Hall Elementary School – Fall 2013

Forums Past Tense Journal (Classroom Log) Hall Elementary School – Fall 2013

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  • #340

    WebMaestrex
    Keymaster

    Monday & Wednesday, 6:00-7:30 pm

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    Date of Class:
    Day of Class:
    PI:
    SI:
    Assistants:
    Module:
    How Many Learners:
    Score:
    What happened (as short or as long as you like, but be specific):

    #342

    WebMaestrex
    Keymaster

    Date of Class: 10/14/13
    Day of Class: Monday
    PI: Sheila G
    SI: N/A
    Assistants: N/A
    Module: In the Neighborhood
    How Many Learners: 14
    What happened (as short or as long as you like, but be specific):
    Started off slowly. First learner was there by about 6:08 and other learners finally came in between 6:15 and 6:25. All told, 14 Ss and 3 toddler-y kids. Very nice group – some a little quiet and shy, at least to start with. Now I have a better idea about abilities and will split up the class accordingly, although I did a pretty good job of splitting people up. We were in the library – great big room which was nice, but the tables are oddly shaped and I couldn’t figure out a configuration that seemed natural for 14 people so there was one large table (which was actually 2 tables) and 1 regular table. Next time, I’ll just move 3 tables together, although this will call for moving most of the tables around them which is what I didn’t want to do during the class when the last 3 people came in.

    Did alpha listen & point with only 3 people. Started working with loyalty card and by the end, all Ss had arrived. First we did address “parts” (road, building, suite) and their abbreviations and then worked on some numbers. Dictated addresses, too. Finally, ended with some TPR. Coordinator L said this might be the last week they’ll allow kids to come as some of the parents object. All in all, a good class, laughter and interest. They all seemed to want to be engaged so that was a sure fire help! I had them explain answers to questions that they had in Spanish as well (e.g., the difference between “suite” and “sweet”).

    So wish I had an assistant or SI for this group. If I can de-shy some of the HLLs, I’ll be using them. They didn’t seem to mind helping each other, but I had to remind them repeatedly, which is probably pretty normal if people are new. At least half of those polled said they had been to only 1 or 2 classes before.

    #343

    WebMaestrex
    Keymaster

    Date of Class: 10/16/13
    Day of Class: Wednesday
    PI: Sheila G
    SI: N/A
    Assistants: N/A
    Module: At the Doctor
    How Many Learners: 16
    What happened (as short or as long as you like, but be specific):

    16 Ss and 7 kids – it was a wild bunch! First we did alpha listen & point until finally everyone had arrived. I had put the loyalty cards that had been filled out on Monday in the middle of the table configuration and periodically asked people to pull theirs from the pile and hold onto it until the end of class. I collected them at the end of class. There was still some confusion about where to put the dates on the cards and first versus last names, etc. It took more time than I’m used to put the attendance together (was Maria Candelaria “Maria” or “Candy”?). I’ll be trying to do something a little differently next week, just don’t know what yet.

    Next we went around the room saying “my name is…, her name is…, his name is…” With a big group this took quite a little bit of time and some people were intimidated by so many names to remember (as was I). At the end, I told them it was my turn to go all the way around the room and say everyone’s names with no help and I did it and they were impressed and applauded and laughed!

    Next we moved to dictation/singing “The Skeleton Dance”. People really do love songs. Some people were quiet and not too animated when singing but I kept pushing little by little and I swung my arms wildly around to conduct and they started to swing their arms around, too. We broke the song down during dictation and practiced saying the words. After we finished the chorus, I asked everyone to stand up and I modeled how to sing the chorus, and then they did it as a group. Then I split the group up in halves and we did a little competition. Then they sat down again and I dictated the first verse of the song. We practiced speaking the lines and then they stood up again and I modeled the verse and conducted, then they sang the verse and swung arms. Then we all did the same thing but this time with the chorus and the verse together. We sang this all together 4 times, then I split the group in halves again and we had another competition. I got to use 3 of the kids as “props” (toe bone connected to the foot bone…) – they enjoyed it! Then class was over. I told the Ss we’d finish the song next Wednesday so they can have it for Halloween. They were singing the song as they walked out of the library.

    I will say I’m going to have to hold on tight with this group if it (hopefully) stays this size. It’s a real challenge working with a group this size with no SI or assistant. I did have access to a whiteboard so I wrote some things down and checked on one side of the room and the next time wrote something else down and checked the other side of the room. There’s at least one person who’s sort of high level in speaking and writing and she’s very willing to help people so I’ll watch her a little more and I think I might ask her to ambulate for an activity and see how that works.

    Good, solid class – lots of laughing and discussion and helping each other – it seems like some are more comfortable with giving and receiving help than they were even on Monday. Great group!

    #344

    WebMaestrex
    Keymaster

    Date of Class: 10/21/13
    Day of Class: Monday
    PI: Sheila G
    SI: N/A
    Assistants: N/A
    Module: In the Neighborhood
    How Many Learners: 12
    What happened (as short or as long as you like, but be specific):

    Lower energy bunch tonight and I had to work really hard to keep raising the energy for the first half of the class. We started with listen & point and then moved to a quick yell & spell. Then we moved on to “my name is…, what’s yours?…XXX, nice to meet you” and went around the room with that. We did some TPR with things like look up, look down, turn to the right, take 1 step back, take 2 giant steps to the right, etc. Then the Ss sat down and I modeled the actions and they called them out and wrote them down.

    About halfway through the class, we all stood in a circle and pointed in directions (north, south, etc.) and then I asked for volunteers and modeled asking them to move through space (take 2 steps north, take 2 steps back, turn around, take 1 step to the left, etc.). Then we played the Blind Man game where a volunteer is blindfolded and Ss take turns guiding them through a minefield of crayons – the object of the game is to get the person from one side of the room to the other without stepping on a crayon. If someone steps on a crayon, the next “blind man” is the last person who gave the direction. All of this took about the last 45 minutes and the energy took an upward momentum during this time.

    #345

    WebMaestrex
    Keymaster

    Date of Class: 10/23/13
    Day of Class: Wednesday
    PI: Sheila G
    SI: N/A
    Assistants: N/A
    Module: At the Doctor
    How Many Learners: 17
    Score: 31
    What happened (as short or as long as you like, but be specific):

    Well, it was another busy class at Hall. After 2 weeks, I’m heartened that attendance hasn’t fallen (although it doesn’t necessarily mean anything), but I feel like I have to up the stakes and bring in punch and cookies or something just in case!

    We started off with alpha listen & point – most Ss were there but not all – and then we moved to going around the room saying everyone’s names. By the time we were done, everyone had arrived.

    Then we did some TPR with phrases like point to your nose, stare straight ahead, roll up your sleeve, cough, etc. We repeated those phrases a lot and went around the room on some of them. Then I asked the Ss to sit down and I shouted out each phrase and they wrote them down. This took some time.

    Next we tried Tell Your Own Story. I asked one person in the group to tell me a story with 4 or 5 sentences in Spanish (since all Ss are Spanish speakers). I wrote down her story in Spanish on the board, and I practiced saying it. I was wondering how this activity would work and the Ss seemed interested in helping me speak and write better so that was cool. Then we went through and translated the story into English and they wrote it down line by line: “What did I do when I had a headache? I went to the doctor. He gave me some Tylenol but it didn’t help much. I made another appointment.” While seemingly a simple story, they had some trouble with words like “but”, “another”, and “appointment”. This whole activity took longer than I expected so we only had about 20 minutes left for The Skeleton Dance song. There were 2 new people there so I had to review and write down what we did last week. Then we sang it and moved on to the next 2 verses, writing, pronouncing, singing. And then we ran out of time. Most in the class wanted to stay a few minutes later to finish up the last sentence of the last verse we did tonight and we did so, but then someone mentioned that apparently we were supposed to be out of there right on time so we disbanded and I’ll pick it up again next week.

    Class started just about 10 minutes late as I got stuck behind an accident on Stark. I didn’t even have time to get the box out of the SUN office so I passed around a blank sheet of paper and used it as an attendance sheet and at the end of class made sure everyone had signed it, and made a copy of it with a notation that the loyalty cards were not filled out for tonight. I will make sure they’re done next Monday for tonight’s class.

    I felt there were some times when there was some distance and lag. By the time I arrived, the Ss had arranged the table but they put them in a different arrangement than I normally use. I thought I’d try it but I don’t really like it a lot – 4 library tables shoved together lengthwise; it was like a very long conference table. It held 16 people and 3 kids quite nicely but I will continue to “square” the tables as it’s more like a circle.

    Ss were generally engaged and laughing, etc., but sometimes they broke into a couple of small groups to speak with each other. On the one hand, that’s not bad because they weren’t aimlessly looking around or acting bored and they were talking with each other about the meanings or the spellings, etc., and I was able to bring them right back with “ready”. But on that other hand, it happened just once or twice too many times so I felt like I was losing them too regularly – maybe not for too long, but still too regularly. I’m going to see if I can figure out another way to do dictation with only on person and a group that size. I’m also going to get to include document searches. I haven’t included any of those thus far at Hall as I haven’t had a printer but I arranged with Laura tonight to email her documents and she’ll print them out for me. Problem solved – ching! ;)

    #346

    WebMaestrex
    Keymaster

    Date of Class: 10/28/13
    Day of Class: Monday
    PI: Sheila G
    SI: N/A
    Assistants: N/A
    Module: TriMet
    How Many Learners: 13
    What happened (as short or as long as you like, but be specific):

    I started with the usual. Then we shook up yell & spell by doing first and last names. I modeled it (what’s your first name?, then Ss repeated each letter, then what’s your last name?, then Ss repeated each letter). After each Ss spelled their first name, I’d ask “what his/her first name?”, and they’d respond. After they spelled their last name, I’d ask “what is his/her last name” and they’d respond.

    Then I asked them to write down “Do you take the bus?”, “Yes, I take the bus”, “No, I don’t take the bus”. We practiced the sentences, and then I went around and asked each Ss the question and they answered.

    Then I moved on to a dictation about the bridges in Portland. I dictated the first sentence (“There are eight bridges in Portland and they each go over the Willamette River.”) This sentence was problematic with spelling and also with words being omitted, so it was slow going around the tables to every person, even the higher level Ss. While I was checking on spellings, conversations ensued mostly in Spanish, things like what is a bridge and how is it spelled. My first thought was that maybe I lost some people at different points while checking in with individuals but then they started asking questions. The dictation continued like that so we only got through about 3 sentences.

    At 7:20, I decided to break into some TPR and laughter yoga to end the evening. I revisited TPR that we’ve done in the past two weeks (roll up your sleeve, take a step forward, etc.). We ended by chuckling and guffawing.

    This class was a little hard for me to read. It was a large group again and the energy was hard to maintain – many said they were tired. I feel like I’m at a point where I’m either “on” or “off” and there has to be some way to buoy the energy in the room gently and evenly versus roller coaster time.

    #347

    WebMaestrex
    Keymaster

    Date of Class: 10/30/13
    Day of Class: Wednesday
    PI: Sheila G
    SI: N/A
    Assistants: N/A
    Module: Talkin’ To The Boss
    How Many Learners: 14 (+ 2 daredevil boys)
    What happened (as short or as long as you like, but be specific):

    Alpha L&S went pretty nicely tonight and really played its part well – this group does like to straggle in. There are usually only 3 there at 6pm but by 6:15, usually everybody who’s going to show up has shown up. Then we did Y&S all the way around the tables.

    Next, I dictated some things people might want or need (a car, a new job, a day off, vacation) and then “what do you want” and “what do you need”. Then I went around the room asking people the question and they’d answer in complete sentences. Some people gave different answers (a new boyfriend, food because I’m hungry, more English classes). Then I asked someone to go around the room saying what each person wanted (I want a new car, F. wants a new job, C. wants more English classes, etc.) This took some time and people were sort of panicked about doing it because they hadn’t been listening (more on this later) so I asked for one person to volunteer to do it and P. stepped up and did it with everyone’s help and she’s a card so there was a lot of laughter during this.

    Then I moved on to Do You/Can You/Have You. I dictated sentences like “are you 100 years old” and “have you gone to the store today” then dictated the answers (no, I’m not / yes, I am / no, I haven’t / yes, I have). For each form, I went around the room asking different questions (are you a fish, are you a painter, are you hungry) and each person answered. Then we each took turns asking questions of our neighbor and eliciting responses.

    Finally, I dictated the first 2 lines of “Anything You Can Do, I Can Do Better” and then we practiced saying them with different accents on the words, and then sang it.

    The class had laughter and people were engaged while they were writing, speaking or listening to me. What I’m finding is I’m losing people to small conversations when we’re going around the room if the phrase we’re practicing is too difficult or too long or I have to coach on pronunciation too many times in a row (you versus joo, e.g.). It also happens when I’ve dictated something and I’m going around the tables tending to people individually. To combat the last point, I’ve taken to splitting up that “tending” effort. For one phrase, I’ll go and spend time on one side of the room, and then go up to the board and write the phrase down so that everyone gets it correctly. Then for the next phrase, I’ll do the same thing but focus my efforts on the opposite side of the room.

    I spoke with Patrik after class and mentioned some of this and I’m going to get some suggestions from him during office hours. But in the middle of the night I woke up thinking “small groups”! What does this mean? Well, use more activities that will lend themselves to breaking the Ss up into 2, 3 or 4 small groups. (Duh!) This particular strategy won’t stop losing people when the large group is in play, but I think it will lessen the number of times it occurs in a class. I still seek other suggestions so if anyone has any, thanks in advance for sharing!

    #348

    WebMaestrex
    Keymaster

    Date of Class: 11/04/13
    Day of Class: Monday
    PI: Sheila G
    SI: N/A
    Assistants: N/A
    Module: TriMet
    How Many Learners: 10
    What happened (as short or as long as you like, but be specific):

    This day did me in. Up early, new job, lots of Spanish. I left work at 5pm and still got to Hall about 10 minutes late. And I couldn’t text Laura because I forgot to charge my phone. :(

    Class was low key / low energy – about half reported being sick or tired and one had been hurt at work. A.’s kids were particularly needy tonight (usually they’re pretty independent) so she was sort of in and out of the class at times and she is the HLL. We took it easy and did L&P (most of them are getting better!!) and Y&S, then moved on to a continuation of the dictation from last week re bridges in Portland. Ss found this difficult so 2 sentences took quite a while but we got through it. The smaller group made it much easier to get around to everyone. Then we moved on to Hangman (colgado) and the very first word someone guessed without any letters so I had to make it harder. We had some fun with this. Then we closed with some TPR and some light hokey pokey. Almost everyone caught on to this and played along. Only H. was somewhat lost. We slowed down, practiced pronunciation, spoke it line by line, then sang it slowly, then once all the way through.

    #349

    WebMaestrex
    Keymaster

    Date of Class: 11/6/13
    Day of Class: Wednesday
    PI: Sheila G
    SI: N/A
    Assistants: N/A
    Module: Talkin’ To The Boss
    How Many Learners: 10 (+ 2 calm boys)
    What happened (as short or as long as you like, but be specific):

    Started with a brief AL&P and by the time we were done, everyone had arrived. Things went smoothly with attendance so I think I’ve hit a groove.

    I started the Y&S asking for the names of people’s streets. I modeled mine and we went from there. In the middle of doing this, C. said she was confused as to why one street was pronounced one way but spelled another. She gave a couple of examples from last week and a couple of other people started a conversation in Spanish about how this was a difficulty with English, etc., so I decided to address it. I explained to her how specific things were pronounced but that I didn’t know why. Someone else asked another related question and before you know it, that’s what we were talking about – pronunciations and spellings, etc. They had a bundle of questions like this so I answered them and invited more. A lot of the class was spent doing this. Then it naturally moved to an activity generating vocabulary and then another one related to opposites. I did quite a bit of sharing by answering their questions, but tried not to over-explain – just get to the answers as quickly as possible and show them examples.

    I included in my lesson plan some time to ask them at the end of the class what they wanted to learn in English class and they said “more of this”. I asked them about specific topics and they said things like talking with the boss is great, and also someone wanted vocabulary and practice for selling her car (C.’s moving back to Mexico. :( ). I told them I would continue on with the topic at hand and talk about the other as well next Wednesday. No class on Monday due to holiday.

    This seemed to be a good, solid class – there was laughter and everyone except Am. seemed to be engaged most of the time. (Am. is a higher level learner and she just wasn’t participating very much at all tonight. She sat with her hands folded across her chest with her hood up over her head most of the class and when she did answer, she was almost whispering. I asked her if she was okay or if she needed anything, and she said she was fine. I wonder if maybe she was having some kind of upset between her and her husband who comes with her??). It was nice to just connect with everyone in a sort of calm mode and give them directly what they wanted. This group seems to have some very specific questions about general stuff so I am going to try to include 10 or 15 minutes in each class to ask them what’s working, what isn’t, time for questions, etc.

    #350

    WebMaestrex
    Keymaster

    Date of Class: 11/13/13
    Day of Class: Wednesday
    PI: Sheila G
    SI: N/A
    Assistants: N/A
    Module: Talkin’ To The Boss
    How Many Learners: 10 (+ 4 calm kiddos)
    What happened (as short or as long as you like, but be specific):

    Started with a brief AL&P and by the time we were done, everyone had arrived. Things went smoothly with attendance again – took me almost no time to complete it.

    Tonight concentrated on contractions (I’m, we’re, can’t, don’t, won’t, we’ll). Ss wrote them down and we practiced pronunciation and touched on words that sound the same (they’re-their-there, would-wood). Then we moved on to specific phrases to use at work (with the boss and with co-workers) (I’d like a raise, you’re not pulling your weight, what are my benefits, I have a problem to report, how many holidays do we get, etc.). We also touched on payroll, accrual of benefits, reading and understanding your paystub and why that’s important. There was a lot of writing and a lot of discussion in Spanish.

    Good class with people mostly engaged and laughter, too. Even H, a LLL, seemed more fully engaged because there was explanation offered in Spanish.

    Last class is essentially next Monday. Next Wednesday is the end-of-fall-term party. That was fast. I’m going to miss this group (of course, I miss every group…)

    #351

    WebMaestrex
    Keymaster

    Date of Class: 11/18/13
    Day of Class: Monday
    PI: Sheila G
    SI: N/A
    Assistants: N/A
    Module: Talkin’ To The Boss
    How Many Learners: 10
    What happened (as short or as long as you like, but be specific):

    For the last class of the Fall term, started with your basic Alpha L&P until everyone arrived. Then did a review of the many things we’ve covered since this Fall term began (contractions, favorite phrases to use at work, catching the bus, directions, TPR with N-S-E-W, turn right, go left past the first desk, etc.) Ss retained more of the older information than the newer, perhaps because we’ve been using it periodically over time. Made special effort to interact with H, one of the LLLs, and quickly modeled down a couple of times to her to give her practice and sort of shine. I brought chocolate truffles from TJs to share with the class. I kept offering them chocolates and there was a lot of laughter and good vibe. I will miss this bunch.

    #352

    WebMaestrex
    Keymaster

    Date of Class: 11/20/13
    Day of Class: Wednesday
    PI: Sheila G
    SI: N/A
    Assistants: N/A
    Module: None (end-of-term party)
    How Many Learners: 11
    What happened (as short or as long as you like, but be specific):

    At the very beginning, there was a brief “presentation” from the teachers about the classes they teach and then we were all gifted with a sunny yellow SUN mug stuffed with Lindt Lindor chocolate truffles. Plenty of adults and their corresponding kids. Much food to be had: homemade chicken tamales (OMG delicious!!), pizza, sandwiches, salads, chocolate milk, chips and hummus (my contribution), juice, cake, and flan. There was also a rifa (raffle) and someone at my table commented on how unlucky our table was until the very last prize went to my neighbor – applause! I went around the room a couple of times over the course of the hour and spied as many folks from the class as I could but I very well could have missed some as there was a lot of movement from table to table, parents trailing after kids and vice versa.

    B came to take pictures of our classroom but when I took him there, the lights were off and we ended up having to wait for 15 minutes for L to say goodbye to everyone at the end of the fiesta before she could come and turn the lights on. L was practically on skates – wow, that woman can move and juggle at the same time – very impressive!

    One of the students, P, promised to make mole for me on the first day of the winter quarter if I promised to show up whether I’m teaching there or not. She said we could pinky swear (yay, English!), so we did.

    Lovely way to end the term.

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