Poster 8: Seating Chart
Poster 8 is discussed in detail in the Star Book 1 in Chapter 5, under the Tool 1 heading. That poster is only included in this set of posters because if you are using the Star you will want to project it at various times in class during the year, for example when you want to explain how the various student jobs work in the Star program.
Concluding Comments on the Set of Posters
The posters are an important element of the Star approach. We can’t just teach using comprehensible input. We also have to educate our kids about what comprehensible input requires them to do.
Another purpose of the posters is to give the kids hope in the class. That may seem like an odd thing to say, but historically in our schools, too many language students have been made to feel inadequate in favor of the few college-bound memorizers.
Th sense of the majority of students being excluded from the learning by a small group of students has been going on for a very long time in our schools, and it’s time for it to stop.
No blame. Schools, in their focus on memorizing and testing, have forgotten about the most important thing - the existential importance of the child as part of the learning community.
So, it is my hope that you present the posters - as stated in the introduction to this book - to your students once a week or so over the first two months of the year, while avoiding giving them too-large doses of information all at once. This is new stuff to most students!
I hope that through these posters you can make some of the excluded kids feel that they count in your class, to give them hope and make them feel that you are a strong and capable teacher who is not going to ignore them, and that you will be their champion.
When they break through in your class, because they understand and feel confident, it may carry over to some of their other classes. One can hope. Ours is a one-day-at-a-time kind of battle.
It is not an exaggeration to say that your classroom may be the only place where some of your students feel safe and confident. Embrace that fact and don’t let those previously- excluded kids down. The Star is designed for that.
The Star is designed for inclusion. It is designed to build a classroom community and that cannot happen without the metacognitive strides forward that your students will take when you present the posters properly to the entire class in the right doses.
Here is an elevator speech that you may want to share with your students periodically:
“What matters is that we work together as a team this year. Have you ever seen a soccer team, for example, that sent only five or six players onto the pitch against the eleven from the other team? That would be kind of weird, right? But how many classes have you taken in school where there were only five or six kids who kind of ran the class with the teacher, and everybody else just kind of sat there and waited for the bell to ring?”
“That isn’t acceptable in any classes, but it is especially unacceptable in languages. Can you think of why? I’ll give you a hint - I’ve already told you. It’s because everyone is wired to learn a language. It’s in the nature of a language class as opposed to, for example, a math class. The subject of our language classes is the language itself. That’s the curriculum and it functions as a kind of glue that glues our classroom community together.
“So, this year I will be working very hard to unify you as a group so that we can learn faster and better. If we don’t work as a team that has all of its players on the field, if we have some of our players sitting on the bench on their phone or something, then we all won’t learn much, because they will be sucking air out of the room during class and I won’t allow that.”
“Now so far, I’ve told you that you are going to have jobs in my class this year, and we will learn more about that later, but I haven’t told you what I think my job is. So, I should tell you that I think my job this year is to make each one of you aware that no one else in this classroom is smarter or better than anyone else in here.”
“My job is to never let you forget that, and also to make class fun by not giving tests or homework, just the rubric grade we have discussed and also the quizzes, so that you can all experience success in here and to make us into a community of people just having fun. If we have fun, we will learn a lot!”