It's mid-term week in the LEAP Program! However, I am feeling totally relaxed about it, so I hope my students are too. The best thing is that there are absolutely no surprises at all on the midterm exams. When we were creating them, we made sure that we didn't put anything on the exams that hadn't either been covered in class or in the first three chapters of the textbooks. Hopefully, these will be the most unsurprising midterms in the history of LEAP :-) The way we developed the exams was first I found some appropriate materials, and all of the teachers had a look at them. We then chose listenings and readings that we thought matched the level of where our students should be in the middle of the semester. This was based on our understanding of the Canadian Language Benchmarks (www.language.ca). After we had our listenings and readings, I then went through the textbooks to see what kinds of activities the students had been doing in class. I tried to mirror the activities in the textbooks with the activities in the midterms. I also tried to match the objectives in the textbooks with what I am testing in the midterms. Once I got the first drafts of the midterms finished, I sent them out to all of the LEAP 4 teachers. They checked all of them, and made various suggestions which we talked about in detail in a meeting. I revised the exams based on the recommendations of the LEAP 4 teachers, and then created a new draft. This draft was then sent to Dr. Sengupta who checked all four of the midterm exams. Dr. Clark was also involved in this stage. After Dr. Sengupta had had a look at the exams, she gave them back to me with her suggestions. I then carried out her suggestions and created a final draft of the exams. Finally, all of the exams were proofread for typos and spelling mistakes, and we are finished! It has been a lot of hard work producing these exams, but I really feel that they are going to give us a good idea of the language level of our students. I hope they are all studying hard. I want all of my students to get the best marks they possibly can!!
On another note, in the middle of all this preparation for the midterm exams, I went to Edmonton for a conference, and I made a presentation on blogs! It was so great. I met so many interesting people, and they love my students blogs. Naturally, that is because my students are so great :-) For my presentation, I first did a powerpoint about blogs, and then we went step by step creating blogs. It was kind of like the first day of blogging with my class, except that I talked a lot more about the theory behind blogging as well as some hints on setting up the teacher blog (doing HTML, etc). If anyone wants to know more about some of the theory behind blogs, they can read a paper that I wrote for the ATESL Newsletter:
It's on page 18.
Anyway, the conference was great, and I really learned a lot. The hotel was good too. I included a picture of my hotel. Next weekend, I am going to Winnipeg for the TESL Canada conference. I love blogging!