The year turns - new resolutions
¡Felíz año escolar nuevo, todos! (Happy new school year, everybody!) As I return to another intense and exhilarating new cycle of quarters and semesters, I'm reminded of promises I keep to myself. One such promise last year included keeping a regular blog. Updated regularly, a regular blog posting schedule would provide a forum for me to broadcast knowledge about goings-on in my 1st and 2nd year classes. Fast forward to this year, and it's plain to see that I didn't get back to the blog updates after the 2013 CHS open house. Oops.
Where did the time go? A lot of it went towards my efforts to certify with the National Board of Educators. While this process was helpful to my overall growth as an educator, it took time away from meaningful connections I could be making with my immediate and far-reaching community of parents and students.
This year, I've carved out a manageable schedule that allows me time to get these blog posts out there. It involves working with others twice a month (90 minutes at a time), wherein which we can hold each other accountable to the time we need to put in to technology learning development.
And this is what I ask of my students early each school year. I try not to give retroactive guilt trips about how they should have studied over the summer. Some do, some don't. That's in the past. Moreover, as my students show me in their summer vacation projects, there's a lot of great stuff kids get done that doesn't involve language practice. And that's awesome. What I do try to do, once we get back, is to remind them to attack their vocab. lists (from this year as well as the previous one) in manageable parts.
So, when you ask them what tonight's Spanish homework is, they may say that there's no written work to do. And they may be right. What they are not telling you, however, is that they have homework every night in addition to any written assignments I might give. And that is to create a manageable list of vocab. terms (from either the 1st or second year) which they need to know solidly. They can study them how they wish: hear/read them back, use each in a simple sentence, write a simple quiz (i.e., matching English to Spanish) which they give to other students in class…
There are lots of options! Throughout the year, I will attempt to get your student into different modes of practice. they may rely on one way the whole year. One former student typed the unit list 3 times in both languages. He never scored below a 98% on a test. It won't work for everyone, but it was a proven method for him to lock in the knowledge he needed to succeed.
Here's to a year of managed (and manageable) success!