Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Kids Say the Darnest Things (during their oral exams)

Well, we had our oral exams today. They went a lot better than I expected. Some of the kids that I thought weren't going to do as well actually did pretty good, and the ones that I thought would do amazing did about as well as I had thought.

There were a few technical difficulties along the way, but it worked out well. I had 4 different people that talked to my kids, and it was nice just to get to see them for a minute while testing.

The procedure was fairly simple. I had a set of 8 questions for each child, and sent them in written form to the person asking. They then went through them one at a time. If the kid answered right away, they moved to the next question. If they didn't, I had them ask the question up to 3 times. When there was background noise interference or the sound cut out, I gave them a few more tries if they needed it.

As I said, most of them did pretty well. The problem, though, is that a lot of them just follow the other kids as we've been practicing in class, or someone else whispers the answer to them. Some of them had clearly studied and knew what the questions were, and what their answer was supposed to be. Others got confused as to what the question was, or just weren't really listening. I think some of them were just trying too hard, too.

I love my kids and am proud of them, but I just have to share some of the cute mistakes that they made.

Q: What is the name of your brother?
A: Your name is Daniel.
(This is totally understandable because we haven't gone over his/her/your/etc. very well, but it made me laugh nonetheless.)

Q: How old are you?
A: My name is 7.
Q: What is your favorite class?
A: My name is English.
(Sometimes, they just get caught up in trying to get out a complete sentence and don't really stop to think about what the right complete sentence is.)

Q: What do you see with?
A: Yes.
(She was completely confused on this one, so I tried to help her by reminding her it was a science question, and even gave her the start of the correct answer: "I see with my..." But, there was a communication failure there, and she turned to the person and answered "Yes.")

Q: What do you smell with?
A: I smell with my house.
(He might have actually said "nose," but it really sounded like "house" to me.)

Q: What color is a tiger?
A: Yellow.
(This made the person asking laugh, but it's actually the right answer in that one of the pictures of a tiger we use was colored yellow, so that's where he got that from.)

Q: What do you touch with?
A: How are you?
Q: What color is Luigi?
A: I am good.
(This is one of the kids that doesn't pay a lot of attention in class, and clearly does not do much studying at home. Which is sad, because he's a bright kid. What really kills me is some of the other kids heard the question about Luigi and were whispering the answer to him. I had thought it would be easy, but I guess not.)

Q: What is your favorite color?
A: My names pink.
(Another example of getting caught up on trying to get out a complete sentence without thinking about what the right words actually should be.)

Q: How old are you?
A: I am good.
Q: What is your favorite animal?
A: I am cat.
Q: What animal do you have at your house?
A: I am dog.
Q: What do you see with?
A: I am six... I see with 5.
Q: What color is your shirt?
A: I am... It is... I am green.
(She had a couple of the basic question/answers mixed up, but basically got the answer part ok. She's just really caught up on "I am." Her homework also reflects this when they have to make up sentences.)

After we were done with the exams, they got a special treat from one of my friends back home. She put on a finger puppet play for them and sang "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star" with them. Although most of the boys had lost interest by the end, they did have fun watching and singing along. I got a video of them which I hope to get posted. I have a lot of videos that I hope to post... I should get on that.

Anyway, the hardest part was getting the rest of the class to be quiet. Sadly, I wasn't able to get the TV in the hall working because of the situation of the plugs, so I let them have some free time with options like Playdoh, coloring, reading books, or doing puzzles. I warned them right from the beginning that the normal discipline system was not in place today.

Normally, they get an "x" put on the board if they choose to break a class rule. Once they get 3 x's, they have to write a page of sentences, usually "I will sit and be quiet." But today, it was made clear that any talking would just get a page of sentences. After many threats, warnings, and pages handed out, I decided to go with bribery. It was near the end of the hour or so of testing, so they were starting to get antsy.

I pulled out the movie Toy Story which I had brought for them to watch in the cafeteria, and wrote "Toy Story" on the board. Another form of discipline I have in place is on Thursdays for music class. I put 5 to 6 music notes on the board, the number of songs they get to dance to if they behave. When they're not behaving, I erase the songs, one at a time. So, I did the same with the letters in the movie.

That seemed to work well, but they still ended up losing all the letters, mostly because I realized that we had too many pages in our last book to finish to enjoy a movie for the last class of the day. They sort of all had a meltdown when they found out they couldn't watch the movie. Partly because they wanted to watch it, but also because they were hot since the air had to be left off to hear during the exams.

I also wanted to just put on a movie, but knew it was important to pound out the last few pages, which were all pretty simple anyway. With the air cranking, I clapped my hands a lot and yelled "Let's go!" as excitedly as I could at that point, and they perked up soon enough. They got eager to get through the pages, so they paid attention and did their work quickly.

They finished right as class officially ended at noon, but told them I would put on the movie anyway. Over half of them stay for at least half an hour after class ends, and I have 4 of them that are there until the older kids are let out at 1:30. That sealed their happiness, and I got to enjoy a quiet afternoon of watching one of my favorite movies with my favorite children.

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