Card Talk, Special Person, Stories, and more in a Deck

These are some of the Comprehensible Input activities my fifth grade curriculum is centered around, and which I had to adapt to remote teaching. This is my third week meeting my classes Live once a week and I spent two weeks preparing videos and activities for my students to work independently. In those two weeks, I prepared stories and news for my kids to work on while we could meet again and share what we knew and learned about the students who were still waiting to be “la Persona Especial”.

My fifth grade classes are a little larger this year and I was/am facing the risk of not having enough time to treat everybody as especially as the first students we talked, interviewed, and wrote stories about. I know I cannot recreate the same experience under these circumstances and I was doubting I could do it in the classroom, anyway. Our class stories took different turns and other school activities replaced my class time, and you know the rest.

When our Lower School Head asked me how often I wanted to see my classes, I knew that I needed to split them into half so that we could interact better. I used to see my fifth grade classes twice a week for forty minutes and I kept the same time but have been seeing half of one class on one day and the rest the next day. The day I don’t see them, they are assigned independent work. The opportunity to just see them has been fantastic since our interactions have been more dynamic but it has also been a little tiring for me. If we are going back to remote teaching in the fall, I would need to reconsider this arrangement.

To be honest, my first Live lessons were a cry to bring our past class routine to life. It seemed to work but time was running and we have a month to go and also many stories to create. Then, I met Pear Deck and I love how convenient it was to collect the information I needed in a faster yet effective way.

In this Deck I am sharing, the first slide if for the Cards my students designed with their interests. Their classmates and themselves are given two minutes to write as much as they can using the card as a reference or anything they know about our “Special Person”. In the classroom, I would just talk about one person at the time, and interview our Persona Especial about what their classmates described.

Since I have many students to be our Special Person, I created a slide for each one of them and assigned experts to write about one “Persona Especial” at the time. I had four Special Persons and each student got to be an expert, even the Special Persons were experts about another Special Person. When the two minutes were up, I shared their responses projecting them in my screen. I read them through and interviewed each Special Person about the information we collected.

The next slides are statements about our “Personas Especiales” and my students got to drag an icon to express their view. That looked a little messy when I projected in my screen and I could not figure out what dots belonged to each person. However, the statements were really useful to introduce input and just verify if our guesses were correct or not by interviewing each Persona Especial at the time. Having the statements ready on my screen were important visual support and encouraged everyone’s participation.

Right after the statements come the story slides. For this part, I referred to one Special Person at the time asking where, with whom, and what problem they might have in their stories. I asked the experts for their opinion before I asked the rest of the class for other ideas. Our Special Person got to decide what idea they liked the best.

We did not have time to move to the solution. I assigned it as homework. We moved right to the last slide which is Write and Discuss with my twist – I learned about this strategy from the book The Natural Approach to the Year by Tina Hargaden and Ben Slavic. Students shared what they learned about our Special Persons by typing their answers to my oral questions. In my classroom, I typed what my students told me they had learned about our Special Person. In my remote platform, I found it useful to ask my class questions related to what we talked about and had them answer. With that information, I put together all their ideas and upload each description as separate Seesaw activities. Experts need to record themselves reading their Special Person’s description. I am trying to collect videos in Spanish related to the activities our Special Person likes for some extra input and for some I am using Edpuzzle.

Our next class will be about finishing up our stories and typing a solution to the problems and all the steps are in the same Deck. I hope you can find it useful and would love to hear your experience with it if you give it a try. This is my first attempt to reach many students in this platform and I might need to make more tweaks. What would you keep/change/add? Please subscribe to my blog to receive notifications about my new posts and send me an email if you have any questions.

Click on the picture for the link to the Deck

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