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Getting there


Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Was there ever such a rainy autumn as this one?
Got up to the room five minutes early and wrote up the time schedule on the board. Spent the first fifteen minutes explaining the rubrics, which I made thanks to http://rubistar.4teachers.org (thanks, Karen for finding it for me!) and some prints from Chantal, a great colleague. I asked for questions, the students didn't know the word attire, and this kept cropping up over the day as students asked me if their trousers were ok, are cotton slacks jeans, or slacks? (definitely another shade of jeans in my book) or mumbled about the expense of dry-cleaning for suits, or tried to bargain over how many of a team being smart would get how many points...in the end I said, business slacks, shirt and tie, not necessarily a jacket, and blouse and skirt/trousers for the ladies, so that they can avoid the whole dry-cleaning thing, which is a bit of a burden, I guess. 2 of the students today came in regal full business suits, so I originally asked them to stand up and show everyone what the required attire was, but they were off to a special company recruiting drive and so looked smart.

After explaining the rubrics I took the roll at 9:30, anyone later than that is marked absent, although a couple of latecomers had slips of official paper from the station saying the trains were running late. Then I asked the students to get in groups of three or four, free choice of partners, and choose a topic, fastest gets most choice...Accounting was least popular! The students were thoughtful to include absent students. I put one of the guys who has joined the course new this term into a ladies team where he seemed to settle in happily. I know this because towards the end I offered him the choice of working with a latecomer (who was soooo late he has been marked absent, like only half an odd hour of class left) who was left over, and he preferred staying where he was. So my latecomer became a member of the only fiver presentation team, all the others are groups of four.

Back to the class progression, after all settling in presentation groups we quickly skimmed the listening task for how to introduce a presentation, and then they began to work in groups on their presentations, after taking a five minute break.

Some students wanted to go down to the computer room and not come back...hadn't thought of that....so I initially said no, make a plan of action first, and then another group came up too, so I decided they should "finish your worksheet, check the answers, set up a plan of action and then tell me how long you'll be away," I said, "and then it's ok, as long as you get back for the end of class." I circled round the groups explaining the teamwork elements, or how to think about the handout, or generally thinking about structure, and they all seemed to be more or less working well. I want to see how it translates into reality next week, I reminded them not to be late, as I would pick the order at random, and then if they weren't there they would get 0 out of 60, which is the total marks for the presentation.

The whole thing has been kind of growing and evolving in the classroom, as it were, the dress code, adapting to the needs of the students while maintaining a certain sense of special attire, the idea that five markers will grade each presentation team, with the average to be taken, and a double check by me, (in other words I will be grading them all with the rubrics, and see how it compares to the average....how exactly I shall weight my own grading compared to the peer evaluation remains to be decided....will report in a later blog). The rubrics were also a kind of finale to the last two days worth of work on presentations. Everyone was careful to take the necessary rubrics sheet for absent peers, all in all I am quite excited how things will develop.