Author Archives: madameshepard

Assessments for mini-unit on French presidential election mini-unit

I was pleasantly surprised by my students’ engagement during my mini-unit on the French presidential elections.  The students were especially excited to find out which candidate was best-suited to their own values (although I encouraged students to answer the questions differently if they prefered to keep their own beliefs private). Although I pretty much followed by plan as I outlined it here, I did make the following modifications to the summative assessments.

  1. Although I kept the presentational writing task that I had planned (writing a speech for one of the candidates), I decided to assign an interpersonal speaking assessment rather than having the students present the speech they had written.  For this task, I projected some of the questions from the political quiz and had the students debate each one small groups (made up of different candidates), playing the role of the candidate they had researched.  
  2. I added this interpretive assessment. For the interpretive reading the students read these pages (1, 2, 3) from this site. Because some of these students will be taking the IB test in a few weeks, I’ve done my best to replicate the IB style in creating my questions.  The listening assessment comes from this video and I used true/false with justification questions to assess their comprehension.  (IB will start assessing listening in a couple of years, but no word yet on what question types they will use.) The students did very well on the reading portion (with one perfect score) on Thursday, but I haven’t yet graded the listening portion.

Image from: http://www.thebluediamondgallery.com/wooden-tile/e/election.html

A Votre Sante: A Unit for Intermediate Low French Students

As we begin creating our own thematic units, rather than relying on those presented in our textbooks, we are faced with the challenge of selecting themes that are relevant to our students while at the same time preparing them for authentic situations in the target culture as well as high-stakes testing such as IB or AP.  In creating this unit, my goal was to help my students learn the vocabulary they would need to express the symptoms of common illnesses as well as study health concerns that are relevant to them at this point of their lives (such as stress and lack of sleep). I also wanted to lay the foundation for other health-related topics that will be included in next year’s IB curriculum.  Here’s a quick summary of this unit and a full agenda, to which the materials are linked, can be accessed here.

Day 1: I started the unit with the topic of stress because I thought this would hook the students.  I began by projecting an infographic showing symptoms, sources, and remedies for stress. (Note: As I selected sections of the infographic to project, I was intentional about which effects of stress I projected in order to avoid those that were less appropriate for class.) Discussing this infographic provided an opportunity to provide lots of input to the students and introduce them to the vocabulary they would be using throughout the unit. After this input phase, I projected images from an infographic and had the students discuss what they saw in each picture, as well as what stress reduction strategy was being depicted. (The students discussed with a partner, and then I randomly chose students to share their ideas with the class.) I then projected the original infographic so that the students could compare their ideas to those of the original author.

Day 2: As a lesson hook, I showed a short video about stress and exams.  I then had the students discuss pre-reading questions related to their own stress, followed by a short comprehension guide for an 1jour1actu article about kids and stress.  Using French comprehension questions, rather than English IPA-style questions, allowed us to discuss this formative assessment as a class. The students then discussed what they had learned from the article, as well as their own stress, in order to create a Venn diagram comparing student stress in France and the U.S. Lastly the students wrote a paragraph comparing and contrasting stress in the two cultures.

Day 3: I began this lesson, which focused on the role of exercise, by projecting an infographic with data about French health habits, especially those related to exercise.  Asking questions about the infographic, as well as personalized questions about the students’ habits, provided input for this lesson.  The students then completed an interpersonal activity in which they formulated French questions (based on an English cue) which their partner answered based on information in his/her infographic.  Lastly the students completed a comprehension guide on a short video about exercise.

Day 4: Because I had a 90-minute block on this day, I assigned a series of learning stations to enable the students to use all modes to communicate about the role of sleep in maintaining a healthy lifestyle. At the interpersonal station, each student was given an infographic about the effects of a lack of sleep.  The students discussed the information in their infographics and filled in a graphic organizer with facts that were found only on Infographic A, only on Infographic B, or on both infographics.  I encouraged the students to share simple facts, using their own words, rather than reading directly from the infographic in order to ensure their partner’s comprehension and encourage negotiation of meaning. At the reading station the students read an 1jour1actu article about sleep and filled in a graphic organizer with main ideas and supporting details. At the listening station, the students first watched a video and filled in a graphic organizer with main ideas and supporting details, and then completed an Edpuzzle for a second video.

Day 5: As a hook to this lesson I played the Stromae song, le Sommeil. I then had the students interview a partner about his/her sleeping habits, based on the ideas from the first video from the previous day’s lesson.  In order to ensure an adequate negotiation of meaning, I created an A and B form, so that each member of the dyad had different topics to discuss.  The students then wrote a message to their partner in which they gave advice, based on the video, about how their partner could improve his/her sleeping habits.  In order to introduce an interpersonal component to this writing, I may have the students write a response to the message they receive, indicating whether or not they will follow the advice and why/why not.

Day 6: I provided input to this lesson on common illness by projecting an interactive quiz about colds and flu. After submitting the class’s responses to the questions and projecting the results, I projected a comic that the students discussed with a partner before discussing as a class. The students then watched a short video about the flu and completed a comprehension guide.  Lastly, the students completed an interpersonal activity in which they compared the symptoms of a cold and the flu based on infographics they read.

Day 7: Because I had a sub on the day of this lesson, the students worked individually on an IPA-format reading comprehension guide to accompany an infographic on the flu. (Most students did not have time to also completed the comprehension guide for the cartoon video I included with this lesson.)

Day 8: Students continued their study of common illnesses by watching a cartoon video and then writing a message in which they explain their symptoms and treatment to a principal in order to excuse their absence. (I didn’t use the speaking activities in this packet this year, but have left them in the document for anyone who might be able to use them.)

Day 9: While preparing this unit, I curated several health-related infographics that I did not feel warranted an entire lesson.  I used these “orphan” infographics as a basis for a short presentational speaking activity.  In this one 90-minute period the students selected the topic that most interested them, read the corresponding infographic and then prepared a Google Presentation with images that would help them remember the key facts of the infographic, as well as ensure that their listeners understood the information they would present.  During the last 20 minutes of the period, I conducted a health fair. The class was divided into two equal groups and one half of the students presented while the other half chose a presentation to listen to.  The listeners took notes on what they learned from each presentation.  After several rotations, the two groups traded places so that the listeners became the presenters and vice versa.  The advantage of this style of presentational activity was that presenting to one classmate at a time reduces anxiety for the speakers, while still allowing me to assess each student as I circulate during the presentations.

Days 10-12: Next week the students will read a Petit Nicolas story called “Je suis malade.” On each day, I will play the recorded version of about a third of the story as the students read along.  (I have a hard copy of the story from the book in which it is found, but the text can easily be found on line.) They will then complete the true/false (with justification) items that correspond to that day’s reading in small groups.  This question format encourages interpersonal communication as the questions are written in French and many require deeper interpretation of the text. Depending on time, I may also assign the grammar-based exercises that I’ve included in the packet.

Day 13: In order to review the story and practice circumlocution the students will complete a pair crossword puzzle. For this activity, each member of the dyad is given a crossword puzzle in which half of the clues have been filled in.  The students must give his/her partner French clues so that s/he can fill in the answers on his/her own puzzle.  My students love these puzzles and the last time I used one, two students asked if they could take it home and finish on the bus!

Day 14: The students will write Maman’s diary entry for the day that the majority of this story took place.  This prompt will encourage the students to reread the story for details about Maman’s point of view as well as prepare them for tomorrow’s interpersonal assessment.

Day 15: The students will complete an interpersonal assessment by performing a role play based on the Petit Nicolas story.  I will have the students practice the role play with several different partners, switching roles each time.  I will then assign a partner and have all of the dyads simultaneously record their role plays.  In this way I can assess all of the students in one day.

Day 16: The students will complete an Edpuzzle for a cartoon video based on this story.  Due to the differences between the story and the cartoon, I prefer to leave this assessment for the end, so that the students don’t mix up what they read with what they watched on the interpersonal and presentational assessments.

As always, I welcome feedback on this unit!

Les Elections Présidentielles en France: A mini-unit for Intermediate students

This week my French 4 and French 5 students will begin a short unit on the presidential elections in France. Because my own knowledge about the French electoral system was woefully meager, I have learned a lot while planning these lessons.  Fortunately there are a lot of great, comprehensible resources for this theme.  In fact, I had to really rein myself in or this unit may have gone on much longer than I suspect my students’ interest levels would sustain.  Here’s an agenda with links to the resources I’ve curated and created for this short unit.

In Lesson 1 the students will watch a video about the American presidential electoral system to activate their background knowledge and another video about the French system. They will also read a short article about the French system and use the information from these three sources to complete a graphic organizer.  I will then have them discuss their graphic organizers with a partner with the intention that this discussion might provide additional details for each partner.

In Lesson 2, the students will watch a video about the left and right political parties and complete a comprehension guide.  The students will then be given either an article on one of two political candidates and will fill in half of a graphic organizer with information about this candidate.  Their partner will simultaneous read an article about the other candidate, filling in the opposite half of the graphic organizer. The dyads will then discuss the information in their graphic organizers so that each member of the pair ends up with a complete organizer.

In Lesson 3, one member of each pair will watch a video about le Front National and the other will read an article about this same political party.  Each student will fill out a comprehension guide.  They will then discuss what they learned and complete a graphic organizer comparing the information from the two sources.

In Lessons 4 and 5, the students will watch a Simpsons video about the presidential candidates, and then read about several candidates and complete a graphic organizer.  Next, they will complete an online questionnaire which will provide them with the name of the candidate whose platform most closely aligns with their own opinions and values. They will then complete additional research on this candidate in order to fill in a graphic organizer.

In Lesson 6, the students will use what they’ve learned about their candidate to write a speech intended to persuade young French people to vote for him/her.

In Lesson 7, the students will prepare a Google Presentation of photographs/captions that will support their performance of the speech they have prepared.

In Lesson 8, the students will present their speeches.  

Although I haven’t prepared units for past presidential elections in France for fear that the topic would not be engaging to my students, I think the current political climate has led to young people being much more politically interested than students were in years past.  I’m hoping that they learn as much from this mini-unit as I did by creating it!

Impressionnisme: Partie 2 (Van Gogh, Gauguin et Cezanne)

As I promised in my previous entry, here’s a quick post with the materials and resources I used to introduce three post-impressionist painters (Van Gogh, Gauguin and Cezanne) to my students.

As shown on this agenda , my students completed the following learning stations for each artist:

  • Listening Comprehension: The students completed Edpuzzles for each artist.  At the Cezanne station they also listened to a song and fill in the blanks with the missing words. In addition, they completed a vocabulary matching activities using context clues.
  • Interpersonal Speaking: The students completed the same types of activities, using manipulatives I’m not able to share, that I included for the first group of artists.
  • Reading Comprehension: Rather than the true/false questions I created for the first group of artists, I created a crossword puzzle for each post-impressionist based on the encyclopedia article.  As you will see, the students must first answer the questions (which are written in the same order as they will appear in the article) before checking the puzzle clues for the correct location for each answer. (Let me know if this doesn’t make sense.  It’s a little confusing, but it would have been very time-consuming for the students if the questions weren’t in order.)

After the learning stations for each of these three post-impressionists, the students spent one day on a cooperative activity to review the seven artists we studied in this unit.  For this activity I prepared 8 baggies, each of which had a painting for each of the 7 artists.  The students worked together in groups of 3 to identify which painting in the baggy was by each artist and filled in the artists’ names on this form. They rotated the baggies until each group had completed each of the 8 activities.  Since I used postcards that I have collected over the years, I’m not able to share this activity, but it could easily be replicated using Google Images.

I’ve also included the IPA on the last slide, which I’ve slightly modified from the original version. For this assessments the students will read a children’s magazine article about Impressionism, write a letter to the Orsay describing a painting they “found” (I give them a random paining postcard) at a thrift store and then present their painting to an administrator at the museum.  I definitely think this IPA could use some modifications to make the tasks more authentic, but given the demands of my current school year I made do with what I had–There’s always next year!

 

L’Impressionnisme: Updated lessons for Intermediate Low Learners

As I mentioned in this previous post, one of my French 3 students’ favorite units each year is my unit on French Impressionism.  Although I’ve taught this topic for over 20 years, I modify my lessons each year based on my current understanding of best practices and access to technology.  Click here for an agenda to the first half of the unit, which is described below.

Lesson 1: Because this lesson was our first day back from our winter break, we spent about half of our 48-minute period discussing how we spent our vacation.  This left us just enough time for the short introductory presentation and guided notes.  While the input I provide during this presentation is more detailed than the simple statements in the guided notes, completing these notes helps focus the students’ attention and gives them some background knowledge and vocabulary for the next activity.

Lesson 2: During this lesson the students prepare a short presentation in which they explain which of two paintings is an example of Impressionism.  

Lesson 3: First the students will present their presentations to their classmates.  Because most of my students are very uncomfortable speaking to the class as a whole, they will present to only one other pair at a time.  To facilitate this, the students’ desks will be arranged in groups of 4, which each student sitting next to his/her partner.  Two students in each group will be facing the whiteboard, and the other two will be facing the bulletin board. During the first round, the whiteboard-facing pair will present to the students sitting across from them.  After 2 minutes, each whiteboard-facing pair will move to the next pair of bulletin-board facing students and will repeat their presentation. This will continue until the whiteboard facing pairs have presented to each bulletin board-facing pair.  Then, the bulletin-board facing pairs will perform their presentation for each of the whiteboard-facing pairs.  By performing presentations in this way, the students have a chance to improve their performance on each succeeding presentation, as well as to learn from their peers’ presentations.  By positioning myself next to one of the non-moving pairs during each rotation, I am able to assess all of the students by the end of the hour.  Note: I will have the students complete this peer feedback form for each presentation they hear. Following the presentations, I will present a 10 paintings on a Google Presentation and the students will mark I (Impressionniste) or P (Pas Impressionniste) on a sheet of loose-leaf as an assessment on this lesson.  Finally, in order to prepare for tomorrow’s lesson, the students will complete a few guided notes about Manet.  

Lessons 4-5: This lesson is a series of learning stations about Edouard Manet.  At the listening station, the students will complete three Edpuzzles, at the reading/writing station they will read an article and complete a comprehension guide and at the speaking station they will describe paintings to each other in order to complete a task.  In Activities 1 and 2, the students have the same 12 paintings, and they take turns describing them in order to determine the number/letter of the match on their partner’s paper.  In Activity 3, the students discuss each of 12 paintings in order to determine whether each one is the same or different than the corresponding painting on their partner’s paper.  In Activity 4, the students will describe their version of the painting in order to identify 5 differences (objects that I’ve whited out).  [Will be uploaded on 1/9] Because I will allow the students about 25 minutes at each station, these stations will continue on the second day.  The rest of the second day will consist of a short assessment on Schoology (biographical facts, choose the Manet paintings, etc.) and guided notes on our next artist, Degas.

Lessons 6-7: As with Manet, the students will spend 1.5 class periods on learning stations, with the rest of the second day being reserved for an assessment and guided notes for Monet. Because I use manipulatives that I prepared several years ago using postcards, stickers, etc., I am not able to share digital copies of the speaking materials.  However, I’m hoping that with the examples I created for Manet, interested teachers can quickly create their own such materials.  If anyone is willing to do so, I’d happily link them to this post and attribute them to you.

Lessons 8-9: Learning stations for Renoir.

In my next post, I’ll include my updated lessons for the post-impressionists.

 

Le Gaspillage Alimentaire: A Mini-Unit for Intermediate Low French Students

Treasure_trove_of_wasted_food.JPG

One of the first units that I shared on this blog was a series of lessons on food waste.  When I found myself with a couple of available weeks with my French 3 students right before Thanksgiving this year, this topic seemed like a great fit.  Not only would we all be enjoying copious dinners, but the subject of food waste seems has begun to be addressed on American media.  Click here for the unit agenda, to which all materials have been linked.  Here’s a short explanation of each lesson.

#1: As an introduction to the topic, we watched and discussed a video about food waste as a class. The students were then given one of two infographics about food waste and a graphic organizer. The students read their infographic and filled in as much information as possible in the graphic organizer.  They then discussed their information with their partner (who had read the opposite graphic organizer) and wrote the additional information they gleaned from the conversation in the graphic organizer.

#2: As a hook to the second lesson we discussed a document with suggestions for avoiding food waste.  The students then interviewed a partner about his/her own habits.  Following this interview, the students wrote a message to their partners with suggestions for reducing the amount of food that they waste. Finally they completed an Edpuzzle for a video about food waste.

#3: I began this lesson by showing an anti-food waste announcement that we discussed as a class.  The students then completed an Edpuzzle for a video in which a character gives recipes using leftovers.  After completing the Edpuzzle, the students rewatched the video and wrote out the directions for each recipe.

#4: During this 90-minute class period, the students completed 3 different stations related to recipe preparation.  At the listening station, they completed four different Edpuzzles for videos about food waste. At the reading station, they completed an activity in which they matched pictures from a recipe to the written description of the step shown in the picture. (Due to the nature of this activity, I am not able to share the materials here.) At the third station, the students chose one of the three videos from the previous day’s lesson, and practiced presenting it orally, using only the pictures they were given.  After about 20 minutes of practice, they recorded themselves giving the recipe.

#5: This lesson began with a pre-reading discussion of doggy bags, which was following by an interpretive activity based on an infographic about this topic.  During the remaining class time, students completed online interactive exercises to review verb conjugations, as their written work had demonstrated many errors on these structures.

#6: In order to prepare for the interpersonal task on the IPA, the students participated in a Speed-friending activity by interviewing several classmates about their food waste habits and giving suggestions based on their partner’s responses.

#7: On our next block day the students completed the IPA for this mini-unit.

I was pleasantly surprised at the engagement level of many of my formerly reluctant learners during this mini-unit on a topic with important environmental implications.

Noël for Novices

christmas-1084884_960_720It’s hard to believe that this is the third year that I am posting a Christmas unit! This year’s plan, based on my current French 2 students’ needs, includes many resources that I have used in the past with either French 1 or French 2 classes.  However, I’ve added some new resources (some of which were created by an awesome new colleague!), and linked each resource to the corresponding lesson on the agenda.

Here’s the agenda and a quick summary.

Day 1: I’ll introduce some vocabulary by discussing pictures and then play a commercial Loto game. I’ll pass out this vocabulary packet as a reference during the unit.

Day 2: This lesson, which focuses on Saint Nicolas, includes an introductory video, short reading, Edpuzzle and pair activity in which students describe pictures in order to determine whether each one is the same or different.

Day 3: This lesson, on the topic of Santa, includes a reading and pair matching activity.  I didn’t have a great copy of the reading so it’s kind of blurry.  If anyone has a better link, I’d be very grateful for it!  After the pair matching activity, I’ll orally describe a few of the pictures and have the students write either the number or letter (depending on which they have) for a formative assessment.

Day 4: This lesson on Christmas traditions throughout the world includes a video from a family living in France, an infographic about international traditions, and an info gap activity in which students fill in an agenda of Christmas activities.  As a follow up assignment, the students will write a message describing their week’s activities. (This lesson will take place on a day on which we have 90-minute classes.)

Day 5: This lesson, which focuses on traditional Quebecois holiday activities, includes an introductory video and info gap activity.  I hope to add an Edpuzzle to this lesson, too!

Day 6: In this lesson we will watch a video from a site about decorating Christmas trees as a class before the students complete a series of interpretive activities for the text from the same site. The students will then practice explaining the steps to decorating a tree using pictures they have drawn.  Although I’ve included a pair matching activity here, it seems unlikely that we’ll have time for it.

Day 7: The students will interpret an infographic about Christmas eating habits in France, discuss their own eating habits, and then compare them by creating a Venn diagram.

Day 8 & 9: The students will complete a series of learning stations designed to prepare them for the summative assessment on this unit.  Each station is designed to be completed in about 30 minutes.  Because Day 8 is a 90-minute class, the students will have one station remaining for Day 9.

  • Listening Station: Christmas Edpuzzles
  • Reading station:  Story about Santa
  • Speaking station: Students will be given the role of either a French or Canadian student and will discuss their holiday pictures.  
  • Writing Station: Students will write a draft of their summative assessment.

Day 10: The students will complete the interpersonal speaking and presentational writing portions of their summative assessment. (Described on this IPA.) The interpretive portion of this assessment, their midterm, is still a work in progress as we are creating a multiple choice version to accommodate our school’s requirements.

Joyeux Noël!

Mon Look: A Mini-unit and IPA for Novice High French Students.

clothes-311745_960_720In order to implement the curriculum in my new school, I developed a short unit on clothing for my French 2 students.  Because time did not allow me to address this topic as globally as I would have liked, (See this post by Rebecca Blouwolff for some great ideas!) I thought I’d share the lessons I created, as well as the IPA I will use to assess the students.

Day 1: As my agenda shows, I used a cartoon, Trotro s’habille, to introduce some common clothing words. I first had the students watch the video and complete an Edpuzzle on their own. Following this individual interpretive activity, I played the video to the class with frequent pauses for questioning.  My questions addressed both comprehension of the video, as well as personalized questions about the students. After watching the video as a class, the students worked with a partner to put screenshots from the video in order and then match the appropriate caption to each picture. (I print the files on cardstock and then cut apart the squares, making enough copies for each pair.) Although I originally planned to have the students doing a story retelling as a formative assessment, time didn’t permit me to do so.  Instead, I made eight statements about the video and the students indicated whether each one was vrai or faux on a sheet of looseleaf.

Day 2: On the second day, I choose an infographic, “Etes-vous un hipster?” as a hook for the lesson. The students then used H & M’s website to fill in the name of various articles of clothing on a handout that would become their vocabulary sheet for this mini-unit.  They then completed a pair matching activity.  I formatively assessed this lesson by orally describing several of the pictures from the pair activity and having the students write either the number or letter from their pair worksheet.

Day 3: The students began by reviewing clothing vocabulary with a series of web-based activities and then completed an interpretive reading activity based on an infographic about Barney from How I met your mother.  Lastly, they completed an Edpuzzle for Petit Ours veut s’habiller tout seul.

Day 4: In this lesson the students completed the same activities for Petit Ours veut s’habiller tout seul as they had done for Trotro s’habille.

Day 5: Students completed a series of learning stations that allowed them to communicate about clothing in each mode.

Day 6: As a hook to this lesson I played a Cyprien video.  I then modeled some new phrases by giving my opinion of the articles of clothing on a Google Slides presentation.  I then gave the students a handout with these expressions and had them practice giving their opinions of additional slides in small groups. To further reinforce this vocabulary, we did an inside/outside circle activity with magazine pictures of various outfits.

Day 7: In this lesson each student was assigned to one of the slides on the Google Presentation of pictures of outfits.  The students wrote a paragraph describing the articles of clothing and giving their opinions of each one.  They then exchanged papers with a partner and read their partner’s paper and chose which slide s/he had described.

Days 8 and 9: IPA

Although I think this mini-unit would be improved by including a stronger cultural component, these activities did allow the students to increase their ability to communicate using high-frequency clothing vocabulary.

Give Me Five

handAs I was reading this month’s Okapi magazine I came across an ad for a free new app from Bayard press called Give Me Five by Phosphore. This app sends five short news stories to your device every day at 5:05 p.m. (French time).  While I hope to eventually have the students read the articles outside of class, I’ve begun implementing this resource by choosing an article and projecting it for the class. (Note: there’s a website with that provides the same articles.) After simply discussing a couple of the articles this week, I created this document which I will copy and give out at the beginning of each week (I see each class 4x a week). I’ll then project the article I’ve chosen for the day and give the students a few minutes to complete the comprehension guide, after which we’ll discuss their responses as a class.  Although the articles are difficult, I think that with the appropriate resources (wordreference.com), my students in Level 3 and above will be able to get some meaning from the articles. While I might not have time to implement this activity every day, I think that this resource will be a great way to introduce my students to current events and high-interest cultural topics.

Using Rubrics to Assess Interpretive Reading

rubricLast night’s #langchat was hopping!  One of the most lively discussions had to do with the topic of using rubrics to assess students’ communication in the interpretive mode.  So, at the request of @MmeBlouwolff, I’m sharing a few thoughts about how I use rubrics to assess reading in my classes.

Like many of my colleagues, I did not understand how I could use a rubric to assess reading comprehension when I first began using IPA’s.  It was not until I saw the ACTFL Interpretive template, that I realized I didn’t have to assess comprehension with discrete point measures.  After adopting the question types suggested by this guide, the switch to a more holistic grading system made perfect sense. A student’s comprehension is not adequately assessed by the number of questions they answered correctly, any more than their presentational writing can be evaluated by counting spelling errors. Furthermore, our current understanding of the interpretive mode of communication does not limit us to evaluating our students’ literal comprehension of a text.  Instead, we are encouraged to assess inferential strategies such as guessing meaning from context, making inferences, identifying the author’s perspective and making cultural connections.  Using a rubric to measure student growth on these skills allows me to show my students what they can do, as well as how they can improve their interpretive strategies.

Here’s a look at a sample of student work and how I used a rubric to assess both the student’s literal and interpretive comprehension. Please note that although I relied heavily on ACTFL’s Interpretive IPA Rubric, I changed the format to make it more similar to the Ohio proficiency rubrics that I use for the interpersonal and presentational modes.  In addition, I modified some of the wording to reflect my own practices and added a numerical score to each column.

As the completed rubric shows, I ask my students to assess themselves by circling the box which best reflects their own understanding of their performance on each section.  In addition to providing an opportunity for self-assessment, this step ensures that the students have a clear understanding of the expectations for the assessment and encourages goal-setting for future performances. This process also provides me with important information about the students’ metacognition. In this case, the student seemed to feel very confident about his/her responses to the Guessing Meaning from Context section, in spite of the fact that he only guessed one word correctly.

After collecting the assessments and student-marked rubrics, it’s my turn to assess the students.  The use of a rubric streamlines this process considerably, as I can quickly ascertain where each student’s performance falls without the laborious task of tallying each error.  I simply check the appropriate box on the rubric, and then project a key when I return the papers so that each student receives specific feedback on the correct responses for each item.  

When it comes to determining a score on the assessment, as a general rule I assign the score for which the student has met all, or nearly all of the descriptors. I do consider, however, how the class does as a whole when assigning numerical grades.  I am frequently unrealistic in my expectations for the Guessing Meaning from Context, for example, and as a result I do not weigh this category very heavily when assigning a final score.  In the case of this student’s work, I assigned a grade of 9.5/10 as s/he met many of the descriptors for Accomplished and demonstrated greater comprehension than the majority of his/her classmates.

While the use of rubrics for interpretive communication might not work for everyone, I have found that holistic grading provides better opportunities for self-assessment, encourages students by providing feedback on what they can do and saves me time on grading.  

As always, I look forward to your feedback, questions and suggestions!

Image credit: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Rubric.jpg