Poster 7: Rigor

(First, ask someone to read the main sentence at the top of Poster 4.)

Then say:

“This is a big poster, isn’t it? Lots of information. But the topic of rigor is important.”

“Have you ever heard any of your other teachers talk about rigor? Some teachers think that their class is rigorous if they give you more work. But rigor doesn’t mean more work to me, but what is on this poster, so let’s start to talk about the points on the left side of this poster first.”

Poster 7 - Point 1 (left side)

Left side of poster:

“First, can someone read the first point on the left side of the poster?” (Someone reads it. When your students read these points, make sure that they first include the “On the inside/outside” part when they read.)

“So, You can all see that this is the same point made in the other posters - that the main thing that you will be doing this year is focusing on the message, and trying to understand what the teacher says. That is hard! That is rigorous! It means that you can’t ‘half-way’ this class since, as we have discussed already, you will be taking up to four quizzes per class period.”

Poster 7 - Point 2 (left side)

“OK let’s go to the next point on the left side of the poster. Will someone read it?” (Someone reads it, starting off with “On the inside...)

“So, you know what will happen if you listen with the intent to understand, right? If you do that, you will probably get every question right on all four quizzes. Because the questions are easy. Like, really easy! If you just listen. So that’s a good thing!

Poster 7 - Point 3 (left side)

“OK I will read the next one, “On the inside you will feel confident.” To me this is an important one, because I remember when I was in school that there were some classes that I didn’t feel confident in. It was terrible. Can anyone relate?” (Discuss - some may share about classes where they didn’t feel confident, without mentioning the name of the class or the teacher. You may want to skip this activity in certain schools.)

“Well, you don’t have to worry about the confidence thing in here. Remember, I told you that if you try to understand, I promise that I will speak slowly enough that each one of you who tries will understand. That is my main job, to make sure that you all feel confident in my classroom. Like I said earlier, this is not one of those classes where the “smart” kids rule. Everyone gets a voice in this classroom. Everyone.”

“And do you know why I said that? It is because - like I said before - I have studied the research about how people learn languages, and it says clearly that anyone who sets their minds to it can learn a language. It’s just true about languages.”

Poster 7 - Points 4, 5 and 6 (left side)

“OK, we are going to bundle these three points together. While [name a student] reads all three points together right now, try to think what they mean.” (The student you selected - maybe a shy outlier - reads points 4, 5 and 6 together at once, including the “on the inside” part.)

Discuss in the big group. You won’t need any talking points for these three because the points are obvious. Just discuss them a bit and move on.

Poster 7 - Point 7 (left side)

Someone reads Point 7. Next, either project the Star or point to it on the wall.

Now, does everyone remember how we listen before we can read? Yes, we have to understand the story with our ears before we can understand it with our eyes. Does that make sense?”

“It’s easier to read it if you already know the story first, right? Remember, we talked about that? OK, so now you can see in our Star chart here that in Phase 1 what we do is make up the story, and then after that we review it - and take our first quiz - here in Phase 2. Then, I write the story up for you here in Phase 3 and then in Phase 4 you finally read it in different ways. Get it? Do you see how the Star works? First, we make the story up in Phase 1 and only then, only when we have our story, can we read it in Phase 4. Any questions?”

“OK, let’s go to the right side of the poster.”

Poster 7 - Point 1 (right side)

Someone reads it. Remind them to start by saying “On the outside you will...”.

“The first point here says that on the outside you will “respond with body language”. What do you think that means? What even is “body language”? [Discuss.]. That’s right! Body language is how you sit! Do you remember when we talked about how in this class you need to sit with squared shoulders and your eyes on me, etc.? Can anyone give us a good example of how I want you to sit in this class? [Someone models. This is often an occasion for laughter. You can model it again, too. Go over to an empty desk and sit and stare at where you were standing with rapt attention and a very serious look on your face until people start laughing. You are now building trust with your kids, teaching them that humor is very important in the class. You are building a community!)

Poster 7 - Point 2 (right side)

“OK, will someone read Point 3? [Someone reads it.]

“Now, there is that expression again “observable non-verbal behaviors”. Let’s take each word one at a time:

  1. “The word ‘observable’ means that I can see you paying attention. I can see you sitting up straight. I can see how you are looking at me while I am speaking [name of language].”
  2. “Non-verbal. Why non-verbal? Because you can’t speak [name of language] yet. You can only communicate with me through your body language as you track me with your eyes, right? You don’t always have to speak to communicate with someone. And the reason that you won’t be speaking is because you don’t know the language yet. You can still get an A.”

“Now here’s a question: How many of you think that you need to practice speaking [name of language] to get better at speaking [name of language]? (If anyone raises their hand, then this is a teaching moment.) It’s not true. I know, I know, but the fact is that trying to speak doesn’t get many results. It’s counterintuitive in that way. (Write and explain counterintuitive on the board.) The fact is that the more you listen, the better you speak later on.”

“Now, if you want to speak, that’s great. Do that. I just won’t force you to speak. Do you get the difference?”

Poster 7 - Point 3 (right side)

“OK, the next point provides some examples of observable non-verbal behaviors, so can someone read Point 4?” [Someone reads it.]

“So, in this one you can see the expression tracking the conversation. That’s a good expression. Is everyone tracking me now? Because I’m tracking you. I’m grading you right now. That’s the thing about this class. The reason I don’t have to give any big tests to know if you are learning is because I don’t need to. With languages I can just look at you during class and see if you are tracking me.”

“On this point of tracking people: don’t ever do a job interview without learning how to do that. If you seem distracted, you won’t get the job.” (Optional: You may wish to have your students watch this video:

“In the same way, if you don’t track me during class, you won’t get a decent grade and you might even end up failing the class. Tracking me is that important in this class! It’s 50% of your grade! I’m going to say that again: If I see that you are not tracking me in class when I’m speaking [name of language], then your grade will suffer.”

Poster 7 - Point 4 (right side)

[Someone reads Point 4.]

“Basically, what this means is that you need to do the things we’ve been talking about so far - tracking the conversation and sitting in a way that conveys respect, etc. - in order to help us build the story.”

“We will be working together, supporting the flow of the conversation, and we will all do that, not just a few students.”

Poster 7 - Point 5 (right side)

This point was discussed earlier in the discussion about the Classroom Rules in Poster 1.

Complete and Continue