lunes, 21 de octubre de 2013

Do report cards really show children`s performance?

By Miss Patsy and Miss Anne

Every time we have to complete report cards we have the feeling that they are messy and too long, which may lead to confusion.
At the same time they are too time consuming and we are not sure if they really reflect children`s performance. Besides, comparing the Spanish legal report cards to ours they are very direct as regards subjects and values too: “convivencia” has a mark but this aspect is not unfolded into other categories.
Our idea is to create a prototype of a new, balanced, useful clear and tidier report card. Being aware that we are T B L followers, we thought of designing a report card that represents this approach. It would be for 2nd cycle, but in case this model or a similar one is implemented at school, teachers that are specialized in 1st cycle can adapt it since they have other routines, other success criteria for the learners and they are experts at this age group.
We are aware that there have been several attemps to modify the current report card but we decided to invest some time to design a more practical document. Another aspect that we would like to change is the translation into Spanish. Just to make sure that parents get the right meaning of each issue of the following course of action:
A) Upload a Spanish version of the report card in the school´s web page

B) Having a big prototype in the classroom the day we deliver the report cards (1st lap) so parents are informed about the changes and can follow their kids performance guided by the teacher. By doing this we feel that we also involve parents in a deeper way.


Assembly Time

The student is able to:
Have clear pieces of opinion

Make an effort to convey meaning

Connect with ≠ situations, stories, anecdotes, etc.

Make good use of:
  1. Collocations

  1. Functions

  1. tenses

Apply ≠ strategies to solve tasks

Participate actively during Reporting Time

Written Work

Make a clear handwriting

Avoid spelling mistakes

Profit from dictionaries and panels

Produce coherent pieces of writing

Include new vocabulary and collocations

Use punctuation and capitalization appropriately



jueves, 16 de mayo de 2013

Little time, big profit

Little time, big profit

Teaching strategies to employ in the first minutes of a lesson that enhance learning


By Patricia Muiños & Ana Castells Ruiz


e want to share how we take profit from the first minutes of the lesson. As teachers we are aware that learners are more attentive to participate and to get involved at the beginning of a lesson. So, we strongly believe that this stage of the day enhances learning.
Having applied Phonology Routine and Language Function Routine as part of our institutional plans, little by little we have been introducing new segments. We believe they cover children´s needs and interests that are above the syllabus.

A)   Reflecting moment:
Short activities can enhance genuine learning
When kids come inside the classroom, there is a question written on the board related to something that happened the day before in relation to attitudes and values. We expect this interrogative leads to comments that mention possible solutions that will be applied if the problem persists. For example: instructions have to be repeated once and again, and still, some students don´t follow them. The question is: “How many times do we have to repeat clear instructions in order to be followed?

B)    Have your say on… :
This segment was born after Japan´s earthquake. Spontaneously, kids started to bring pieces of news from different sources. We also noticed that boys focused more on sports, and girls more in singers, actors and actresses and models.
Actually we prefer to make a more guided activity presenting the piece of news so that they trigger reflection and brilliant comments.
For example: “We have an Argentinian Pope!”, Máxima Zorreguieta has been crowned Queen Consort from Netherlands.”

C)   Collocation Corner:
Having noticed that children made recurrent or classic mistakes, we created this instance to make them aware that words cannot be combined at random. We also noticed that when they produced, they used basic, simple vocabulary.
In order to improve this aspect, we created panels following these steps:
1)     Children select “key” words from each story.
2)     They search for the correct collocations using a net-book or a traditional Collocation Dictionary.
3)     When making the panel, we use different colours to classify different types of words.
4)     Students to take profit from this strategy whenever the speak or write.

D)  Vocabulary segment:
In order to help students preserve advanced, complex, relevant, rich vocabulary, we designed this segment.
The objective is to avoid kids using only restricted vocabulary, encouraging them to include these words by means of recycling. The steps we follow for this segment are:
1)     “What can you say about…?”
2)     They are allowed to *consult dictionaries,
                                   *give their own definition
                                    *mention synonyms or opposites
                                    *say type of word
                                    *tell an anecdote or experience
                                     *make connections with stories or movies
                                    *build a sentence containing that word

To us, the benefits of these segments rely on the fact that not only we are covering Grammar and Vocabulary but also Ethics and current issues. What´s more, we believe that this segment helps children improve their fluency and it creates a warm up moment before the formal lesson which may make introverted or weak students feel more confident.


miércoles, 15 de mayo de 2013

PROYECTO: “Tiempo de Valores” (Calendario)

PROYECTO: “Tiempo de Valores” (Calendario)

Docentes: Miss Patsy   Miss Ann

Antecedentes y propósito:
Este proyecto surge como una manera formal de dar orden temporal a estrategias,  experiencias  y anécdotas que he ido acumulando durante muchos años. Algunas de ellas las he aprendido, adaptado y otras las fui creando sobre la marcha.
También lo impulsó creer con total convicción, que los Valores aportan en las aulas una dimensión diferente, ligada directamente a la moral y la ética.
La decisión de presentarlo junto con mi co-worker, Ana, se basa en el hecho de compartir absolutamente estos ideales, y de recibir excelentes aportes por parte de ella. Esto ha conducido a ponerlos en práctica diariamente y nos hace sentir que crecemos como docentes, reafirmando que, el trabajo colaborativo es el mejor camino para acercarnos a los logros.
1)      Como mencionamos anteriormente, es indispensable, como docentes, sentir que los Valores conducen y guían las actitudes de las personas.
2)      Ver que los chicos los necesitan, los piden y son capaces de mostrarlos y respetarlos.
3)      Involucrar a las familias. Cuando apoyan, el impacto es inmediato.
4)      Transmitir que el respeto a los Valores se puede sostener en el tiempo y que depende de nosotros poder hacerlo.

Primera Reunión de padres:
A)     Presentación de alguna frase o idea de algún pacificador que represente nuestro estilo como docentes, lo que queremos lograr en las aulas.
Ejemplo: “Nuestra recompensa se encuentra en el esfuerzo y no en el resultado. Un esfuerzo total es una victoria completa.”Mahatma Gandhi,
Período diagnóstico:
A) Elaboración grupal de “Reglas para el aula” y para diferentes ámbitos. ( ejemplo sala de informática, biblioteca, patio ).
B) Presentación de diferentes situaciones que reflejen o requieran Valores, selección de los mismos.
C) Elaboración de un poster con símbolos que representen los Valores elegidos. Puesta en común.
D) Si no surgieron, incluir “Felicidad y Armonía”, entendiendo que significan  superación, trabajo y esfuerzo en el Colegio.
Dos o tres veces al año:
A)     Talleres que tomen problemáticas actuales, que funcionen como mini-proyectos y que tengan un producto final. Es importante incluir videos, canciones, material atractivo, ( ejemplo “Cyberbullying” ).
B)      Jornadas de convivencia en diferentes ámbitos y con posibilidad de compartir las conclusiones que de allí surjan, ( se desarrollan el Turno Castellano, a veces compartidas con Inglés ).
C)      Aprovechar efemérides para destacar los Valores demostrados por nuestros próceres, ( se hace en Turno Castellano junto con algún mini-proyecto bilingüe ).
D)     Aprovechar Eventos importantes y noticias como premios Nacionales o Internacionales a escritores, deportistas, pintores, cantantes, etc.
E)      Aprovechar Eventos Deportivos como el Mundial de fútbol 2014 o los próximos Juegos Olímpicos para destacar Valores como Diversidad, Tolerancia, Competencia sana, etc.

Durante todo el año:

A)     Seguir para evaluar, destacar y premiar el respeto a las Reglas. Tener una mirada flexible para poder realizar ajustes.
B)      Tener en cuenta las situaciones diarias, inesperadas donde se manifiesten buenas actitudes, destacarlas y/o premiarlas. Pueden plasmarse en un “Appreciation copy-book” que los chicos llevan a sus casas y la familia participa escribiendo algún comentario en Inglés, Castellano, haciendo un dibujo, escribiendo una frase, poema, o de la forma que lo crean conveniente.
C)      Delegar actividades a diferentes chicos que pueden mostrar habilidades individuales que favorecen la convivencia. ( organización en la fila, diseño de emblemas para el aula, aportes de todo tipo).
D)     Apoyar todos Proyectos Solidarios que se generen en el Colegio.

E)      Comenzar el día con un “Reflecting segment” con una pregunta basada en situaciones incorrectas que hayan sucedido y que los lleve a pensar posibles soluciones. Nos gusta siempre formularlas en plural, para involucrarnos todos, tanto en el problema como en la solución. Recomendamos la puesta en práctica de la estrategia y mencionar siempre “el autor” se la misma.
Ejemplo: “How many times do we have to repeat an instruction? Do we have to say the same thing five or six times until we follow it?

Fin de año:

A)     Premiación formal de alumnos que fueron “abanderados” de los Valores.



Seguramente muchas de las ideas aquí escritas no son nuevas, ni de nuestra creación y de hecho se ponen en práctica.
A nosotros, en nuestro rol docente, nos ayuda verlas organizadas de esta manera.
Es un simple aporte más  para contribuir a que nuestro trabajo diario sea más valioso, llevadero y que impacte favorablemente en el desarrollo personal de nuestros hijos y alumnos.

sábado, 20 de abril de 2013

Positive feedback and self-steem

Last year when we started preparing the planning of the first weeks Patsy and I went to the library to look for Teaching Kids to Care & Cooperate by Scholastic to look for some activities related to values and Patsy found a beautiful idea: having a book called "Appreciation Copybook" to assess good attitudes and values. She immediately prepared a copybook to circulate among the homes. The results were very fruitful: both parents and kids loved reading all the positive feedback. I always forgot to do it and then I thought I should have done it since the beginning and the year went by without the "Appreciation Copybook". Now when I see the positive impact it’s having this year with my new group I regret not having done it last year because I could have changed many attitudes and behavior of some particular cases.
With Patsy we believe that this activity it’s even more effective for children that are not so good in the academic aspect since you’re highlighting issues not related to the subject and it will help him/her to feel more confident and improve.

sábado, 30 de marzo de 2013

Evidence in education

During this Diagnosis Period we have been working on the concept of EVIDENCE. Of course that during the brainstorming they linked the concept of evidence with crimes and robberies and the definition they could construct together was "Evidence is information to solve a mistery or find a robber". After sharing different opinions and anecdotes we came to the conclusion that evidence is a useful tool for understanding and analyzing texts, for predicting and giving opinions.
Now comes my contribution: before starting with the classes I´ve been reflecting upon evaluation and assessment and I decided to be more consistent and tidy about this issue. I´ve talked about this with Dai and she gave me some ideas (as usual!). She reccomended me to keep a record of the daily oral performance in the assemblies and she explained that in 5th they use codes (0,1,2,3). The rubrics for assessing this are:

0: no participation
1: Participated in few occassions, didn´t use the correct function ("How do you say?") or said many words in Spanish
2: Made an effort to participate and transmit the message, good attitude, asked for help in the correct way ("What is the word in English for..?")
3: Spoke fluently, used appropriate vocabulary and functions, achieved the goals of the assembly

I feel kids are participating more and many are concerned about reaching 3. I took a copybook and there I put several charts to organize: marks of the exams, dictations, practical tasks, homework, response activities and the charts for
oral performance. I think that it will be useful for assessing children and in case I have meetings with parents there I have all the EVIDENCE together!!

martes, 5 de marzo de 2013

A teacher's survival kit

I'm feeling optimistic about this new year! I would like to share with you something I received when I finished the Prof. Have a nice beginning and let's reflect a lot!!

A teacher's survival kit

Reminds us to look for good qualities in our students. You may be the only teacher who says something positive to them that day.

Reminds us that we have to be flexible. Things don’t always go the way we plan. But flexibility will help to work it out.

Reminds us to be thankful and to list our blessings daily. We should also encourage our students to list their blessings and be proud of their accomplishments.

Reminds us to allow students to know that we are human and that we make mistakes just like they do, and that it’s okay. We must all be able to learn from our mistakes.

Reminds us to stick with it and encourage our students to do likewise. Even the impossible task or assignment can be accomplished by sticking with it.

Reminds us and our students that we are worth a mint. (We may not be a paid a mint, but we are worth one!)

Reminds us that everyone needs a hug, kiss or warm fuzzy everyday. All teachers, students and even a

Reminds us that we need time to relax and take time for others. Family, husbands, wives, friends, children need quality time together

Author Unknown