Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Silent Peer Assessment

In this guest post, Sylvie Bartlett-Rawlings describes Silent Peer Assessment and how she has used it in one of her language lessons.

This was inspired by attending a workshop presented by Paul Dix (@pivotalPaul) on Classroom Assessment and by reading The Lazy Teacher's Handbook, an excellent book by Jim Smith (@thelazyteacher) which had been recommended to me on #mfltwitterers by @MadameChatty

Silent Peer Assessment, a form of collaborative classroom assessment, worked extremely well with my small Year 6 class. The children were excited about this, as I had told them that it was done in secondary school and that I felt that as a class they were ready to try it.

This assessment was carried out as an end of topic activity. It enabled me to monitor individual progress effectively.

The children had covered: means of transport, the present of aller in all its forms, places in town (in year 5 but recapped earlier in the year), planets (year 4, but recapped orally earlier in the topic of transport with 'funky' means of transport), weather (at the start of each class) and expressing view points (worked on over the last two years orally mainly in spontaneous group speaking activities) and simple link words are posted around the classroom. 
The children had plenty of practice on this topic, orally and via reading and listening comprehensions. We had also played Cluedo using @dominic_mcg's version of the game presented at #ililc3

Today's class had a written emphasis. Last week we looked at some letters written by French children about the means of transport they use to attend school and various venues according to the weather and to where they live. They had also worked out the composition of these letters: contrasting weather, change of means of transport according to weather, change of venue, expressing viewpoint. These clear instructions were then listed on a PowerPoint for them to refer back to if needed (a tick sheet would have been fine or the original wording from last class if used on a Smartboard) and each child had their personal file to refer back to the work covered in the past if needed. 

The silent peer assessment was then explained: 
1. Reflect on task individually for 4-5 minutes (timer on screen)
2. When time is up and instructed by the teacher, with partner conduct silent conversation on Post-it notes provided (7-10 minutes) (timer on screen).
A5 Post-it notes were used. 

Comments and corrections were made by children in pairs with no other intervention.  They used different colour pens: one child writes in blue, one in black or with a pencil): 
For example: 
Add 'quand' (in front of il fait beau)
Correction on the spelling of 'je vais' by partner
Partner added other form of verb 
Some added a colour to means of transport

Then I asked the children to go round the class looking at other people's work and see if they could add more to their own writing. 

Once back in their place I asked them individually to write on a new Post-it their final sentences (referencing back to their pair work) and put them in their exercise books.  This worked really well with this particular class and I will use this method again as they gained so much from it.

Here are pictures of some of the completed pieces of work:

Sylvie is from Montpellier and trained as a 14+ teacher. After 20 years in the secondary sector teaching and examining at GCSE, AS and A2 level she became MFL coordinator in two local primary schools. She now teaches French in KS1 and KS2 but has kept an Adult French Literature class. She also teaches for the Petite Ecole Kentoise, a charity that provides a Saturday morning school to multilingual children.

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