The Teachers' Lounge
We have heard you...
Improvements are on the way for assessments and for goal setting. We also have an exciting new software program coming in the next few months that will allow you to find books easily, click on a button to open your class quickly and easily, and make book ordering a snap! Our admin team is testing it out daily, and new features are being added all the time before we roll it out to teachers. If you have a great idea for a feature in our program that would make our jobs easier, email Suzanne at to share that!
Lesson Notes Checks
Teachers, please make sure you are uploading your lesson notes into your teacher drive folder. I am doing spot checks, and some folks are missing that last step of uploading them after they send them on. I will be emailing teachers who don't have their lesson notes in there, so please get them uploaded.
Also, one parent complaint we have gotten is on assessments and how they are not always done on time each month as promised.
Now, if a student misses two or more lessons in a row, feel free to move the dates back. You can also note the reasons why on the lesson notes. With Chinese New Year coming soon, we will likely have students who miss the entire week of lessons or more.
Assessments are not the most exciting thing to have to do, and we are working on that for you. I will be monitoring your assessment uploads, so please ask if you need help with writing up the assessment notes, or creating the assessment piece itself. Amelia and I are here to help!
Thanks to everyone for pulling together quickly to fill out the survey forms, we were able to send End of the Year survey letters out to all of our students! It was a huge hit with our parents.
An enormous amount of gratitude goes to Caitlin and Amelia for taking all of the data we generated and putting them into the letter format. They had it down to 15 minutes per student letter. I personally took much longer than that, so I can't tell everyone how grateful I am for their hard work.
The Chinese culture values data for student performance (possibly more than American schools, if that's possible!), and having some baseline data will help with future assessments. In addition, we will be doing this every 3 months to keep parents posted on progress.
Please continue to give hard data in your lesson notes.
For example,"Richard make one mistake per sentence when we read the book together for the first time. By the second time, he reduced his mistakes to one per page or one per 5 sentences." OR
"Shelly had difficulty with the short /a/ sound in our last lesson and had 28 words that gave her trouble pronouncing. Today, she was able to pronounce 23 of those 28 words with no difficulty. Great job!"
Let us know if you want help with adding more hard data to your lessons and lesson notes.
We have some exciting news. Our curriculum development team has been hard at work on creating universal sound sets for use during lessons. Everyone will be run through the same sound sets each month, regardless of level for now. There are four sounds in every set, enough for one per week in the month. Please download the first sound set and begin using it with students.
State your Objective...
When we start our lessons, begin by telling the child (and you know the adult is probably listening) about what goals or what you want the child to accomplish that day. Parents have overwhelmingly told us that we have fantastic teachers. They would, however, like us to state in our lessons what the goal is for today. For those of us who teach in a regular classroom setting, this is something we are used to, but need to transfer that best practice into lessons with our ESL students.
Let's Give 'em Something to talk about...
Lately, I have found myself needing to get our students to show off their speaking skills in a non-threating or anxiety-inducing way.
I discovered this website, http://printdiscuss.com/
It has a very large array of topics to discuss. Please use your professional judgment, though. One of the topics under P was politics, so I would steer clear of anything of that sort. The ones about pets were particularly helpful for my younger students who could easily answer some of the questions.
Some of our teaching staff have mentioned that pinpointing a student's level can be confusing. Soon, we will be having a live webinar, with a recording available to those who can not attend the live webinar. Look for details about that coming.