Imagine my horror when I opened to “Oral Language” and found that I had – wait for it – ONE mark for each student, and anecdotal comments for, well, three of my 21 students!!!
How was I to assign a mark supported by a carefully crafted, authentic comment that accurately reflected students’ ability and understanding of 1.7 and 1.8, which we had been focussing on all term??!! Eeee-Gad!
I’m not a terrible teacher, really, I’m not!
Indeed, we’ve been doing lots of “identifying and explaining the importance of significant ideas and information in oral texts”, and “identifying points of view in different types of oral texts, citing words, phrases, ideas and information from the text to confirm this idenfication” this term, honest!
Why, in science, I played for the little dears a video about plants, and had them complete a lovely graphic organizer to record their understanding of what was going on. Later, we listened to Bill Nye, the Science Guy, talk about forests, and we created wonderful mind maps to document the key points, and we talked about different perspectives on cutting down trees, even holding debates, and participating in EBS activities by pretending we were loggers, Aboriginal Canadians, environmentalists, creatures who lived in the trees, and people who worked in the pulp and paper industry!
But ask me if I assigned marks to any of this fine work!!!
Thankfully my lunch meeting didn’t show up, so I spent my time desperately brainstorming “oral texts” which I could have my Grade 3s listen and respond to that afternoon!
Here’s what we did:
First, I played them a two-minute excerpt from MLK’s “I have a dream” speech, enough for them to mine the speaker's point of view that all are equal and should be treated accordingly.
Next, we listened to Jack Johnston’s “Sharing Song” on my iPod, and I asked students to identify what the singer believes, and how they knew this.
Students completed the worksheet above, and I got another concrete oral language mark for report cards.
If I were a good teacher, I would have included a female speaker in the roster. (quick, easy, accessible-to-grade-3 ideas anyone???!!!) Overall, though, as a tired teacher who has already spent countless hours writing report cards that few people besides my principal will actually read and understand, I think I did okay this afternoon.