18 February, 2009

I blame my cousin from the DR

Mid-winter break is mid-way over. I have 3/4 of my lessons for next week planned and have tackled half of a mountain of grading that rivals k-2. 
Here is what I am not excited about:
After the 1st semester, students get new schedules. That means some of the students from my classes are in the other Spanish teacher's class, and some of his students are in my class. Which is fine, because I can easily stop in his office and say "hey, what did you do last semester?" Or, better yet, ask the students what they remember and plan some beautiful diagnostics. 
What is not fine is that I also got some new-ish students added to my classes. Meaning they were in a class other than foreign language last semester (enrichment english or global regents prep, etc). If they pass Spanish 2 they will get credit for Spanish 1. But they are in a class with students who did very well in Spanish 1. It's hardly a matter of differentiation so much as teaching two entirely different classes. One class has the building blocks from the first semester and can sometimes be given individual assignments to improve those skills, but not always. They sometimes enjoy showing off what they know from last semester, and the new students appreciate learning from other students. That also fights off some of the "I'm black, I can't speak Spanish." 
But the situation is still pretty trying, since the new students are clearly not really responsible for learning the material from the 1st semester and I have to completely replan a lot to deal with making sure each group gets a good amount of group and individual instruction. This is apparently the case at a lot of schools so I've heard some interesting ideas for how to deal with it. And to ease the transition back from break, I'm starting off next week with scenes from Viva Baseball and discussion in any language.