Using Discussion Boards for Interpersonal Communication

Ok, so I just finished grading the first-ever discussion board post that I assigned, and I’m pretty happy with the results.  We use Schoology at our school to help organize classes and provide an interactive online component for students.

cosas-a-evitar-en-tu-primera-cita_588a64383cad51As part of the El Cortejo unit by Martina Bex, I uploaded the graphic pictured in this post and asked students to respond with following instructions:

Mira los consejos de cosas a evitar en tu primera cita. ¿Estás de acuerdo con los consejos? ¿Por qué si o no? Escribe por los menos cinco oraciones. También, tienes que responder a dos compañeros de clase. 

Considera iniciar tu respuesta con uno de estos ejemplos:

  • (No) Estoy de acuerdo con.. I (don’t) agree with…
  • Creo que… I believe that…
  • Mi opinión es… My opinion is…

For those of you who are not Spanish teachers, the instructions ask them to read the graphic, create and original post on whether they agree with the advice or not, then respond to two classmates.

As Spanish 2 students, I was pretty happy with their responses and felt that most of them hit the proficiency target of Novice High.  It was great to see them complete some interpersonal communication that was writing, as I often struggle with developing that skill in class.  Using a discussion board was a great way for them to experience interpersonal writing that doesn’t involve texting or e-mail. It also gave them a way to share their thoughts and opinions on what’s appropriate in dating.  Having to support their opinions with examples proved to be the most interesting part of the assignment and helped me get to know my students a little more personally.

I use this rubric to score them (DB Rubric-NH). The bulk of their grade was determined by the ACTFL Proficiency Level descriptors. I used the Considerations on the rubric to help provide feedback to students.  The Considerations on the rubric also help when I’m stuck between giving them a 7 or 8, or even an 8 or 9.  Though these are not the most important part of communicating with the language, they are important to consider when advancing in a language and so they are included.

Using a discussion board activity was a great way to have students practice interpersonal communication, and it could easily be adapted to meet the goals of other proficiency levels. In fact, I’m already planning them.

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