Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Can-Do-Statements Self-Rating for Students

Posted by @ginlindzey on Twitter
Over the summer, I spent a lot of time thinking about how I could incorporate the ACTFL Can-Do Statements in my teaching.  Our county has been really good about creating and providing us with rubrics to use this year, but I was really wanting a way to get students involved with the process before throwing the rubrics at them.

For my German 3/4 combo class this year, I decided we'd start looking at them during the first week.  Yesterday as a homework assignment, I gave students access to this Power Point.  In it are the various "I can..." statements found directly in the ACTFL guide.  If you'd like a copy of the Power Point I used, it's available here.

For each mode of communication, I explained what it meant (for example, I described interpersonal communication as conversations with other people, whether it be face-to-face or via text messages).  Students were then asked to pick the statement that best fit their ability level.  I qualified it as what they could do spontaneously, without notes or preparation, and without knowing what the topic was ahead of time. Using the blank form, they copied and pasted the phrase that best described them:

This is the blank form students needed to fill out

This is an example of what students read through for each level
I made of point of not including the proficiency levels (novice, intermediate, etc.).  I didn't want students to get bogged down by that and have pre-conceived notions like "Oh, I think I'm advanced so I'll automatically just pick from the orange blocks."

I asked students to only print out and bring in the slide where they copied and pasted in their levels.  I also made some paper copies of the Power Point for students who didn't have access to a computer, the internet or a printer.  The other students were able to get it directly from the class website.

When students brought them in today, we then talked about what the different colors and proficiency levels meant.  Note: Since some students don't have color printers, you should first give them a chance to identify the colors for each of the phrases they chose!  I described each level for them based on the slide below (which was not in the Power Point given to students).

These descriptions are in part based on the tweet above as well as the World Language Academy I attended this summer
Students had to identify which of these levels best describes them based on their choices.  Maybe they had some blues but most of what they had was green, putting them at the Intermediate Level.  They then identified the level on their "Ich kann..." sheet (in the blank box).  Be sure to tell students that since this is a self-rating, they may have rated themselves a little bit higher or lower than they actually are!

We also talked about where we should be by the end of each level of German (based on our county's goals):
The final part of this was goal-setting.  I gave each student two post-its and asked them to write a goals for the year.  I specified that one of the goals had to be related to the proficiency levels ("I want to move all areas into Intermediate" or "I want to move my writing abilities into Advanced").  The other one could be anything ("I want to get at least a B on all my quizzes," "I want to score at least a 4 on the AP test," or "I want to be able to speak better").  I hope this last activity will get the kids motivated for the year :)

- Frau Leonard

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