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Tuesday, April 25, 2017

It is easy, really easy, to grade.

Friday was the first day of lit. circle meetings.

Let me back up.

In the last five weeks of the semester, my students are conducting lit. circles.

But. And this is a big BUT.

I hate traditional lit. circle roles. Like I really can't stand them.

For teachers who can rock that level of structure, they probably work really well.

For me, not so much.

Instead, my students have three questions.

What did you notice?

What are you curious about?

Plus a rotating focus questions based on a literary element and where students are in the book.

This set-up takes a lot of practice.

On the other hand, it forces students to really learn how to converse.

Both ways work, but this is my preference.

One thing I have discovered is the need for me to observe all the groups.

Sadly, I can't clone myself.

I have, however, developed a tactic that is the next best thing.

I think I wrote about it last year.

Students audio record their discussions and send the recording to me.

Previous years, they had to use a cell phone.

Now, the Chromebooks suffice.

At the recommendation of our Instructional Technology Specialist, I am using a website called vocaroo.

So far, so good.

Most assuredly, they need practice.

On the other hand, some groups jumped right in and rocked it.

As I refine how I implement this strategy, it keeps getting better.

It is easy, really easy, to grade.

It cuts down on off task and irrelevant conversations by enormous margins.

It allows me to be with every group.

It gives me a ton of insight.

It is a good thing.

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