Parent’s Night and DEMO classes!

When I taught in Denver we had “snow days” which kept us home from school. Today we have a “flash flood day” because of Harvey. So I am curled up on my couch and have time to write to all of you!

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One of the things I get most worked up about at the beginning of the year is Parent’s Night. I am lucky now because I know 80% of the parents of the children that I teach. They are familiar with CI methodology and they LOVE that their kids are actually acquiring language. We have a great relationship. One of the things I am adamant about, regardless of how much TIME I have with my parents on Parent night, is actually USING the method. Yes, I give them my syllabus and participation rubric, but rather than taking time to field all of their questions about WHY I have “participation” weighted so heavily, I have to SHOW them what CI is. It is always wildly successful, so I wanted to share this with you here. If you click on this link you can download my entire presentation for free to use, it is all editable so you can put in your own information! Leave a review with feedback if you get 2 extra minutes! It really helps me out and I will owe you 45 high fives and 93 hugs! If you want to change the Bitmoji you totally should! I wrote a blog about how using them in class is SO engaging!

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  1. I enthusiastically (as if they were my students) welcome parents into my room, with a HUGE smile and a loud “¡HOLA!” (most of them laugh or at least smile)
  2. I start with an introduction with a smile with my first slide behind me. “HOLA! I am your child’s Spanish teacher this year. This is my 7th year teaching. I am from Colorado, I love to travel and spend time with my fiancé and step-daughter. I teach using Comprehensible Input”
  3. Next, I pose the question, what is the difference between ACQUIRING a language and LEARNING a language.
  4. Then I ask them to pair up (following my instructions on the slide)
    • This is when it is really important to model your classroom management! Don’t let the parents talk over you or not listen to your instructions.
  5. I ask parents to tell each other their favorite childhood story IN ENGLISH following two simple rules.
    • The rules don’t matter… I make them up. Don’t use any words that end in an N or begin with a T. What matters is that you make the rules clear
    • I learned this from someone years ago, I think it was Carol Gaab. It is the PERFECT way to model how “rules” impede communication
  6. Next I explain THAT is why I don’t teach grammar and rules up front but rather just communicate and make MEANING with language for my students. I explain that they will acquire the grammar naturally over time.
  7. Next I judge my crowd, if they seem rowdier and like they are willing to have fun, I go into PQA using the 5th or 6th slide.
    • I like asking adults about chocolate…. their interest gets high. They also quickly realize that they are COMPREHENDING because of the use of cognates and the way I am sheltering language.
      • Also, it is VERY easy to jump into another structure (prefers) which is another cognate. (Do you prefer Hershey’s or Snickers)
    • I usually end up modeling this for about 3-4 minutes
  8. If my crowd seems quieter I show them a movie talk.
    • I still pause every few seconds and talk in depth about what is happening and get them to answer me
    • After 3-4 minutes we tend to only make it through 15 seconds of the movie and the parents can FEEL how engaging it is because they all BEG to watch what happens next
  9. Next I hand out my rubric
    • If there is time I go through it
    • If not they have it to go home with them
  10. Finally, I hand out my syllabus
    • I point out the weight on participation and explain that in foreign language classes, interpretive and interpersonal modes make up two thirds of the “modes of language” and they are the “participation” that I am looking for from their students
      • I tend to have great buy in at this point because parents can see how participation and listing with their eyes and ears the WHOLE class is crucially important for acquiring the language in my class
  11. As parents are leaving my room I have my contact information on the board

So, what do you do if you are only allotted 6 minutes with parents!? That is what I had this year. I followed steps 1, 2 and 3. Then I did step 7 OR 8 and finally, I handed out my syllabus and rubric (rubric was on the back of the syllabus) as parents were leaving my classroom. I had PHENOMENAL feedback and about 20 adults contacted me the next day to inquire about my adult classes! YAY!

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You can use this process to DEMO a CI class too! If I am demoing for children, I don’t use steps 2-6 or 9-11. It is also the same process I use for beginning a new adult class. I find it is really important for adults to understand WHY they will be experiencing a VERY different class from the traditional classes they’ve taken in high school or college.

So, there you have it! 🙂

I hope your school year is ROCKING!

Until next time,

HAPPY TEACHING!

Love,

La Maestra Loca

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Viviana Guy made this for me!!!

19 comments

  1. I would love to implement these ideas. Our Open House is “free flow”. Parents simpky drop in randomly in our classrooms. Do you have any ideas for this setting?
    I usually greet them and hand out the class expectations, list of materials and contact info…

    • I would do what you’re doing but have video of you teaching kids rolling, or if you don’t have video put up videos of my youtube or other’s youtubes so that parents see how important participation (interpersonal and interpretive communication) is in our classrooms. That way, when it is the MAJORITY of your grade weight they understand why! 🙂

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