It was finally our first day of our onsite program. We began our day with a joyful and friendly breakfast meeting to meet the participant teachers of the program. With the two-weeks of online learning together, the Niangao group members immediately picked up from what was left off online and worked nicely together. In our group session, we continued to fine tune our unit plan, outline the lesson contents and brainstorm various learning activities for the lessons. What a productive day for all! (niangao 16)
After two "short" weeks of learning online, all the Sweet Rice Dumpling members were really excited to finally meet each other. We all agreed that it was so much easier to communicate in person. Although there were still a lot of changes need to be made in our unit plan and lesson plans but we felt pretty good about our progress. I think our on-ste program is definitely off to a good start! However, the learning they did online really paid off. Everyone was on the same page. In our group meeting they were using the terms Backward design, Can-do statements, performance task, etc. at ease. (Yuan Xiao team, 2016)
It's the first day of Startalk onsite class! We are exciting to meet face to face with our enthusiastic and passionate Zongzi teachers! Yay! With the same goal to improve our skill and pedagogy on teaching Chinese as second language, we have clarified the concepts of Backward Design, 3 modes of communication, and the 5 steps in lesson planning. (Zongzi team)
Discuss about on site schedule, especially on the afternoon part. Our master teacher; encourage us think about how to work as a tutor during the afternoon, and start to think about to how to help our students work with students from;Go through our lesson plan. Start from the master teacher, each one shared their own lesson plan, and got feedback from the master teacher and peers.
Continuing work on our lesson plan. This time we worked on our second lesson plan.We shared our ideas to narrow down the topic of our 2nd lesson plan;
The master teacher explain the Participant Quick notes to the whole group;
The master teacher introduce the 5 steps to us;
Setting the stage: authentic materials; videos; flashcards; handouts
Comprehensive input: i+1 Give input and check understanding at the same time
Guided Practice: games; computer;
Application: something students can use, apply, etc. A/B activity
Evaluation: assess；assess whether students got it or not, or could use it or not;
Work individually on 1st lesson plan;
Work in small groups on 2nd lesson plan; (Yuebing team 16)
It was a hard working day on our lesson plans! We began our day with the group session to review the 5-steps of lesson planning. The master teachers went through the steps and gave various examples to deepen our understanding. We then went back to our group and reviewed our individual lesson plans. We went through everyone’s lesson plans and examined if they were connected and matched with our unit plan objectives. We brainstormed activity ideas and gave one another suggestions, and revised our lesson plans. The discussion furthered our understanding of 5-steps lesson planning and allowed us to learn from each other. We also had the opportunity to speak with the classroom teacher of our volunteer students about their language ability. As a result, we revised our unit and lesson plans again. We lesson we learned today is that the writing of a unit plan and lesson plan is an ever on-going process! (Niangao team 16)
The Yuan xiao group started the day discussing and finalizing the unit plan and end of the unit tasks. Two heads are better than one. We came out the idea for our final task and were really happy about it! After that, the mentor teacher spent one-on-one time with each teacher participant to go over and fine tune their first lesson plan. Time is never enough! By the end of the day there were still bits and ends need to be discussed and reviewed. However, the group energy is high and everyone is working hard and highly motivated. It was a very productive day and many tasks had been accomplished. Every Yuan xiao teacher participant deserves two big thumbs up today! Hooray! (Yuan xiao group_2016)
On the 2nd day, To refresh us , all mentor teachers presented the 5 steps of teaching together and we had more discussions on how to design effective lessons. They also shared their own teaching experiences. The mentor teachers encouraged us not to worry about making mistakes because we learn and improve from mistakes. Finally, our lesson plans are getting to be finished after the whole day of brainstorming. We are moving along smoothly. It is getting better all around on the 2nd day! (Zongzi team 16)
Morning: 9-10: Master teachers introduced 5-step teaching plan in detail, including definitions, examples of activities, examples from master teachers that some activities did not work, experiences, and lessons-learned. 10-12: continued to refine and improve lesson plans and unit plan; master teach reviewed each of our lesson plans and provided feedback; developing class materials. Afternoon: 1-2: Lesson Plan development Master teacher discussed each teacher’s lesson plan. Individual teacher revised lesson plan based on master teacher’s comments. Individual teacher added lesson plans to the group’s unit plan. Group 4 added vocabulary to the vocabulary list (Master Teacher recommended Arch Chinese for vocabulary card making) Master teacher introduced and explained class activities such as clock buddies, information gap, battleship game, 乌龟认字(大富翁，贴字)，character cap (汉字)(Yuebing team 16)
Again, it was a packed work day. In the morning workshop session, we had quick Q&A with Dr. Liu about Chinese grammar. Followed that, the master teachers gave a presentation on Comprehensible Inputs. We took away some useful strategies to make our lessons more accessible for our students. In our own group, we began the day with self-reflection on what we have learned thus far, and one thing we would like to know more. The rest of the morning, we were busy preparing for our first trial microteaching. In the afternoon, every member of the group had an opportunity to put their lesson plans into action. We were encouraged to take a close look at the demo lessons with the concepts of backward design and 5-steps lesson planning. There were many “Ah-ha!” moments. (Niangao team 16)
Today was the 1st trial microteaching. What a day! The Yuanxiao teachers were nervous about the teaching and busy at completing the lesson plan and teaching materials. After the microteaching they were all so hard on themselves and wished that they could have done more preparation. However, they all agreed that they the trial microteaching was really beneficial. Through teaching they had better ideas on how to deliver the materials. At the same time feedbacks from other teachers are helpful and definitely make them more aware of issues on pacing and comprehensible input. Another take away of today is the morning general session on comprehensible input. There were really impressed how mentor teacher, Ms. Anderson could teach them facial parts in Hakka dialect without using any English. There were lots of disscussion in the afternoon after trial microteaching on comprehensible input. Although there are still 2 more lesson plans need to be done for the unit and lots of teaching materials need to be prepared, Yuanxiao teachers actually look forward to Firday's 2nd trial microteaching to teach the lesson plan they wrote on their own.(Yuanxiao team 16)
Day 3 was another exciting and fruitful day! During the general session, we had an opportunity to ask through the 5 steps lesson design in the morning. Teacher explains every steps in depth and ask all participants to modify consistence between lesson plan and unit plan. Everyone works hard to prepare PPT and video for the micro teaching. After micro teaching, in the group discussions, we talked about the strengths and weaknesses and possible space for improvements.(Zongzi group 16 )
In the morning from 9:00am - 10:00am, Grammar Master Dr. Hsin Yun Liu hosted a Q & A session to the entire STARTALK training group to respond to typical questions which Startalk teachers have come across during the first 2 weeks’ online- learning. In the middle of the discussion, Dr. Guo, the Director of STARTALK Program suggested the proper way of teaching students the 4 tones in Chinese language learning by using numbers to guide students’ tone-studying, instead of using”媽麻馬駡“ before students could even understood the meaning of these words. Afterwards,each of the four master teachers shared their valuable knowledge and teaching experience on the topic of Comprehensible Input. They guided the trainees to aim at using Chinese language to teach Chinese language by modifying the “teaching language” to fit the student's’ needs and understanding level, rather than raising students’ “affective filter”. In addition, master teachers also mentioned other teaching strategies, such as adding meaningful input (actions, facial expressions, etc.) to assist students’ understanding, using concrete images as examples to help students understand something abstract, such as ”水量大“ vs. “水量小”, using student’s language to teach them learn the target language., using some common “Sign Language” gestures to assist the target language learning & students’ production, (Yuebing Group 16)
We continued our conversation on using the target language to teach in the morning session with Dr. Kowh. She encouraged us to think deeper of “using Chinese to teach Chinese” for our teaching practice. After that, we began with our daily group reflection to share one thing we learned and one thing we wanted to learn more. The Niangao group had a good discussion on how to better use of the afternoon tutoring and assessment work time to further students’ learning next week. Our group also brainstormed ideas of final performance tasks that can allow students to best demonstrate their learning. The plan for next week has been developed gradually with our individual lesson plans more clearly defined. In preparation of tomorrow’s trial micro teaching, we spent our afternoon time sharing our individual 2nd lesson plans. We worked independently on our lesson plans and teaching aides, as well as meeting with the master teacher one-on-one to review the classroom presentations and Lesson plans. Each member shared her reflection on her teaching and gave constructive suggestions for others. We all felt that our unit was getting more cohesive with these group discussions and sharing. As the weekend drew near, all of us worked with a faster pace on our lesson plans and teaching materials.. (Niangao Group 16)
Time flies! This week is soon drawing to an end. We started the day with Dr. Kowh’s Q&A session on “Using Chinese to teach Chinese”. Teacher participants by now have a deeper understanding on comprehensible input and using target language after their 1st trial micro teaching. They had many good questions to ask on this topic. After that, Yuanxiao group mentor teacher using the PPT slides from Yuanxiao teachers’ 1st lesson plan to demonstrate using target language and comprehensible input strategies. We went over possible pitfalls in lesson delivery and brainstormed ways to instruct abstract vocabulary using target language and visuals. The rest of the day was spent on finalizing the details of lesson 6 and lesson 7. The whole process of deciding co-teaching pairs, review unit plan and lesson learning goals, and brainstorming activity ideas for the lessons went smoothly. During discussion Yuanxiao teachers’ growth was evident. They were able to refer to terms such as backward design, learning goals, comprehensible input, etc during the discussion comfortably and their thinking process in lesson planning was so much clearer comparing to when they were in the beginning of the week. By the early afternoon we were able to divide tasks and come up activity ideas for the last 2 co-teaching lessons. They were able to work in pairs for the rest of the day to collaborate and write their own lesson independently. It’s really impressive how fast Yuanxiao teachers can grasp the concepts of what they learned so far and apply to lesson planning right away. (Yuanxiao team 16)
What an impressive day, starting with crucial statements from Dr. Stella Kwok instucting the part of " USING TARGET LANGUAGE" while teaching Chinese class. She explains how important it is to understand your studentsmotivations and intentions. You have to make sure you understand what they are trying to tell you . You shoud not have to explain the grammar to them, it should be implicit and integrated into your lesson plans as examples and gestures . The rest of the time we were busy preparing the 2nd lesson plan and teaching material. Throught todays lesson plan with partner , it was very helful and we learned from each other. Having a partner helps me be more efficient.(Zongzi group 16 )
9:00-9:50 General session
“How to use target language to teach language” by Professor Kwoh. This morning, Professor Kwoh was sharing with us the concept of “How to use target language to teach language.” Professor Kwoh encourage us do not focus on the explanations of vocabularies like 也、都; students will feel confused and lost the interest in learning new languages. For teachers, it is difficult to apply the complete Chinese classroom setting at the beginning. But, if you think back to the way we learn how to speak to our parents, you will realize that they never teach us grammar. We learn our native language by listening and practicing. Do not afraid to make the mistake in your classroom. There are no perfect lesson plan and perfect teacher. Make sure when you are teaching, do not immediately return to students' native language / English to explain the meaning because this is not a good way to learn. Early bilingual education had a huge debate on the concept of "teaching target language by use target language", many educators concerned if this is the right strategy to meet the goal of learning? Teachers should stay flexible of adjusting your lesson plan to meet students' needs. If you feel students do not understand, slow down and give the simplest example for them to practice. Just remember, when you teach only use 90% target language to teach your students. As the teacher, we should stay flexible and be confident. Preparing the students centered classroom is our goal as an educator. Our group at rest of session were working on our co-teaching lesson plan, students’ final projects, and station hours. We did a lot of discussion about how to make our co-teaching courses focus on the same topic.(Yuebing Group 16)
The day began with our routine breakfast meeting. In response to our questions related to pinyin and teaching, Dr. Kowh continued to post questions and push us to think deeper on our teaching practices. The general morning sessions enriched our learning and solidify some of the newly learned concepts. The rest of the morning time was spent on refining our lessons plans and collaborating with teachers on planning the 2nd lesson. In the afternoon, we did a self-assessment on our 2nd lesson plan before we had the co-teaching trial lesson. We continued to practice analyzing our teaching practices through the discussion, sharing and reflection. It was wonderful to see that we began to understand and enjoy this “reflection” process. The classroom is organized, name tags are prepared, chairs are arranged. Yes, the Team Niangoa is ready for our next week’s teaching tasks, and we can’t wait to meet our students!(Niangao Group 16)
Time is never enough. Yuanxiao teachers finally got the time this morning to discuss next week's afternoon activities and culture lessons. Brainstorming for cultural stations were really fun and there were many ideas discussed. It sounded really interesting and we all look forward to doing the lesson. In the afternoon, we completed our 2nd trial micro-teaching and every teacher made lots of progress in lesson delivery and comprehensible input. However, almost everyone felt that 10 minutes went by so fast and they did not have enough time to get to the guided practice activity. Yuanxiao teachers worked very hard this week. Hopefully they can unwind and refresh over the weekend. They truly deserves the rest. Next week it will be really exciting to get to meet the volunteer students and teach the whole lesson on their own. Excellent work, Yuanxiao teachers! (Yuanxiao team 16)
This is the last day we set everything ready for the coming micro-teachings on next Monday! Starting with morning workshop, Dr. Stella Kwoh shared some experience on Mandarin teaching and encouraged us to keep trying.
Follow that, we discuss our individual lesson plan with mentor teacher, had it to be finalized and uploaded by 3pm. All the materials for teaching are prepared for next week. We also work on the co-teaching lesson plan with more factors added to make comprehensive input more specific.
In the afternoon, we demo co-teaching lesson 6 and 7 by groups. We can see some development from our previous one, such as the content of PPT, the way we present, and the time management. By seeing through our demo, we got more idea whether or not each activity would fit to each stages. It seems pair-teaching has more room to design instruction with more interaction. Mentor teacher offered some tips for our demo. She further suggested we should make our teaching fun. If we don’t feel our teaching fun, how could we attract students to learn? (Zongzi group 16 )
During general discussion, Prof. Kwoh reminded us that we need to be ready for our 1st teaching. She also emphasized the importance of backward design. She said it is fine if our teaching is not perfect, but we need to built up this concept, and willing to apply it in the future teaching. We need to lean it through doing, practicing.
Some teachers also asked Prof. Kwoh some questions. One is about whether we need to give students instructions in English or not. Prof. Kwoh shared her opinion that we can help students understanding the teacher’s meaning by using something like pictures. It is fine that students are not clear at the beginning, but they must get it later through the teacher's teaching.
Another teacher asked about how to teach Pinyin in the class. Prof. Kwoh said it is not meaningful to give students lots of words they don't know. The 1st lesson we need to give students something they can understand. For tones, English language learners are not sensible to the tones. In the environment, if they practiced everyday, they would be no problem for them to get it. In the new environment, they can hear, and observe. She also made us think about sometimes we want to help students, but in the wrong direction.
In the classroom, we polished our 1st lesson plan, edited some parts. Our master teacher emphasized the importance of backward design again, and we totally agree with her. Even though it is not perfect, we try our best. Then, we prepared material for our 1st teaching,what need to buy, and what need to be print out. I believe everyone in our group is waiting for our 1st teaching.
During the afternoon section, we kept working on our second lesson plan. Co-teachers worked together to have some rehearsal, discussion, listen to the suggestions from our master teacher and peers.
The master teacher also used the self-check list go through our 1st lesson plan.Everyone talked about their plan and check it according to the list. Therefore, we have a deeper understanding of our own lesson plan.
At last, we did the microteaching of our 2nd lesson. We had a discussion about strong and weak part for each teacher in order to help them improve.
In the final discussion session, we discussed when and how to meet the students on Monday, how to do the transition, and how to arrange for lunch. Master teacher also reminded us that we need to remind the students about recycling and how to do recycling. Teachers and master teachers also shared their insights and experiences of the first week and during two trial microteaching. Many said they have improved a lot compared to the first time doing trial microteaching -- they slowed down and simplified their wording, did more check for understanding, and revised the activities. (Yuebing Group 16)