Monday, February 21, 2005

The Bee

We finally had the Spelling Bee this morning. Both classes were sparsely populated since it's Presidents' Day, and the buses are running on a Sunday schedule.

If you've never taught BW or another language, the old-fashioned Bee (from bene, meaning help out)may seem kind of juvenile. Here's why I do it: it gets the students together in teams, working towards a shared goal, and it makes reviewing spelling a bit more interesting. It engages them in a way that I wish all learning did. In the overall context of the course, it's a light, active, and fun thing to do to balance out the more serious assignments that they are working on.

They also had a reading quiz based on an handout on notetaking that I gave them on Friday. We'll be spending the next two weeks reading and writing about being in college. One of their assignments is to take notes in class every day and to take notes on any homework that they're assigned. The notetaking assignment has the weight of a paper, and while it is not the most exciting kind of writing in the world, it is an important kind of writing/skill for them to have. I must say that I haven't been seeing many people taking notes, so it will be interesting to see how the next two weeks go.

They will also be interviewing one of their other professors for a profile paragraph that they'll be writing next week. The reason for this assignment is to have practice taking notes, but more importantly, it is to get the students onto campus to learn about the ways of academe--such as the office hour and the visit to the professor's office. So far, it has been like pulling teeth, and I feel that once they get through the interview and first draft, they'll feel so much better about it.


At 11:03 PM, Blogger Styles said...

Yours are admirable assignments. I particularly like the overriding aim: to get students out and about on campus. When some years ago I started advising Phi Theta Kappa -- a job I've since handed off -- I had my inductees visit our administrators, who signed off on a set of get-acquainted tasks. Your assignment is better: it asks oftentimes shy, reluctant BW students to go out and meet profs. The next step is maybe a note or two away.

At 1:07 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks, Styles. I have to be honest and say that this assignment is where theory meets reality--or collides with it. Between having snowy weather, Presidents' Day (not a holiday though some took the day off)and having to meet with an instructor, several of my students have fallen apart.
There are some places along the way that I am going to revamp because I feel responsible for some of the confusion--for instance, we'll read several common interviews before I assign them the task of finding one of their own. About a quarter of the class had no idea what an interview was, and then a half of the rest found Q and A formats that I'd specifically warned against.
Anyhow, under the threat of loosing points, many did their interviews and came to class ready for the next step. Half of one class was absent, probably due to snow and not having the assignments done.
I'm sticking with the asignment, though. As painful as it has been for them to get going, I think it is a very effective means of getting them acclimated to college. Some of the professors who were interviewed have approached me and complimented the students on how well they did.
But it has been like pulling teeth.

At 1:08 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

losing--not loosing--points.


At 1:09 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

lordy. I can't spell worth beans today!


At 7:54 PM, Anonymous cindy said...


All of my students spell it that way, and it's gotten so I now have to think about it myself!


Post a Comment

<< Home