Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Weekend Woes: Part 2

The difference between school and life?  
In school, you're taught a lesson and then given a test.  
In life, you're given a test that teaches you a lesson.  
~Tom Bodett

The other thing that kept me away from my sewing machine this weekend was writing a final exam for my ESL class.  

I'm not much into testing or grading in my ESL class.  I figure that the only test that matters for my students is whether or not they can interact with people in the community, speaking English.  

I do give a weekly quiz on their vocabulary homework, but I don't collect or grade it - we go over the answers together in class.  The point is to give them an opportunity to self-assess their studying habits and their progress.  

But I do give a final each year.  And I collect it.  And I grade it.  

But I'm not grading my students.  

I'm grading myself.  

It is a way to figure out how I am doing as an ESL teacher - what things I am doing well and what things I need to improve.  

It is a way to determine whether or not my class has value-added in their lives.  

I have a test that I have given for the past 2 years, but even after I shortened it last year, it was still way too long.  Rather than just try to shorten it some more, I decided to re-write it from scratch this year.  

There were the usual sections on re-writing sentences into different verb tenses, changing declarative statements into questions, and forming comparatives and superlatives...  

But I added a section to reflect the time we spent with Rory's Story Cubes.  Want to try it and see what it's like?  Look at the picture of 9 cubes above.  Pick any 3 images and write, in a comment to this post, a short "story" (1-3 sentences) that ties those 3 images together.  

It'll be fun to see what you guys come up with!  And I'll share some of my students' stories too.  :)

So, the final is this week - keep your fingers crossed that the test reveals that I have "done good"!  ;)


  1. Okay, I'll kick it off! ;)

    I'll use the images in the first row:

    I parachuted into the Egyptian desert, searching for the Fountain of Youth.

  2. Bottom row;

    As we left the house to go trick or treating a bee flew out of a shrub and chased us. Luckily we were able to outrun the bee.

  3. Cool test !

    I wanted to enjoy the 'fountain' in my backyard, so I left my 'cellphone' in the 'house'.

    1. Another excellent sentence - not to mention a very good idea! ;)
      Thanks, Claire! :)

    2. Summer's coming - at least 'they' say it is. Hopefully we'll be enjoying our yards soon :-)