Unedited Session Transcript

Fostering Independence in Deaf and Hard of Hearing Students

Dianne Falvo, Camden County College, Blackwood, NJ


DIANNE FALVO: Okay. Camden County College, Blackwood New Jersey.

DIANNE FALVO: Good afternoon everybody I'm going to start in about a minute so if you want to get handouts in the back.

DIANNE FALVO: Okay. Hi my name is Dianne Falvo. Thanks for coming. My talk this afternoon is about fostering independence in deaf and hard of hearing students. I teach English to deaf and hard of hearing students at Camden County College in Blackwood, New Jersey. We're the south part of New Jersey, south near Philadelphia. This talk is going to focus on what I do in the classroom: English, reading, writing and grammar, to foster independence in deaf students. If anyone needs any adjustments in lighting or my voice or sight or anything will you let me know? We'll go ahead and make some changes now so we. Can go ahead. Okay. Can I find out a little bit about who you are so I know who my audience is? VR counselors? Teachers? We have teachers. Excellent. Program directors? Interpreter coordinators? Interpreters? Other.


SPEAKER 3: Advisors.

SPEAKER 4: Job coach.

DIANNE FALVO: Services for students in a Community College meaning you're their director.

SPEAKER 3: Students.

DIANNE FALVO: Oh you do student services I see.

SPEAKER 3: Transition.

DIANNE FALVO: Transition counselor. Are you in a Community College? Okay. Okay. Let me try and gear my talk so that I can fit your needs. Please feel free to interrupt me at any time ask me any questions I certainly don't mean to talk at you for two hours I would like this to be a joint interactive process. It's possible that some of your deaf students or deaf clients aren't as responsible or independent as you would like them to be. Are all are your students at college level? High school? Middle school? Elementary school? Okay. Well I'm not here to say this group should have done this, this group should have done this and then they would have been better now. No, not my role here. The truth and the fact of the matter is when deaf students get to my program, which is mid Atlantic center for deaf and hard of hearing students in south Jersey, many of them are not responsible and are not independent. Okay. I see some heads nodding. Okay that's why you're here. All right. Thank you. And it is possible that care givers in the past may be some who have held onto that pathological view of deafness, who think that deafness is something that needs to be fixed who think that deaf people can't really do much for themselves, so we have to do things for them. Somewhere along the line our students have encountered care givers who are doing for them and so as a result when they get to us maybe even by elementary school, middle school, high school, definitely for some of them at the college level, some of them are not willing or able to do for themselves because they've never been asked to do anything for themselves in the past. I don't think it's the fault of the deaf students but it is a situation that we're facing every day. I was trying to think of an interesting way to open this talk when I was flying out here, and I thought: What experience have I just been through that helps me see that my students need to be more independent? And I thought of one. It just happened on, let's see, what is today, Thursday? Okay it happened on Monday. Right after daylight savings time. Okay. So it's three hours later in the east and I had a class that started at 10:30 and one of my students didn't come. And I thought well maybe it was the weather because oddly enough we had a snow and sleet storm on Monday and we had a couple inches and the roads were bad and one of my students I thought well something happened she wasn't able to come because of the weather. And. She came later in the day and said you know I had errands to do this morning had to go to the bank, do this and that, I was at 711 and I looked at the clock, oh my god, it was 1120 and my class started at 1020. And she said the time changed I didn't know. And I said you don't watch TV you don't read the newspaper? And she said no no. The time changed. I was planning on being in class at 1030. And then she said: My mother didn't tell me. And I said you thought your mom should have told you that? , my mother didn't tell me. She doesn't live with her mom. She lives in an apartment her mom is in another town but she expected her mom to tell her that the time had changed. So definitely I think we could all come up with examples of stories, anecdotes where students have not really shown us how independent they could or should be. Any time I give a talk I have to take my hat off to my students because when they come to me and they're college age they've already been trying to learn English since they were 3, 4, 5 years old, if they were in school early. And they haven't given up. They're still trying. They've always been struggling, it's always been hard, they're still here, they're still trying. So to all my deaf students out there over the years who have been trying so hard to improve their English, I say hats off to them. Because they are all hard workers. They are. And I'm trying to get them to be more independent and hard workers respect instead of just hard workers. Can bought they definitely are willing to work hard. And they're flexible. Many of my students have some really firm ideas on what should have been done or what should they do to improve their reading and writing skills. But if I suggest something different and they have never tried that before many of them are willing to say, okay, I'll give that a try. Maybe something hasn't worked, maybe I'll try something different. And they're willing to challenge me. And I love this. Because I don't want them to just accept everything. Just recently I gave a quiz back in reading and a student who thought that-he got a B I thought he did very well. But he wanted another point. Were you like that in college, you always thought one more point? Just one more point. Yeah, I think I was too. And he said I thought my answer was okay here and he gave me an explanation. And I said here's my thinking with T and he said I still think my Hans is okay and he further explained his point of view. And I said you know what I'm going to give you that point. You're not just telling me you're right and I'm wrong, et cetera. A lot of times they come to us and they haven't really been motivated to learn. They've been motivated to pass. Sound familiar? I want to pass, go to the next level, next grade, take freshman English. Why am I not in freshman English? So just let me do what I have to do to pass. But I want to work to get my students motivated to learn and that's a whole other thing. I don't use my voice when I sign to my students I use American sign language and the English we get on the computer is written English. We get to type beautiful notes every day we have a chat program. But my students seem to have a hard time reading and I'm afraid it's because they're used to reading and signing at the same time. So they see a word they sign the word, they see the next word they sign that word, on, on down through the end of the sentence. And then I say to them: What does that mean? Don't know, but they can sign every word. So I tell them when I see them doing that-I ask them: Try not to read and sign at the same time. Try to read a sentence or maybe a paragraph, maybe even a whole passage, and then just tell me what it means. Tell me what you got from it. Not that this is a memory test. If you need to read it a couple times, that's okay. But tell me what you think this passage means after you're done reading it. Because when they read and sign one word at a time, they're doing anything but chunking information that should go together so they can read phrases and clauses and sentences that go together. So most of my students are accustomed to reading and signing at the same time. So when they come to my class and I ask them not to, and they say but I've always done that. And I say, well, are you satisfied with your skills in reading? Well, no. Well, are you willing to try something else? And like: Okay. What have I got to lose? So they are willing to trust and I think that's real important. Many years ago I went to a developmental conference in Delaware. It was probably 1990, something like that. And I was the only person who worked in deafness. The only one. Hundreds of people from community colleges on the East Coast and I was the only one that worked in deafness. And all of them said the same things about their students that I was saying about my students. First of all that their academic performance is low and probably because of that they have a very low self-esteem. I have students who say to me: I can't do well on tests. I've always done poorly on tests, that's just the way it is. And I say: But you believe you're going to do poorly so you're going to do poorly. If you believe maybe you can do better, maybe you can do better. Nope, I've always done poorly on tests. First of all I wonder if you always do poorly on tests how did you graduate from high school. Then I say again: If you believe you can do it, maybe you can do it. It's really attitude. A lot of it is attitude. If you think you can do it, you can. But I think a lot of it also is if they've been told they can't, either overtly or covertly, then they think they can't. And that's one thing that we really have to break. We really have to help our students realize that they can shoot for the stars, they can succeed. No matter what situations they've had in the past that told them otherwise, from this point on, we can help them to succeed. A lot of our students are unable to take responsibility for their learning. Maybe you've heard this. I wasn't here, didn't have the assignment, couldn't do it. Sorry. Wasn't here. Not my fault. Didn't have the assignment. At which point I say: Well, let's see, that class was Monday, it's now Wednesday. Let's see, Tuesday were you out of the country or something? No, no, I was around. I had a class in another building. Well I was here, papers were waiting for you. So when they say they have a really good reason why they couldn't get their work done I have to find a way around that and say maybe you could have done it. A lot of times our students think they don't need assistance they don't need any help: I don't need a tutor I'm doing fine. But wait a minute you just failed this quiz. I think maybe you need some kind of assistance. Maybe one-on-one with me, maybe a tutor. I see heads nodding. A lot of students think: That's okay. I'll do better the next time. Maybe they're thinking it's not going to affect their grade. Why don't you think you need help? You have to do something differently. You have to study differently, you have to get some assistance you have to do something differently.

SPEAKER 3: Excuse me. One of the students I have in mind passes just barely-just barely passes that test so thinks doesn't need tutoring services. Is three, four levels below college level with their English.

DIANNE FALVO: Well I always say I expect As and Bs from you and they say I passed.

SPEAKER 3: I'm not a teacher I'm the advisor.

DIANNE FALVO: You're the advisor, you're not the teacher. So he's like getting a D in the class.

SPEAKER 3: Like a 2.1, and they need a 2 to pass this class. And did pass the class at the next level.

DIANNE FALVO: If he's doing poorly he's almost not ready to go to that next level.

SPEAKER 3: And only in high school, where there are no support services.

DIANNE FALVO: I would say that somehow you have to get through to him that learning, not passing. That's a very hard one though, because a lot of our students, you know, that's the first thing they say: I passed. I passed. They're not saying I understood, I retained, I learned. They're saying I passed. And somehow we have to get through to them and to-through to the teachers and the care givers and the day care workers and parents and everybody who deals with our students that passing isn't enough. Is we do expect more from them. Maybe they were able to squeak by before without learning, without doing their best. But it's that: Don't you want to do your best? You know. Whatever-we have to find a variety of ways to motivate them so that they will want to do their best. And maybe it's a career goal that they have in mind. The roles and goals this morning had beautiful videotapes of successful deaf students in a variety of fields, and they worked hard because they had a goal. And if our students don't have a goal yet for their future it might be hard to get motivated and to learn how to learn. I don't say this is easy. I struggle with this every day. Josie hears my stories every day about how hard this is. We have a hard job. So we have to pat ourselves on the backs too because we're still in the field. We're not giving up on our students, even if they might be giving up on themselves. So it's not an easy thing to do I've been working in this job a long time and it's still hard. I'm not giving up but it's still hard.

SPEAKER 3: Thank you.

DIANNE FALVO: Sure. Many of our students like to get the answers. Is that it? Why is that the answer? I don't know but it's the right answer. I can't tell you why but it's the right answer. Why do you need to know why? I gave you the right answer. You know what if you gave me the wrong answer but gave me a good reason for it, that would be better than giving the right answer with no reason. So I try to get my students to explain the work they've done. Yeah, think. Absolutely, think. Guess guess guess guess guess: Right answer. Well, five guesses that were only five choices, that's not really a great answer for me. So rather than wait you know for the right answer to come to them I really want them to stop and think and be able to tell me why they have chosen an answer. And when they can tell me why, then they can also tell me-show me if they've understood what we're talking about or not. And if they haven't understood, that's okay, because if they haven't understood, first you have to tell me that you're not understanding and then we'll work on that. And B even if you don't understand that's not a reason for not doing your work. If you don't understand you have a problem. You have to solve your problem. You know. I don't know if this is true for you but I have students who will come to me: Didn't do my homework, didn't understand it. I say: Do you have email? I have email too. Wait a minute, this is Wednesday. You could have come to me it was assigned on Monday. I have one student who will stay at the end of class and he'll look at his homework and here's me, I'm trying to get out of there. He says wait a minute I have questions about the homework. And I have to put everything down. I wish they all stayed and asked. And then I think didn't I explain that enough in class? But he'll always ask me. Peer tutoring. I'll talk about that later. I know I talk fast I'm sorry I'm sorry I always- should think about the interpreters I've been in that position many times where you only want the

SPEAKER to talk 1000 words a minute instead of 3000. So we have to help our students want to understand the right answers and not just hit upon the right answers. Not always easy but I think we can do it. A lot of my students never learned how to study. Now, I don't know about you but I would have had a hard time getting out of school without studying. But a lot of my students don't know how to study. I'll ask them how they study and they say oh I looked over my notes I read over my notes. And I go but did you learn the information? Oh I looked over my notes I read over them a couple of times. So I'll sit down with them and I'll show them what worked for me when I was a student. And somebody that got an A or a B on a quiz I'll immediately turn to him or her and say what did you do? You got a B on this quiz. What did you do? Apparently not everybody did. Can you show the class what you did so that they'll know better how to study the next time? Because to me failing a quiz isn't the end of the world, it's just you know something from which we can learn. And if you don't learn anything from that failure, failed grade, then you really have failed. A quiz, okay, you're going to have other quizzes, you can pull up your grade but if you don't learn anything from it -- I'll tell them: This is how I used to learn vocabulary words, et cetera. After doing it I knew the word and the meaning and I even knew how to spell it. And you know what: I even want them to learn how to spell. If you can't spell-if you don't spell it right, that means it's wrong. You know. It's like right, wrong. Points off because- I go: You know, if you haven't spelled it right then it is wrong. So they know I want them to spell correctly so they spell correctly. So if they sometimes take my advice and try my way and sometimes they'll get a better grade and they'll say wow, yeah, I never did that before, this is helpful. And I want them to get some advice from their classmates, because if they can learn from their peers, it's going to be much more effective than if they get it from me. Weak or ineffective study skills involves my students perception of their grades. Before they take a quiz I go: You can all gets As and Bs on this. I know you've been studying. When the quiz is over and they give me their test, I go A, B? And they go: Maybe a C. And they get a 40 percent but they thought it was a C. What is that? Can you help me on that? What is that? If I think I got a C, I-normally I'm pretty close to, you know, my perception, I know how much I studied, I know how much I retained. But my students sometimes have a very hard time accurately predicting what their grades are going to be so that's something we need to work on too. For many reasons, many of which are still unknown to me, I'm misty tied. Many students come to me with a long list of assumptions, and you and I and parents and everybody who works with our deaf students and our hard of hearing students, we need to help them change these perceptions. My students think that if you have good reading and writing skills you're smart, and you don't have good reading and writing skills you're not smart. Oh yeah, that's Dave over there, he's smart. Good English. And I go wait a minute, you're smart. And he's like no, I'm not smart, I don't have good English. Some people who don't read and write well really can think well. And that helps them to say, oh, yeah, I do have something going on in my brain here even though I don't have good reading and writing skills. One of my favorites: If you ever want to see a student fall off his or her chair, tell the student that you will learn from them. No ways, you're the teacher. I tell them every semester I'm going to learn from you and based on what I learn from you I'll change my teaching accordingly, so I'll be a better teacher. I will learn from you. They think it's impossible. No, can't be, you're the teacher, I learn from you. Period. That's it. So that's another assumption we have to change. I'll be speaking later about dialogue journals, and a lot of times in the journals I'll ask the student to give me their opinion about something they read. They'll tell me about the reading, maybe a character, but. But they often leave out their opinion. And I'll either write it in the journal or when I give the journal back to them I'll ask them: Can you tell me why you didn't give me your opinion? I really do want to know what you think about this. What do you think? What about that character? Was he wise to do what he did? What do you think about that? They're really reluctant to give me their opinions. Maybe they didn't have good communication at home. So sharing opinions isn't common for them. I'm not sure the reason for that. But it is something I want to change because I do want them to feel like their opinions are valid. I do value what they have to say and I want them to know that. And again I think that's part of self-esteem also. I remember one time, I think it was my first year at the college in New Jersey, I had-used magazines, passed them out, asked the students to read a short article. And one student did just this. I looked at her, I said, you're done reading? Oh yeah I finished I read it I'm done. Did you understand what you read? No but I read, no but I'm done. And I said are there any words or ideas there that you didn't understand? Yeah yeah yeah but I read you told me to read, I read. So that willingness to do what's asked of them but not realizing that there's ha lot more to it than just putting your eyes on the paining. So I have a very basic lesson that results in a sea of guilty faces unfortunately when I teach them that reading means-when you read you should A understand, comprehend, and B retain the information. And if you read without comprehension and you read without retention, you really are wasting your time. And sometimes I try to get through to them through the back door because they're busy, I'm busy, everybody is busy. So I say you don't want to waste your time. You might not have time to read this 4 or 5 or 10 times. So when you read it, let's work on ways so that you can comprehend and retain the information. Because you really should be using your brain when you think, when you're reading. You really should be using your brain when you're writing. And maybe you've seen that where students get a writing assignment they write it and just turn it in, without revising, reading it again. Just write it and turn it in. So you know, I: Wait, wait, wait, wait, let's take this back. Let's see what we can do with this before it comes to me. Is it my job to find their mistakes? Of course, you're the teacher. You bet. Don't look at me. That's your job. All I had to do was the homework. Now you correct T so we'll talk later when we get to peer tutoring about assessments, writing assessments. Many of my students didn't get much homework before they came to college. Is that true for you, students don't get a lot of homework? You don't know? So-

SPEAKER 3: I have a short question. What is do you consider cultural when you're working with students that have reading background problems because often those hard of hearing come from another country or their families don't speak English in the home, et cetera. Do you take that into consideration when you're talking about having difficulty with the reading and vocabulary and all of that?

DIANNE FALVO: Most of my students are from America and most of their parents speak English but I understand your point. And I do have one student now who is from India. His reading skills are better than his writing skills. He works very hard are. But he's not writing very well at this time. Let me go back to-now I have to go back. You want to ask something?

SPEAKER 3: Let me just clarify just a little bit. Sign language, that's another language as well. So when you're trying to learn reading and writing English- sign language is another language. So they're learning two things at the same time. That impacts their reading. So that's what I think I'm trying to add is how do you work with that?

DIANNE FALVO: Okay. Okay. I view English as a second language for my students. American sign language is their first language. Some of the students come to the college and they're not skilled in ASL. So we've worked hard over the years to provide deaf culture and ASL classes for our deaf students so they can feel proud of their first language, so they can learn more about their first language, so they can learn more about deaf culture. Unfortunately for some of them it's the first time they've ever studied American sign language formally. If they went to a school for the deaf they might be fluent in ASL. If not, they may not. I realize ASL has no written form. Okay. Students who have a first language and can read and write in that first language will probably do better in their second language. Granted. That's a given. So for our students, what I recommend for our students whose first language is ASL, along with learning more about their first language, taking pride in who they are as deaf people, and the fact that they do have a first language which is very different from English, I asked them and expect them to do a lot of reading. A lot of reading. And we'll talk about that a little bit later. But our students, they don't really have access to read English until you read. You can sign all you want but that's not the English that we read. And for our students, the only way they're going to get more and more exposure to written English is to read English. That means of course you have to give them something that's comprehensible to them. Steve crash en talks about comprehensible input. Whatever it is. Comic books, anything, just get your students reading. And we'll talk a little bit about that later. Can I address the lady in the back?

DIANNE FALVO: Okay I was just asking if I had answered your question or if I had not addressed what you were asking me.

SPEAKER 3: No, but that's okay.

DIANNE FALVO: Well if I don't do it during these two hours can you and I talk separately? Students sometimes think when they're finished with their homework they're done with everything they need to do for college. I talk about reviewing, reading your class notes, studying, re lead reading articles, stories, whatever it is. And is that I expect nem this do after they're done with their homework. That's very hard because many of our students never finish their homework. And this is above and beyond their homework. So that's something we have to work on. Are there any other questions before I go on right now? How can we change those assumptions it takes a lot of class time to talk about them. While we're talking about all these things about study habits and throwing out all of these ideas that are incorrect, it is using up class time. But we do have to do a lot of encouragement, a lot of repeated encouragement, reminding them repeatedly the things we need to do. And now they say-now they say when they're done with a quiz: Did she ask you if you got an A or a B? Yeah, she always want to know if you think you got an A or B. But I think repetition is important. And I think for them to realize repeatedly that I expect a lot from them, I think that is important. And I really want my students to take risks. I really want them to try, go beyond where they've been before. Because I don't think if they-I think if they if they stay with what they've used in the past, I think they're going to do poorly in college. So we need to do a lot to change some of those old habits and assumptions. So a lot of what I'm going to talk about today is reading and writing. And reading is a very complex process. It isn't easy. It's not easy for hearing children, it's even harder for deaf children when they have never heard the language. So I'm giving you a couple quotes from authors, researchers, what they have said about what reading is. For us to process written information there are mainly two models that people have researchers have looked at over the years: The top down model where what we bring to the text is in our heads all the background knowledge, all of the knowledge we have in the world, all of that we bring to the text and we get meaning from what's on the page based from what's in our heads. And then there's the bottom up model where researchers say: Really it's the text that provides the information it's not us. We have to decode what we see on paper. And from that de coding we get meaning. But a lot of researchers and scholars are pretty much convinced now that it's a combination of both. What we bring, what we have in our heads, what we de code on the page we use both of them together when we're reading. So how can we get students to read independently? How can we get students to read a lot? Many of my students come to class, come to college, and they have never read a book in their lives. Not one. I think that's appalling. Many of them have told me they've never written a sentence before. I want them to write paragraphs and essays, and they say I never had to write a sentence before. I had a study sheet, it was missing a word, I put in the word and I went onto the next activity. I think that's appalling. But you know that's the card I'm dealt that's what I have to deal with, that's maybe what you have to deal with. So we have a lot of work to do we have to build up our students and build up their skills at the same time. And if we were starting e, if I were talking about six-year olds instead of 18 or 20 year olds, it would be a hard job. Somebody told me it takes 21 days to change a bad habit. Not mine. I think it takes a lot longer to change a bad habit than 21 days. And that's even when I'm trying. So we're talking about-we're talking about habits that are ingrained, but we have to help our students change them. So I ask my students to do a lot of reading. I want them to have a reading habit. We do some reading in class. I expect them to do some reading at home. And when we read in class, I read in class too. And when they write about what they read I write about what I read. And we'll talk about that a little bit later. Whatever my students are reading they choose, if it's a novel or biography, it's a book of their choice, whatever level it is, I really don't care what level it is. They choose a book that they want. I'm already into this. They choose a book that they want. And if they don't like it, if it's too hard if they thought it was going to be about something and it didn't really seem as interesting after they thought read it as they thought it would be. I tell them change your book immediately don't wait it's okay you don't have to finish the book if you don't like it just find another book. I have hundreds of books, if you don't find a book from me, some-a friend, book is it store, library, whatever, get a book that you like. Do you want to get the mic?

SPEAKER 3: Those students that you mentioned that never read a book before do you have to back up a step and teach them how to pick out a book? The students that I have that have never read a book before will pick out a book that should be at their level but they can't read it but they will never tell me that. So how do you deal with that?


DIANNE FALVO: Well first I say what are you interested? Do you like sports do you like love stories, do you like movies, do you like famous people? First find something you're interested in and we'll talk it from there. And then they'll check and see if I have any books that they like. And then if they start a book and then they're writing about it, and I don't read their books so I don't always really know if what they're writing is what really happened in the book. And I tell them all the time though, if you're stuck on something in the book, ask me about it. Give it to me, I'll read that page, read that chap chapter and help you with it. But really if it's too hard for you, change the books and it's okay. And sometimes it takes them a while to change their book and sometimes they don't want to change their book. But I'll ask them: Is this too hard for you? Maybe I'll guide them to some of the are books I have that I think are easier that they may like. One student-one student went to the library and got a children's book and it really was a children's book it had three sentences on a pain. And I thought that was fine, he was being very honest with himself, he was reading something he could understand. And then I was told those books they took out of the library, they can't understand those books. Et cetera. So I'll show them some of the books that are a little easier and see if that will help them. So we always write about what we read in a dialogue journal. I'll ask them to summarize about what heave read, tell me about the characters, tell me their opinions about what it is they've read. And then I have to decide how many times a week I'm going to ask them to read. Sometimes I ask them to read seven days a week, three or five pages a day. Well for somebody whose never read, that might be too much. It might be overwhelming to them. It might take them an hour to read three pages. And I tell them this isn't for-I don't want you to stop and look up every word. So using the dictionary, I wouldn't even-I try and get the meaning of the new words and try and get a general idea of the book. That's what this goal is here. But if it doesn't work, if you think that's too much, well, now I'm down to 4. As soon as we get into class everybody opens up a book and we read and then we write with about it. And when we're done, normally one day, I'll choose one student and say: Why don't you tell us what you're reading about in your book. And then the next day another student. And then the next day I'll tell them what I'm reading about in my book. And they remember. I was reading bleak louse last December by Charles Dickens. And they were very impressed. They said what's employing on in your book? That's wonderful. Not that they're going to turn around and read bleak house at this point, it's pretty long. But they get different ideas for books from their classmates. Are you done with that book? Maybe I'll read that book when you're done. So that's a wonderful thing. We always read magazines, news magazines, celebrity magazines. Sometimes I choose an article for them to read and sometimes they choose articles. The if they choose articles they have to give me the article so I can read it and see if what they're writing about the writing is really in the article. And I comment on T sometimes it is one or two words, one or two sentences that they misread in the article that skews their understanding of the article. One student said to me, she wrote in her journal, she wrote about her book, I think she was reading a simplified version of a Henry James novel. She wrote in her book after her summary: Thank you for giving me the habit of reading. I never read before all the time. Thank you. Boy, I lived on that for a month. And another student, she's giving me her journal so. I could mark my little points off that she had done the work. And she put the journal on my desk and she said can I have this back today? I said sure. And she says, well I want to read and write on my way home. So for students to start doing those things that didn't do them before, that's beautiful. They're changing. A lot of times the changes they make are not because of what I say, it's because of what their peers say. So in that case, less let's use what the peers say. Peer tutoring can be very formal, you can hire tutors, et cetera. If they're an English comp and they're working with students in pre-freshman English. Whenever you can have a formal situation where peers tutor others for money, that's wonderful. That's wonderful for the students to see that deaf students who may not be that much older than they are skilled enough to help the students that aren't as skilled. That's a wonderful thing. But peer tutoring can be very simple. It can be the students explaining something in class or talking about an article and one student says no no no that's not what happened. Here's what the article says. This is my favorite. I think I'm signing clearly, I think I'm explaining everything very nicely, and I can still see a student, you know, with that. What are you talking about? What are you saying? And then I try to see if there was somebody else who understood what I meant and ask him to explain it to the student who didn't understand, you know. It's wonderful. It's wonderful. Because whatever it was I was doing, whether it's my signing, my word choice, whatever it was to cause that student not to understand, this other student was able to get through to him. And I just back off. Thank you. I'll give you some of my pay, et cetera. So it's a wonderful idea to make use of the skills of the students in the classroom. Because a lot of times they don't think they're skilled enough they don't think they have knowledge. I think they have a lot of knowledge. They know a lot of things about the computer and Internet that I don't know. So whenever we can make use of the knowledge that they have, I say go for it. We want them to feel good about themselves. For a long time they felt they didn't know enough and they were never going to succeed. So whenever we can have them show that they can do that and share that and help somebody else and they can help me too, you know, I'm all for that are. Changing of the guards. I spoke earlier about students writing, writing a paragraph or writing an essay and just turning it. They don't want to look at it, correct it, that's your job. I don't want to have to see it again. So what I do is based on work I did in the past at Gallaudet's Northwest campus and based on work I've been doing since, I came up with a million different assessment forms. I love forms. I have assessment forms for everything, no matter what kind of writing we're doing, you name it I have a form for it. I have a variety of forms. I see if the students like T I use them, the students use them, they grade each other, they score themselves. And when the Powerpoint presentation is finished I'll go through some of the writing assessments I'll use and do that on the overhead. So rather than go back and forth from the Powerpoint to the overhead, I'll just using the use the overhead and then we'll talk about the other handouts. Students don't find it easy to assess another student's writing. So they're initially reluctant to do it. They look at the paper, and if I just say here, grade this paper, what do you think of this paper? Without any guidance or guidelines, what would they look for? Word spelled wrong, grammar's wrong. But I give them an organized way of scoring papers, judging their peers, judging themselves, so it's not just I have to look for every single kind of mistake. Because we don't. We look at content first and then organization and then grammar and I just had a good thought and I lost it but maybe it will come back to me. Oh okay it came back to me. A lot of times students are not only reluctant to score somebody else's paper or read somebody else's paper they're a little reluctant to let other people read their own writing. And I always ask them first if you are comfortable sharing with somebody else, fine. If you would rather not have anybody see your writing that's fine too. Either way it's fine. I certainly don't mind either way it's totally up to the student if he wants to share his writing or not. And I've found that there are some students that just go through the checklist or whatever I have for the assessment form, check check check check check check check. Okay done. But there are other students who really look carefully. And we'll score papers together first. And some of them really take time to think about what I'm asking in each of the areas and what it is they're trying to assess. And I don't ask for this, but they'll even write sentences for feedback. And I thought: Whoa! That's more than I'm asking. Go for it, you know. So sometimes they're right on the money. Sometimes their suggestions aren't the best. Sometimes they just sit together and start talking about what's in the papers. I think that's wonderful. I try to eavesdrop on them a little bit and give them some feedback. We have a Microsoft chat program on our computers. We're lucky, thanks to Josie Durkow. We have a network of computers so all of our students have a computer and we can talk on the network so we can talk to each other. And we get on the chat program. And sometimes it really just is chat. Bring if reading book, bring this writing book, and we'll talk about it. And of course they just want to chat. Very nitty-gritty. Chat means whose having a party Saturday night? Et cetera. I can always try and bring them back. A lot of times I use the chat program not as a free writing but for a way to. For them to assess each other's grammar. It's Thursday, 3:30 here, tome afternoon my students will be doing this with a sub. They're going to be working on a chat program. And I give a topic. Normally the topic I give for the chat program-I'm hoping it will elicit the types of grammatical structures. If we're reviewing future tense I'm going to ask them to tell me about their summer plans. And after we chat for maybe 15 or 20 minutes then I print it, I get a print out for everybody and their homework is to correct the grammar. And some students love that. They love that. Because they're reading, they're rereading what they did in class. And sometimes they're asking me questions: Is this what you mean? And sometimes they say no that's not what Diane meant, here, she's asking you to answer that question. And I ask them to tell me in 4 or 5 sentences the answer. So I real try to get them to tell me at least in 4 or 5 sentences. And they ask each other what their teaching and we end up getting 20 pages of a printout. And they all take that home and correct the grammar. The goal: I want to see how well you corrected it, see if you missed some things. So I go around the room with the students and I see how they corrected it. If they missed something if they did correct something that really was a mistake if they found something, a spelling error that I didn't really see. And some of them really like that. And sometimes I give it back to them for another day. And I say take it back again, see if you can find more. But of course they say to me: You're not going to give me a grade for this aren't you going to give me points? I did it. Yes? Microphone.

SPEAKER 3: I don't mean to throw you off or anything. I find that when the students are writing a paper they go off topic so often.


SPEAKER 3: They can have a conversation ASL they're off the topic. When we're talking about the dog we're always on the dog. But when we're putting something down on paper they're talking about the dog and the cat and the party last sat day night.

DIANNE FALVO: I think first if students don't read a lot they don't have a lot to write about. So I find that the better writers are the better readers. And I tell them: I must have magic or something because I can take two papers in front of me and I can tell you whose a better reader and who reads more just by looking at what they write. I can tell by the word choice, by the topics, by the details, I can tell who reads more. And so I often talk about reading in relation to writing and writing in relation to reading, that if you can-if you read a lot, you have a lot to say. If you don't read a lot you're not going to have as much to say first of all. Secondly if we're talking about-if the essay is about-

SPEAKER 3: Culture.


SPEAKER 3: Uh-huh.

DIANNE FALVO: Okay. If the essay is about culture it depends on what aspect of culture. I mean we could talk about a million things with culture. We could talk about cultural norms we could talk about arrest culture whatever. There are a whole rot of things you can talk about in culture. So if the topic has been specific, and you have ha controlling idea, then you have limits on what you're going to say about culture. So what I'll /-L always do is we'll work on two different outlines about culture but with a totally different topic sentence if it's only a paragraph. Okay this topic is about people cooping to America and having culture shock. Rather than this is how we pass down culture from one generation to the next and then they write an outline. It's not just culture, you know, it's culture. It's more limited. And if you can get them to see that, and part of that is through the assessment process and when you analyze the content of what they write. But part of it is: Something comes to mind about culture, I'll write that, whether or not it's related. But I have to go back farther than that and get my students to see: Once you write an outline, that is what you use to write your paragraph. A lot of them didn't know that. When I first started teaching I never included that in my explanation of how you go from an outline to a paragraph. Or how you go from an outline to an essay. Because I assumed that that was a given. Of course you're going to use your outline, that's why you did it. But for some students who have never written paragraphs or essays before that isn't a given. So I tell them: Which one would you rather write about? Then we talk about all the possible things that could be in this one and all the things that can't be in this one. All the ideas that can be in this paragraph and all the ideas that can't be in this paragraph. But I get that that from them. I don't just stand there and tell them I don't just bring up: Okay. Children, telling stories. Once I pull that from them and get them to see what's relevant and what's not, that sometimes helps. Course project. These are fun sometimes. These are always a lot of work. So if you're going to do any course projects, and they can be something that you plan in an hour and the students do in one class period or they can be something grandiose that you know spans a month or a semester. But if you're going to do course projects we need to decide first if they're going to be individually or as a group. I like collaborative projects. My students seem to favor individual ones. And I think that's because compromise is hard. You know, have you ever worked as a committee, and you have some tasks to get done, and somebody has an idea and you might not like the idea but you might be the only one who doesn't like the idea so the idea gets passed through. And you're sitting there like oh, I didn't really like that, but you have to go along with it. Well I think a lot of our work experience is done collaboratively. It's very rare we do everything in ice lace. So I like my students to get that experience of working with other people and seeing what it's like to have opinions, first of all I have my own opinion, you have your own opinion and we're going to work together and compromise. That's very hard for them sometimes. So I think they tend to like individual more than collaborative. Sometimes our students see reading-this is what I do in reading. Okay. Of the next day: Writing. This is what I do in writing. And then the next day grammar. And never the 3 shall meet. Separate, separate, separate. This is reading, this is writing, this is grammar. No overlap. All separate. So when you do projects, you almost have to read and write. You almost have to. So there's always going to be that overlap of reading and writing. And the more students see that reading and writing do overlap-when you read better, you write better. When you understand grammar better you understand the structure of sentences better, et cetera. So all of these things do overlap. And the more they see that the better. And projects is a wonderful way for students to see that without you saying: Okay, reading and writing and grammar overlap. I think it's much better for you to do this while they're doing something else so they don't even realize they're getting practice in reading and writing at the same time. I like projects because it encourages students to think, it encourages them to do things independently without me. And it encourages them to rely on somebody else in said of me. And a collaborative project could be something you just do in class. It may not be something that extends over a week or month or semester. It might be something that you hand out in one day and you're going to finish in an hour. But the two students or three students have to work together. And I find invariably when I do that, when I give class time to work on short projects or give class time to work on long projects. The students inevitably will turn to me and ask me: And I always have the same answer: Ask your partner. I bet your partner knows. I bet your partner can find out. I bet you know. Why don't you talk it over. I bet you know. And they may not trust their knowledge they may not trust the amount of knowledge that their partner has. But the moment we can get them to see you really can get information out of your head, you do have something in there, I think the better it is. Whenever we have long projects, I have to get the students to do a certain amount of work in a certain amount of time. Part A, one or two weeks. Part B one or two weeks. Part C one or two weeks. Otherwise, the night before the project is due they're doing something incomplete and unacceptable. I actually have students come to me on the day it's due after a week and say: I didn't know how to do that. Wait a minute, you had a whole week for this. Now it's late. You can't do part B until part A is done. Now you're late. Oh, I should have asked you last week. Yeah, you should have asked me last week. So we have though catch him up before you. Can go into part B. So if you have long projects, I definitely cut them up into parts. And it really does take a lot of time on my part too, definitely on my part. I'm going to talk about a couple different projects I've done, and the ones I've brought here these are pretty much long term projects. They take at least a few weeks, some a month. And one of them I brought with me and when this Powerpoint presentation is done we'll talk about it and look at it on the overhead. Okay. Movies are a great way to get students to read captions and to get them to write and analyze grammar and character analysis and all that wonderful stuff. They love movies. When I give a movie project though I do choose to give them a list of movies. I might choose 4 or 5 movies that I think have a wonderful moral and hope that they see it too. Actually this semester I'm doing something a little different, and that is to analyze the grammar of the script. We're doing it with the chat program at my college. I can do this with a movie script too. Hopefully-I'm going to have each student do a different part of the movie so they're not analyzing the same part of the script. And this is going to take probably one month. We'll do a little bit each week. You can predict, you can make it visual, you can have one student analyze another character. Another student analyze another character. And it doesn't just mean that they're reading the captions on the movie. We do movie reviews. We pull them up on the Internet. They look at movie reviews of other movies they've ready read. So there is a lot more reading involved, not just the reading of the captions. Of course I can't do anything without books. So you know I'm going to have a project about books, always. Sometimes it's a biography and other times it's a novel. And we talk about different literary elements of stories and books so we'll put those in. I ask them to read back reviews. Character analysis. Have them summarize, have them do some predicting. Sometimes when we read a book in there and they're done with all of the what really happened in the story then we take it one step further and I ask them to predict, to write at least two typed pages what happens next. I've asked them to do that with movies and books actually. If you were going to continue this story, what would happen next? Mostly people get married. That's what mostly happened happens. People get married they live happily ever after and nobody dies. My students don't like to have people dying at the end of their stories. That's okay with me. Is anyone familiar with Alverno College in Milwaukee, Wisconsin? If your school does a lot with assessments and you have to do core assessments without a lot of testing, if you're judging students by what they know through assessments and not what they know by tests, learning. This is the college, Alverno College in Milwaukee, this is the college you must visit. Twice a year I think they have workshops in how to include assessments into your program. And back in probably the '70s, probably the '70s, they started revamping their entire college. This is a Catholic girls school. And back in the '70s they thought that their female students were not graduating knowing their strengths and knowing their weaknesses. And so they decided to have an outcomes based curriculum. Outcomes meaning-outcomes regarding communication, reading, writing, computer skills, citizenship skills. They had a big long list of skills they wanted their students to have. And they had different levels at each of these skills. And they revamped their entire curriculum. And they literally got rid of teachers who weren't willing to teach in this way. And it is a real big difference because there are no tests, there are no grades. But the students learn an awful lot and the students are very confident and mature. And at the beginning of the workshop the first day I was there they show you the girls when they start college and they had to do some presentation or something and they show you these girls fumbling and nervous and you know terrible speaking skills and trying to give some kind of presentation. And then at the end they show you these women giving a presentation after just one year at the college and you just cannot imagine the difference in these young women, how much they know, how much they know about their strengths and weaknesses and it's because of assessments. And what they do is they have essay assessments in class, some are individual, a lot are peer, and they also have outside assessments, where people from the community come to the college sit in this big room and they watch the girls, women, they are women by this point, they watch the women go through a project, and they have a task to accomplish. And they have probably no more than an hour to do it and there's about five in this group and they choose a leader, they choose a secretary, they have ha task, they work on it, and in an hour they're done. And then they go and they meet with an assessment, because the assessors arrange the room are watching one student and taking notes on that student and will sit with that student and will tell her what she did well and what she needs to improve on. And they do these kinds of things all through their college career. And if I have a daughter I would do whatever it took for her to go to al Vern no college. If I had to go to college again I would go. Alverno College in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. One of the assessments I witnessed was the girls looking at pictures of the United States. I think they were given 20, 50 pictures, and they had to choose ten. They had to choose ten because in their hands they each had a letter which I'm sure was contrived from someone from a student abroad and that student was supposedly going to come to America. And when that student came to America he had a goal. He was either going it come to college here, take a job here, visit, he was going to vacation. And so the girls had to pick pictures to send, the same pictures, all these five people from around the world were going to get the same pictures of the United States. They were allowed to pick ten. And from all the pictures of the United States they were given they had to choose ten that they thought would best exemplify what they thought we are in the United States based on what that person wanted to come to this country for. And they did it in an hour. And then I watched while this outside assess or sat down with these women and told them what they did well, what they needed to work on. .

SPEAKER 3: I need some clarification. So the girls had the letter, they read the letter, and then they as a group chose ten places-

DIANNE FALVO: Ten pictures.

SPEAKER 3: Ten pictures out of however many. And then they did what with those pictures?

DIANNE FALVO: That was the picture they were going to send to each student. They didn't really send it. But what they had to do was then type up a little letter and here are your pictures and here are the reasons we sent your pictures to you.

SPEAKER 3: Okay. And so the observer, the assessor is observing how they go about agreeing how the package will look and-

DIANNE FALVO: How they interact, if they take over, if they allow for interaction, if they say nothing, if they say too much, if they force their opinions on the others. If they listen to other opinions. The assess or has a big long checklist of what he's looking for.

SPEAKER 3: So these assessors are trained.


SPEAKER 3: So they all are consistent.

DIANNE FALVO: And actually some of the assessors are former Alverno students who come back because they want to give something back to the college. But some of them are men so of course have never been to the college. Bu they might be business men from the community, et cetera. And I don't think they get paid to do this. But they do have a large number of people who are willing to be outside assessors. It's really wonderful, wonderful outcomes based program. And if you ever get the opportunity, I think in June they have a one day or two day workshop and then in the school year they have a four or five day workshop. It's well worth your time and money. I think back in the '90s when I was there it was pretty much a $1500 deal to go for about 4 or 5 days but it's well worth the money. For any teacher who is experiencing burnout, if you go to al Vern no and see what they're doing with assessment and outcomes based learning and see these students achieve at every level, and guide them through their course work- they'll take a course in citizenship if they're not doing that well in citizenship. Hears a here's a course that will-et cetera. Some teachers don't do well with that. Some teachers just want to lecture. Those teachers just can't stay at al Vern no. So all of your daughters maybe will be Alverno graduates. It's a wonderful program. So I created my letters I didn't go home with any of their materials but I did go home with their idea. And of course another way to do this is have them create letters, have them write letters. And I gave them a bunch of ask pictures and I gave them-and of course it was part A and part B and they had time to do every part of this project because this took a long time. And first they worked individually. And what they did was they chose-I think I had it five and five. I think I only gave them 10 pictures. Choose five pictures that you will send to these people and write why you want them to get these pictures. And that leaves five you didn't include. So tell why you didn't include those five pictures. And then when you're done with that, then you meet with your partner and then you agree on the same five to keep and the same five to get rid of. And invariably they haven't made-they don't have the same lists, so again they have to compromise. And it's very hard for them. It's very hard. But I think it's a good exercise in learning how to-not just interact with people but complete a task, especially when the outcome might be something that you didn't choose. It's a wonderful idea and of course I can't say enough about Alverno. And ethical dilemmas is the project that I brought. And this I first heard about. This again is an idea I stole but it's not the exact wording, because I got this at this developmental conference in Delaware I went to two years ago. And I remember them talking about it's the famous stranded on an island, some people get away some people are stuck who goes, who stays. I did my own takeoff on that, part A, part B. Again, this one started out as an individual project, and then they had to work collaboratively with another student and agree first on some ethical problems, how they would solve some ethical problems, problems that I thought sort of related to their lives. And then the island, being stranded on an island, who gets to leave and who gets to stay. Do you have any questions about projects before we go on? We can talk more about this when I show you the overheads. Take a breather. For deaf and hard of hearing students to start working on being independent when they're 18 years old or older, it's late. It's late. I wish they had started being independent when they were younger. But, hey, I can't change the past. And sometimes they get mad about their past. Sometimes they sit down in front of me and say: Why didn't I learn this before? Why didn't I have this before? Now, they may have in some way, shape or form and they don't remember enough of it. You know, I'm not saying they never had some of these techniques. They may have. But all I can do is say: We can only go forward. You know, you might think it's a little late to start now but we can only go forward we can't go back we can't change what has happened to you in the past we can only go forward. Cathy wood at Gallaudet, I don't know if you're familiar with the dissertation she wrote. She analyzed literary stories of deaf students at Gallaudet. And they fell into two distinct groups. One group learned at an early age that they had to get information for themselves. If their parents told them something, if their teachers told them something, great. But they got information from themselves. And mostly it was through books. Mostly it was through reading. Unfortunately many of them turned to books because nobody in their family could sign. They came from a hearing family, nobody knew how to sign. And so books were just a very nice sew so lo escape for them. A sad reason for reading but one that's true nonetheless. These students by the time they got to Gallaudet had very good reading and writing skills. No big surprise; right? The other group always waited for somebody to give them information. Tell me, tell me, tell me. Like my student who didn't know about daylight savings time because her mother didn't tell her. These students depended and waited. Depended on other people and waited for other people to give them information. These students are weak readers and writers. They had been all their lives and they still are, even though they're college age. So Cathy's dissertation was such a wake up call for me, because as much as I emphasize reading it didn't dawn on me at the time, but it does now, that one very basic important fundamental necessary essential, whatever descriptors I can use, way for our students to become more independent is through reading. And it's not just reading in closing your magazine because you told me to read and I read. It's reading for understanding. Getting help when you need it. Finding help, getting help, understanding more, retaining information. And for a lot of our students they don't come to us with those skills. And so the more we give them those skills, the more we guide them into improving those skills, the more independent we can make our students. This morning the roles and goals 8 o'clock workshop which inspired me beyond belief I literally was crying for about two hours it was so wonderful to see successful deaf adults and the impact that the videotapes will have, have had, and will continue to have on deaf students who don't have high expectations for themselves, who aren't working independently. And as I said earlier, maybe when our students have strong goals for their future, that will be the impetus for them to become more independent and work harder and achieve their goals. To you remember-anybody else go to that this morning? Yeah. I think it was the pediatrician, Dr. Smith, Dr. Scott Smith who talked about-I wrote them down: Expectations, perseverance, empowerment and balance. And all of those together, you know, led him to be the independent caring, wonderful doctor that he is. And to see him with those children and have those young deaf children see what they can grow up to be, what better, what better example can we set for deaf people and our deaf students. I'm going to cry now too. So a lot of what we do is, I think, what we-or we can gear a lot of what we do to help our students be more independent. And when we do that, especially through reading and writing and having them while they're in school realize that they can do a lot for themselves. We can- we'll only be helping them. There is a consultant named ed vi tally, Edmund vi tally. He wrote a grammar book called thinking your way through English grammar. And he came to Northwest campus when I worked at Gallaudet. And he said don't do anything for your students that they can do for themselves. Don't give them big long lists of vocabulary words and meanings. They can do that. Yes they have a hard time with the dictionary, they may misunderstand the meanings, they have a hard time with words in context, but they can do it. It's still something we can help them do for themselves. And Ed Vitilly's words have stayed with me through the years. Because when I'm already to give something to my students I look at it and go: Wait a minute am I giving them too much? Isn't this a project that they could do together and I'll just give them the Framework? And sometimes when I do group work, especially if I'm doing a grammar project, where I'm asking the students to figure out a grammar rule, I'll give them sentences, and the sentences have the rule there and they have to figure out what the rule is. I can remember this one time student in a group of three, he looked at me and said I can't do this, I'm very frustrated, I don't know what you want. I can't do this. And I said I don't want you to be frustrated. Bu go to your partners for help. You know, if all three of you are stuck I'll come over and help you. But I'll bet they have an idea of what to do. So if you can just put your frustration aside for one moment, just try and get some help from your partners. And at the end of the class they left smiling. And it wasn't because of me because I never went over and helped them. I can't do it. They did T they solved the grammar problem they did it themselves. And another group, it wasn't on the homework list but another group said I didn't finish this grammar project, I'm going to do this first, I'm going to do this for homework. I said o oh my good god it's not on the list, et cetera. So it is hard for them it is a challenge for to ask them to do something they've never done before. But it isn't too late. They can do it. And the building of their self-esteem is immeasurable. When you see those smiles on their faces, how many students leave English class smiling? I can explain it to somebody else because I figured it out. So the more we can guide them the better. So this is what education is to me: Learning what you didn't even know you didn't know. And sometimes our students they don't know what they don't know. But I have to find out what they don't know and then from that I have to go from there. And they have to find out what they don't know. But in doing so I think they find out a lot about what they already do know but they're just not confident enough to realize it so we have to bring that out in them. To make a permanent difference in the life of a child. I read this quote when I was a child I don't know who wrote it, I don't know what book it came from but I've never forgotten it. Because it's always been an inspiration to me if I can help one student read more, if I can get one student to do something better for himself. If I can get one student to assess a paper before he gives it to me. If I can get one student to say: I can do this for myself. I don't need your help. Or just toll me. Give me a little guidance and then I'm going to go ahead and do this for myself. If I can get one student to do that, I can live on that for a month I can live on that for a semester if I have to. Because this, this is it. This is why we stay in the field. We want them to be better people and we can make them better people. And I'm hoping with some of the projects and the tutoring and reading and writing I've talked about, I'm hoping that we can guide our students to be more independent. And if you want to continue, it's now 4:05, something like that. I'm going to look at the handouts, and we'll look at some of the assessment forms materials and then we'll look at the project and then I'll walk you through some of this stuff we've done there. Do you have any questions before we go to the overheads?

SPEAKER 3: I know a lot of deaf people have a fear or kind of a block to writing, to even get started. So how do you encourage them to even start coming up with ideas?

DIANNE FALVO: Free writing I'll give them topics either on the chat program or in a journal that never get corrected. And if I tell them this is a free writing exercise, it's just so you can get something out on paper. And often the free writing exercise is based on something we're about to read. So in January when you read about Martin Luther King, I might say: Our free writing exercise, tell me everything you know about Martin Luther King. You know, write for five minutes, write for ten minutes. And maybe it's just that we get a day off in January for Martin Luther King day. Some students don't know anymore than that. Okay. He's not going to write very much. But it often is related to something we're going to read about. But it's not corrected. And it's kept. And I like to do this free writing before we read, and then after we read about Martin Luther King we might read three or four articles, we of course go to the Martin Luther King celebration that our college has every year and then they write about what they know about Martin Luther King after they're done reading and talking about him. And then they compare the free writing that we did and talked about it from the free writing they did at the end. And I don't care if it's good grammar, organized well, if there's not one period on the paper, that's not my goal for free writing exercises. So there are a lot of students who think approximate until I can write a perfect sentence, I can't write anything. And we have to get them over that block. And varieties of free writing exercises help them just express themselves. There are times when I use dialogue journals and don't have a topic all. I just give them a journal and say tell me something that's on your mind. Sometimes they really write a lot because sometimes they have a lot on their minds. And that I have to warn you sometimes gets very personal and I as their teacher can't help them with that because I'm not their counselor. So I steer them away from that and guide them, et cetera. Some of them will write pages and pages, some of them will write two or three sentences. If they have written one page I answer with one page and then I model correct sentences, so they may not-they may have subject verb agreement errors or past tense errors or irregular verb errors. So I'll use the same verbs, I'll use the same tense that they used. I never say you had a wrong verb here because the goal again is free writing. But I'll model the correct grammar and then I'll write as much as they D and there are plenty of opportunities for students to write where we revise and edit but free writing is not one of them. Okay. I'm going to go to-I'm going to try and turn this off now. Let's see what I can do here. I'm going to take the first content organization and grammar assessment form. That will be the first thing I look at. Okay when I worked at Gallaudet's Northwest campus yes?

SPEAKER 3: Can you focus that better?

DIANNE FALVO: Oh, sure. It seems okay to me. Sorry. Is that better? Okay. Do I need to move it though? It's a little off. Okay with the help of ed vi tally who was our consultant for reading and writing, we decided that-we realized that writing is an enormous task and you can't just look at everything at once. Especially because we wanted the students to learn how to assess themselves. So we came up with-we didn't come up with this, we went to a lot of conferences went to a lot of workshops did a lot of reading, ed helped us out and we decided to look at-content, organization and grammar. And then I've kept these and my students know these as COG, you know. COG. And though my assessment forms have changed over the years I don't use the exact forms we used at Gallaudet any longer, I've changed them and I have different forms for comparison contrast and process analysis and cause effect. I use a variety of forms and I change them and I let my students use a variety of forms and see which ones they like. But when we're analyzing the content it's focus, support, and audience. Okay. The main idea, the thesis, the topic sentences. And with content we look to see that things are accurate, relevant and adequate. Enough ideas, correct ideas, and that they're related. And this is what you were talking about earlier, I'm sorry I don't know your name J.

SPEAKER 3: Nancy.

DIANNE FALVO: Okay. Are they off the point. Are they relevant? Are their ideas relevant or irrelevant? So this basic thing that was revised backs in 1993 at Northwest campus, I used this in some way, shape or form. Like I said I'm always changing my forms but I use this basic COG form. And then the audience. Okay. Do you have enough information for your audience: Hook, background information, are the ideas you're using appropriate for your audience? Okay before we go onto organization, let's turn and look at content. Okay. This is a new form I just played with this last week. So you see at the top it's just for content and then I remind everybody that it's focus, support and audience. And then the title of the essay- this is an essay not a paragraph. And wrote it. Who the author is. And who is assessing it. Is it a student, a peer, is it me who is doing it? And of course because it's content, it's draft 1. And I like 20 points for an essay. I have another form we'll go to later and it's 100 points. 100 points for content. 100 points for organization. You can use as many points as you like. I happen to like 20. And then you can decide on the number of points you want to assign for each of these areas. Of course you're going to assign more on-if you're going to have 50 points of course each of these areas would have more. And then I determine how many points-if I think a good hook is worth 2 points. And then I'll give the student a score, 0, one or two. Background information, 0, one or two. And. So this just matches pretty much the components of essays form. And if you like 5 points for each of these areas, go for it, depending on how many points you want to have at the end. And then major supporting ideas, minor supporting ideas. Keeping in mind that each of these, all of these should be relevant, accurate and adequate. In each of these cases. And there are other forms I have which actually have those words on them. So it depends if you want something simple like this, you want something more complex. It depends on the level of the student, how much they are willing to assess, how well they are at assessing, you may start with a simple form and later in the semester give them a harder form. And then the audience: How is their vocabulary, how are their structures? Of course you can change this, you can put hook and background information in here. You can do a lot of things with this. And this of course is what I'm using now, might not use it next week. Like I said, my total is 20. And then we'll see what the students get. And this is fairly easy. It's not a complicated one. And it follows the components form. So the students can look at the components and fill out this form at the same time. And what I like to do is have either the student himself assess his paper and then I assess his paper. And if he uses red ink, I use black ink. If he uses an X, I use a check. If he's doing this, I'll have his numbers and my numbers. And so we'll see how many he would assess it, and how many points the peer or the student himself versus how many points I would give him. So this is the content form. Okay. Back to the organization, the components of essays form. Okay. And then we look at organization. And the three sections here are beginning/end, grouping, and continuity. Does it have a title, introduction and a conclusion? Beginning/end. Are the major and minor ideas in the right paragraph? Do they group well? Continuity: Do they flow well? Are they in the right order? Are there transition words used? And then the form that parallels that one is: Organization. Beginning and grouping and continuity. And this is not relevant, accurate or adequate but just: Are these things in the right order? That's all this is. Organization. And this is-this is what's in the beginning and the end, the title, the hook, the background, the thesis. The major supporting ideas and the minor supporting ideas. Are they in the right paragraph? And then continuity. Are they in the right-do they flow nicely? If we're talking about somebody's life are we talking about from the time he was young to the time he is grown up? Do the ideas flow nicely? Are there transition words used? So this again follows the components form. So if the student has a components form he can pretty much score himself or score his peer based on what he reads on the components form and based on this assessment form. And back to the components form for grammar. And much to their chagrin, grammar is more than just grammar, it's also spelling, it's also choosing the right word, it's also having a variety. That's how we saw it anyway when we decided to come up with this form. Because I would have students who would write about a student and they would write some student some student some students some students over and over again. And so you know that's the point where we know we need to have some more announce for people. You know, let's put up occupations, let's put up what people do for a living, let's put up where people go, spectators, pedestrians, a lot of different announce: Children, parents, so they don't use people people people, students students students over and over again. So we look at whether the grammatical features are used correctly, punctuation, capitalization. If the words and spelling don't interfere with the meaning. And if there is a wide variety: Words, phrases, clauses, sentences. And then based on that, we go to this little assessment form. And this is draft 3. And we find out who is assessing, ask then they go for it. And it follows the components form. Very simple. Do you have any questions about this form? I like it. It's easy. It's 20 points. Boom boom boom boom. You know, no title? Zero. What do you mean zero? And the nice thing about this is they know exactly where 3 made a mistake. They know exactly what they did right and what they did wrong. And after using forms for a while I ask the students: What do you think is your strength in writing? And they actually go: Uh, COG. Oh! And I think for a lot of our students oh is the easiest for them. And content, in order to have good content you have to do a lot of reading. Good grammar, you have to undo a lot of bad habits you had for years and years.

SPEAKER 3: So do the students get these forms when they start the paper so they can compare-

DIANNE FALVO: Yeah. We would do these together first. I'll have an essay and we'll do this together before they do it. So we're looking at an essay and they go okay, we're going to grade this essay first. So they get some practice with an essay. And I'll give them an essay that has no errors or not so bad and then I'll give them an essay that has errors.

SPEAKER 3: So they practice before they even start their own papers.

DIANNE FALVO: Yes. And then they go oh look that one doesn't have any thesis or look that hook is off the point. So you give them that first so they have some models.

SPEAKER 3: Okay. Thanks.

DIANNE FALVO: Okay. If that was easy, here is the opposite. This is worth 100 points. Look at this. Objection again it's content, so it's draft 1. And in this detailed one that's worth 100 points, I throw in the words adequate, accurate, relevant, wherever I can get them in there. And each of these areas I have 5 points so it goes up to 100. And it's still though it's following the information that's in the components form. And if your students aren't really writing major ideas and minor ideas then you would just change this and say support or you know supporting details. If you're students at a place where they know the difference between major and minor supporting details, great, make use of that. But this I think is harder. Much more detailed. And if you don't want it to be 100 points it does the have to be 100 points. It can be whatever you want. The beauty of the forms SP they are on the computer and you can change them just like that. [Snapping fingers.] And this just happens to be a-an essay that has two main ideas. You know, if you're going to have an essay where the students are writing three main ideas, well then you have to have a different form because you have to assess each of the paragraphs in the body. And a lot of times with-and I'm pretty much in most of the essays my students write, two paragraphs in the body is enough. Pretty much the only time I really want them to do three paragraphs is when they're doing process analysis and writing steps, step 1, step 2, step 3. A lot of the writing books have 3 steps or more. Sometimes have 5 steps. But I'm happy with 3. And then at the end of that-no. And then the conclusion. So if the student gets a zero or gets a 1 or gets a 5, he knows exactly where his strengths are and exactly where his weaknesses are. Writing is not my favorite thing to teach. I have to say I would much rather teach reading than writing so I have to find ways to make this hopefully fun for everybody and easy for everybody. And if you just say here, score this paper-but when you give the students guidelines and they understand what each of the terms then and what you're looking for in COG, then the task is broken down. You're only looking for at content for one, you're only looking at organization for the next draft. And the only time I correct grammar if it isn't the third draft, if the grammar is so far off that it may skew the meaning, then I may change the grammar early on rather than the third. And then once again it just follows the components form. And the organization of course is where everything is. Where is it? Is the hook first, is the background information first? And this doesn't have to be. There are writing texts out there that like the background information first and the hook second. So fine. If that's what you like you know then you can switch them around. And again I made this to be 100 points and so each of these areas is 5. And again I have major and minor details but if you don't want to go that far you don't have to go that far. You can just say supporting details. But I also list here the transition words. Because a lot of times students will write, you know, the organization is pretty good but I have a hard time realizing when they're going to a new topic. And so I want transition words in there. And again this is just everything in order for organization. The grammar form-oh, yes, question? I don't have a specific grammar form here because the grammar form changes depending on what class I teach. The grammar form when it's not that general one that I used before the grammar form is whatever grammatical features we have already studied. So the grammar form my students have now has about ten different structures for one class and ten different structures for the higher class because it depends on what they've studied so far. So I can't just say anything, you know, it's very specific. It's core specific depending on what we've already studied. Okay. Any questions about assessment?

SPEAKER 3: Actually, it was just a comment that this same system works beautifully with masters level students too.

DIANNE FALVO: No kidding!

SPEAKER 3: The students at my class have to do a whole unit plan curriculum thing. And I put up this same kind of assessment, self assessment of ability to self assess. I put that up at the very beginning. So they know from the beginning what the various things, parts of the assessment will be.


SPEAKER 3: At the end, they assess it themselves, and then I assess it. And we talk about the differences. Sometimes they sit down with peers to work over that. Sometimes they do it more than once on their own. Or at my direction throughout.

DIANNE FALVO: Guidelines all along.

SPEAKER 3: They've had the outline since day 1. And I don't have to say to them: You know, you missed something entirely. They can see that for themselves.


SPEAKER 3: As soon as they go to assess it. Oh, gosh, I forgot the title, which master's students do too. So I love the system, it seems to work so well.


SPEAKER 3: I think across the board.

DIANNE FALVO: That's good to know. Okay. Now I have the project on ethics, understanding ethics. I don't know why I included this one. So I give the students two different problems and ask them to solve the problems, first individually and then as a group. And it's-it's not hard for them to do this individually. But the harder part is for them to come to a consensus once they get with the other students. And the first one is about a doctor who decides who is going it get an organ. And students say they always give the heart, whatever the organ is, they always give it to a younger person. 49 years old? Forget it. You die. Younger kid. Okay. I can deal with that. And the next problem is about a student cheating. And the reasons why he has to cheat and you know he's got the reasons, the excuses, whatever. And what the students think if he indeed had a good reason, if they caught him cheating, are they going to tell the teacher that they saw him cheat something you know he's got to work he's got to support his family, there's all these things going on, and most of the students say it's okay for him to cheat because of that. So very interesting. So then I ask them of course I can't not do any vocabulary I have to ask them to guess what ethics means based on what they've done. And. Very simple. Part A so they get something related to their lives, before they get part B which is of course stranded on an island, who stays and who goes back. It's that old Titanic, you know, there's not enough lifeboats for everybody to get away, so only five people can return after the ship's broken, they can't get back. So the cruise ship ran aground, can't get back. I give them profiles of ten people and they have to decide who stays on the island and who goes back. But the people who stay, they may not live and the people who get back in the life boat, they may not live. So-and then I just made up all these people, gave them, you know, different ages, different home life, different jobs, some of religious, some are professionals, some are blue collar workers. I just made them all up. I think I've got somebody from Seattle here. I've got them from all over the country. Purely by accident. So we've got a fisherman, we've got an artist. Forget him, what good is he? Nobody wants the artist to live. Sorry. We have somebody from Philly too, I had to have somebody local. Normally the people that get to live, get it come back, are the people with children. That's pretty much what they always say: People with children. And then I give a very detailed description of what I want them to do: What they do individually and what they do in the group. And the more precise my directions were the better they follow them. And they even have a hard time following directions when I'm this precise sometimes. And they often learn from me that if they don't follow my directions, they're not done. You have to-you have to-you know. And I say: What if I had to write a report for a committee, and I did it wrong? Which I have done. I have to redo that. I don't just expect the committee chair to take my report. I know that I have to go back and do that again. So I tell them that. I relate as much as I can to work. And so I say: Sorry, I can't take that, you didn't follow directions. And then they'll go right, oh yeah, I did that too, I did that last week. I'm going to follow directions now. So very specific directions on what they do individually and very specific directions what they do once they meet with their group because once again they have to learn how to compromise and they have to list the 5 people that are saying than o the island, the 5 that are leaving, why these people stay and why these people leave. So a lot of direction and a lot of guidance. And it's sometimes fun. It's sometimes hard. But like I said earlier, we have a big job. We have-we have an enormous task in front of us to help our students be more independent. And it's a daily, daily struggle for them and for us. But we're still here, they're still coming to us. So I know that we can make the situation better for them and I know that they'll be better students because we're going to work at it thanks so much for coming I know I haven't even given you a break or anything you've stayed this whole time so thank you very much. [Applause.]

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