21 September 2015

Estudiantes de Perú: Novice IPA

Remember those playground interviews I conducted while I was in Perú this summer? I decided the second IPA of the year--the first with listening--was the perfect time to debut them.

Now I can't share the videos themselves, but there are a lot of ways that anyone could collect a similar stash:
What's the Word on the Street?
[image from Muppet Wiki]

  • visit or Skype with your local ESL classes
  • visit or Skype with other TL classes (locally or among your friendly online PLN)
  • Skype in the Classroom buddies abroad
  • interview your own TL-speaking amigos (no reason they can't interpret adulto speech)
  • have heritage speakers in your class interview family & friends for an assignment
  • get permission to hang out at the local mercado and interview à la Murray on Sesame Street
  • or plan ahead on your next vacation

Knowing that the videos would be for my novices, I stuck mostly to these basic questions:
  1. What's your name?
  2. How old are you?
  3. Where do you live?
  4. With whom do you live?
  5. What do you like to do?
  6. What do you like to eat?
I debated whether these videos would be too simple for an IPA, but then I remembered that listening was Spanish II's biggest challenge last year. Also, as Gianfranco Conti points out in The Language Gym that it doesn't make sense to assess listening unless "students have had extensive listening practice on that topic":
Otherwise, it will be unfair and will encourage a perception of listening tasks by the students as guessing games
So that sealed it for me. Plus, I'm not an OPI certified proficiency assessor, but a classroom teacher. So I'm supposed to assess what students have actually had a chance to work with in my class--not every conceivable listening context (definitely not at the novice level anyway).

The one catch was that with such short, isolated videos, there's no opportunity to demonstrate intermediate level comprehension. Yes, we're only six weeks into the semester, but I've got heritage speakers mixed in who are working for Spanish II credit (and really, listening is one of their fortes). Fortunately, I have at least two Spanish IIs in each class, so I just made them an alternative IPA based on this video. Still talking about passions, but more suited to their level.

Interpretive Listening

As with previous listening IPAs, I went ahead and included some guiding questions for a bit of a memory jog. I didn't use EDPuzzle this time for a few reasons:

  1. My voice is already in the videos as the interviewers--so I don't need to create the little audio comments to offset native accents and give them a prayer of picking out any words.
  2. I didn't want to have to edit together a video of all eight videos.
  3. And I wanted students to be able to click around on the videos separately, seeing titles and images to associate with each when they weren't playing.
I was going to use Blendspace like Sra. Dentlinger to set this up, but the Drive files didn't show up with preview images that way, and I could only see a way to make multiple choice questions. Plus familiar is good, so I went with a familiar Google Doc structure to upload to Classroom:
Open the Google Doc titled ESTUDIANTES below and the attached Google Drive folder, IPA #2 - Estudiantes. Listen to each of the videos so you can 
1) answer the questions provided to the best of your ability, and 
2) pick out as many words and phrases as you can in Spanish to transfer to the table provided and interpret in English.

Interpersonal Conversation

Which students do you WANT to talk to? What CAN you ask them? Record a 1-3 minute video with a friend discussing which students from the videos you CAN be friends with. Upload the video here. 
The Classroom question survey after our first IPA indicated that 4 of the top 5 problems students had were related to their interpersonal recording:
  1. getting the recording to 1 minute
  2. coming up with questions
  3. talking spontaneously
  4. remembering vocabulary
#1 was actually the writing part, but for a lot of the same reasons I think--coming up with stuff off the top of their heads to say. (I think that might have had to do with the awkward attempt at an authentic prompt involving parents.)

I believe already having one IPA under their belt will resolve some of this, especially with students being more conscious of the need to practice outside of class--several checked out their interactive notebooks for the weekend. I also planted a couple of questions in the L1 to get them started and emphasized a couple of our more recent essential verbs.

I will, however, have to enact planning and redo limits--the last set of 1-3 minute videos took at least 30 minutes for most groups.

Presentational Writing

I think this prompt more directly reflects the conversation where my young ones were processing their responses to the videos, so if they can come up with ideas with one (or get some from their partners's responses).
Write a letter to one of the students introducing yourself and explaining why you want to connect with him or her. Talk about interests you have in common and ask them some more specific questions related to your shared interests.
Plus, my Peruvian teacher amiga will be in town soon, so perhaps she could deliver some letters!

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