Saturday, September 24, 2016

Back to school nights

BTS nights are pretty challenging, I think. This year, when I was at the school for 14 hours, certainly was! The way we do it at our school is very challenging too: each teacher has five minutes to present, in one group space, to parents of each grade. Then you run to another grade level, and do it again. You do it twice for families that have kids in various grades.

However, I think it's so important for my students' parents to see what I do and why. I did not do BTS night last year since I was so very injured and on medical leave, and the first year...well, I didn't really know yet what I was going to do. (I cringe to think about it now!) This was my first time trying this and I am sure I will keep it.

My goals were this:
- short demo in the target language
- brief biography
- answer to "how you can help your child at home"

I prepped a poster with these structures:
éste es (ésta es) -this is
un hombre- a man
una mujer- a woman
o- or
sí- yes no no

I also prepped a couple of stuffed animal cognates (dragón, unicornio). I told parents that instead of talking about what class is like I would just do it, and all they needed to do was answer yes (pause and point) and no.

I demoed for about one minute, going slow, using parents and the stuffed animals to compare and contrast. Then I asked them if they understood everything, and explained that in my class, their students understand everything too.

 Then, I did my big grammar talk:
1) I asked parents who had taken two or more years of language to stand.
2) I asked them to remain standing if they studied grammar (conjugation tables, etc).
3) I asked them to remain standing if they were functional in that language now.
 (One or two were left.)
Reenactment of "Grammar Talk"- no one is standing.

I went on to say "that's why we don't teach that way!" Then short bio, and a quick reassurance that they are already great language teachers since their kids speak English, and that I will be providing their students with tons of input in class so the best way to support them send them to class.
This year went incredibly well and parents were pleased and surprised. I got applause at the end!