12 May 2015

Personalized Genius Hour IPA Final

Each of my students gets his or her very own personally tailored final exam this year.

Students have spent the last three weeks prior to exams rounding up resources (infographs, articles, videos, and contacts--to say nothing of the Pinterest pins and Diigo list from earlier in the Genius Hour process) and then breaking them down to plan their final presentation.

Now, this final IPA is not an IPA in the strictest sense of the term. I mean, I'm sacrificing a little spontaneity in these performances, and they're stretched out over a week or so. But it is an assessment that consists of performances on an integrated topic.

Actually, a bunch of integrated topics. A different one for each student.

Now you may be asking, Do you have a death wish, Sra. Spanglish?

And well you may ask. But I have a plan..and a secret.

Exam Day format
Since this is The Big One, I'm assessing all 5 communicative skills. The presentational speaking and writing pretty much take care of themselves on exam day: they make a presentation--be it Google Slides, Prezi, trifold, or poster--wherein they write about their topic in Spanish; they talk about it in front of the class, then engage the class in conversation about the whole thing.

Now the kiddos know the basics of the AAPPL rubrics from 5 previous IPAs (though I went ahead and linked it on the Google Classroom assignment), and basically they just have to say enough to get the level they want: in writing, out loud, and in conversation.

So on exam day, they'll talk about their topic, not reading from their presentation but using it as sort of a guide--as they've learned to do so well in their Public Speaking class. They'll throw out some questions to the class, get them talking, show they can keep the conversation going, and voilà, interpersonal too, All scored with my handy dandy AAPPL rubrics (or the cheaty versions I made).

Now, I know taking a few days to create a presentation is not strictly IPA procedure, and not exactly spontaneous production of language, but it's a performance I can measure that allows them to demonstrate what they are capable of as completely as possible.

I think Exam Day will be pretty quick grading, minimal prep on my part.

It's what comes BEFORE Exam Day that kind of proves I'm a little loony.

Resource selection
I went ahead and scheduled the reading portion of the IPA a week before exam day and the listening portion two days later (somehow we have a field trip in between the week before exams??) My students are a lot more comfortable with reading, and in theory they could add my brilliant resources and their interpretations to their presentation before The Big Day. Or at least reinforce common vocabulary so they're more at ease come presentation time.

First, I went through the IPA scores in my gradebook to get a feel for what level each kid should be aiming for: are they definite novices who need an infograph or pushing the edges of intermediate and in need of something meatier? I cross-referenced with my portfolio spreadsheet to see which level they've been working on and have been able to demonstrate consistently. I made a list of who should have infographs to take care of them first (although I ended up kind of bouncing around anyway).

I also peeked at their "Pregunta principal" blog post and their recent key phrase and summary posts to see what they were looking for and what they had already found. I at least found something relevant to what they were looking for and pinned it to my IPA board:

Follow Laura Sexton - PBL in the TL's board Final IPA: Interpretive Reading on Pinterest.

I'm still working on the listening one. It'll be a separate board but a similar procedure.

So far, resource collection is taking me about 5-10 minutes per student.  But here's the secret to my success this semester: I only have 33 students. Total. All in the same prep. (I told you I sleep. Also, I will be happy to compost any rotten fruit that must be hurled in my direction at this point.) So I'm looking at about five hours total ...not counting the part where I stop and blog about the process.

Of course this all would have been easier if I had started collecting from the moment they established their driving question, as I had originally intended. But, since procrastination isn't just for kids, and the reading portion is upon us, there are also some corners to be cut:
  • pick a resource they haven't interpreted yet from their own collection
  • pick a resource from a classmate with a similar topic
  • assign the same resource to multiple people with similar topics
And again, I cannot emphasize enough that I SHOULD have been collecting resources on my Pinterest board as I was checking things off. Crunch time would have been a lot less crunchy, and the 5 hours would have been absorbed into regular grading...more or less.

After our great success at the Lenoir-Rhyne Foreign Language Festival (three trophies, in case you hadn't heard), I was a little disheartened at the festival IPA results. In truth, students had overall maintained their proficiency in most areas, and actually advanced, some by leaps and bounds, in reading and writing (though...we weren't really focusing on those, so...comprehensible input? portfolios? magic...?)

Therefore, I'm anticipating overall similar results. I'm hoping some of the struggling students feel more confident with the familiar context they've been immersing themselves in all semester and that they'll be able to move up a bit.

Looking even further ahead, I'm not sure what this is going to mean when I go back to my Spanglish teaching and add another prep and double my student load.

I do know that I'll know to get started sooner and how to do it, though!

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