The Proof is in the Pudding

Sabrina has shared a clip that she did of one of her students whom she interviewed at the end of last year. She showed it in Agen as well and reports that people were “very happily surprised, even the French!”
Here’s a little background. Brie was a 1st year French student at Thomas Jefferson High School with zero French when she started in August 2014 and this interview was conducted in June 2015. She is a superstar obviously.
We no longer assess speaking in Denver Public Schools, but Sabrina wanted to run a little experiment at the end of the year. So she asked her students to read a book of their choice for ten minutes at the beginning of class over the last two months of school, May and June, primarily from a choice of TPRS readers. After they wrote a summary of what they read, Sabrina also told them she would interview them on their reading and then ask them to have a one on one interpersonal discussion for a few minutes to assess their gains.
Sabrina reports:
“I was pleasantly surprised with most of my students who answered my questions and talked about their reading. After Brie finished her book summary I decided to go on with the conversation and ask her random questions from my “Star of the Week’ questionnaire since she had not been “Star of the Week”.”
Here are my anecdotal observations:
1) It was totally spontaneous and unrehearsed since she had no idea I was going to ask her those questions.
2) It measures interpersonal speaking.
3) Her affective filter was low since you can hear her laugh a lot.
4) If she was unsure of what my question meant she would clarify in English, which is what people do in normal situations.
5) You can hear her ease in answering my questions whether they were asked in present, past, conditional, future or any other tense. That reaffirms that it does not matter in which order you introduce them. It is not about grammar but about communication that is interesting, personalized and totally comprehensible.
Here is the link:

Password: Brie

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14 thoughts on “The Proof is in the Pudding”

  1. Thank you, Sabrina! That is a terrific clip! It’s so helpful to see and hear, both Brie’s responses and clarifications and your way of phrasing the questions and responding to her answers, sometimes repeating something correctly and sometimes just leaving it the way she said it. Your friendly, inviting manner is pure sweetness.
    I notice that you spoke quite quickly yet her comprehension was so strong.

  2. I used a modified version of your questionnaire with my 8th graders last year. It worked really well. They got a good dose of all kinds of questions. Thank you for that, too! I like this continuation with personal interviews, either around the questionnaire or relating to something else. It can be more or less prepared/spontaneous depending on the student. I think I might try to do that this year, at least in some way that doesn’t make anyone too nervous.
    You know what else is helpful? To see the rest of the class back there doing whatever and seeing that interviews like this can just happen in class, no big deal. I’m a little video phobic.
    Did you make a video of her talking about the book she read? That would be good to see, too, if it exists. I always wonder where kids are at in other classes.

  3. Ruth I think it is time to drop HD and go with PP w/ Google Images and try to have a common set of lessons labeled by the verbs they are intended to teach and the author. The underwhelming response to the HD plan made it kind of obvious and your comment sealed the deal. So for those of us who want access to a PP lesson plan back using only free Google images we can try again maybe. What do you and others who still want instant vPQA lesson plans for this year think?

  4. Well unless someone objects, and no one will, we are needing a new plan for vPQA that is simple and easy to follow. I am thinking how useful a good PP would be in the first days of school especially, to lower the kids’ nerves with some fun pics to look at. Chill made a nice one last year that I am thinking of using on the first day of school. By the way, I may or may not finish that long thread on the First Day that I started. I’m like that. The main point could be made in one post, in fact, but the way things are poppin’ here in India I may not get to that for weeks. So much going on, as I’m sure it is with us all right now. Ding! Ding! Time to wake up from summer!
    Here’s chill’s Power Point. Chill I know term is overused, but you really do rock!

    1. This awesome post about Sabrina’s video is turning into a vPQA discussion. Let’s move the vPQA discussion back to the other post, okay?

      1. I love my nickname! And yes, HD was a bridge to far for me. I have a month before school starts and will be on the job!

  5. Yes! Sorry. Got sidetracked.
    Sabrina!!!! This interview is so fun. It’s like “no big deal, we’re just chatting and laughing about random fun things and hot guys!” LOVE it! Thank you so much for sharing. Brie’s energy and affect here is so lovely and she’s clearly amused and not at all fazed by chatting with her energetic and inquisitive teacher, because she knows that the teacher wants to know the info she’s asking about rather than “testing” her looking for mistakes. So cool.
    I know many ppl use the “star of the day” in various ways. I am so very scattered that I tend to do it for a bit and then forget about it. I would love to incorporate it consistently, and have it shift over time, which I think is what you do Sabrina?! YOu have various sets of questions for different times of year?
    Would love to hear how your process / system works both at beginning of year and over time. Merci 😀

  6. I think Sabrina and Nina use it most in the spring. It is very time consuming. You can eat up days with one kid. But I know – MB was there that day – when we observed Sabrina she was asking similar questions to her (deskless) group and that is where Brie got so good at it. From Star of the Week. Now that we know that, all we have to do is make a vow to get some good Star of the Week work in next spring. The hard part will be to include that quality of love and lighthearted cheerfulness that describes Sabrina’s style. Great! Becoming cheerful and not worrying while pulling all this CI stuff together at the start of another year. Hey, this work is not for everyone. It takes courage and perseverance in the face of overwhelming odds. Sign me up!

  7. Jen I think Sabrina and Nina use it most in the spring. It is very time consuming. You can eat up days with one kid. But I know – MB was there that day – when we observed Sabrina she was asking similar questions to her (deskless) group and that is where Brie got so good at it. From Star of the Week. Now that we know that, all we have to do is make a vow to get some good Star of the Week work in next spring. The hard part will be to include that quality of love and lighthearted cheerfulness that describes Sabrina’s style. Great! Becoming cheerful and not worrying while pulling all this CI stuff together at the start of another year. Hey, this work is not for everyone. It takes courage and perseverance in the face of overwhelming odds. Sign me up!

  8. In what language did they write the summary? What were the instructions or worksheet for the summary?
    What were the interview questions asked about the reading?
    I want to try this. Thanks!

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