After two weeks of day to day subbing, I was asked to take over a 6th grade Math and ASL class. A daunting task especially for someone who doesn’t sign. However, it has been a smooth transition. Muir truly is a school that is “better than ever.” With support of ASL and Math teachers at the site, I have been able to implement a smooth transition. At this site, I learned just how effective Kagan engagement structures are across grade levels. I frequently use my “go-to” structures in my Math class daily, such as “Rally Coach,” and “Rally Robin.”
My ASL class has been more of a challenge, but has been the most rewarding experience. My nightly planning ritual has transitioned from grading 4th grade writing assignments to learning simple ASL sign and phrases to teach my elective wheel class the next day. We have learned colors, school vocabulary, and how to best ask questions to one another. My saving grace has been Organic World Language. The structure is partially based on Stephen Krashen’s research on comprehensible input. The goal of the structure is to keep the class in the target second language. This can be done through Kagan structures such as “inside/outside circle,” or forming two lines and have the students sign and answer questions to each other. Daily, students are separated into 3 different groups. One group practices their finger spelling skills, another group will play a game, either choosing Simon Says or Flashcard Heads Up, while the final group is focusing on vocabulary taught that day. In that group, I can address inaccuracies in the signing, such as incorrect palm orientation.
Overall, my short time at Muir has taught me the effectiveness of engagement structures across all grade levels. I am incredibly thankful for my time at Muir. I look forward to what the future of my career has in store.