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30 thoughts on “Brrr!”

  1. Great script, especially now when we’re all suffering in the heat!

    I’m so sorry for having been incommunicado for so long. That university course was really taxing, in addition to preparations for the end of the school year at my “regular” school, plus an invasion of visitors from overseas. But now I’m back with a vengeance and trying to catch up with all of you. I’ve really missed this intellectual stimulation. Also, I’m really grateful that you haven’t thrown me off the site in the meantime 😉

  2. You’re forgiven. And next time clear your schedule for one of the conferences – we missed you.

    iFLT was very powerful. I was able to spend time with Grant*, Bryce, Kate, Jim, Berty Segal, Krashen – who would have loved a crop circle discussion initiated by Jim during which Grant and Bryce both told me I was a crackpot, which I took as a compliment.

    Of course the difference was in being able to be in front of real students, with 20 observing teachers in each class for a two and a quarter hour of instruction followed by a forty-five minute discussion session, like the learning labs we do in DPS. Too much to say about that – it will have to wait perhaps until after NTPRS.

    We got some great mountain rides in but had to start out at 5:30 a.m. because of the afternoon thunderstorms they get in the mountains. Following Reuben and Bryce down a mountain at 43 mph was memorable to say the least. We missed Ben Lev on the roads.

    I will try to write more about iFLT but need to decompress and gear up again for Las Vegas in just two days. I learned a lot by presenting. The thing that I felt most effective was the repetition of the target structures as a cardinal rule.

    We have covered every little detail here over the years about technique, in particular SLOW and the rules and all that, but this time I felt the importance of repeating targets in each sentence I said no matter what. I actually found myself noticing that if I asked a question that did not have a target in it – it stood out in the overall flow of the input like an apple would in a box of oranges,which awareness made me immediately redirect my appetite to apples.

    How cool was it to meet some of y’all? Beyond cool. It was chill. And Jody! It was very Jody in that I got to spend some time with their Highnesses from either coasts (who were roomates up in Breckenridge). And Laurie and jen and Mary Beth – who just bought a new boat in Maine – and Sabrina and of course the Orthe and on and on.

    There are some quality people in our group! It was a joy to spend time with them. Again, I will add my learnings about our work here when I can. You share too. If you have any new ideas for us from the conference write them as comment!

    Right now I have to recover a sleep debt from what can only be described as a joyous but intense week.

    *learn more about Grant in the Twin Cities at

    1. Sabrina Janczak


      It was indeed a great conference and the most amazing part was to meet so many people whose comments and great ideas I read about on the blog, and whom I finally met face to face. What a treat. My biggest treat of all was to see you Ben, alive. You are so much better “au naturel” than on those videos. However, keep on making those videos because they are still a great substitute. It was really inspiring to hear Krashen’s keynote and when he talked about Club membership being an affective factor in his extended Comprehension Hypothesis , I felt it to the core. Being a member of Ben’s Club membership is a great parallel!
      Mary Beth, it was great being your roommate, and I will come to the Maine conference in October. Finally, to all of you whom I met for the first time, it was great meeting you all ad let’s keep this great PLC going!

  3. Did you really have to rub my nose into it about all the stuff I missed? It won’t happen again ;-). Anyway, I’ll have my own little pleasure trip to look forward to – I’m attending the German TPRS workshop at Sweet Briar in two weeks. Is anybody else from the group going?

  4. PHEW! Finally, some word from Ben about the conference! I have been checking all week – knowing full well I wouldn’t hear anything until after the conference – but checking nonetheless!

    I can’t wait to hear more about what you learned while presenting/teaching…
    Thank you for the blurbs…

    Sabrina, I can’t remember where you are from? So cool to hear you can join us in October…


    1. Sabrina Janczak

      Skip, I am originally from Paris France but I’ve lived in Chicago for a while now. Mary Beth Tietgens who was my roommate for the conference convinced me to come to Maine where I understand Anne Matava will be. I use her scripts and love them so I’d love to meet her.

      1. Awesome. We would love to have you. I had been thinking of trying to work Anne into the agenda…. like we did with the hogs…. One thing people are always wanting to see is TPRS in action with upper levels and she is a master at it..
        Surely hope you can join us!


        1. Oh that would be amazing to have a session with Anne Matava!!! An upper levels session would be great. I also just got back from Breck. Amazing, but went by way too quickly. Left me wanting more but I cannot attend Las Vegas unfortunately. Sad about that bc the best part of all was meeting ppl face to face! And the other best part was seeing teachers teach real live kids! I got to see Bryce in action with some level 3-4 kids and it was magical. Looking forward to reading his reflection on it 🙂

          Skip, I will definitely be there in October. I plan to attend the whole thing this time instead of just the one day like last year. I would also really love to help make that spring coaching “camp” a reality. Remember, we were going to have a TPRS slumber party? I feel like I dropped the ball on it. We have had some administrative changes recently so I hope that I can get that idea on the agenda early and at least get a response this time!

          Everyone going to Vegas have a blast and post lots of details!!!

          1. I LOVE the lab idea…. not sure I can get that piece implemented this year in October but I will commit time and energy to our Spring get together and make sure that happens this year…. I bet we could get “real live kids” for that session. If we can get dates and venue down soon I bet we could get Anne to join us…

            I would love to read your reflections/insights gained from watching Bryce as well. Remember our next realm in upper levels 🙂

            Thanks Jen,

            ps have you seen the article in the local paper on the conference. I think it would REALLY help an administrator “get it.” Let me know if you need it and I can post the link…(you probably have seen it though)

          2. Hey Sabrina, Jen and Ben!!! I’m in Charleston now, so can’t make this long…had a GREAT time meeting you all!

            SKIP: I have already emailed my principal the link to the newspaper article and told him I went to it, how incredible it was, and how much I want to share it with him. I’m meeting him on Tuesday or Wednesday! Hopefully I can talk him into attending one day in October!!! (He was a Russian minor and so is VERY supportive of WL – he thanked me for attending the conference!)
            ANYONE: With that in mind, WHERE can I gather some succinct info to bring with me to this meeting? You just give me names of people’s sites and I will scan through. (unless you know of some awesome articles right off the bat!)
            HAVE FUN in Vegas Guys!!! Wish I could go, but I think my meeting with my principal will be more advantageous at this point in time! 🙂

          3. Hey Mary Beth do you have buyer’s remorse now that you saw the other boat in Charleston?

            Chris didn’t you just put together some stuff of the type that mb wants to gather for this principal? Like four months ago. Remember?

          4. Hey Ben – no buyer’s remorse! (besides we just gave a deposit, so if this one was better we would have forfeited it) Today’s was nice, but we like the one in Maine better.
            Nice being in Charleston again with Hubby – just went for an evening stroll along the Battery, so the trip was definitely WORTH it!!

          5. I tried to put some of that type of stuff together but with no success. I tried gathering up as much information as possible from other TPRSers but either nobody has anything or they don’t want to share.

            The only thing I really have is a research paper I did for my Seminar in Theory and Research in FL Teaching course in the spring. I did research on TPRS vs traditional methods. I can send that if it would be helpful.

          6. Hi Chris,
            Thank you – I would appreciate that. I just took a Research Methods course myself, and my paper was basically the same – I can send you mine as well, if you are interested! (I would enjoy sharing these two “similar” research papers and getting your feedback) My email is

          7. Hey MB,

            Not sure if it would help but there is precedent for principals to attend… The principal of Greely MS attended last year and I think 1 other from another school has but I can`t remember right now


      1. Hi Drew –
        Skip Crosby “takes the bull by the horns” here in Maine and tries to keep us CI-teachers in touch with each other and helps us with prof. dev. In October, he organizes a 2-day CI workshop with top presenters. This year will be Joe Nielson, last year was Susie Gross, and the year before was our one-and-only BEN SLAVIC!!! (I did not see him, bc I am very new to this — this was my first year)
        So, that is what we’re talking about in October.

        1. Maine… Could you guys live further!? That sounds like a great time to get to know each other and work on your craft. Does anyone know if this goes on on the west coast. There has to be enough of us California people.

          1. Well, I did just learn last week that New York CI teachers are having a workshop the week before Maine! that’s closer for you!!! haha :-}

  5. skip I have asked Sabrina to co-coach our Tuesday night session if she is in Las Vegas (not certain yet). Maybe take a nap before that one because I want to go for at least four hours, or later if we can. This is a great chance to have an intensive session, the one we didn’t have in Maine two years ago.

    I don’t even know if I can relate even a part of what I learned, skip, because it is so intense and that is the perfect word. Jason walked by as Linda Li and I were getting ready for our next day sessions (our rooms were adjacent) and he asked if we were happy and we said yes very much and he yelled out that it is pure joy and we both agreed and then when he jasonly disappeared down the hallway like the magical creature he is we looked at each other and said that it is also extremely stressful. There were times when I thought, “Oh, I have to write this down for the group!” but couldn’t. That happened a lot. We are always learning deeper and deeper things in this method. Or we could have jobs that we hate and don’t care about. Hmmm. I guess I’ll pick the former. Don’t worry, skip, we will get some excellent work done next week. All group members are invited for Tuesday night. I’ll ask Lisa to make an announcement in the morning to everyone.

    1. Ben, FYI, your last session was deep. As in the real deal. You modeled SLOW and it was super helpful to get to see how you use the word wall and to participate in the word chunk game and the OWI. But the most important thing you did was to get into the heart of what we’re doing. You stated clearly, passionately, in no uncertain terms, “our job is to love these kids!” And over and over throughout the session you addressed that with your demonstrations and with anecdotes and basically with your whole being. It was exactly what I needed to close out the week. Thank you!

      1. “You modeled SLOW and it was super helpful to get to see how you use the word wall and to participate in the word chunk game and the OWI. ”

        This is part of our agenda Wednesday night 🙂


        1. skip we have to figure out how much time to give the four activities that take us more carefully into the three steps and how much time to give to the three steps themselves. That is a ton of work right there. Hopefully we have a good active group and we be kickin’ ass for some great CI that nite. Can’t wait either! We gonna rip ourselves some CI!

      2. jen this means so much to me. Since it was the last session I didn’t give a shit. It’s funny when we are with other professionals we kind of feel we have to find a common ground and kind of suck up a little and have the session on that level. But not giving a shit has its advantages. Here is how Ann Morrill put it in a private email to me:

        …thanks for your inspiration and sardonic irreverence…especially the irreverence. May you continue to rock the boat….

        Now that is a compliment. So thank you. I knew I was offending some people in there in that session but for you and Ann to say that is very supportive. Means so much to me – honestly you have no idea how much.

      1. Sabrina Janczak


        I wish you could come. It was great getting to know you in a more intimate way and sharing some funny stories. You made me laugh so much. And remember from that coaching session we did with Terri, whenever you feel down : ” Il faut que tu boives du Whiskey” Haha…….
        Can you come pack my bag please??

  6. First glance at the blog since iFLT… I agree with Jen that it was too short… I am home now wishing for more time to hang out with all of you and to observe more teachers teaching!

    Here is a link to a video of Jason teaching little kids. I missed the best parts b/c my camera kept running out of memory and I had to go back and erase older videos…. Before I started recording he was doing PQA and found out that Ethan had no pets and wanted a big snake. Then he had Ethan go home and ask his mom for a snake (doing several instant replays along the way)… the video starts with his mom saying “no! no! no!”)

    Sabrina- I am so glad you are coming to Maine! it was great to meet you and hike with you that last morning.

    All of you bloggers should come to Maine in October! Looking forward to it!
    Love to all,

  7. Sabrina Janczak

    I really enjoyed meeting you and that hike in the mountains was just incredible!
    It allowed me to get to know you in an intimate and personal level and little moments like that make a huge difference in our quality of life .
    The lesson I learned from attending both Breckenridge and Las Vegas follows: observing teachers teach, being able to be coached and get genuine feedback IS what we need to get better at this craft. Going to NTPRS right after Breckenridge was like day and night. Breckenridge was intimate and peaceful, Las Vegas was loud and busy. In Las Vegas, Suzie Gross gave the keynote address and announced this was her last conference b/c she is retiring. Maybe it’s a good thing. New blood is needed I think. The best thing about Breckenridge and Las Vegas was Ben ( Bryce was also very good). In LV, Ben made himself available to teachers who wanted to be coached (at night after hours) and the sessions were amazing, filled with authentic learning, fun and incredible laughter. NTPRS also offered “coaching hours” but having sat on a couple of them made me think they were robotic, filled with formulas that either do not apply in real classrooms because something was missing. I even saw a guy do a russian demo , using Russian that was all wrong and nobody knew any better ( I didn’t say anything b/c I didn’t want to embarrass him).
    I hope Ben is able to put some of the best work I have seen on videos so so everyone can see.
    Love and hugs to all.

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