Addition to New Book

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28 thoughts on “Addition to New Book”

  1. I feel that this is THE book that I would have needed to guide me to a FAR MORE SATISFYING CAREER than the extremely frustrating forty years of insanity that I actually suffered through. The books that I wrote before Tina and I wrote these two new natural approach ones don’t hold a candle to these two new ones.

  2. Tina and I wrote it together on the phone. It was a response to a request by Teacher’s Discovery bc they wanted the topic addressed in the book. Thank you Greg. I agree. It really says what needs to be said in our profession.

    1. Jennifer from NJ

      Hey Ben, I followed the link and paid $77. I am unfamiliar with that site so I am unsure what the course button is all about. Is the cost of the book $77 or did I also pay for some sort of online training…?

  3. Jennifer the terms “book” and “course” are synonymous on the website. So what calls a course is often just a book. We are working to change how we sell our materials and make them available in another venue than, but that is what we have available to us now.
    (I would add that the book you purchased is an incredible resource in that it lays out everything you need to do for the entire year. I will unabashedly post as an article here, some quotes from people who are wisely testing it out now for next year.)

    1. Jennifer in NJ

      Thank you for the explanation and please know that I believe your work is worth every penny of $77. I am desperately crawling to the finish of my ninth year, in the same building/district that I’ve been in since I became a member of this PLC. Sadly, I have succumbed to the traditional teachers but have decided that next year is my do-or-die year. It very well may be my last. So I’m sort of thinking I’ll say “screw it,” follow your book and see if I can get away with doing what the hell I want and still have the kids survive the common midterms and finals….because if I go through one more year of what I’ve been dealing with, I may leave teaching. I’m a very infrequent member here but I’ve never canceled the subscription because I still carry a little flame of hope.

  4. Jennifer I remember about six or seven years ago you had made the decision to leave teaching, if I remember right. It was for the same reason as now – you were in with a den of traditionalists who were just plain mean.
    I remember how you did your best to meet demands in your building while trying to expand into CI at the same time. But that was TPRS and things are different now. My feeling is that when kids deeply love your classes you will be safe*. We have to take a close look at exactly how you can bring that groundswell energy of happy kids to the building. No amount of discussion with your department will work, we know that.
    Tina is working half time next year. We are going to be doing more online training. I have asked Tina and she has agreed that if we start a new online coaching community kind of like this one but more toward pure coaching, that anyone on my PLC, esp. long timers like you, will have access to that new online community at no charge. So if the new group costs $19.95/mo, that only applies to new people, not PLC members. It’s the least we can do to say thanks to people like you who have hung in here with us over the years.
    The big thing, Jennifer, is that you have struggled in part bc of TPRS. It was awkward. This new stuff is not, bc it is based on images and not word lists. I will send you some books on this and I hope you start thinking in this new (non-targeted) way. I feel it can and will work for you.
    The cherry on the icing of this new cake for you would be a conference this summer. We are doing two-week long institutes and are in Philly at the end of the summer. The first week is Basic Interpersonal Communication Skills for novice learners and the second Cognitive Academic Language Proficiency training for upper levels. Lots of coaching. PLC members get $250 off the week long price.
    After 9 years, you kind of know me even though we haven’t met in person. I will do whatever it takes to use every source of training Tina and I can muster to get you through this.
    *very important: only novice classes will take the new medicine without choking.

    1. Jennifer in NJ

      Ben, I replied to your email before reading this. Words fail me but the tears are coming. I’d love to participate in the philly retreat although it just depends on cost. Money is very tight because I only get paid during the 10 months of the school year. If there was a payment plan, I’d work with you on that.
      As you know, my biggest concern-the concern of many, I’m sure-is doing non targeted while my colleages follow a text book S&S. But I’ll be more present on the PLC going forward. I’m on Chapter 5 of the new book as we speak.

  5. Jennifer in NJ

    Oh and I wanted to add that your memory serves you well. My colleagues are traditionalists. I hate to call them mean because I consider them close friends on a personal level. But professionally, you’re right, neither of the 2 would want to budge. One of them has an interesting way of doing something like PQA to review vocab and grammar while the kids have the textbook open. I sat in on one of his class period everyday for the entirety of a unit because I was so curious. He really does speak a lot of Spanish as I walk by his room. But his classes are upper levels and the students in a level 1 or 2 college prep are, as we know, much less forgiving…..

    1. Jennifer! I’m so glad you are reaching out again. This stuff is really taking off now (LIFTING OFF!). You will recover by using the new book! Damn, school is freaking hard. Understatement. I echo Ben’s statement above about emotions ruling everything. Everyone in a school building knows this, and still we continue to ignore the implications. Sigh. I hope I will see you in Philly. I am planning to go to the CALP session there 🙂

  6. Sean M Lawler

    Hey Jennifer! Good to hear from you. Thanks for sharing your struggles. I sympathize, wholeheartedly. Another thought, have you considered changing schools? Perhaps that’s not an option for you, but if it is, you might find another school CI friendly. I’ve worked in 5 schools since being a CI teacher (phew!) and each school definitely had a different level of stress and frustration when it comes to teaching in general, but teaching with CI especially. Luckily, I’m in a no-stress CI zone right now. But I do make sure that I stroke my admin’s backs when I have to. Whatever. They are good people and are, for the most part, open.

    1. Sean M Lawler

      …oh, and my changing schools so much has to do with other things than being a CI teacher. Though, my first year I dumped the textbook and became a TPRS teacher, using Carol Gaab’s Cuentame, and I flopped and fumbled thoroughly, having to leave that school with poor evaluations.

  7. Jennifer in NJ

    Is there a time when a teacher must move from Plan A (of classroom management) to Plan B with the same student during one class period, or is a teacher only to move from Plan A to Plan B with the same student if that student continues their behavior into a different class period?
    In other words, am I really going to stop instruction, walk to the rules, and point to them 200 times in one class period because of Jimmy? Or will kids be expected something more happens to jimmy as far as consequences?

  8. Yes of course – more happens to Jimmy. Whenever a student goes beyond the ken like that, Plans A through D (dealing directly w the students) no longer apply and we go straight to Plan E (bringing in outside help). Certain seriously dysfunctional students obviously don’t fall into the general A – D approach.
    The big point to make here is that Jimmy should never ever have gotten to the point where he became a problem. How to ensure this? Just run the program described in the book religiously, which means you totally devote the first two weeks of the year to taming each and every student using the Classroom Rules (Plan A) as described or, if needed, the Fred Jones strategies (Plans B – D), with community building next, and actual instruction a distant third, functioning only as a vehicle for establishing the rules and building community in those first two weeks, which is when EVERYTHING HAPPENS to guarantee a great year for weeks 3-36 because the work is all done and the class 100% tamed in those first two weeks.
    If you try to instruct without the two weeks of taming jerks and building community happening first, Jimmy will be a problem all year.
    I recommend 80% to Plans A – D, 20% to community building in the first two weeks. When you do that, the rest of the year is secure. Where you pointed to Rule #2 hundreds of times in the fist two weeks, you hardly need to do it again all year. That is my own experience anyway.
    This is a very deeply thought out plan, one that builds total classroom management through a combination of the teacher owning their personal power and the students finding a fun and pro-active role in the classroom process via their jobs.

    1. Jennifer from NJ

      Ok, I just want to get this straight-and I hope this thread is the right place to ask questions about the book if I have them- but let’s say it is the first day of school and there is one kid who keeps making me go back and touch the rules. How many times do I continue with Plan A before it turns into Plan B?

      1. It’s not the number of times and there is no set way of doing Plans A – E. Personally I would, and I have in the past, raise an immediate call to arms via counselors, admins, parents. I would not talk to the kid in private bc such deeply hiring children always nod their heads yes but lie.
        Once he started playing a game w me in class on going to the rules poster I would surprise him that evening with a strong parent contact – not just an email. I would go to their house if necessary and I have done that bc my entire year is on the line w that one oppositional defiant kid. My goal is to either get him out of the class or break him in class. I would – every day – send the parents some of the letters we have collected here over the years.
        But no set plan. We all have to do it by ourselves and the plans do it in a positive way. The section of the book on classroom management is an extensive one but it still must be used individually by individual teachers in an individual way.
        The whole thrust of our program is based on no lectures, no big pep talks. Just action.
        Most of the time the school allows those kids to stay in the class. The result is disastrous to all concerned. The allowing of teen sociopaths to stay in the class is one of the darkest aspects of our system of education. I personally have been broken by such kids at least five times in my forty years in the classroom.

  9. Sean M Lawler

    Visiting Jimmy’s home is a great idea. That’ll leave an impression.
    You know, it all depends on the situation, but you may also consider letting Jimmy’s disruption play out. Let whatever he felt the urge to express get fully expressed and get a response from his peers. I’ve done that often this year. Granted, my classes are small. But I’ve often given students’ outbursts space to hang in the air and then fade away. Of course I want to maximize the time in class, but I also have no interest in fighting kids or building acrimony, especially with our need to lower the affective filter. I just stand there real still, listening intently to the disruptive chatter. Sometimes it’s an interesting side conversation, actually, and I may jump into the chatter. Then I wait for the right moment to get the class back to the Spanish conversation.
    I think it’s a special occasion if we can talk to the kids for 20 minutes. 20 minute chunks are pretty good. If I can do 2 or even 3 of those in a block schedule, I’m happy.

    1. People have really visited a student’s home? That seems like that would be crossing boundaries and would not be allowed by the school.
      Just wondering…..

      1. Greg I was the track coach at Myrtle Beach High School in SC for a long time and we had a ghetto that defied description there. Coaches used to kind of have to go in there more as social workers. It felt normal to me to visit homes. That was the culture 30 years ago. Once I went to visit a kid’s trailer and saw that it only had three walls, the other was hanging plastic. The entrance to their neighborhood was a shoot zone and when I drove kids back from track meets late at night they always ducked in the station wagon and told me to duck. But I couldn’t because I was driving the car. One kid who lived there went on to play pro basketball in Italy. Another became a Buffalo Bills defensive back. One kid won the level 3 national French contest her senior year, went on to Duke and is now a medical doctor. I ran into her in the Charlotte airport once and it absolutely re-affirmed my faith in our profession and brought warm tears that I still treasure. We used to reach that far out in Myrtle Beach. If they were not coming to class or were rude in class, we went to their house, no matter if they were rich or poor. I guess things have changed. No more communities. Just potential lawsuits for not doing education in the way the school prefers.

      2. When doing my credential program, we were made very aware of home visits. You can also have one of the parents come and monitor their child. Of course, the former is much better. In short, the student crossed boundaries at your work and wants to get away with it. That’s not how the world works. Relationships are important and the profession is getting disrespected.

  10. Jennifer in NJ

    Next question: Can someone help me consider how to set up my grade book in a way that is impactful, following as close as possible to the book’s suggestions, but working within my restrictions? I have to have a gradeboook set up for all 4 quarters that is like this:
    90% Assessments
    10% Homework
    (Assigments within the categories are entered as Total Points. So within one category, the more points something is, the “more impactful”.)
    Each quarter is 20% of the End-of-Year grade. Midterm and Final are each worth 10%.
    I hate math and I hate that I cannot do my own thing…

    1. Sean M Lawler

      So, Jennifer, considering what Ben and Steven are saying, in your Gradebook, under the 90% Assessments category, you could visit your Gradebook on a weekly or bi-weekly basis and do the following: plug in an interpersonal communication skills (jGR) grade for a total of 65 points and a dictation or quiz or whatever else pencil to paper kinda thing for a total of 35 points: a diction might be 15 points, a quiz 10, and a fill-in-the-blank (or whatever) another 10 points. Each time you visit your Gradebook you’d be entering 100 points under the 90% Assessments category. Perhaps that’s simple and fair enough.

  11. In a nutshell, you have to learn to fudge the grade from 65% Interpersonal (see book for that rubric) and 35% quizzes, dictees, etc. as explained in the book. The 35% is total points on quizzes and when you enter a grade that says Quiz 1 – Pringle Man, or whatever, those grades add up and when the master goes to check to see if you have enough grades there they are.
    If you don’t use the 65%35% rubric it tends to be unfair. I tested those percentages for at least five years and that is the sweet spot. Not only that, it aligns w ACTFL standard of Communication as well as the Three Modes and it is a hell of a lot more thought out than it looks. That makes it fair and accurate. So the 90% assessments is simply the 65%/35% thing. Do what you like w the homework grade. Learn to lie. It’s the only way to survive when your evaluator masters don’t get how languages happen in the human brain, a situation that arises in no other field on the planet that I can think of.
    There are TONS of articles here to go deeper w this. Categories include: Administrator/Teacher/Parent Re-education, When Attacked, Assessment/Grading, Authentic Assessment and of course all that great content on assessment collected over many years up in the Primers hard link section.
    We must repeat: the ideas here and in the books are not a rigid system to follow. They are guidelines only. Why? Because we have seen what happens in education when everyone must do things in the same way. It has happened in TPRS w all the experts who claim to each have the “answer” to the TPRS “problem”. When that happens it leaves out the most important thing: that we are all different and so must instruct and evaluate in ways that reflect who we are as individual teaching artists.

  12. One thing you can do Jennifer (on the homework grade to get that 10% in there) is to just give them a grade on how they draw their individually drawn images outside of class. I would say that at least half of the students in the class, once they realize that they’ll never get their character into a story unless they put some really effort into their drawing, really do some thoughtful drawing, even those who “can’t” draw. They should get that 10% A.

  13. Hi Jennifer,
    For assessments, I would assess the students with the interpersonal skills rubric. That means that our look for what you expect during story-asking/invisibles stories. Your first assessment of the quarter could be during a Card Talk and assess students using a printed roster. I use a mainly negative point system where students who mess up with the Interpersonal Skills or Reading get ding’d. The first grade can be about 10 points depending on how often you want (or need) to assess. My gradebook platform is set up like yours where the more points something is the more impactful. So start small then increase ever so slightly during the semester. The thing is, if students mess up early on, it is hard to come back up. You can create leverage by allowing students to earn back their points after you slay them with the first. I am trying to navigate this whole grading thing BUT I will be switching to level 1 Spanish next year and that will totally be my saving grace. I will be the first teacher they get exposed to with the language. No tainting–and I’ll be Krashen the grammar party as well with my SLA unit. This year kids were too busy playing the game of just doing busy work and not communicating.

    1. Sorry, I got on a real tangent. With the roster, you wait on putting in an assessment until you have marked everyone. You can also switch it to positive which would be better in the beginning of the year. You celebrate students for tracking you, responding with single word answers as well as acting and volunteering. I do this as well. I note it with a + or a – followed by the letter or word of the actions I see. Examples include: +A (acting), or -Technology (used a cellphone) or -B (blurting) etc… This can be put into an assessment grade– you can even make a make-shift rubric– just like science teachers make a Lab Safety Test in the beginning of the year.

  14. Man I love this book. Seeing Jennifer (HAAAAY JENNIFER!) work through it like this makes me love it even more. My back hurts, I have been patting myself on it so hard.

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