LinguaFolio Jr. in the Classroom

Before you begin, please be sure to download the LinguaFolio Jr. teacher guide.

The primary objective of using LinguaFolio Jr. in the classroom is to help them become more autonomous learners. Young students cannot be expected to become fully autonomous by the end of the unit. Rather, the goal is to lay the foundation for success. The largest factor in their success is you, the educator. Step 1 and step 2 of integrating LinguaFolio Jr. focused on preparing the educator for success. Now, we focus on students.

Introduce the Enhancements

Introduce the LinguaFolio Jr. enhancements created in step 2. Show students the poster and allow them to guess the unit theme. Some students may already know some of the images in the target language. Educators can also use the poster to introduce the target language alphabet and help students write their names.

Introduce students to the tasks at this time as well. Ask them to pre-assess their abilities as you introduce each tasks. Introduce and assess one task at a time instead of first introducing all the tasks and then assessing all. Scaffolding the process of self-assessment is essential, especially for early learners. Ask them questions: “Can you…” (e.g., point to the Solyanka)? If they claim to be able to accomplish the task, request that they demonstrate it. An advantage of using the poster is that this can be a whole-class activity.

While self-assessing on the first day in front of peers may increase anxiety a little, peer accountability is positive. Alleviate their anxiety by giving an example. A great model could be using a doll or a puppet. Introduce the doll to class and ask the doll if he can accomplish the task. If you feel your transitioning learners would not respond well to an inanimate model, ask your class if anyone can do this already and have your volunteer demonstrate. Then help your volunteer self-assess how well he or she did. This will both illustrate the task and inform other students’ self-assessments.

Make sure to explain your assessment system (e.g., red star needs a lot of help, yellow star needs a little help, and green star needs no help). Potentially having three doll models would help illustrate the differences best. Require the models to explain the reason for their self-assessments; giving reasons is crucial to fostering accurate self-assessment. With younger students, ask them to give an example or a demonstration if they self-assess at middle or high ability.

After finishing the pre-assessments, reflect a moment as a class on the poster, eliciting once more from students the theme and the tasks introduced. It is normal that some students be more advanced than others. Validate the importance of prior knowledge, but reassure learners that everyone will be able to accomplish the tasks at the end of the unit.

Introduce the Handout

After finishing with the poster, introduce the handout. Students will be able to quickly identify the unit theme and the first task. Have them self-assess for this first task only. While the poster will serve as a global pre- and post-evaluation at the unit level, the handout facilitates the cyclical nature of fostering autonomous learning at the task level. Students will benefit greatly from the routine practice, with the handout serving as a transition between tasks.

On the first day, before we begin learning a new set of skills, we pre-assess. Then after finishing the task we re-evaluate. The goal is that students see tangible growth in their abilities and that growth is related to their efforts. On that same day that we look back at the last task, we collect evidence to be included in the dossier and look forward to the next task.

Strategies for self-assessment with the handout are similar to that of the poster. It is always good to model with dolls or peers.

Have Students Complete a Post-Assessment

Students should post-assess following completion of the task as soon as possible so that their work is still fresh in their minds. This closure and preview provides a wonderful transition between tasks. Both the evidence and the enhancement handout are to be included in the dossier section, as the handout serves as a record of self-assessments and a table of contents.

Set Aside Time for Reflection and Goals

Another integral part of LinguaFolio Jr. is fostering students’ capacity to set and reflect on goals. Remind students what the different self-assessment icons mean. Older students can play an active role in deciding the tasks to illustrate their emerging abilities. Giving learners choices entices situational interest, thereby making learning more exciting and fun. For younger students, provide them with choices.

In accordance with the cyclical nature of LinguaFolio Jr., also use this time to pre-assess for the next task. Collect learners’ finished products in a folder (digital or paper) so that they can be included in the dossier section.

Return to the Poster

At the end of the unit on the last day of class, bring students’ attention back to the poster enhancement. Once again elicit the unit’s theme and the tasks students have completed. Reviewing unit goals is a great way to remind students what they have learned and close the chapter. Make a point to reflect on the collective growth and to congratulate learners for their achievements.