS of repetitions using those gestures - I have definitely incorporated more gestures in my classroom in order to teach new vocabulary, and in the beginning of first semester, I saw that gestures indeed did help students recall vocabulary. As the semester progressed, I found that I did not need to use gestures to teach new vocabulary as much, because students did not need them. The question is why? The jury is still out on that...
  2. Use student actors when telling a story - I have had no problem in accomplishing this goal, because after I did my first Readers Theater and Movie Director last semester, students were constantly asking me (and not the other way around) if we were going to act out whatever story we were reading at that point. I feel very blessed to have this situation! I am definitely not taking this for granted, because in years past, I have had classes where NO ONE wanted to act anything out. 
  3. Incorporate more Movie Talk in my classes - I have yet to do a Movie Talk this school year. Not for a lack of trying, but rather, because I have been doing so many other different activities. This semester, however, I do have one already planned. 
  4. Ask HOT questions - For every story, I now devote 1-2 activities to HOT questions. I have found that my quietest students suddenly become the most active participants whenever I do HOT questions. Considering the change in the SAT, with more emphasis on critical reading, incorporating HOT questions is a wonderful way to be SAT relevant. See here for a previous blog post on the topic. 
So like I said earlier, I am very pleased with how things are progressing. I feel like I am in a really good CI place at the moment, and I look forward to giving you my final report for the school year in May!

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