Saturday, December 5, 2015

Rally Coach for reading exercises

I wrote about Kagan earlier this year and I'm still raving about the different structures and how well they work in my class. My new favorite for reading is Rally Coach.

So what is Rally Coach? Here's a quick video to explain it.

In my class, I hand out one clipboard with the reading exercise in a sheet protector and one dry erase marker to each pair (with 100 kids per grade level this saves a TON of paper.) Students must sit so they can both see the board. They must also read the question out loud and say their answer out loud. I tell them they are not allowed to write any answers until their partner or "coach" has approved it and told them, "Sí, ¡Muy bien!" If the answer is not correct their partner will say, "Let's look again." Once they agree on an answer, the partner with the marker writes it down, and then passes the board and marker to the  other student. They work and pass it back and forth until they are done. Because kids work at different speeds I tell students to play Yo Veo when they are done. Once I hear lots of I spy going on I pull them back and we go over the answers. 

This year so far, we've done this with a reading in Spanish about a monkey who eats too many bananas and gets sick and with a cultural reading in English about La noche de las velitas. I purposely create the worksheets so there is a column for partner A and a column for partner B. 

So why do I love it? Because EVERYONE is engaged and working. Even my usual slackers are more on task because they are held accountable by their partner. The trick to making it work is 1) Have a task that isn't too difficult and 2) model each time beforehand so students know what is expected (right now I still model in English but as we do it more I will switch to Spanish.)

Do you use Rally Coach or other Kagan structures in your classes? Since I'm just getting started with these I'd love to hear other teachers' experiences.  Share in the comments below or on Twitter using the hashtag #earlylang!