If you have been transitioning to Comprehensible Input (CI) strategies for a little while, you may be beginning to wonder, “Where are the assessments?” You might feel like all the posts and videos you see are about the stories, the brain breaks, and the “fun stuff” like Música Miércoles or Movie Talks. The answer, at least in my case, is that they happen all the time. That’s right. Assessment happens every day. But, you’re a teacher, you know this! Let’s look a little closer at some of these ideas for assessment in a CI classroom.
This post is part of my HOW TO TRANSITION TO CI METHODS series. Check out the other posts here!
- What is CI & where to start?
- Classroom Routines
- Teaching CI with a textbook
- CI Activities for your Classroom
- Assessment in a CI Classroom (this post)
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One of the easiest forms of assessment in a CI classroom takes place whenever you’re questioning your students. This happens during Picture Talks, Movie Talks, while you are story telling and at other points throughout the class period. As you’re giving your students that auditory input you are constantly asking questions. Their responses help you gauge where they are in their understanding.
As the questions or the original statements get more complex, you get a better understanding of which students understand, and how they answer gives you more of a glimpse. Whether they give you a simple yes/no, or respond in a complete sentence, you can hear where your students are at. Click here to see my post on How to Circle!
Comprehension Checks or “Quick Quizzes”
Another great way to assess your students is to give them a comprehension check. Tina Hargarden and Ben Slavic refer to these as “quick quizzes” in their book A Natural Approach to the Year. I have always thought of them as exit slips. Whatever you choose to call them, giving your students a mini formative assessment at the end of the class period tells you what your students did or did not understand.
On story telling days, I often plan these exit slips out ahead of time, writing the skeleton of my questions and deciding whether the statement will be true or false ahead of time. I find it easier than making up questions on the spot, although you can certainly do that! It also helps me when I have multiple class periods of the same prep. If I made up questions on the spot, I would also have to remember the answers for grading. Instead, I choose the answers and create the question ahead of time for ease.
You can give these quick quizzes in a few different ways. If you are required to get a certain number of grades recorded per week, it’s easy to use pre-made slips of paper for the students to record their answers. If you prefer, or your admin would like you to use technology, you could apply the same principle to a Google Form.
If your students were already using computers for EdPuzzle, Quizlet Live, or some other online activity, it won’t take much time for them to go to the page and take the assessment. Just choose which option is most fitting for your plan that day and you’re good to go!
Timed writes are one of my favorite ways to assess my students. This is because it really allows them the opportunity to be creative and strut their language stuff!
Students have really blown me out of the water with some of the stories they come up with in just 6 minutes of timed writing after a few months in Spanish. It also gives you insight into what structures or sentences students need to see or hear more!
For example, my first timed writing last year gave me the giggles. A LOT of my students were finishing off their stories or dialogue with “asluwego”, or “asta luwaygo” – or some variation of it! It made me realize that while I SAY, “Hasta luego” as they leave class, they had NEVER seen what it was supposed to look like! They picked up on meaning, knew what it sounded like, and they were using it appropriately. Plus, I was able to understand what they were trying to say. It just let me know they needed to READ it! I was able to apply that knowledge and added it to a few of our class readings, then boom! Assessment and application of that information in our classroom.
A Few Notes on Assessment
This is far from an exhaustive list of all of the ways you can assess your students, but people write whole books on this topic! Hopefully this brief list gives you some ideas and a glimpse of a few more ways you could measure growth in your students.
Do you use any of these strategies in your own classroom? What are your favorite ways to assess your students?