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classroom management

Second Grade Grammar

2008.05.08

From this year, second grade NELP who have passed the Second Grade Eiken STEP Test were able to join a special second grade NELP writing course instead of attending the SELP English Alpha grammar class. The minimum class number is five, and this year we have six students who have passed the Second Grade STEP Test.

However, starting this year, I am not the only NELP teacher at Seishin! This year, we have a new teacher at Seishin, Mr. Brian Timms. In addition to teaching SELP oral communication for junior high school first and second grade and high school first grade, Brian will also be teaching the 2nd grade NELP writing class. I look in on him this morning and snapped these pictures.

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05-08 2-5.JPG

I've known Brian for many years, and have worked with him before. He's a very talented, dedicated and popular teacher, and I'm overjoyed to have him here with us. I'm sure the students are too.

Also, this year I completed the 2nd Grade Self-Access Grammar Library.

Here it was before filing:

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And here it is now:

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I'm not sure how often it will be used, but I suspect it will see more use after first term (in other words, after they see their first term oral communication final exam scores and realize that they don't know everything).

投稿者:nelp

The Success of Detention

2007.11.18

Earlier this year, I instituted detentions as a form of classroom management. Detention means that students must stay after school as a punishment. The most common reason for detention is homework. Under my system, when a student has three or more missing homework assignment, I give them a detention slip that outlines the reason for the detention (in this case, homework), the day they should come (I give at least 48 hours notice, though usually I give more time), the time they should come (16:30, my English Open Room time), and in the case of homework, I outline the homework assignments they are missing. The student must take the detention form home for their parents to sign, in order to inform the parents of their child's progress in my NELP class.

My rule is that if a student finishes all of their late assignments before the time of their detention, then they do not need to come to detention, and they do not need to return their parent's signature on the detention form. I told my students: "You can either do your homework at home, or you can stay after school and do your homework with ME." I also told them: "If you finish your homework before detention time, I'll take back the detention form. Your parents don't even have to know." However, though their parents might not know that their child has been given detention, parents will be told at the next parents' meeting that their child has had a lot of late assignments.

I have found that students might not be afraid of me: but they ARE afraid of Mom and Dad! I told my students that detention is mandatory, and the signature is mandatory, and that if they do not come to detention, and/or they do not bring me their parent's signature, I will CALL their parents.

I am happy to say that this has been very successful in motivating my students to do their homework. Last week, I scolded my students harshly because there were so many missing assignments. I handed out detention forms to 6 first grade students: half of the class! I was no pleased. On Thursday, I had a total of 41 missing assignments.

It is now Sunday, and now there are only NINETEEN missing assignments. Within two class days, I collected TWENTY-TWO missing assignments from my twelve first grade students. I am extremely pleased. Those students who turned in late assignments worked very hard. Naturally, there is a penalty to their grade from turning in the assignment late, but a low grade is always better than NO grade, and I'd much rather they do the homework late than not do it at all.

I sincerely hope the success of this program continues. Three students have successfully avoided Tuesday's detention, and I have every confidence the other three will come up with some missing work before the 16:30 Tuesday deadline.

投稿者:nelp

Library Progress

2007.10.17

I have discovered a new way to keep my students motivated: a reading progress board.

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On this board, students can see how many book reports they've given me, and the level of the book reports. This makes their reading progress very clear. This picture is kind of small, so I don't know how well you can see it, but my 2nd graders are doing really well with their reading. I'm hoping this will put a little pressure on my first graders and third graders to do their reading too.

投稿者:nelp

More Changes!

2007.08.28

As our NELP program grows and changes to fit the needs of the students, we've begun to see some real development in how we approach learning. This term, we're going to see a lot of changes in classroom management.

The first big change is in the use of Japanese in the classroom. Up until now, I've told the students that they may use Japanese to explain to another student something that the student did not understand. However, this is about to change. Recently, I've come to the realization that what at first seemed like a good idea, something that would help less-developed students, is actually something that may be holding them back. I've realized that if I allow students to explain things to one another in Japanese, those students will, essentially, stop listening actively to my English explanation. They'll simply wait for me to finish talking (without really listening) and then ask their friends to explain it in Japanese. In this way, use of Japanese in the classroom, even for what seemed like a beneficial purpose, was actually harming the language development of some of my students.

New Rule: Students may not speak Japanese in the class unless they have my permission, and my permission will be rare. It's important to me that students begin to rely more and more on their English language ability.

During the summer school classes, I explained to my students that, under this new rule, sometimes they will not understand me; sometimes they will not know what to do or how to do it; they will make mistakes; things won't get done, or will be done incorrectly; however, over time, their language ability will improve.

In order to enforce use of Japanese in class, if students use Japanese without permission, they will first get a warning. If they continue to use Japanese without permission, their class participation grade will go down. If they continue to use Japanese, they will be given detention.

This is the next change in classroom management. Starting second term, I plan to reinforce with the students that detention is mandatory. When students are given detention, they will be given a note to take home for their parents to sign. This keeps the parents informed. I will keep a copy of the detention form so that, in the even the student either (a) does not get the parent's signature, or (b) forges the parent's signature and does not show the form to the parents, I may show the original detention form to the parents on Parents' Day.

Currently, I give detention when three or more homework assignments are late, or (from this term) when the student uses too much Japanese in class. If the detention is for homework, then during detention time, I will do the late homework with the student. This provides personal instruction in the event that the student did not understand the work, but was too shy to say so. If the detention was given for use of Japanese in class, then detention time will be used to practice English conversation. This gives students personal instruction in the event that the student either (a) lacks confidence in their language skills, or (b) needs development of skills that will allow them to communicate, even when they lack the vocabulary or grammar to say what they want to say. In this way, detention is not a punishment (or not MERELY a punishment) but a way of helping students develop skills that may need development.

The last major change will be in assessment. From second term, final exams for English B (reading) will include a final project. Half of the final exam grade will be the actual final exam they take on the test day. The other half of their final exam grade (30% of the grade for the term), will be a short research paper. I will give the students a category based on topics and structures we study in class, and the students will choose a research topic in that category. Also from second term, final exams for Oral Communication will include a final presentation. Again, half of the final exam grade will be the actual final exam they take on the test day, and the other half of their final exam grade (again, 30% of the grade for the term), will be a presentation. Again, I will choose the category and the students will choose the topic. The topic for the research report and the presentation will be the same. This means that at the end of the term, the students will turn in a written research report, and will then make an oral presentation about that report.

I have explained to my students that the oral presentation is not a speech. They will not be allowed to read, but they will not be expected to memorize. The idea is to inform themselves about a topic and then explain that topic to the class. Students will be encouraged to use visual aids and auditory aids, such as Powerpoint, videos, music, photos, drawings, and so on.

I think this will contribute in a beneficial way towards reinforcing that what we learn in class are tools for communication and self-expression, and not merely a bunch of rules and tricks that will help us pass an exam. I'm looking forward to seeing how students will approach these new tasks.

投稿者:nelp